Luray Firemen, Community In Tributes To J. Everett Will (1962)

This is from The Daily News Record, Harrisonburg, Virginia, Wednesday, October 17, 1962.

Luray Firemen, Community In Tributes To J. Everett Will

Luray – “I’m just a country boy, who loves all the firemen in Virginia,” is the way J. Everett Will, his voice choking with emotion, arose to thank all who honored him in a surprise “This Is Your Life” party, Sunday night.

Those gathered to honor him were firemen from all over Virginia: Warren Hicks, of Hampton, state secretary, Edward Braithwaite, of Harrisonburg, past president, William Ware, president of the Northern Virginia Firemen, Frank Stoutamyer, of Front Royal, past president, and H. H. Colvin, of Culpeper, a past president.

But firemen were not the only ones who welcomed this versatile citizen, a prominent lawyer, and a member of the Virginia Council of the State Bar. Judge Mark Woodward, of Luray, paid tribute to his excellency at the Bar, and the many offices he has held, and triumphs won.

Recalls First Case

Robert Lillard, who told of his membership In the Rotary and perfect attendance for 17 years, reminisced that he was on the jury in Mr. Will’s first case here-which he lost. When he saw Mr. Lillard the next day, he said, “I think I’m going to work at the tannery.”

Mayor Fred Walker told how Mr. Will put across the program of securing a new hospital for Page County. When he asked Mr. Will where he expected to get $200,000 for the hospital, he answered “From the people.” And he did.

Chairman and Toastmaster was Harry B. Dyche, who gave a resume of Mr. Will’s life history. Of his former chairmanship of the Republican party and his two times candidate for Congress from the Seventh District, Mr. Dyche said, “We are just as glad you lost for your town and county need your services.”

Born at Mt. Clifton

Mr. Will was bom in Mt, Clifton, Shenandoah County, taught school, then attended college in Washington, when he spent 17 years in the government. He passed the Virginia State Bar, in 1924, and came to Luray and opened an office. His first secretary was Mrs. E. P. Durrette.

Tlie program was planned and arranged by Mrs. Robert Lillard of the Firemen’s Auxiliary, and Miss Elizabeth Bailey, who assisted with collecting life items. Strange to say. all of the Auxiliary women kept the secret, and Mr. Will, at one time, did not plan to come.

His birthday being October 25, a huge cake was baked, and this was brought in at the close of the program, the crowd rising to sing, “Happy Birthday.”

Gifts included a small gavel from the Edith Rebecca Lodge. and a squirrel tail from the Squirrel Club.

Other Tributes Paid

There was also a large bouquet from leaders of the Virginia fire­ men’s auxiliary — “Mother” Travis, Helen Williams, and Margaret Tyler, of Alexandria; Marie Willlams, Strasburg and Ruth Nelson, New Church; and a scrapbook of pictures presented by Mrs. Miller Swartz, president of the Luray Auxiliary.

Others on the program with each representing an organization of which Mr. Will is associated were: Ralph Vaughan, Modern Woodmen; Miss Hazel Moyers, Edith Rebekah Lodge; Robert Lillard, Odd Fellows; Richard Sedwick, First National Bank of which Mr. Will is a director; C. P. Harrel, Luray Fire Co, who presented his photograph for the firemen’s Hall of Fame; the Rev. Louis Carson who spoke of Mr. Will’s Church activities; Floyd Eppard, Peoples Bank of Shenandoah; Mrs. Katie Hiden and Miss Cleta Rhodes, Northern Virginia auxiliary.

Mr. Will served 21 years as president of the Firemen in Luray and four years as president of State Firemen. He organized the Northern Virginia Firemen in 1947 with 13 companies and was its first president. He was instrumental in getting much beneficial legislation passed. Present with Mr. Will were his wife, the former Edna Dellinger, and one of his children. Douglas, now studying law in Washington. His physician. Dr. J. E. Wine, of Harrisonburg, was also present.

Of his interested firemen, Mr. Will said: “I think you’ve said it all. There will be no need for a minister when I die. Just put on my stone, “Here lies a county boy, who loved firemen.” This country boy, he said, used to go out in the night in the country, and see sparks flying, and thought of the need for firemen and fire companies.


Timberville, Tuesday March 9, 1920.

Pandemonium reigned in telephone circles here Friday morning when an electric light wire became entangled with the telephone line wires. Bells rang incessantly for about four hours and talking over the lines was practically impossible. The power plant is about three miles distant and no lineman could be found for some time. However, nervous persons were at last able to take their fingers from their ears.

From the Daily News Record.

Jacob Will’s will

The following is from “Background of Adams County,” by B. F. MacPherson, No. 184 – Jacob and Elizabeth (Shriver) Will. This article originally appeared in The Gettysburg Times, Saturday, March 29, 1941.

The will of Jacob Will is to be found in the local courthouse, Will Book “B” — Page 206 — No. 484. In this document he mentions the following members of his family:

  1. Wife — Elizabeth Shriver “is to have the profits of my mill and lands.”
  2. Brother — Andrew Shriver “is to live with my wife and be maintained by her so long as she shall live.”
  3. Son — George Will.
  4. Daughter — Rachel Will.
  5. Daughter — Elizabeth Will.
  6. Daughter — Catherine Will.
  7. Daughter — Sarah Will.
  8. Son — David Will.
  9. Son — Andrew Will.
  10. Granddaughters — “Eve Shriver and Mary Hoopert, daughters to my daughter Mary Hoopert.”
  11. Granddaughters — Sarah and Evelina Will.
  12. Son – Jacob Will.

Jacob Will’s will was written April 13, 1812, and entered into probate on November 12, 1812. Andrew Shriver and George Will were named executors, while R. McIlhenny, John Echrode, and Jacob Eckert added their names as witnesses.

Andrew Will, the son of Jacob Will and Elizabeth (Shriver) Will, was married to the widow Clemens (maiden name McSherry) of Littlestown. Another son, David Will, never married. Mary, one of the daughters of Jacob and Elizabeth (Shriver) Will, married Adam Rupert of Hanover, Pennsylvania.


Rockingham County’s Civil War Losses

The Free Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, Thursday, April 14, 1904.

County’s Losses by the Yankee’s Last Raid.

As Recorded, By The Rockingham Register of Issue Nov. 11, 1864.

Through the kindness of a friend, in furnishing us with a number of old copies, of the Rockingham Register, ranging from 1861 to 1864, we shall be enabled from time to time to furnish some straps of history that may be of interest to our readers.

Rockingham’s Losses as copied from Rockingham Register of date, Nov. 11th, 1864.

“The following is a fair and an accurate exhibit of the losses inflicted upon the great and noble county of the Old Commonwealth by the Yankees in their last raid up the Valley.

“It has been obtained by our county court, after diligent effort and the employment of all the means necessary to approximate accuracy in such a calculation. The court, after being called together for this purpose, appointed a committee of 72 persons, consisting of 36 Magistrates and 36 citizens of respectability and standing, located in every section of the county, and after a careful and an accurate canvass of the county, they have furnished the estimate of the loses hereto appended:


Dwelling Houses Burned, 30
Barns Burned, 450
Mills Burned, 31
Fencing Destroyed (miles), 100
Bushels of Wheat Destroyed, 100,000
Bushels of Corn Destroyed, 50,000
Tons of Hay Destroyed, 6,233
Cattle Carried Off, 1,750
Horses Carried Off, 1,750
Sheep Carried Off, 4,200
Bogs Carried Off, 3,350
Factories Burned, 3
Furnace Burned, 1

“In addition to which there was an immense ammount of farming utensils of every description destroyed, many of them of great value, such as McCormick’s reapers, threshing machines; also household and kitchen furniture, money, bonds, plate, &c., &c., the whole loss being estimated at the enormous sum of $25,500,000. This estimate is in Confederate prices, and should be reduced, we think, about one fifth, in order to bring it to the Government standard.

“Has any other one county in the Confederacy suffered to the same extent.”

Another Revolutionary Hero Gone

The Adams Centinel, November 17, 1821.

Another Revolutionary Hero Gone!

DIED—at Littles-Town, on Saturday morning the 27th ult. Mr. MICHAEL WILL, at the advanced age of 85 years.

In the early part of his life, in the struggle with Great-Britain for our Independence, he joined the army, and stood the hard fought battles of his country. At the battle of Brandywine, he received a severe wound—the effects of which he carried to the grave.

Many attended the following day, to pay the last tribute of respect to their departed favourite. His remains were interred in Christ’s Church burial ground, attended by the Rev. J. B. Wieslting, who delivered an appropriate discourse from 1st Kings, xix, and part of the 4th verse—“It is enough now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am not better than my fathers.”

Michael Will (1736-1821) was the son of Michael Will the immigrant, father of our family in North America. Michael Jr. apparently never married.

Some early Will family history

The following comes from the Transcript and complete list of the birth and baptism records of Christ Reformed Church, Littlestown, Pennsylvania. This book is located in the Pennsylvania Room at the Guthrie Library in Hanover, Pennsylvania. The first baptism record is dated September 5, 1776, and the last is dated May 1, 1871. The book has three indexes: the first index is by the baby’s surname, the second is by the witness surname, and the third documents baptisms of illegitimate babies.

This is an excerpt from this book where there is a Will family member as a parent or a witness to the baptism.

Continue reading “Some early Will family history”

The Zirkle Reunion of 1884

Shenandoah Herald, June 4, 1884, page 3.

The Zirkle Re-union.

According to previous announcement, there was a re-union of the Zirkle families in this region of country, held at the Endless Caverns, 4 miles south of this place, on Thursday, May 29, instant. There was a large crowd present, composed largely of Zirkle families and their relatives by consanguinity and affinity—the gathering embraced, say, some 250 or 300 persons—some 75 per cent of whom were were of that family—drawn together mostly from Shenandoah, Page, and Rockingham counties. John G. Zirkle and Lewis Zirkle, both born in the same year, aged 71, were the two oldest of that family present on this occasion, whilst Mabel M., daughter of Dr. M. S. Zirkle, of Edom, Va., was the youngest present, being 5 years of age.

References and Notes

  1. John G. Zirkle of New Market, (July 9, 1813 – August 31, 1884), son of George and Barbara Kagey Zirkle.
  2. Lewis Zirkle, probably Lewis H Zirkle or New Market/Tenth legion, (January 9, 1814 – August 25, 1899), son of Lewis and Nancy Elizabeth Caldwell Zirkle
  3. Mabel Moore Zirkle (June 17, 1878 – March 23, 1944), daughter of Moses S and Magdalena C (Maggy) Beery Zirkle.

St. Mary’s Pine Lutheran Church Celebrates 250th Anniversary

This article was posted on the Shenandoah Valley Herald’s web site on May 26, 2010. St. Mary’s Pine Church figures prominently in the history of the Zirkle and Will families in the Shenandoah Valley. Early church records document our families’ active participation at St. Mary’s. Our Zirkle family is descended from John Rausch (Roush), noted in the article.

St. Mary’s Pine Lutheran Church Celebrates 250th Anniversary

By Aimee Baldwin

MOUNT JACKSON – Freedom was not known when those who wanted to worship freely did so at Rude’s Hill. Members walked 5 to 10 miles to a small building near a fort defending them from Indian attacks. The year was 1760 and it was the beginning of St. Mary’s Pine Lutheran Church, which sits on South Middle Road in Mount Jackson today.

In the beginning the church was known as Rude’s Hill Church because of the location. According to a history gathered by Julie Wilkins, member, worship could go back as far as 1745.

A history of Shenandoah County by John Wayward records that St. Mary’s could be the oldest church in Shenandoah County.

“In January 1776, Peter Muhlenberg probably delivered his famous war sermon at the Rude’s Hill Church, and nine of John Rausch’s sons stepped forward to serve in the Revolutionary War,” the history reads.

In July of 1787, the second church building was built on land deeded to Michael Zirkle and John Fitzmoyer. Both the Lutheran and Reformed churches worshipped there until 1874 when they split.

One of the oldest members of the current church, Helen Thomas, 83, says she has seen many changes.

“I think one thing that seems to have been present since the 1800s is that although sometimes you have few members and sometimes you have many members, we’re led by the Spirit, not by the number of people,” she said.

The current church building was built in March of 1873 and the same pews are being used today.

“The pews are still in use, well-made, and more comfortable than pews in most old churches after 136 years,” Wilkins’ history reads.

On Dec. 8, 1873, the church was dedicated as St. Mary’s Pine Lutheran Church.

“Old pictures show that in the beginnings of the current building there were two doors on the front – one for the women and one for the men,” said Lenord Wilkins, council president. “They said you could tell where the men sat and fell asleep by the grease on the wall.”

Many renovations have taken place over the years including a major one in 1955. Improvements then included painting of the walls, floor, and pews, a dossal curtain, new carpet, memorial windows, and a Hammond organ.

Also that year, the old school house was connected to the church, and a modern heating system, new roof, and exterior paint were added. In the 1960s, a modern kitchen and bathrooms were added.

The latest renovations were done in 2004 when a social hall, two classrooms, storage room, office and commercial kitchen were added.

“We’ve had many dinners to help pay for those renovations,” Wilkins said.

Thomas was baptized at the church on May 15, 1927, at six weeks old and has been a regular member since.

“I was there with my parents, I was married there, my kids were raised there,” Thomas said. “We’re small in number, but it’s a very spiritual place, not secular.”

According to Thomas, there are about 80 people on the roll, but regular attendance is between 40 and 60.

St. Mary’s is celebrating its 250th anniversary all year round, although the biggest celebration was held on Sunday, May 16, which included a special service with a lunch afterwards.

Wilkins says they are planning special activities for each month such as a service at the Rude’s Hill location in June. It is now just an open field so it will be an outdoor service commemorating the roots of the church.

“We’re looking at doing a lawn party/bonfire sometime in August and burying a time capsule at the end of the year,” he said. “Everything is in the planning process.”

No matter how old the church gets and how big or small the numbers are, Wilkins shares that everybody, not just a few people, get involved. He says it’s a community church that helps wherever possible.

“We love inviting and greeting visitors,” said Thomas. “We’ve always been a community minded church and it’s a loving family that you can call on anytime.”

Contact Aimee Baldwin at 459-4078, or e-mail her at

The Kägy Connection

Here’s some more family history, pertinent to both the Zirkle and Will families, that we find in Franklin Keagy’s A History of the Kägy Relationship In America, Harrisburg, 1899, pages 460-461, 611-612.

The third emigration of Kägys to this country took place Oct. 27, 1764, when the ship “Hero,” Ralph Forster, captain, from Rotterdam, last from Cowes, arrived with 500 passengers (194 of whom were adults), the balance were under 16 years of age. Among this number was one Rudolph Kagy, the progenitor of this branch. It is quite certain that this Kägy located in Pennsylvania and remained there until after the close of the Revolutionary War. When he left Pennsylvania to take up his residence in Virginia is not now (1899) definitely known. The most definite and reliable information we have thus far able to get has been furnished by John Kägy, of Tiffin, O., in a letter to his son, Dr. Isaac Kägy, of near the same city, which I insert here “verbatim et literatim:”

“Dear son Isaac: According to your request, I will give you a biography of the Kägy family as near as I can remember. So far as our family is concerned, I will commence with my grandfather and grandmother. They were both from germany and settled in Pennsylvania, where they had a good property, which grandfather sold and tool the avails of it all in Continental money. He intended to move from Pennsylvania to to Virginia to buy property at the latter place, but he delayed so long in doing so that the money he had received for his Pennsylvania property became worthless, and so he became poor and dependent on manual labor to make a living. He however moved to Virginia and raised quite a large family. They lived in Shenandoah Co. (the place of my nativity), on a small stream called Holeman’s Creek, where he undertook to raise a saw-mill. He and another man went out into the woods to prepare some timber to raise a mill. The man who was with grandfather cut down a tree which fell against another and then fell back where grandfather was sitting and killed him. So grandmother became a widow, and some time afterwards married a man by the name of Jacob Miller, with whom she was living when we left Virginia.

“There were seven children in my grandfather’s family when he died, three boys and four girls. The names of the boys were Christian, Rudolph and Jacob. The names of the two older girls were Barbara and Elizabeth. I have forgotten the names of the two youngest girls. As to their marriage, Christian married Mary Bibler; father (Rudolph) married Hannah Siple; Jacob married Rebecca Bibler, sister to Mary Bibler above named. The two girls married as follows: Barbara married George Zirkle; Elizabeth married David Wine; one whom I cannot name married Samuel Wine, brother of David Wine; and the fourth married Samuel Good.

Thus I have given you a description of our ancestors. Now as to the other Kageys, with whom our relationship is very distant, so thta I cannot give you anything more than the names of some of the older ones, with whom I was acquainted. There was old Henry Kagey, who owned a mill on Smith’s creek; Isaac, who was the miller in said mill; Jacob, who was a Mennonite preacher; John, who was a preacher among the Dunkards, so-called, but now named Triune Baptists; then there was Rudolph, who had a large family of boys, with whom I was never acquainted. All these old Kageys were brothers and respectable people.

“The old ones are dead and no more, and the young ones are scattered throughout the States. This I have given you all the information concerning the Kägys that I am able to according to my recollection.

Your father,

John Kagy.”

The only error, if such it be, in the above statement of John Kägy is the omission of the daughter Anna’s name. It is certain that there was a daughter Anna, which makes five daughters.

From Mrs. Catherine Knupp, of Moore’s Store, Virginia, I have learned that Rudolph Kägy was unmarried when he came to this country and settled in Pennsylvania. His wife, who was Frances Barglebaugh, was 14 years old when she came to America from Germany.

From I. D. Rupp’s 30,000 Emigrants to Pennsylvania, I learn that one Johau Jost Birckelbach came to this country from Rotterdam Oct 29, 1770, on the ship “Sally,” John Osmond, master, 143 passengers. He is confidently believed to be the parent of Frances Birckelbach, who became the wife of Rudolph Kägy…

Mr. Benjamin Zirkle, of Mt. Horeb, Tennessee, a son of Geo. Zirkle, who married Barbara, the daughter of Rudolph Kägy, says in a letter to the Editor dated April 24, 1890: “I recollect hearing my mother say that her father told her that he came from Switzerland; he was a Mennonite and brought his church letter with him. My mother always said, in speaking of the Shenandoah Co. Kageys, that they were cousins in Switzerland. I never heard her say that her father, Rudolph Kägy, had any brothers or sisters.” In regard to the Continental money that Rudolph Kägy received for his property sold in Pennsylvania, Mr. Zirkle says: “My mother told me that they left Pennsylvania in the fall of the year and by spring the money became worthless. A handkerchief of it was used to light the fire in cooking. Mr. Zirkle says: “I saw a few pieces of it around my father’s house.” From the above statements, coming as they do from so authentic a source, we are led to believe that Rudolph Kägy left Pennsylvania in 1781…

References and Notes

  1. Benjamin Zirkle, son of George Zirkle and Barbara Kagey, was the husband of Susan Ruth Pennywitt, daughter of John Pennywitt and Susan Will. See M. Alberta Swartz, “Three Interesting Families,” Jacob William Harpine’s histories of the Harpine and Zirkle families, and Bell.
  2. Barbara Kagey (1779-1863), daughter of immigrants Rudolph Kägy and Frances Bargelbaugh, married George Zirkle (1780-1857), son of George Adam Zirkle and Elizabeth Ridenour. George Zirkle 1780 is the grandson of the immigrant Johann Ludwig Zirkle from Germany.

Shenandoah Herald newspaper archives online

1903-0410-shenheraldThe Library of Congress has made available a very nice time capsule of the Shenandoah Herald newspaper from 1900 to 1910.

Pictureed at the right is a blurb mentioning my great-great grandfather, William Will, and my great grandparents, Luther Samuel Zirkle and Bessie Jordan Will Zirkle, from April 10, 1903.

After a few minutes browsing, I also came across the following note about my great-great-great grandfather, Samuel Frederick Will, in the Friday, September 12, 1902 edition of the Herald:

Mount Clifton

Mr. Sam’l Will, after an illness of about 10 days, passed peacefully away Thursday morning. He was a severe sufferer and death came as a relief. His funeral was by his pastor, Rev. C. S. Coe, assisted by Revs. Litzer and Folk.

A couple of paragraphs down, in the same section, we find a mention of one of Samuel’s sons, Jackson Lee Will:

Mr. J.L. Will, of this place, will travel for the Fraternal Relief Association of Richmond, an Odd Fellows organization, for Odd Fellows only in good standing.

Now, even though a full text search is available, the quality of the scanned text is rather poor. Besides, it is very difficult to search for the surname Will and get any useful results at all. However, searching for Zirkle gives us all kinds of interesting history about our family in the Valley.