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Volume 6 Relation of U.B/EUB Virginia Conferences to Shenandoah University Dec. 26, 2013

2. Shenandoah Seminary, 1877-1884

In 1877 the name of the School was changed to Shenandoah Seminary and chartered and
incorporated in that name under the state laws of Virginia. The name of the School and the valley where
it was situated derived from the Indian legend of Zynodoa, a brave whose life showed such beauty,
strength, and courage that his people named their river and its valley after him.5

In that first full year of instruction, there were 20 students and three teachers. Besides Prof. Fries
and Mr. Funkhouser, there was a teacher in the Music Department, Miss Annie Baer. Mr. Funkhouser
taught the Intermediate classes; Prof. Fries the Classical classes; and Miss Baer taught piano. Since
there was no piano available that year, she was obliged to teach on the organ instead.

The first classes were held in a two-room log
house on Main Street, near the entrance to the street
leading to the Railway Station. This was soon
inadequate, and in 1876 Rev. Funkhouser secured a plot
of ground with a building into which the School moved
in 1877. This building had been a store and dwelling
house and became known as the Ladies Dormitory
Number One and Dining Hall. It was a brick building
and was divided into sleeping rooms for the young
ladies and had a dining room which was under the
control of Rev. and Mrs. G. W. Howe. All the rooms
were furnished complete and all the young ladies were required to room and board in the Seminary
“under the immediate care of the Lady Principal.” The young men secured room and board in private
homes, but in 1872 a building across the street from the Ladies Dormitory was rented for their use.
Many of them secured their board by “clubbing” together.

The greater part of the teaching was done by Prof. Fries, since he devoted his full time to the
work, while Rev. Funkhouser was obliged to divide his time between teaching and his work as minister
to the congregations of the Dayton Circuit.6 After Rev. Funkhouser purchased the Seminary property,
his title changed from “Associate” to that of “Proprietor.” The Religious Telescope said of these two
men: “They are young men of enterprise and sterling merit, and will guard well the interests of students
under their care.”

5 The Legend of Zynodoa: Centuries ago before the white man came to the American Shores, there lived in the primeval
forest of what is now the Valley of Virginia a beautiful song bird. Its sweetest song was sung at twilight, the time when
day so beautifully blends with night. The song this bird sang was “zynodoa, zynodoa.” One evening as a young squaw
was lulling to rest her papoose, near the camp fire at the door of the wigwam, a zynodoa, perched nearby, pouried forth
its evening lay. It sang as never before; its throat shook with rapturous trills, and the melody of it entered into the
mother’s breast. She named her little brave “Zynodoa.” Years passed; Zynodoa, the brave, became a great warrior, and
his fame spread from one tribe to another. At last the Great Spirit called him, and he entered into the Happy Hunting
Grounds; but he was not forgotten. As a memorial to the beauty, strength, and the bravery of his life, his people gave his
name to the river, mountain, and the valley which we now call Shenandoah. —ZYNODOA, 1944. [Zynodoa 1975, p. 4]

6 Virginia Conference Minutes show that in 1876-77, Rev. A. P. Funkhouser had charge of Highland Circuit with nine
preaching appointments and three organized churches, while J. W. Nihiser had charge of Dayton Circuit. In 1877-80
Rev. Funkhouser had charge of Dayton Circuit with six preaching appointments and six organized churches having 300-
400 members combined. Details for all U.B. and EUB preachers of Virginia Conference are provided in Vol. 9 of this

Miller, et al., on History of S.C., 1875-1950 3
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