Andrew Zirkle -- Church Elder, Miller, Lawyer, Patriot

In 1755, Andrew Zirkle along with four brothers, two sisters and his mother came to an area of the Shenandoah Valley known as "the forest" from Pennsylvania. He purchased 224 acres of land from George Brock in 1757 for 25 pounds. Sometime around 1765, Andrew and his brothers built the mill on this land.

Andrew married Maria Catherine (Maiden name unknown) in 1763 and had six children, the last John being born when he was 46 years of age.

Thomas 6th Lord Fairfax granted Andrew a pentagonal shaped 386 acre tract of land on November 7th, 1774 that adjoined his current land, his older brother Michael's land to the north and Casper Branner's land to the south.

A short while later, the War of the Revolution swept the land. Andrew and his four brothers all took part in various ways. Andrew joined the Dunmore County Militia under the command of Captain Jacob Holeman along with his brothers Michael and Peter. Later this militia was called into service and became part of the 8th Virginia Regiment of Foot of the Continental Line under the leadership of Colonel(later Brigadier General) John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg. The 8th Virginia took part in battles in South Carolina, most notably the Battle of Charleston and of Fort Moultrie in which a British Naval force of 10 ships was soundly defeated.

The weather and conditions in the south were not kind to the regiment and fully half of them became quite ill with fever and malaria. A great deal of them were transported back home to Woodstock to be cared for by the local people. The rest of the regiment marched north a short while later to join General Washington's Northern Army and fought at Brandywine, White Marsh and Germantown. They later went into winter camp at Valley Forge.

After returning home, Andrew continued to contribute to the cause. The Shenandoah County Publick Claims show that in 1781, Andrew provided 375 pounds of beef and 1486 pounds of flour in six barrels to the Continental Army.

The Shenandoah County Order Book shows that on May 30th, 1782 "Andrew Circle undertook for the defendant John Roller" who was in debt to Gasper Dagey for an unstated sum. Andrew was also a member of the committee established on March 25th, 1784 to "view a way for a Road from Andrew Sircles Mill to Abraham Dusks Smith Shop on the Main Road and that they report to the next Court."

A devout Lutheran, Andrew and his wife Catherine attended services at Roeders Lutheran Church in Timberville, six miles to the south. He was one of four delegates who traveled to Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1784 to request the ordination of the Reverend Paul Henkel, which was granted. By 1787, Andrew (Andreas) is listed as an Elder of the Church along with his neighbor to the south, Casper Branner.

Maria Catherine Zirkle had died by 1794 and Andrew then married Elizabeth Rife, a widow on November 17, 1794 at the age of 57.

Andrew died in June of 1816 at the age of 79. In his generous will, he instructed his executor Phillip Knupp to sell the mill and to disperse the proceeds to his children and grandchildren.

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