When did the village of Goose Creek become the village of Lincoln?

Letter written in 1843 addressed to Samuel M. Janney “Purcells Store” Courtesy of Swarthmore Friends Historical Library (A0011100_04a)

On July 3, 1865 a post office was opened in newly named Lincoln, Virginia. Prior to that date there was no place in Loudoun County called “Lincoln,” and residents living near the Goose Creek meetinghouse would have to pick up their mail addressed and delivered to nearby locations. Often that meant their mail was sent to a store/post office called “Purcell’s Store” which served a bustling community a couple of miles away. Prior to July 1865, for example, mail to Samuel M. Janney and his family members was addressed to “Purcells Store” as shown in the above letter.

National Archive records show 19th century Loudoun County post offices being set up, moved, or closed. The page below has several bits of information for Nest of Abolitionists, including the Circleville post office (fifth down on the list from the top) run by William Brown, husband of Lydia Neal Janney Brown, closes on July 2, 1887. Then, fifth from the bottom, Lincoln is listed:

old virginia post office records
5th from the bottom, Lincoln’s first post master is shown to have been Rodney Davis. Courtesy National Archives, Washington, D.C.
old post offices and post masters listed by town name
Loudoun County Virginia Post Offices page 5 of list, showing “Lincoln” post office dates with post masters. There was never a “Goose Creek” post office listing. Courtesy of Thomas Balch Library, Leesburg, VA
virginia quaker meeting minutes
Rodney Davis, Lincoln post master, also served at the burial ground caretaker for Goose Creek Meeting. His post office was next door to the meetinghouse, and very near the burial ground, so this was a sensible occupation and way for him to earn a little extra income. Goose Creek Meeting minutes Courtesy Ancestry.com

Rodney Davis, a Quaker in good standing, was Lincoln’s first post master. It must have been a convenience for the community to finally have mail delivered nearby, during a time when all travel was either by foot or by horse. The Civil War years had been especially disruptive. The U.S. Federal government stopped delivering mail in southern states. Below is the closing section of a letter sent shortly after the war’s end in April 1865 by Yardley Taylor to Federal appointed Virginia governor Francis Pierpont. Taylor ends by giving his mailing address as Point of Rocks, Maryland, 17 miles away.

In Yardley Taylor’s June 1865 letter to Federal appointed Virginia Governor Pierpont he writes at the bottom line of the last page: “Yardley Taylor My address Point of Rocks Md” Courtesy Library of Virginia

The group of homes around Goose Creek Meeting became identified as Lincoln, once they had their post office with that name. Several other places within the South were given the name “Lincoln” in honor of the martyred President, such as Lincoln Parish in northern Louisiana. However, those names were designated by Union occupation forces at the end of the Civil War. As far as I can tell, the little Quaker community of Loudoun County is the only place in the former Confederacy where citizens voluntarily named their town after the U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.

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