Goshen was once inhabited by Indian tribes such as the Cherokee and Shawnee, but in the 18th century, European settler, Alexander and his Scottish wife, Anna Dunlap (MacFarlane) moved to the Calfpasture Valley with their four children, who first lived on Alleghany Hill and built a brick house on Furnace Hill in 1745. 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. James Patton and John Lewis developed the area. The first mill was built around 1745 by James Carter (Morton). Corn was the main crop grown on the fertile bottom land. It seems to have been on the Calfpasture that in 1755 Charles Knight was to have $60 for teaching one year, every half Saturday or every other Saturday to be free time. In case of an Indian alarm, Knight was to have the privilege of being lodged in the neighborhood. It is not probable that he was the first Teacher. Corn was the main crop grown by Squire Joseph Bell, Jr. who was living in Goshen at Cameron Hall by 1817 when he was elected a Justice of the County Court, and in 1830 when his home was a polling place. He produced such rich crops the land was said to be like “The Land of Goshen” in the Bible, thus when the railroad went through in 1855, the name “Goshen” was used for the station. By 1860 the landowners around Goshen (including Panther’s Gap, Big River, Bell’s Valley and Little River) were named Abrahams, Ayers, Bear, Beeson, Bell, Davis, Epherd, Ewell, Frazier, Glendie, Graham, Hepler, Hodge, Hogue, Judy, Kelso, Lair, Martin, McCutcheon, McKenzie, Miller, Moore, Ptomey, Roadcap, Sloan, Sterrett, Stoner, Walton and Wilson.

Victoria Furnace, where part of the foundry towers still stand today, was built by an English company in the 1870’s and named for Queen Victoria. It turned out an average of 150 tons of fine grade ore per day, according to H.P. Greaver. A railroad was built to haul ore from the mines on Bratton’s Run. The company built houses for their workers, some on Furnace Hill. On the Furnace grounds was a two-story building housing the commissary and theater. The furnace operated until the end of World War I. E.M. Hull purchased most of the property, and sold the rail track to C&O, the trains for scrap iron, and the land to Stillwater Worsted Mill, and the Appalachian Wood Preserving plant.

In 1884, Goshen was charted as a town. A real-estate and industrial boom company, the Goshen Land and Improvement Company was organized in 1890, selecting Goshen station as a site for the laying of and founding of a new city. The newly formed company built Goshen’s metal-truss bridge, and bought Cold Sulphur Springs Hotel, Victoria Furnace, as well as a considerable amount of property in town. Plans for the town included a car works, rolling mill, plaining mill, iron works factory, machine company, tube works and a bottling works. Most of these plans never developed and many people invested their life savings in these businesses, only to find they had lost everything with the depression of 1893. The Goshen Land and Improvement Company built the Alleghany Hotel in 1891 to serve as a resort near Goshen station. The hotel was nicknamed “The Palace” a story-book palace presumed to be the grandest hotel in the area. It was designed by Stanford White at a cost of $215,000. The hotel changed their name to Alleghany Inn 2 years after it was built. The cold Sulphur springs in Goshen supplied one of the best white Sulphur healing waters in America and were on draught at the resort. After the coming of the automobile, by 1920, resort hotels began to decline and in 1923 the Alleghany was sold to a group of doctors for a sanatorium. During renovations, it caught fire and burned. On Thanksgiving Day 1923, the Palace was burning ruble and its once graceful furnishings were in ruins.

Alleghany Hotel 1891

Goshen Land and Improvement Co. announcing the New York World April 26, 1891 Article

“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 facing the Town Hall on Main street, a World War II memorial lists veterans and those killed in action.

106 thoughts on “History

  1. My mother-in-law, Ellen Cameron Bell Brown Gray, age 95, lived at Cameron Hall with her parents. Ellen was born in 1920 and currently lives at Baldwin Park Brightview, Staunton, Virginia. She loves sharing information about Cameron Hall that was in her family for many, many years. Her phone number is 540-887-2508. She was also related to Cameron Seay, who was listed in one of the messages.

  2. My mother-in-law, Ellen Cameron Bell Brown Gray, age 95, lived at Cameron Hall with her parents. Ellen was born in 1920 and currently lives in the independent apartments at Baldwin Park Brightview, Staunton, Virginia. She loves sharing information about Cameron Hall that was in her family for many, many years. Her phone number is 540-887-2508. She was also related to Cameron Seay, who was listed in one of the messages.

  3. I am searching my Ingram family that is from the Goshen area of Virginia. I am trying to find where a church and cemetery is located that was called Buffalo Gap Chapel and the Buffalo Cemetery. I have an obituary from 1911 that lists that the funeral for Catherine Montgomery Ingram, widow of Hugh Ingram, was held at the Buffalo Gap Chapel and burial was in the Buffalo Cemetery. I have searched in Augusta County and no luck. I’m told that maybe this church and cemetery was on the Rockbridge county side and may have been near Goshen. Any help appreciated.

  4. I would love to talk with your mother-in-law, Ms. Gray about her time at Cameron Hall and the surrounding area.

  5. Karen, please contact my mother-in-law. She has pictures of Cameron Hall that was actually owned by her parents and other members of her family (I think). On her 95th birthday, her daughter took her to Cameron Hall and had a picture made standing in front of the house. Ellen is of very sound mind; exercises four times a week; still drives; and, would love a visit or phone call to discuss living at Cameron Hall with her parents

  6. I am trying to find information on the First Baptist Church (which is no longer in use). It is located on Rt. 42 app. 1 mile past the Bridge over the River, heading to Craigsville. I have been told it was a black church, but would appreciate any information anyone would share with me about it.

  7. My husband and myself recently purchased a home in Goshen at 19 Bell Hill Ln. We have been told by a few people here that it was the first house built in the town of Goshen which we have found confusing since the ad for the home listed it as having been built in 1890 and yet we have heard that many places here were built before this. We believe the house may be older than what it was listed as. We would love any information on this house or copies of any pictures of this house from the past. We help out occassionally at one of the local camps and love the area; which is how we found this home. We have recently retired and planned to make this our home if we can fix this old place up some. It needs quite a bit of tender loving care! 🙂

  8. Tom,Buffalo Gap Chapel is a Presbyterian Church near Buffalo Gap in Augusta Co.Located about 1 mile South of the 254/42 intersection.As to a cemetary,I do not know of one.

  9. My name is Darryl Knick and my grandfather was a guard at a prison located in Goshen, VA. I am trying to find out where the prison was exactly, and if anyone might have a picture of the prison. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  10. Live in Goshen with family live in probably one of oldest houses in town built in 1860

  11. You can do a deed search at the Court house and bring the previous owner names to the Environmental Health office and look to see if we have any information. We do have information on properties in Goshen area. I have some files dated back to 1939. But in by last name only, no tax map and no street address just Route numbers.

  12. hello my name is Harry white my grandfather Eugene Thornton and my uncle Heavey owned a grocery store and gun shop near Still Water in Goshen . Im trying to find some pics of him and stores they were write on the side of the railroad tracks. my grandfather was a permanent fixture hanging out with his friends at the gas station telling stories and jokes. I also have a aunt, her name Sue that was working at the grocery store in the town owned by my uncle Bill Ingram that I haven’t seen in years if anyone could help me with pictures. My children and I would greatly appreciate your help. Even if you can’t help us, thank you for reading my post. I sure do miss Goshen, I had a lot of great memories and would like to have more.
    Harry White

  13. There was another hotel on the Knob called “Camp Knob” according to my mother who was raised on the Knob. Part of it still stands and is used as a camp by a gentleman from Lexington. My mother said the camp served meals outside, I believe in open areas. There is still the spring, a pond, and a partially hidden swimming pool that belongs to the property

  14. I know there are pictures at the Goshen Library of some of the town homes and buildings and of the Hotel on Alleghany. I am in the process of going through pictures my Mom has and trying to find out about them. She is 100 (in June of this year). I remember the different stores in Goshen and often shopped in the Thornton store and the Jane Turnage store, also Oma Wilhelm’s store. Mr. Thornton’s store is still there but is used as storage I think. I would love to learn more of the history of our town. I have lived here for over 71 years.

  15. Karen–Could you please contact me–We went over some genealogy some years back and I have an update question now

  16. Mr. James Ramsey, Thank you so much for your reply to my 2015 question about African American churches in Goshen. I apologize for the delay, but forgot all about this blog until today. I road north on 42 with the help of Google Maps and spied the church on the right about a quarter mile out from town. Do you know if the old house beside the church was once a parsonage? The Google picture was captured in October before the foliage died back so it was almost covered, but I could make out the entry way.

    Would the cemetery be located on the Bell’s Valley Road (614) as it leads west off of 42. The sign at 42 says you have to ford the river if you go 3 miles out that road. I assume that would be the Little Calf Pasture River. Just wanted to make sure I ID’ed the right places in hope I can drive down in February and get some quick pictures while the leaves are gone.

  17. Bernadette Nicholas Donovan is searching for father’s family. Grandmother was Grace Wooden (maiden name Nicholas). Mother of Walter Lee Nicholas. FATHER UNKNOWN. I have traced ancestors on my paternal grandmother’s side. My father was born in 1903 and died in 1949. I would like to find information of my father’s father’s family.

  18. Looking for my father’s farther’s family. Spent summers in Goshen with my aunt Ethel Wooden, who was a half sister. My father’s name was Walter Lee Nicholas. His mother was Grace Nicholas Wooden.
    I have traced info on my grandmorher’s family, but am unable to locate any info on my grandfather .

  19. Mrs Nicholas:
    The cemetery with the First Baptist Church is located N on 42 less than a mile from the church on the left on top of a hill.The parcel is 13-A-4 on the Rockbridge County tax maps.You would have to cros property owned by Mr Mike Lowry to access it.(13-A-5).
    There are two cemeteries on 614 adjacent to one another.The Bells Valley Methodist and the Ingram Family are there just of 42.You do not want to cross the mtn. and ford the river.Fording is deep and poor quality.

  20. I’m interested in information regarding where the creosote was shipped into the old Burke-Parsons-Bowlby plant back in the 1980’s and earlier. Are there any old timers out there that worked at the creosote plant back when the smell would make your eyes burn and skin burn when it was fresh in the air? Any information of the old days would be most helpful. Thank you in advance.
    Mrs. Donna M. Pritt

  21. It’s been a while…..I found a picture of Kamp Knob on the Internet. It was run by Bill Guinn and I think his wife ran the Rockbridge Inn which looks to be what is now the Hummingbird Inn. I don’t know what year Kamp Knob burned (all except the building still used for a camp which my mother said was the kitchen). I know there was a swimming pool because it is still there, although filled with leaves. Also have been told there were tennis courts. It is now owned by the Chittum family. Part of that land was once owned by my Uncle Arthur Burke and was known as the Curtis field. Mom said planes had landed there when she was a girl. I don’t have a clue how to get the picture to you. If you can help me with the technical end, I would be glad to send it.

  22. I worked at Stillwater a couple yrs 2nd shift i loved it to bad i was laid off with lots of people when they were preparing to close. Did they ever close, what did they do with the building? I moved to New York so I have no clue any1 I worked with there get back to me lets catch up. btw I ran the big dryer on 2nd shift I worked for Eddie. oh I lived in rockbridge bath , just addin some things that might help people remember me lol

  23. Had a curious thought the other day, tried to Google it but came up empty. Have any of you guys heard of ‘Camp Virginia?’ As I recall (40 years ago!), it was near Goshen. It was a boys camp but not Boy Scouts. It had cabins for each age group that were named after Indian tribes. It offered various activities including rifle range, archery and horseback riding. At one point, I remember the staff from U of Va football staff coming out for a day-long training day for everyone. Any recollections of this place and whatever happened to it?

  24. Does anyone know anyway to find records for an African American church called Aenon Baptist and a cemetery named Gospel Hill?

  25. For those interested the Ingraham (now shortened to Ingram) family showed up in a census of the area in 1710. The family lineage still lives on in the Ingrams of Bath County and Goshen (family split in the 30s due to a fued, all Ingrams in the area are related) one member still uses the Ingraham spelling.

  26. The Rockbridge Historical Society is presenting a talk and slide show given by Anne McClung on the history of Goshen. It will be held on September 10, at 2:30, at the Goshen Baptist Church. It is free of charge and everyone is welcome. Refreshments and fellowship will follow the program.
    Some of the questions asked above will be covered. The presentation will include drone photography, archival photographs, Goshen’s intriguing history and interviews with some of its life long residents. Please join us!

  27. Kimberlly Willis Furr Patsy Robertson lives right behind us and Chris Robertson just below us. If you see this feel free to contact me at 5402906314

  28. Hello, My name is Heather Rose.
    I have some 1869 images of soldier veterans and the history points them as being in Goshen at the time images were taken. In one image is a Civil War period train depot believed to have once been close to Hummingbird Inn. I read that Goshen was flooded out in parts in 1870 but am hoping that someone who has lived in the town for a long time might be able to provide information. If we can ID this station it helps build a case for the VMI cadets that are identified in the images. I know they say that the old station down there is the original but it cannot be because cement blocks like that were not used in the 1800s. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  29. Im trying to find out about my great grandparents..the lived in Craigsville..Mrs.Clara Harris Spitler and Hiawatha Spitler…

  30. Where would i find old birth records i know grandma Helen Spitler Clarke was born Aug 30, 1931 at home in craigsville is she was half cherokee and half german would records have been kept

  31. Interesting comments.I know about 1940 there was a camp at Goshen for Boys because Dr. Solon B. Cousins, Professor of Religion at University of Richmond (then Richmond College) came to Jonesboro Baptist Church in Nelson County for a Revival Week of Services and Dr. Cousins came to the Roseland Post Office where my Mother was Postmaster and mailed a letter to his son at the camp in Goshen I took his picture in JUNE 1940.. When I graduated from Longwood in 1945 I went to Richmond to work as a chemist for DuPont at their plant on the Petersburg Pike and Mildred Lancaster from Farmville who had graduated earlier was a cousin of Dr. Dabney S. Lancaster who had been inaugurated in Fall of 1946 as president of Longwood & I went to his inauguration with my uncle, a member of Virginia’s General Assembly & Governor William Tuck was the speaker. Dr. Lancaster’s two maiden sisters lived behind me from 2327 Monument Avenue in Richmond & I went with Mildred several times to visit. I think Dr. Lancaster’s family had a home over at Goshen. Also, while I lived in Richmond, I became a member of the National Speleological Society which explored caves, There was a cave over there somewhere on private property where we went to explore. We slept in a tent and a girl with whom I lived at the Blair mansion on Monument Avenue didn’t get much sleep, so the next day we went to the Cowpasture River wheer many doctors had summer cottages. “Robbie” Robertson who was head of the Richmond Water Works where my friend worked had the little “Doodlebug” trailer where he & his nephew slept. Cecelia & I asked Robbie could we sleep in the trailor, which we did & Tommy Watts, son of the banker in Lynchburg who owned Thomas Jefferson’s Poplar Forest needed a partner for bridge came and literally carried me to the Cowpasture’ & threw me in the River to awaken me. I still have the picture of Dr. Cousins in my photograph book & I also have the picture of Dr. & Mrs Lancaster who came to our Alpha Sigma Alpha Luncheon in 1947 when we honored Mrs Eason, the great-grandmother of W.Taylor Reveley, president of Longwood whose Grandfather was president of Hmnpden Sydney and whose father was/is president of William & Mary.. I am 93 years old and all has changed over there at Goshen in the 70 years since.!!!

  32. My mother was raised on the Knob I’ve visited the place where the house was now only a chimney remains. Her mother was Goldie Mae Jackson Hunter,grandfather Edward Jackson,a sister Peggy Jo Hunter Alphin,also an uncle n aunt Weldon and Irene Jackson and their children lived nearby. There was mention of a hotel on the Knob but I don’t know anything about that. When the Boy Scout Reservation was created there were many people whose properties were bought, when they created Lake Merriweather the homes were intact and just covered by water,sad.As to the lady trying to connect with the Robertsons they still live here and Chris is on town council so get in touch with them through the Town Office,known them for years. To the inquiry about a house they were purchasing in Goshen on Bell Hill,I’m pretty sure it’s the brick house and one time owners were Moore’s. I don’t know if they built the house or someone before them. At one time there was a old house that was destroyed in a fire. Someone mentioned Earl Davis can’t tell you how many times Ive heard that name from my family. My father was a Lyle who lived close to the church. My mothers father worked on Mr Davises farm,he took a blow to his head while working one day,came home for supper that evening.zHe ate and went to sit in his chair.After cleaning up after supper my grandmother went to check on him he was unconscious never woke up and died 8hrs later my mom was only8. His name was “Tom” Harry Stewart Hunter.Now I stumbled upon this site looking for something else about my family started reading and there were all these names that I was familiar with I’m hooked. Also to the lady looking for rellatives of Bud Hinkle his sister Patsy still lives in Goshen with her husband he is a Robertson.

  33. Trish my name is Carrie Lyle(Minter)and I knew your mom and her mother. My mom knew them more than I did but I remember them having their hair done before your great grandfathers funeral. My uncle Douglas Lyle probably went to school with some of the kids.

  34. My mother lived a little past the Little River Presbyterian Church on a road to the left still there. She has mentioned a hotel on the same road but that’s all I know,any info?

  35. Mac McDonald, Camp Virginia still exists it’s on rt 601 off of 39west from Lexington. My son stayed there one time and I believe it was operated by a Mr n Mrs Pitt.I can’t remember where they lived at but most likely they’ve both passed. The camp hasn’t been used for several yrs but is maintained.

  36. Harry White,my name is Carrie Lyle Minter and I knew both your grandfather n uncle. We always called him Gene and he gave my son a very unique fishing pole which he still has. Heavey was known by all n I remember him when he ran the store.I went with my grandmother a couple times to take him a meal and visit when he was sick.

  37. David Sprouse,my mother was raised on the Knob and they still call it that.She was Patricia Hunter,mother Goldie Mae Jackson Hunter and her grandfather Edward Jackson. She’s out of town now but I’ll ask about your family when she returns. I do know a Sprouse family here in Goshen,J.B. Sprouse who I believe came from Craigsville,he ran a small store here in Goshen.His wife Janet n their son Darryll .

  38. We recently purchased the old knicely farm at the corner of Rockbridge Alum springs Rd 36 acres would love any past history on this land or pics. Finding lots of blue slag from a furnace does anyone know the locations of the furnaces , we have lots of this stuff it’s beautiful. Thanks

  39. I am researching the Bratton’s Run area, I have an old deed that references older deeds as far back as 1914 includes the following surnames: Petty, Plott,
    Agnor, Gott, Knick, Heca, Connor. Other surnames in that family line include Patterson and Keys. My great great grandmother owned a house on Bratton’s Run Road, I have photos from 1985 showing the house all boarded up. I would really like to locate the property. Any help would be really appreciated! Please contact me if you are researching any of the above surnames at sarahstacy15@gmail.com

  40. The hotel that is being referred to on the Knob was located where Mr. Chittum from Lexington owns property. The kitchen part still stands. It was called Kamp Knob. Have a picture but don’t know how to send it.

  41. Found this blog by accident and really enjoy the comments. My mom is from Goshen, Her parents my grand parent was Grover and Rosa Patterson. Some of my uncles are on the memorial. Most of this family is buried in Bell Valley Cemetery. They lived on a large farm on Route 1 which is now Route 39. There is only my mom and uncle Clarence left. He is 92 and my mom Rachel is 90. I have try to find the entrance to the lane many times, but it must be all grown over.

  42. Does anyone have any stories or pictures about my grandfather William Bud Tindull or Tindal? Born in 1894 at Walkers Creek?

  43. My Grandfathers family lived in Goshen,George Minor, his father Harry Minor, his mother Emma S Minor, brothers Harry, Henry, Richard. Does this sound familiar to anyone. Late 1800s thru mid 1900s.

  44. Carrie Lyle Minter, Goldie Jackson Hunter was my 1st cousin 2x removed. I would love to meet and talk with you about the Jackson history in Goshen. Angela Jackson Cline

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