The Rupp Home

Location: On the south side of the Lutheran church on the west side of North Main Street or Congress Street, New Market, Virginia.

Built: circa 1817


6 Dec 1804: Abraham Savage sold to William Menefee for 12 pounds current money of Virginia, a lot in New Market, Virginia.

20 Feb 1817: William Menefee and Mary, his wife, sold to Peter Wolfe (Woofe).

25 Aug 1819: Peter Wolfe and Lucy, his wife, sold to Islam Tatum for $1000, one quarter acre of land, house, etc.

17 Nov 1837: Islam Tatum and Frances, his wife, sold to Charles Spitzer for $200 a house and lot in New Market, Virginia.

5 Nov 1866: Henry R. Spitzer of Champaign County, Ohio to William F. Rupp

31 Dec 1866: Lewis A. Spitzer and Bettie, his wife, of Luis Obispo, California, sold to William F. Rupp.

10 Feb 1908: William F. Rupp willed to William Henry Rupp and Charles Ernest Rupp. Joseph Haller Rupp being paid money as his share.

4 Jun 1831: Rockingham National Bank of Harrisonburg, Executor of last will of C.E. Rupp to Mary E. Rupp of New Market, Virginia, the old Rupp house.

Physical Description

This is a large rambling house of the German type. In the center is a winding boxed in stairway, at the top of which halls lead to the bedrooms on the four sides of the landing. The house is so old and settled that there is not a straight window or door in it, and they are of different sizes. The windows in the front of the house have been replaced with wide pane sashes.

In the kitchen is a large chimney with a door built into it. Could it have been that this was used to hold meat, etc., for smoking, or why was it built in this manner?

The doors are all the six panel double cross type, but the mantels are all plain wood with no ornamentations of any kind. The foundation of the house is entirely of hand hewn logs.

The furniture is mostly antique, being handed down from generation to generation, even to the books in the bookcase. There is a large bureau or chest of drawers which was brought from Germany as a wedding present to the first owner of the family, Charles Spitzer, 1833. No one seems to know of what kind of wood it is made, but it is handsomely burlled (sic) and has three drawers and hand carved corners. In this room is also an acorn poster bed. In the next room is a ladder back spool bed and a walnut chest with two drawers in the bottom, made by great grandfather, John Winkle Neff. It has hand made hald (sic) strap iron hinges recessed into the underside of the lid. Downstairs is a desk and a huge sideboard which also came from Germany. There are also five Currier and Ives paintings, two of which are heirlooms.

Historical Significance

This house has been in the family since 1837, Charles Spitzer being the first generation.

William F. Rupp, who died in 1908, was a very renowned fresco painter. His first work was in Luray, Virginia, then in New Market, Virginia, from which place he did all the fresco painting in both counties. Mr. Rupp came from Germany, he arrived in New York July 3, 1854.

In October, he came to Luray, Virginia, and in July, 1855, he settled in New Market, Virginia, at the age of twenty one years. He married Mary Catharine Spitzer January 28, 1862, and had three sons, Charles Ernest (1863 - 1930), William Henry (1866 - 1925) and Joseph Halle Christian (1869 - 1923).

Joseph Haller Christian was the only son to marry, the only child living before his daughter, Mrs. Mary Orebaugh and her baby son Fritz Falerney Orebaugh, who is the fifth generation to live in this house.

The above reference is taken from the Spitzer family Bible, dated March 13, 1845, printed 1841, and owned by Charles Spitzer.

Charles Spitzer's wife was Elizabeth Frances Amiss of Amissville, Virginia, they were married in 1833, and had four children, Mary Catharine (1837 - 1900), Lewis A. (1840) who ran away from home in 1857, and went to California. All his letters concerning his trip are in the possession of Mrs. Orebaugh. He started back to join the Southern Army in the valley during the Civil War, but came only as far as Austin, Nevada, due to an attack of inflammatory rheumatism.

The rest of the history of this illustrious family may be found in "Pen Pictures from the Garde of the World", edited by H.S. Foote, Chicago, a volume of which is in the Rupp home and was owned by Lewis A. Spitzer, San Jose, Santa Clara County, California. On page 609 of this book mention is made of a rifle factory having been established in New Market by Henry Spitzer. His rifles were known as the best in the west and south.

Another child was Sarah, who died young. Henry went to California and was accidentally shot, while on a deer hunt, by one of the party. He had just held up the antlers of a deer he had found when a member of the party, just coming up, saw the antlers and shot before hearing of his find.

In this house also lived a Mr. George M. Neese, who was the talented author of "Three Years in the Confederate Horse Artillery".

Mrs. Mary Rupp Orebaugh owns an autograph album which is made of creepy (sic) surfaced paper. The oldest date in it is 1785. It is about six by four inches tied with red, white and blue cord. The name of Peggie Amiss is frequently seen stating, Peggie Amiss Her Hymn and Peggie Amiss Her Book. Before each name is written the verse of a song. Other pages have both verses and music written on them. Each page has a verse or song, sometimes accompanied by the music to same, with the name of the writer. In the center of the book, the music only is written and is numbered according to the psalm it fitted. The music was probably copied from a hymn book. On one page is this inscription, "A song wrote by John S. Amiss for his mother 1810 Feb. 13."

Mrs. Orebaugh also has a drawing book once owned by Will Rupp while he studied at the University of Munchen, Germany. It has a two page illustration of Luray, Virginia, and on other pages are sketched mural decorations. It had heavy cardboard covers and the pages are of parchment. The murals are in black shaded red and white.

Mrs. Mary R. Orebaugh, New Market, Virginia, is a relative of the owners of these two books and they are kept in the Rupp home.

There are also five Currier and Ives paintings, two are heirlooms and the other three were purchased at auction.

Source: Virginia W.P.A. Historical Inventory Project, 1937

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Created November 12 2001