The mansion house of Strathmoor stands on the west bank of the Shenandoah River about two miles southwest of Mt. Jackson, and faces Dunmore Mt. Airy across Meems' Bottoms. The building of Strathmoor House was begun in 1872; it was finished and occupied in the spring of 1873. All the lumber used was cut on the estate; the bricks also were made on the place; and all the work was done by local artisans except the plumbing. A Baltimore architect made the plans.

Strathmoor was occupied from 1873 to 1892 by the owner, Gen. Gilbert Simrall Meem, and his family. General Meem was born in Abingdon, VA, October 5, 1824, the son of John G. Meem and his wife, Eliza Campbell Russell. His grandfather, Gilbert Meem, lived for a number of years in New Market and died there in 1824. In 1841 his father, John G. Meem, came up from Lynchburg and bought the Steenbergen estate, later acquiring other lands adjacent thereto. In the division of the John G. Meem estate about 1847, John G. Meem, Jr., received Mt. Airy; Thomas J. Meem and Mrs. W.D. Peachy, Rude's Hill; and Gilbert S. Meem, the western portion of the lands, upon which he built Strathmoor House. Early in 1892 Strathmoor was sold to the Wisslers, in whose hands it remained until recently, when it was acquired by Mr. B.B. Jones.

General Meem was in command of a brigade of state troops at the outbreak of the Civil War, and was with Stonewall Jackson on the memorable West Virginia campaign in the winter of 1861-1862. After the Virginia troops were absorbed in the Confederate States Army, General Meem was not in active military service, but returned to the management of the home farms, of which he had had charge from the age of 19 or 20. After selling Strathmoor he went to Seattle, Washington, where he served as postmaster for several years and where he died about 1905. His son, Hugh Garland Meem, a civil engineer, won renown by heroic service in a mine disaster; his daughter, Elise Campbell Meem, is the wife of Mr. Daniel Kelleher of Seattle, Washington, and Dunmore Mt. Airy.

Excerpted from John W. Wayland's A History of Shenandoah County, Virginia

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Created November 15 2001