This week, we added 23 images to our Flickr account of a building known as Indian Spring from the 1988 Holiday House Tour. The site has roots back to the very earliest settlers who came with Yost Hite to the area in 1732, Jacob and Magdalena Chrisman. Much like the story of Abram’s Delight in Winchester, the original, likely log home was replaced in the 1750s by a more substantial limestone structure. The oldest part of the stone house built by Jacob Chrisman dates to 1751, as recorded in the gable. Two log buildings were also extant on the property and noted in the 1988 brochure; one of those may be Chrisman’s original dwelling.
In addition to hosting some of the oldest remaining structures in Frederick County, the original 750 acre tract was also notable for the large spring, which was first called Indian Spring, and later Chrisman’s and Stickley’s Spring as the ownership of the property changed hands. In addition to being an important landmark for the area, the spring was also a hub for early religious gatherings. Bishop Francis Asbury, a famous traveling Methodist minister, was reportedly the first to use the spring for a camp meeting. T.K. Cartmell writes in his Shenandoah Valley Pioneers and Their Descendants (p. 204):
“There was an ideal place [for a primitive Methodist Camp Meeting] near the centre of the Upper Circuit . . . . The place . . . was Chrisman’s Spring . . . . The famous spring and adjacent forests were freely offered by this generous family. The oldest inhabitant to day has no recollection of the first Camp Meeting with the old tent wagons on the ground and roughly improvised annexes to offer shelter to the families who had come well provided with food. The scanty sleeping accommodations were sufficient to induce the Campers to remain on the Grounds for about ten days . . . . Kercheval says, ‘The first Camp Meeting held in the Valley in my memory was at Chrisman’s Spring . . . probably in the month of August 1806.'”
If you are interested in learning more about this important site, more details may be found in Some Old Homes in Frederick County, Virginia by Garland Quarles, p. 67-69. Other images of Indian Spring and the log building thought to be Chrisman’s original home may be found on pages 6 and 7 of Frederick County, Virginia: History Through Architecture by Maral Kalbian. Further historical and genealogical references to Jacob and Magdalena Chrisman may be found at chrisman.org and Shenandoah Valley Pioneers and Their Descendants. Christian History issue 114 is dedicated to Francis Asbury and the history of camp meetings.