Beautifully engraved certificate from the Shenandoah Valley Railroad Company
dated 1879. This historic document was printed by the Continental Bank Note Company and has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of of train coming around a curve in a rural area. This item has the hand signatures of the Company’s President ( William Milnes, Jr ) and Secretary ( Joseph T. Wright ). The bond shows denominations of $1000 and 200 British Pounds. There are also 50 cancelled coupons attached to the right side of the bond not shown in the scan. Punch cancelled.
Milnes, William, Jr. (1827-1889) Born in England, December 8, 1827. a Representative from Virginia; born in Yorkshire, England, December 8, 1827; immigrated to the United States in 1829 with his parents, who settled in Pottsville, Pa.; attended the public schools; learned the machinist’s trade; engaged in mining and shipping coal; moved to Virginia in 1865 and settled in Shenandoah; engaged in the iron business; member of the State house of delegates in 1870 and 1871; upon the readmission of Virginia to representation was elected as a Conservative to the Forty-first Congress and served from January 27, 1870, to March 3, 1871; resumed the iron business; died in Shenandoah, Va., August 14, 1889; interment in the family plot in Old Cemetery.
1879 Construction of the Shenandoah Valley Railroad begins.
1881 Shenandoah Valley Railroad construction completed from Hagerstown, MD to Basic City (Waynesboro), VA.
1882 Shenandoah Valley Railroad completes track from Basic City to Roanoke, VA and connects with Norfolk & Western Railroad.
1885 Shenandoah Valley Railroad forced into receivership.
1890 In September, Shenandoah Valley Railroad sold under foreclosure and reorganized as the Shenandoah Valley Railway; in December, Shenandoah Valley Railway is acquired and absorbed by Norfolk & Western Railroad.
1982 N&W Railroad merged with Southern Railroad to become Norfolk Southern.
The Town of Shenandoah originated in the early 19th Century due to the area’s proximity to an abundance of natural resources. The presence of iron ore, wood for making charcoal, high grade limestone, and the Shenandoah River helped Shenandoah’s original founders, Daniel and Henry Forrer, establish the community’s iron industry. The first post office was established in February 1838 under the name of Shenandoah Iron Works.
In 1866, William Milnes, Jr. and Thomas Johns purchased 32,000 acres, including the Shenandoah Iron Works. With patented tools and improved production, they expanded Shenandoah’s iron industry and built the Big Gem Cast Iron Furnace.
In 1870, the inevitable happened when flood waters decimated the entire developed portion of Shenandoah. Between 30 and 60 buildings were completely destroyed or washed away as the water of the South Fork of the Shenandoah River billowed its way through town.
Despite the wrath of the flood, the William Milnes was able to take charge of the town and rebuild fairly easy. At the time of the flood, the entire country was experiencing prosperity due to an industrial boom. Milnes took this opportunity to spearhead the Shenandoah Valley Railroad, which would begin in Roanoke, Virginia and wind through the Shenandoah Valley to Hagerstown, Maryland. Milnes' persistence led to the Shenandoah Valley Railroad being built along with the installation of a telegraph line. The town is now rich in railroad history.
Through the work of William Milnes, Shenandoah became the midpoint between Roanoke, Virginia and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and enabled town industries to ship out their goods through means other than the river. Milnes took advantage of the railroad's presence and erected the Big Gem Cast Iron Furnace. The Big Gem was completed in 1882 and produced 110 tons of iron ore per day. It became a popular tourist destination as well because of the sparks that could be viewed each night as red hot cinder was poured down the cinder bank. The Big Gem literally lit up the entire town.
On June 27, 1882, the name of the post office was changed from Shenandoah Iron Works to Milnes. On February 12, 1884, and Act was passed by Virginia General Assembly to incorporate the town. It bore the name Milnes, in honor of William Milnes, Jr., President of the Shenandoah Valley Railroad.
On March 8, 1890, the name of the post office was changed from Milnes to Shenandoah. Thereafter, the name of the town was changed, by an Act of the General Assembly, from Milnes to Shenandoah City. During the following years, the word "city" was informally dropped from the town’s name.
History from the Town of Shenandoah, Virginia