19th century Quaker history Virginia Quaker history

Janney Store during the Civil War

Property of former Janney Store, now housing Lincoln Post Office in Lincoln, Virginia

Samuel, Elizabeth Janney and family left their Springdale School residence in 1854 and moved to the center of Goose Creek village (now Lincoln). The Janneys’ new home was Meadowlawn, and they opened a store nearby. Both the home and the store were near Goose Creek Meetinghouse. Samuel wrote about the Janney store in his Memoirs, including a mention in 1864 of going to Washington to secure the release from prison of Confederate men who had kept the store from being robbed by southern soldiers. One man Samuel identifies as “A–R–” had been particularly helpful to the Janneys: “…He [A-R-] has…been kind to Union men, and on one occasion, when Southern soldiers were about to seize the goods in our store, he, with others, interposed and saved them.” This incident is recorded on the page below:

Memoirs by Samuel M. Janney in which he writes of “Southern soldiers” attempting to “seize” goods from his mercantile store.

Janney’s store, like others in the Quaker community, was vulnerable to raids by Southern troops. The “A–R–“ Janney refers to in his anecdote may be Albert Rust; the Rusts were a prominent family active in Loudoun County politics, and though he had sons fighting for the Confederacy, Albert Rust eventually disavowed his Confederate leanings. On the Federal Prison List below, someone named “Rust” is listed in a non-combatant group arrested in 1864 and held in Old Capitol/Carroll Prison. Janney writes that A-R- declined to leave Carroll prison with Janney’s help. Rust was eventually released.

A 1864 list of Federal prisoners at Old Capitol/Carroll Prison in Washington, D.C. The name at the bottom is “Rust” – possibly “A-R-“? Courtesy of National Archives.
The former Janney Store is seen through trees in this recent photograph, showing that the store was a stone’s throw away from Goose Creek meeting house. Goose Creek Meeting is still active, but the store property is now out of Janney ownership. It houses the Lincoln village post office.

Eliza Finch Coffin Janney, a daughter-in-law, worked at the Janney store during the Civil War and wrote humorously about Southern soldiers coming into the store and hanging around simply to hear her say “thee” while speaking. She doesn’t mention any goods being seized by Confederate soldiers; that incident must have happened when Eliza was not minding the store! Here is her store remembrance, written in 1899:

Eliza Janney Rawson remembrances of Samuel M. Janney, written in a column for the May 20, 1899 Friends Intelligencer

Non-Quaker citizens shopped at the Janney Store and Quaker Thomas Brown’s store at nearby Circleville. At least two local Civil War diaries written by Confederate women mention buying from Quakers: In 1863, Sigismunda Kimball of nearby Clarke County, wrote about coming to the Janney Store at Lincoln and the Brown Store (no longer existing) at Circleville on her increasingly difficult hunt for basic living supplies. By the time Mrs. Kimball was done shopping it was too late on a cold January day for her to make the buggy journey back to Clarke County, so the Janneys invited her to stay the night in their house. “They were very kind, would not take pay – The Southern soldiers were there in the night -” Here is her diary entry:

The Diary of Sigismunda Stribling Kimball October 14, 1861-April 29, 1863 Transcribed and used by courtesy of Clarke County Historical Society. Original Kimball diary manuscript at Albert Smalls Archive Library University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
Amanda Edmonds, Paris, Fauquier County, Virginia, circa 1866. Picture from private collection.

Secondly, Amanda Edmonds, who lived outside the village of Paris in Fauquier County, wrote a diary that included the Civil War years. She was from a farming family with enslaved workers; her brothers enlisted in the Confederate army when war came along. Both before and during the war, Amanda wrote critically of Quakers in Loudoun county for their support of abolitionism and the Union. But when her family ran out of supplies they searched far afield for goods, including in Loudoun County Quaker stores. Amanda’s diary entry for Dec. 17, 1862 mentions one such visit her sister Bettie made to the Quakers, whom Amanda called “Yankees” (her worst pejorative) in a 1862 diary entry: “Wednesday, December 17th, 1862  With Lou, Pet, and Meg, I walk to Paris. We had a considerable snow before returning…Bettie had just returned from the Yankee store in Loudoun with a host of others, but with no success.”

After the Samuel M. Janney family ownership, Lincoln store continued to operate off and on next to Goose Creek Meeting house. Asa Moore Janney (1908-2002) a great-nephew of Samuel M. and Elizabeth Janney, took up the little store and ran it for decades, until his death in 2002. The store’s Civil War history lived through memories polished into re-told anecdotes, “thee’s” long silent.

Asa Moore Janney (1908-2002) in the Janney Store, Lincoln. Photo taken during the 1970’s and courtesy of Lincoln Preservation Foundation.

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