Goshen was once inhabited by Indian tribes such as the Cherokee and Shawnee, but in the 18th century, European settler, Alexander Dunlop and his Scottish wife, Anna MacFarlane moved to the Calfpasture.   A few of the first settlers include, Bratton, Lockridge, Graham, Carter, and Davis.  Land was bountiful and sold for 33 1/3 cent per acre.   The first Goshen council was instructed in 1744 by James Patton and John Lewis.  Goshen was based on farms, much like today, raising mainly corn.  While Goshen was mere farmland, in the 1800’s, Goshen Pass and Panther’s Gap was a bustling community with a school, hotel, Post Office, and foundaries, the record salary reached was $60.00/yr, earned by Mr. Charles Knight, schoolmaster. 
The Alleghany Hotel, built to serve as a hotel by “the Goshen Improvement company; the company which in the boom period of 1890 selected Goshen station as a site for laying of and the founding of a new city.”  The hotel was known as the “house of entertainment,” but a few years before the fire, Alleghany Hotel was renamed the Alleghany Sanitarium, housing Tuberculosis patients.  On Thanksgiving day, 1922, the Alleghany Hotel smoldered in flames and ash for 2 1/2 hours before the building was completely destroyed.  During this time, Goshen was without a fire department to combat the flames.



“All gave some, some gave all, This monument stands in tribute to Goshens contribution to the greatest generation.”


During the onset of World War II, Goshen residents saw off 198 recognized soldiers to fight for their country.  While some returned and some did not, Goshen memorializes the brave men and women who risked life and limb for peace and humanity.  Standing proudly in front of the Town Hall on Main street, a World War II memorial lists veterans and those killed in action. 

98 thoughts on “History

  1. My father (James William Davis) was born in Goshen in 1916. His father was William Oliver Davis. I think Granddad’s brother also lived in the area. I was told the old homestead became part of the Boy Scout camp. I’m sure they weren’t the original Davis family in Goshen but it’s interesting to see the name in the history.
    Your county is one of the most beautiful areas I’ve had the good fortune to visit.

  2. It’s cool to think what Goshen might be like today if Stillwater, the school, the hotel, and the train station were still open. it seems to me that goshen was meant to be a great city at start, but its a great town instead

  3. I’ve lived in Goshen my entire life so far and i must say, it’s amazing. Everybody knows everybody and the people are so nice. It’s great to be able to go to the store and be able to name everyone working there without even thinking twice. Knowing every car you pass and welcoming visitors as if they were the Goshen family too. Goshen is just a wonderful town and it has an amazing history. If everything was the way it was when my daddy was a child and lived here, I can only imagine how much more exciting and beautiful this small town would be.

  4. I’ve never seen this plaque before today. My Grandfather, Charles E. Whitlock is on it and I thank the community for honoring him this way. My Mother is Charles and Magdalena Whitlock’s oldest daughter, Mary Lee Whitlock Clark. My Grandfather met my Grandmother while he was deployed. She was originally from Poland. She lost all of her family in the war. She was taken to a displaced person’s camp in Linz, Austria after liberation of the concentration camps in Poland. He was in a transportation unit that assisted the former detainees and they met on one of these journeys. They married in Vienna, Austria. My mother married Philip Lindsay Clark from Millboro.

    Thank you for posting this picture!!!

  5. My mother had wrote on her marriage certificate that she was born in Goshen. I hope to find some paper trail to prove her claim to Goshen, Virginia!

  6. Looking for data on the Victoria Iron Blast Furnace in Goshen . . . like when was it last blown and when was it scrapped out, etc. You can see the tracks to the furnace on the MapQuest aerial maps.

  7. My great grandfather, Joseph Campbell Vaiden, M.D., was born in New Kent County, VA in 1829. He graduated William & Mary College in 1848 and the Medical College of VA in Richmond in 1851. He married Martha Tyler and settled in Louisa, VA to practice medicine. During the War years he was a Captain in the Confederacy assigned to Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond. After the War he and Martha settled in Goshen, VA. She died in a buggy accident in early 1880’s and was buried at Shockoe Hill Cemetery in Richmond next to her parents. She and Dr. Vaiden had no children. In 1887 Dr. Vaiden remarried Dora Bell Critzer of Mt Sidney, VA in Nelson County. To them one child was born, a son, Harry Campbell Vaiden 1889-1926. Dr. Vaiden administered to the sick in Goshen until his death from pneumonia in 1898. He is buried in the Baptist Churchyard in Goshen. The date of birth on his tombstone indicates he was born in 1837 which is an error. The correct date is 1829. About 1900 his widow and young son moved to Augusta, GA where the Vaiden family continues to reside.

  8. Trying to find information about a one room school house in Goshen, Virginia. Interested in any information, pictures, etc.

    Thank you.

    Sandra Ewld

  9. My husband spent several years living with his grandparents in Goshen. I have had the chance to visit there and found it to be such a peaceful, scenic area.
    I have been looking for the gravesites of his grandparents- Albert Wilson Leech and his wife Margaret Dunlap Leech. I remember they were buried I believe in a church cemetery and it was up on a hill not far out of town and I believe was the direction toward Clifton Forge. I think the church was brick and we circled around to the right of it to the graves. Does anyone know the location /name of this cemetery, or better yet, do you know these folks and where they are buried.

  10. My great grandmother claims that she was born in Goshen, VA. Rumor has it that she is part Cherokee and part Syrian. Are there birth records on Native Americans?

  11. Unfortunately there are no birth records here at the Town Hall. You could possibly find what you are looking for in Lexington, VA at the Clerk’s office.

  12. Sandra,

    There is an old one room school house about 4.5 miles up Big River Road. The school opened around 1885 and was closed in the mid 1930’s when they started bussing the kids in to the school in Goshen.


  13. I have a very, very old signature quilt that belonged to an ancestor I believe was from Goshen, Va. It is deteriorating rapidly, and I hate to see that happen. Does Goshen have an historical society that would like it? I’d be happy to send it to them, or drop it off on my next trip from Houston to Mass.

  14. Love here in Goshen ,Va I recently purchased The Hull’s place located 9331 Maury River Rd. Goshen,Va. Was wondering how to get history of the place I ‘m looking for anything on this property thanks anyone can help

  15. To know more about Victoria Furnace, read Bond of Iron by Charles Dew which tells about Weaver who was the owner and lived at Buffalo Forge elsewhere in Rockbridge County, VA.

  16. On March 8, 2012 Vicki Leech posted a message about finding her husband’s
    grave in Goshen. I was looking around the Goshen site as we are travelling
    there tomorow. I looked on the web site Find A Grave and found the man and lady buried at Riverview Cemetery in Goshen. I found Albert Leech and Margaret Leech, as well as several other Leech names. If she goes to that
    site she will find what she is looking for. She is welcome to email me if she

  17. Dear Ms. Frank,
    We do not have a historical society per se in Town. However, we do keep things such as this at the Town Hall for display. We would be honored to have the quilt you speak of. Thank you so much for taking the time to contact us.

  18. My father was born in Goshen in Dec 1904 along with 12 other siblings on the “knob as it was know” . His name was Homer James Sprouse I have been there many times over the years but it has been at least 40 hrs now he had a older brother named Gilbert and two younger brothers named Gordon and Osburn Gordon owned a small store in Craigsville VA and Osburn worked in the timber industry all his life. My grandfathers name was Peter Earl Sprouse and grandmother was Sara Jane Sprouse. Would any one know of this family today?

  19. While we don’t have a historical society here in Goshen, we are blessed with a wonderful public library and librarians who are always ready with resources and information. We were thrilled to learn the history of our home and find pictures from the 1800s at the library. I would start there with any inquiry into the history of the area.

  20. My mother’s family were Oakeys, and I know they lived in Goshen, probably late 1800’s through early 1900’s. The children, my grandfather and his siblings, migrated to Roanoke and Charlottesville by the 1920’s. I wonder if there is any information about them, where they may have lived, etc. I will be visiting within the next couple of weeks at Bell Hill Farm.
    Thank you,

  21. Drove through you lovely little town a few weeks ago and would really like to hear more about its recent history and residents. Saw a large complex in town that looked like an old school, or perhaps it was your foundry? Such a pretty setting for your town and beautiful surrounding area. Really enjoyed visiting the Maury River.

  22. Hi. Is there a cemetery for the Confederate soldiers who perished in the year of 1861 in your town of Goshen?
    I noticed the memorial for the WWII soldiers…this is nice to have.
    Thank you

  23. I live in Goshen an its a beautiful place! Its amazing what you can find deep between these mountains. I seen some ppl on here looking for graves. I am a member of a site called findagrave.com and u can try to find info on there.

  24. I am looking for information on the Jerry Forbes family on Walkers Creek, Rockbridge County, perhaps near Goshen. Perhaps there are yet some Forbes in that area that may reach back to about 1920/1930 where I am trying pick up on the family.

  25. My cousin and I are headed to Goshen and Lexington tomorrow, Sept 18 to do some ancestry hunting. Our great, great grandfather was Dr. John Hyde Cameron and he lived in Goshen. He was married to Margaret (Mattie) Davis and they had 8 children. One of them, Andrew Warwick Cameron lived in a brick house that is still there and he married Sadie Bell. Her sister Janet and Mary Cameron ran a bed and breakfast somewhere in Goshen (we think it’s gone). My great grandmother, Nellie Hyde Cameron married a Volney Wood from Goshen (she is buried in Goshen but the rest of her family is buried on Lexington). They had two sons, one, my grandfather, Frank Jordan Wood. We also have a relative, Cameron Seay who was a professor (I think) at VMI – he lived in Goshen as well. If anyone has any information about this family or where that bed and breakfast was, we would greatly appreciate it! My cell is 757-218-7151. We’re staying at the Hummingbird Inn until Friday. Thanks!

  26. In reply to the first entry, my g-grandparents were James William Lyle and Nettie (Davis) Lyle. Nettie was born in Rockbridge Co., daughter of Lewis P. Davis and Minerva (Karnes) Davis. James and Nettie married in 1889 and purchased the land on which is now the Boy Scout Camp. The Little River Presbyterian Church was built by James’s cousin John Samuel Lyle with lumber donated by James, who owned Lyle Lumber Company. The Little River cemetery is across the road. The Lyle farm would have been behind the cemetery. My father was born at Little River but moved to West Augusta with the family when James and Nettie sold the property and bought a farm in Augusta Co. in the early 1930’s. I have a photo of the area near the church which on the back reads “Earl Davis farm”. Nettie’s father Lewis Davis is buried in the Goshen Baptist Church cemetery. Her mother’s burial location is unknown. I also have an old photo of the Lyle family gathered at Little River Church, which I posted to my g-grandfather James’ memorial on Find A Grave.

  27. In response to Catherine Bolick, William Oliver Davis was a son of Franklin Pierce Davis and Alanda Lee (Flippo) Davis, who are also buried in Goshen Baptist church cemetery. Alanda’s mother, Lucinda Markham, was a sister of my paternal gg-grandmother Narcissa (Markham) Beckner, who is buried in Lebanon Presbyterian church cemetery in Goshen. Franklin Earl Davis, who owned the “Earl Davis Farm” referred to in the previous post, was William’s brother.

  28. I might be working at the young life camp in Goshen. Looking for people to connect with and see if anyone needs a roommate or look for places to live. Im looking for that small town atmosphere where everyone knows each other. I plan on looking into one of the town churches too to connect with other Christians who love Jesus. Let me know about living conditions in Goshen as well as cost of living there. Thanks!!! GOD BLESS!!!

  29. My grandmother, Laura Mae Merchant gran dad Marian, uncle Wilson and an aunt, who were all Merchants lived in Goshen until they all passed away. I loved going there every summer on vacation. My grand mother worked at the camp in Goshen pass for years. It was and is a wonderful area. Haven’t been there in a very long time, but am looking forward to going back someday to fish.

  30. Do you have anymore information concerning the hotel? I have Googled it to no end and I can’t find out anything. I was wandering why it turned into a Sanitarium. Any stories about when it was a Hotel or how the fire started?

  31. My grandmother was born in Goshen in 1888, the daughter of Joseph Bell Goodloe and Zena Sloan Goodloe. FindAGrave shows Joseph buried in the Bell Cemetery, but I do not find any records indicating where Zena is laid to rest. It sure would be nice to get some photographs of gravestones in the Bell Family Cemetery. Any chance that the current owners of Cameron Hall would allow someone to do a photographic inventory?

  32. I am so beyond excited to say that I am purchasing a property in Goshen! I posted about my family ties to this area back in December 2010. The property is 15 Bell Hill Lane. If anyone knows the history of the house, and/or those who have lived there, I would love to know all about it!!

  33. My Mother was from Your Town.She and Her Family lived on the hill by the church.The house now is owned by the church.Her maiden name was Smallwood.My Grandfather was James Smallwood he was the Esso gas dealer for the area back in the 1920s.

  34. Hello Casey,
    I don’t know if anyone has answered your question, but the hotel was not fully transformed into a Sanitarium, The Doctor who bought the hotel had died suddenly from a heart attack leaving his family destitute before remolding was done to the hotel, That family sold the hotel to another family who, removed much of the furniture from the hotel and set fire to it on that Thanksgiving day for the insurance money. The Goshen Library has a letter on display with more information as well as the Doctors photograph. There isn’t much information online, but what I have found was it was designed and built by Yarnell & Goforth of Pittsburgh PA, the same builders of the Hotel in Bunea Vista that is now SVU. The brick and enamel brick used to build the hotel was made in New York, and shipped by railroad. Only 5+ acres of the hotel proper remain of the original total 300. After the fire the land was sectioned and auctioned off. The hotel site is currently owned by the same family that purchased it over a 100 years ago, and is not opened to the public. Hope that Helps.

  35. My mom grew up in Goshen. She was a Cronk. My grandmother, Mary Cronk, was the third grade teacher at the school in Goshen, and my grandfather was in the logging business in Goshen. Loved going out to Goshen Pass when I was a kid!

  36. My 4th great grandfather, William Alexander Porter was born May 5th 1740 in Goshen, and died May 10th 1804 in Goshen. Does anyone know if there are records going back that far for Goshen? How can I contact those who would keep records of that area?

  37. Could you help me locate any of the African American churches and burial grounds in the Goshen area. My husband’s ancestors came from Goshen and Rockbridge Baths in the Walkers Creek District when slavery ended. Thank You so much in advance.

  38. I have learned about a different hotel off of knob hill anyone know and dates too that??

  39. Mrs Nicholas,the only church am aware of was First Baptist on 42 N from Goshen.Sadly it has been unused for a long time.Not sure who the legal owners are.Te only cemetery that I know to be connected with it was,I believe,Gospel Hill which was on the left further towrd Craigsville.The last funeral I remember there was in the 80’s when we inturred a Mrs Mary Banks from Craigsville.Mr David Walker of Craigsville might be able to give you some info

  40. I’ve been looking for the Robertson family that is kin to Bud Hinkle. My mother is Brenda Kay from Baltimore Md. If anyone can help me find them i would be so very grateful. The people I’m looking for are Pattie, Chris and Christal. It’s been almost 30 yrs since I saw this family and I’m now living in Va. and would like to make contact with them again.

  41. My great grandfather, Rev. Leonidas Butt, was the preacher at the original Goshen Methodist Church in 1909 and 1910 (his last assignment). I have been told the church burned about 1930. Does anyone have a picture of that church? Also, I have a post card photo of the Goshen railroad station which I will share, if anyone is interested in that.

  42. Love reading these emails as they mention so many people who were a part of the life of my family. I am part of the fourth generation who lived in and around Goshen.
    I have traveled far and wide yet keep these memories in my heart. Please contact me if you think I can help with your questions.

  43. Charles Stevens: I have a picture that shows the Methodist Church in Goshen. Email me at aclark25@juno.com, subject line:Mecthodist Ch, and I will send it to you. Would like to see the picture of the depot as well.


  44. I posted on here in July about wanting to find the Robertson family. If what I saw was right councilman Christopher Robertson is one of the 3 I’m looking for. Could someone please get back to me about this family. I would really like to talk and see them again. I also would like to say I’ve always been told that Christopher’s mother… I was to call my aunt patty… I now know here name is Patsey Robertson, it’s been 30 yrs since I last seen or spoke with any of them. I was like 15 when I last saw them or spoke to them. Can someone please help me find them.

  45. My grandma’s maiden name was Patterson. My mom, grandma, and myself stayed at the beautiful bed and breakfast establishment at one time and we loved it. I never wanted to leave there it was so neat and comforting. My grandma’s family still lives throughout that community. And also at one time my grandma said her family owned the bed and breakfast. The story’s she told were unforgettable. Both my grandma and mom has passed away. But someday I would love to take my family there and visit again.

  46. I am looking for information regarding my husband’s Great-Great Grandparents Joseph(?) & Sara Campbell they lived in Goshen at the time of their son Lawson Campbell’s birth on March 27, 1861. Would appreciate any clues, as I am at a roadblock with the family.

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