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:
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.
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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