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Grabill Hollingsworth Magruder

Obituary of John H. Grabill, Woodstock, Virginia

The life of Capt. John H. Grabill, of Woodstock, Va., covered eighty-three years in the most momentous periods of our history, and in the making of that history he was an active participant and bore a man's part. His death on February 8, 1922, took from the community one of its most progressive citizens, honored and respected by all.

Born March 8, 1839, at Mt. Jackson, Va., the son of Ephraim and Caroline McDonald Grabill, he was but two weeks old when his parents removed to Woodstock, and there the remainder of his life was spent. He was graduated from Dickinson College, at Carlisle, Pa., in the class of 1860, and had scarce returned to his home when Virginia called her sons to arms. As Lieutenant Grabill of Company C, 33rd Regiment of Virginia Infantry, Jackson's Brigade, he took part in the first battle of Manassas and was a witness to the baptism of fire and blood of that great captain of all time, Stonewall Jackson. Later on he was transferred to the cavalry and promoted to captain of Company E, White's Battalion, the 35th Battalion of Virginia Cavalry. At Brandy Station he had two horses shot from under him, and he was captured and confined at Old Capital Prison, later being transferred to Johnson's Island, from which prison he was released on parole in February, 1865. The end came while he was a paroled prisoner.

Shortly after the war, following the noble example of General Lee, he and P. W. Magruder opened the Woodstock Academy and for several years devoted themselves to the education of the youth of Virginia. He was first superintendent of schools in the country, and helped establish the first public school at Woodstock, having become a champion of that system of education.

Though taking an active interest in all public affairs, it never interfered with his religious life. He joined the Methodist Church in 1850, and for seventy-two years he had been an example by his devotion to his Christian duties, and serving his Church in various official capacities. He was a Mason for sixty-two years, the oldest member of Assia Lodge at Woodstock.

Captain Grabill was married in December, 1866 to Miss Mary Hollingsworth, who survives him with their four daughters and four sons.

SOURCE: Confederate Veteran Magazine, June, 1922.

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