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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
New Market in Shenandoah County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Shirley House

A Legacy of Service

 
 
The Shirley House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Linda Walcroft, April 20, 2008
1. The Shirley House Marker
Inscription. In 1875, Confederate veteran Christian Shirley constructed this brick house on the site of his family's former home, which had burned two years earlier. The Shirleys were longtime residents of Shenandoah County who had farmed their 153 ares since the late 1700s. When the Civil War began in 1861, Christian Shirley, though a physician, joined the 136th Virginia Militia and eventually rose to the rank of major.

The Shirley property was traversed by both Union and Confederate forces during the opening stages of the Battle of New Market on May 14, 1864. It was from Shirley's Hill, located south of the home site, that Confederate Maj. Gen. John C. Breckinridge formed his battle plan.

After the war, Shirley resumed his medical practice and focused on his growing family, which would include his wife Elizabeth, four daughters, and a son, William Christian Shirley (1880-1967). The Shirley home also became the focal point for reunions of Confederate veterans who had served with the Major.

William Christian Shirley served the New Market community as a dentist and pharmacist, and was also a talented amateur musician. For many years, family and friends gathered in the large double parlor for concerts by Dr. Shirley and fellow local performers. The sounds of music wafting out the windows could be heard by travelers on the nearby
Shirley House image. Click for full size.
By Linda Walcroft, April 20, 2008
2. Shirley House
Marker is at far right of photo in front of smaller house.
Old Cross Road (US 211).

Following William Christian Shirley's death in 1967, the home passed through two owners. The house and outbuildings were sold in 1990 to Peter and Jane Comtois, who built an addition to showcase their noteworthy collection of cavalry artifacts. Their Museum of American Cavalry operated here for nearly a decade.

In 2001, the property was purchased by Virginia Military Institute and made part of the New Market Battlefield State Historical Park. After extensive rehabilitation, Shirley House was leased in 2003 to the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation to serve as headquarters. Under a charter from the U.S. Congress, the Foundation administers the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields National Historic District and works to preserve and interpret the Valley's Civil War heritage.
 
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
 
Location. 38° 38.959′ N, 78° 40.691′ W. Marker is in New Market, Virginia, in Shenandoah County. Marker can be reached from the intersection of George Collin Parkway (Virginia Route 305) and West Old Cross Road (U.S. 211). Click for map. Not exactly at crossroad but within walking distance, first driveway on left after turning on 305. Marker is at or near this postal address: George Collins Pkwy, New Market VA 22844, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
The Shirley House Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Swain, July 10, 2010
3. The Shirley House Marker
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Gen. John Sevier (approx. 0.3 miles away); The Henkel House (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Old Home of William F. Rupp (approx. 0.4 miles away); A Genuine Relic (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Battle of New Market (approx. half a mile away); Died on the Field of Honor..." (approx. 0.9 miles away); New Market Battlefield Park (approx. one mile away); Baptism of Fire (approx. one mile away). Click for a list of all markers in New Market.
 
More about this marker. Rt. 305 is shown as Miller Lane on some maps. It is the driveway into New Market Battlefield Historical Park. The house is not open to the public.
 
Regarding The Shirley House. Photos on marker are:
1. Christian and Elizabeth Rosenberger Shirley, ca. 1900
2. Shirley Family, 1904 [in front of house]
3. William Christian Shirley conducting, ca. 1950s
4.William Christian Shirley and his orchestra, 194
 
Categories. Notable BuildingsWar, US Civil
 
Christian and Elizabeth Rosenberger Shirley, ca. 1900 image. Click for full size.
By Linda Walcroft, April 20, 2008
4. Christian and Elizabeth Rosenberger Shirley, ca. 1900
This photo is on the left side of the marker.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Linda Walcroft of Strasburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,659 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Linda Walcroft of Strasburg, Virginia.   3. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.   4. submitted on , by Linda Walcroft of Strasburg, Virginia. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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