The Shirley House

The Shirley House (HM4IN)

Location: New Market, VA 22844 Shenandoah County
Country: United States of America

N 38° 38.959', W 78° 40.691'

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A Legacy of Service

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 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.
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Details
HM NumberHM4IN
Tags
Placed ByVirginia Civil War Trails
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, September 10th, 2014 at 10:00am PDT -07:00
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17S E 702051 N 4280419
Decimal Degrees38.64931667, -78.67818333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 38.959', W 78° 40.691'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 38' 57.54" N, 78° 40' 41.46" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)540
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 9378-9382 VA-305, New Market VA 22844, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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