THE COOTES HOME
Susie Dunivan, 13
Perhaps it will be of interest to the readers of our magazine to
know something about the oldest home, at least as far as we are able to find out near our
This house was built in the year 1834 by Samuel L. Cootes, who came
from Pennsylvania to Harrisonburg, from there to Turleytown, then to Cootes Store.
When Mr. Cootes came to this locality it was all in woods. He had to
clear it out before building. It is a log house. The logs were hewn out by him. It was
lathed and plastered on the outside. No doubt the lime used was burned on his place. Not
many of the old homes were thus protected.
It is located on the south side of the Shenandoah river. The front
of the house when first built faced the north. It had a portico on this side. The style of
the original house is lost in the many changes that have been made in later years. There
were at least ten or twelve rooms. The old mantels in the living room and parlor are
beautiful in carving. They are over six feet tall. The stairway is very easy to ascend
having broad and low steps.
Mr. Cootes conducted a general store. The storeroom was attached to
the main building but this was removed by his son Dr. John Cootes.
There is a secret closet in which saltpeter was hidden during the
Civil War. This was made by Samuel L. Cootes for the cause of the confederacy.
This old home is called "Oakland". Why, I do not know,
unless there were oaks here when it was first built. Two beautiful sugar maple stand near
The home is now owned by the grandson E.A. Cootes. It is occupied by
him and the great grandson D.F. Cootes and his son Edward Lee, the great great grandson of
the pioneer Samuel L. Cootes.
It was a home where Virginia hospitality abounded, and always a
place for visiting and pleasure. Here the benighted traveler always found a welcome. It
still keeps open doors and extends the true Virginia hospitality, which is fast becoming a
thing of the past.