Shenandoah Valley

views updated May 14 2018


SHENANDOAH VALLEY is located in Northern Virginia between the Blue Ridge and Allegheny Mountains and is divided by the Massanutten Mountains. The valley is defined by the Shenandoah River, which flows 150 miles northeastward from Lexington, Virginia, to the Potomac River at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. The valleys, formed on limestone, produced fertile soils that attracted European settlement by 1717. The northern part was settled by Tidewater Anglicans, the central part by Protestant Germans, and the southern part by Presbyterian Scots-Irish. By the American Revolution, agriculture was flourishing in the region. During the Civil War, the valley was known as the "Granary of the Confederacy" yet both sides contested the region and much was laid waste by General Philip Sheridan in 1864. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the valley is a beautiful rural landscape with prosperous farms and attractive towns.


Davis, Julia. The Shenandoah. New York: Farrar & Rinehart, 1945. From the excellent Rivers of America series.

Hart, Freeman Hansford. The Valley of Virginia in the American Revolution, 1763–1789. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1942.

Kercheval, Samuel. A History of the Valley of Virginia. Woodstock, Va.: W. N. Grabill, 1902. The original edition was published in 1833.

Mitchell, Robert D. Commercialism and Frontier: Perspectives on the Early Shenandoah Valley. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1977.

Stanley W.Trimble

See alsoVirginia .