Warren County

A Community History


Warren County was formed from Frederick and Shenandoah in 1837 and is one of eleven counties named for American patriots. General Joseph Warren, a talented physician of Massachusetts, energetic in the cause of the colonists, gave the county its name. He was the virtual leader in his colony in 1774. By his orders Paul Revere set forth on the famous midnight ride to Lexington. Warren fought at Lexington and fell at Bunker Hill, where a monument stands to his memory. This is a Shenandoah Valley county containing 226 square miles and a population of 8,802.

Lying on the western slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the surface is rolling and mountainous in some portions. Agriculture is the chief occupation. Corn, wheat, oats, hay, livestock, poultry and fruits flourish. No county in the State has superior advantages for live stock and grain crops. An abundance of natural blue grass grows luxuriantly. The various clovers and timothy are found on nearly every farm. Considerable attention is given to poultry raising. One of the largest duck farms in the country is in Warren County. Both climate and soil are well adapted to fruit growing. Sheep are found on most of the farms and nowhere are conditions more favorable. There are numbers of purebred herds of all the leading breeds of swine. Local lime plants make lime available at minimum cost. The manufacture of timber is an industry of some importance, there being a number of saw mills in the county.

This county and Clarke are renowned for fine horses. A great number are sold on eastern city markets. Some of the greatest racing studs in the world are owned and used by horse breeders in these counties. Railroad transportation is excellent, the Shenandoah Valley Division of the Norfolk and Western and the Manassas Division of the Southern Railway traverse the county. Improved State Highway Route 37, from the coast via Fredericksburg and Culpeper to Winchester passes through this county.

Front Royal, at the junction of the two railroads and on State highway connecting with cardinal points, is the county seat, an attractive, progressive town, with various industries, in the heart of one of the finest farming sections of the State. Close to the town is the Federal Government Remount Station and Cavalry Horse Training and Breeding Station. Near Front Royal preparations are now being made to operate some old copper mines. Randolph-Macon Academy is located here also the Front Royal College and a well equipped accredited high school. North of Front Royal, and nearby, is the town of Riverton. Here are commercial lime plants and near is the largest duck farm in the east.[1]


When the war began in Europe there were traces of anti-British feeling in Warren County, but after the sinking of the Lusitania the sentiment became pro-Ally and increased in intensity. Interest in education was general and growing. A number of new high schools had been established in the county, and one private school was being conducted. All of these were operating successfully before the war. There was cordial co-operation among the churches in all good work. The cities and factories attracted farm labor during this period to a large extent, but the farmers responded to the call for increased production.

There is no doubt that attempts were made to spread German propaganda among the negroes of the county, but they failed to produce any effect, as the negroes were loyal and gave little attention to rumors.

War relief work began in Warren in 1914 and continued until 1919. Women took the lead in this relief work, making and shipping supplies across the Atlantic.

The local militia, known then as Company D, Second Virginia Infantry, went to the Mexican front in 1916, with about 75 men. Their absence from the county was very noticeable and it required the assistance of women and girls to replace them. After service of about eight months, the company was ordered home on account of our strained relations with Germany and was mustered out February 28, 1917, and recalled to the colors in April.[2]


Company D was mustered into Federal service on March 31, 1917, at Front Royal, with the following officers: Captain Samuel G. Waller, First Lieutenant Harold R. Dinges and Second Lieutenant William D. Leach.[3] Company D later became a part of the 116th Infantry, Twenty-ninth Division, and the overseas experiences of this regiment may be found in Source Volume V of this series. Warren County had no Home Guard or Virginia Volunteer Companies.

There were 1,710 men who registered in this county, and of these 168 (126 white and 42 colored) were accepted at camp.[4.] The per capita cost of the first draft was $10.78 as against $8.67 average for the State.[5] Professor Charles L. Melton states in his paper on Warren County that sixty-five men and seven officers went from the county in the National Guard, and 227 selectmen and seven officers.

The following received special distinction: Miss Anne Lougheed Carson, British Royal Red Cross; Lieutenant Maurice F. DeBarneville, cited by division commander, cited by commander- in-chief, French Order of Agricultural Merit; Sergeant Lee Murray, cited by division commander; Captain James N. C. Richards (deceased), cited by division commander.[6]


The sale of Liberty Bonds in Warren County was as follows: Second Loan quota, $117,900; amount subscribed, $27,750;. number subscribing, 343. Third Loan quota, $67,500; amount subscribed, $110,250; number subscribing, 649. Fourth Loan quota, $161,000; amount subscribed, $172,650; number subscribing, 758. Victory Loan quota, $100,800; amount subscribed, $125,400; number subscribing, 521. Total quota for the four loans, $447,200; amount subscribed, $436, 050; number subscribing, 2,271.[7]

This county is largely agricultural, but there are numerous flourishing industries, especially about Front Royal and Riverton. During the war the lime works of the county were speeded up and furnished thousands of tons of lime to the DuPont powder factories; the Old Virginia Orchard Preserving plant furnished the government with jams; the Locust Pin Company manufactured pins for both telephone and telegraph lines. The lime works and the locust pin and handle factories received certificates of merit from the government for services rendered. The farmers of the county responded to the call for increased production, and the local banks attributed the $486,000 which the county paid for war bonds to the extra value of the farm yield.[8]


The Warren County Chapter of the American Red Cross was organized in May, 1917. Mrs. Florence Millar was the first chairman, Mrs. James Chalmers was the second, and E. S. West, treasurer. Officers in December, 1919, were B. J. Hilledge, chairman; S. G. Coe, vice-chairman; Mrs. W. L. Jones, secretary; Captain S. R. Millar, treasurer. Members of the executive committee, other than those named above, were Rev. J. H. Smith, Mrs. C. L. Melton, Miss Margaret Grayson, Mrs. W. Burtsfield, Mrs. L. Rudicille, and Miss B. B. Beaty. In December, 1919, there were 559 members and the total number of members from time of organization was 2,046.

The chapter maintained three workrooms under the direction of Mrs. Tackett, Miss Jennie Moore and Mrs. Algernon Brown. The following auxiliaries were formed: Success, organized January 9, 1918, Mrs. Jack Brown, chairman; Bentonville, organized February 18, 1918, Mrs. R. C. Weaver, chairman; Bethel, organized April 10, 1918, Mrs. Herbert Smith, chairman; Waterlick, organized June 15, 1918, Mrs. Mitchell, chairman; Long Meadow, organized July 18, 1918, Mrs. Charles Kearns, chairman.

The chapter made 3,848 garments, 508 knitted articles, 100 comfort kits and 100 property bags.

The home service committee, Rev. J. H. Smith and Miss Margaret Grayson, assisted 2,122 families and spent $3,803.94. The home service committee conducted eight tuberculosis clinics, three adenoids and tonsils clinics, one baby welfare clinic, and cared for 400 persons during the influenza epidemic.

The chapter raised $379 in the 1917 Red Cross drive, and $3,000 in the 1918 drive. Membership drives resulted in 1,060 members in 1918, 1,217 members in 1919, and 559 members in 1920.

The Junior Red Cross had 1,026 members in 1919, and 847 in 1920. Randolph-Macon Academy and the Front Royal High School organized Junior Red Cross Auxiliaries in March, 1918. There were eleven auxiliaries: Linden, Emory, Limeton, Milldale, Rockland, Woodberry, Waterlick, Burntown, Acorn Hill and Harmoney Hollow.

The following members of the local chapter went overseas: Misses Anne Carson, Belle Carson, Ruth Ford as nurses, and Dr. Giles Cook and C. W. Carson.

In addition to tile work mentioned above, the Warren County Chapter made 38,242 surgical dressings and packed 50 Christmas boxes.[9]


In Warren County there were no Y.M.C.A., Knights of Columbus or Salvation Army organizations. When the call came, however, for funds for the United War Work campaign, the following committee was organized: B. J. Hilledge, chairman; E. S. West, secretary and treasurer. They, with the aid of A. P. Ferguson, Mrs. A. L. Warthern, Mrs. C. A. Stokes, Miss Annie Compton and others, raised $1,538.35 for this cause.

Belgian Relief work was done through the Red Cross Chapter. Miss Margaret Grayson and Lester Evans succeeded in having twenty-one French war orphans adopted for a year. The Near East relief work was under the direction of E. S. West and $410.97 was collected. The churches aided in this work. Jewish Welfare work was managed by Miss Rachel Sager, who, with the help of others, raised $540 for this cause. About 200 books were solicited by school children and shipped to the American Library Association headquarters. Armenian and Syrian relief funds were solicited by Rev. J. A. Moncure.

The Masonic Lodge bought $5,740 worth of Liberty Bonds, the Odd Fellows Lodge bought $150 worth of bonds, the Eastern Star bought War Savings Stamps and contributed to the Near East Relief fund, the Junior Order of American Mechanics bought $350 worth of bonds.

The colored people were loyal and contributed their share to the war work of the county. The children joined the Junior Red Cross, the teachers sold Red Cross Christmas Seals, and a number of colored people bought bonds. Their Red Cross work was reported in connection with that of the local chapter. They were not slackers in any way.[10]


  1. See Virginia, published by Department of Agriculture and Immigration, pp.230, 232.
  2. See Warren County, by Charles L. Melton, V. W. H. C.
  3. Adjutant General's Report for 1919, p.202.
  4. Adjutant General's Report for 1918, Part II, p. 50.
  5. Adjutant General's Report for 1917, p.25.
  6. For texts of citations see Source Volume I and Supplement to Source Vol. V
  7. Figures taken from report of Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  8. See Warren County, by Charles L. Melton, V. W. H. C. files.
  9. This account of Red Cross work is taken from a report by Clara M. Jones, V. W. H. C. Files
  10. Information given under War Work section has been taken from unsigned statements and reports sent in by the Warren County