The Golladay Family in Virginia

Golladay house in Augusta County

David Golladay's house (built circa 1809)
near Weyers Cave, Virginia


It is likely that most of the Golladay's in the Shenandoah Valley were not in favor of secession. However, once the battle lines were drawn, loyalty to the state of Virginia and state's rights caused the family to defend their land with Southern steel. The valley was one of the worst places to be living during the Civil War. Great armies moved back and forth through this area.

While a few of the Golladay's had occupations such as cooper or merchant, most of the Golladay families in the Valley were farmers. A letter to the Confederate Secretary of War tells of the labor problem the farmers faced in Shenandoah County in 1861 because of the enlistment of men to serve in the Confederate army:

"It is the most fertile part of Virginia for wheat and corn growing. It has no other staple of consequence. The call of the militia was at a time when the harvest was scarcely over, and the farmer left his crop standing in the field unhoused. No plow has been put into the ground for the fall seeding of wheat. See, then, the sacrifice which our people in that region are called on to make — to imperil the crop of the past year and to prevent the raising a crop for the coming year."

- Written on 27 August 1861 by J. R. Tucker (Official Records, Series 1 - Vol. 5, page 819)


Jacob Golladay was the first Golladay settler in the Shenandoah Valley. He moved from Pennsylvania to Powell's Fort Valley in the 1700's. Many of his descendants were still living in this area at the start of the Civil War.

The family of Samuel Golladay and Delilah McInturff was hit hard when three of their children - Ellen, Sarah, and Laura - died in the diphtheria epidemic of 1862. Their son John died of typhoid fever that same year.

Elizabeth (Golladay) Coverstone was a widow and living with her daughter Julianne's family when her son-in-law Alfred Kibler was killed at Antietam on 16 September 1862. Tragically her daughter Julianne died less than two weeks later on 28 September 1862.

Samuel C. Golladay was in the Confederate cavalry in the unit known as "White's Comanches", named for their loud war cries when going into battle. Samuel wrote the following letters to his sweetheart Lydia, who lived near his home in Powell's Fort Valley:

1863 letter to Lydia McInturff

1864 letter to Lydia McInturff

This geography of this part of the Valley shielded the Powell's Fort Valley residents during much of the war. Confederate General Jubal Early described this region during the Civil War:

"At the northern or lower end of Massanutten Mountain, and between two branches of it, is a valley called "Powell's Fort Valley," or more commonly "The Fort." This valley is accessible only by the very rugged roads over the mountain which have been mentioned, and through a ravine at its lower end. From its isolated position, it was not the theatre of military operations of any consequence, but merely furnished a refuge for deserters, stragglers and fugitives from the battlefields." - Lieutenant General Jubal Anderson Early C. S. A. Autobiographical Sketch and Narrative of the War Between the States (Chapter 36, Page 367)

While Powell's Fort Valley was spared the destruction of Sheridan's Valley Campaign in 1864 (1), the war years were a time of lawlessness. Fugitives and other undesirable elements that came to hide in the area were a constant threat to the local citizens and their property.

(1) The "Welcome to Fort Valley" book described below quotes a letter written by Addison Munch from Seven Fountains on 17 March 1865 that states that Powell's Fort Valley was spared Sheridan's 1864 destruction. Later in 1865, the iron furnaces were destroyed during a Union raid.


 Jeanette Connor Ritenour of Fort Valley, Virginia has coauthored of a number of books related to Shenandoah County history. She has a new book published in December 2010 entitled, "Welcome to Fort Valley". It is produced in Hardback and is 587 pages including index. It features over 300 Photos and Illustrations. This book is a valuable resource to anyone interested in the history of Fort Valley and its people.

The cost is: $59.95, with an additional $6.00 for shipping. The website to order this book is:



The main corridor through the Shenandoah Valley was a road known as the Valley Turnpike, which was also known as the "Valley Pike". This was a macadam road, which provided a hard surface for easy transport. The Valley Pike went from Strasburg to Woodstock, Edinburg, Mount Jackson, New Market, Harrisonburg, Mount Crawford, and then to Staunton in Augusta County. And outside of Powell's Fort Valley, these were the towns in or near where the Golladay families lived in Virginia during the Civil War.

Both Confederate and Union Armies moved up and down the Valley Pike. The foragers from these armies undoubtedly caused many problems for the Golladay families.

U.S. Highway 11 is the modern highway that follows the route of the historic Valley Pike.


Several Golladay families lived in the Mount Jackson area. Mount Jackson was occupied by Union troops was on 17 April 1862 This occupation did not last long as Confederate forces drove the Union armies from the area in Stonewall Jackson's Valley Campaign of 1862


Fighting in this area occurred on the following dates:

1862: March 25, June 03, June 06, June 16

1863: November 16

1864: September 23 & 24, October 03 1865: March 07

In January 1863, a woman serving as a Yankee spy passed through the Valley around where many Golladay families lived. A report written by her husband to Union General H. W. Halleck describes her observations of this area:

I have the honor to submit [the following] to you, in accordance with orders from Major-General Banks, when he left me here, to report to you any information I might from time to time come into possession of, regarding the movements of the enemy.

My wife, Catherine Graham, who left Mount Jackson, Shenandoah County, Virginia, some three weeks since, having arrived here on last Wednesday, gives me the following account of their strength, &c., in the region of country which she has passed through. She went from Mount Jackson to New Market, where General Jones’ command is, consisting in part of three regiments of infantry, two batteries of artillery and a battalion of cavalry. When she left Mount Jackson, there was but a guard to regulate the hospitals.

Imboden has command of the cavalry at Harrisonburg; there are not more than 30 men. When General Milroy’s cavalry went up to Woodstock, they removed the deposits of banks in Rockingham and Staunton to Lynchburg. At that time a regiment of cavalry could have captured Staunton without meeting any resistance.

There were 800 sick in hospital at Mount Jackson; there had been sixteen cases of small-pox amongst them. Major [Alexander] Baker has charge of the hospitals; he is a relative of Ashby.

- Written on 15 February 1863 by Michael Graham of General Banks’ Secret Service (Official Records, Series 1 - Vol. 25, Part II, page 79-80)

1863 map showing Golladay house south of Mount Jackson

Lucritia Golladay was widowed when her husband Onesimus Sibert was killed at Gettysburg in July, 1863. The husband of Rebecca Golladay, Walton A. Hawkins, was killed in fighting near Richmond in May 1864.


A Richmond newspaper article wrote an account of the pillaging of a store co-owned by a Golladay family:

The Yankees in the Valley.

The recent advance of the enemy up the Valley (1) seems to have been one solely of plunder. In Harrisonburg they robbed every store in the town, besides several private residences. Isaac Paul, A. Lewis, J. W. Beach, Theophilus Ott, Rodeffer & Golliday, Sibert & Koogler, R. P. Fletch & Bro., and Lowenbeck & Bro., were the principal sufferers. The Yankees entered the town about 12 o'clock on Saturday night, and a portion of them remained until Monday morning.

- Richmond Dispatch (Monday morning ... December 28, 1863)

(1) The expression "up the Valley" refers to heading into Virginia toward Lexington. The valley floor is near Winchester and the terrain rises as you move southwest through the Shenandoah Valley. Similarly, the expression "down the Valley" means to move northeast as a stream would flow down to lower ground.

Before the Civil War began, William Golladay was a merchant in Woodstock and had been there for many years. He may have moved to Harrisonburg to be in a more secure location in an effort to avoid the pillaging that occurred in the lower Valley. In the 1870 census, William was shown as living with his wife Susan and their two children in Harrisonburg He no longer owned a store and his occupation was listed as a clerk in a Reverend's office.


The worst period in the Valley was during destruction of civilian property by the Union forces under the command of General Philip Sheridan. In one claim filed against the U.S. government in 1867, Reuben Golladay witnessed the following regarding a barn owned by Michael Wine: "he saw on the 7th day of October 1864 when General Sheridan's forces were moving down the Valley, some of said soldiers coming over the hill towards said barn and saw immediately after they got to the barn the smoke rise and soon the building enveloped in flames."


The house of Revolutionary War soldier David Golladay near Weyers Cave was not destroyed and still exists, although his barns and other outbuildings were destroyed. David owned mills on the north side of the North River in Rockingham County known as Rockland Mills. These mills had been sold out of the Golladay family before the Civil War. According to Thomson's Mercantile and Professional Directory, John J. Cupp owned these mills in 1851.

On 02 June 1864, Union General David Hunter encountered a Confederate force at Mount Crawford on the North River and he noted the right side of this force was at Rockland Mills. The mills may have been burned at this time, although there are no records that have been found that verify this thus far.

On 07 October 1864, General Philip Sheridan wrote a report from Woodstock about his campaign to destroy civilian property in the Valley . He summarized the actions of his forces as follows:: "I have destroyed over 2,000 barns filled with wheat, hay, and farming implements; over seventy mills filled with flour and wheat; have driven in front of the army over 4,000 head of stock, and have killed and issued to the troops not less than 3,000 sheep. This destruction embraces the Luray Valley and Little Fort Valley, as well as the main valley". Sheridan's campaign was from Winchester in the north down to Staunton in Augusta County. The Golladay farms were in the path of this destruction.

"The Southern land's a glorious land, and has a glorious cause;
Then cheer three cheers for Southern rights, and for the Southern boys.
We scorn to wear a bit of silk, a bit of Northern lace;
But make our homespun dresses up, and wear them with such grace.
And now, young man, a word to you; if you would win the fair,
Go to the field where honor calls, and win your lady there.
Remember that our brightest smiles are for the true and brave,
And that our tears are all for those who fill a soldier's grave."

Lyrics from a Southern woman's Civil War song "The Homespun Dress,"
also called "The Southern Girl's Song"

This page last updated on March 06, 2011