THE NORTH FORK OF THE SHENANDOAH
Adam E. Turner 14
The largest stream in Rockingham County is the North Fork of the
Shenandoah River. It has its head on the top of the Shenandoah Mountain which divide West
Virginia and Virginia. It starts at Radsford Spring.
It is only a little brook winding its way for ten miles or more over
the rocks, through the hallows and down the mountain side.
Now it has reached the float of the mountain where it finds larger
streams, which make it a river. It passes through the little mountain village Dovesville.
There it is joined by Crab Run. It flows around the end of West Mountain then on to
Fulks Run. Dry River from the west meets it here. It flows east through a valley,
which it helps to make fertile. Before it breaks through Little North Mountain at
Brocks Gap, Runions Creek and Shoemaker River empty into it. Then it flows by
Cootes Store. A number of small streams join it before it reaches Broadway. There it turns
north crossing Shenandoah County from south to north. At Mt. Jackson, Smith Creek enters.
It bends around the end of Massanutten Mountain at Strasburg and joins the south Fork of
the Shenandoah River at Riverton. The branches form the main river, which flows north
until it breaks through the Blue Ridge at Harpers Ferry where it empties into the
The scenery from its source to Broadway, this being as far as I have
followed it, is beautiful. After leaving the mountains it winds through the meadows like a
silver thread. Where it breaks through the mountain at Brocks Gap only a poet can describe
it. It creeps along base of bluffs and bends its course in order to find its way.
Neither is it without its stories of interest. "There is the
Nigger hole," where a run-away slave would rather die than return to his master. The
"winding hole" which is the boys wonder as the water keeps circling around
and around. It never seems to go on. Last but not least is Lovers Rock. If it could
speak what love stories it could tell.
Its name must not be forgotten. Few rivers of our country have a
more beautiful one. It was named by the Indians and means the Daughter of the Stars.
"I came from haunts of coot and hern
I make a sudden salley,
And sparkle out among the ferm
To bricker down the valley.
By thirty hills I hurry down,
I slip between the ridges,
By twenty tharps a little town
And half a hundred bridges.
Till last by Phillips farm I flow,
To join the brimming river
For men may come and men may go
But I go on for ever"