"How Rockingham stands in the present crisis"
Extract from an editorial in the Harrisonburg Rockingham Register, January 4, 1861.
The Shenandoah Valley had a large population of people of German ancestry, who may have owned fewer slaves on average than other residents, leading some people to suppose that those Germans might not share with other white Virginians a determination to oppose Republicans and other antislavery advocates. "No people are truer to their fatherland," the editor of the Harrisonburg Rockingham Register, wrote at the beginning of January 1861, and "no people are more ready and willing to 'fight' for the protection of their honors and their firesides than the good people who make up the mass of our population." In the presidential election in November 1860, voters in Rockingham County gave Democrat Stephen A. Douglas 46.48 percent of the vote, the highest percentage in Virginia. One month after the editor published his comments on the inhabitants of the county, the voters elected three men who were all firm opponents of secession to represent the county in the state convention.