New Market, Virginia – Established 1796
Settlers first discovered the New Market area’s fertile lands, wild game, and minerals in 1727, nearly 300 years ago, with many of the first settlers being Germans of the Mennonite and Lutheran faiths, later joined by many Scots and Irish. Originally known as Cross Roads, the town was officially established as New Market on December 14, 1796 by an act of the Virginia General Assembly. In 1806, German settlers established a printing and publishing business that was a foundation of New Market industry into the mid 19th century and by 1835, the Town had become a commercial and industrial center boasting a population of 700.
During the Civil War, situated on the main thoroughfare of the strategically important Shenandoah Valley, New Market played an active role, and Stonewall Jackson’s troops marched through the Town on four occasions.
On May 15, 1864, the historically significant Battle of New Market took place in which 257 cadets of Virginia Military Institute (VMI) were pressed into service by Confederate General John C. Breckinridge in a successful effort to delay the North’s march on Richmond, Virginia. That battle is reenacted each year in mid-May, on the grounds of the Virginia Museum of the Civil War in New Market.
In 1972, the Town of New Market was designated a Historic District by the Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission and registered as a Virginia Historic Landmark. In the same year the Historic District was also listed in the National Register of Historic Places, which is maintained by the National Park Service.
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