Biographical Information

The Hugh McGuire Family lived in Winchester, Virginia, and Sarah’s research focuses on their Civil War experiences, and what happened to the family before and after the war.

This is an on-going research project from 2013 to the present, and the details presented here are a small portion of the study.

These are a few biographical details about the nine members of this family, drawn from Sarah’s research files.

Dr. Hugh McGuire

Dr. Hugh McGuire

(b. November 6, 1801, d. August 9, 1875)

Although he was the son of a storekeeper and hotel owner, young Hugh was interested in science, animals, and medicine, and when he decided to become a doctor, his studies in the field of medicine began under Dr. Robert Barton, the leading doctor in his home town of Winchester.  He completed his studies at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and then returned to Winchester where he became a well-known surgeon.  Though he was well-educated in many areas of medicine, Hugh specialized as an eye surgeon and was reportedly the first Virginian doctor to perform a cataract surgery.

Hugh’s fame in the medical world increased and he was offered teaching positions throughout the United States, but he decided to remain in his hometown and in 1826 founded the Medical School of the Valley of Virginia which was the first medical school in Virginia; he taught anatomy, physiology, and surgery, while other doctors taught the other subjects of the occupation. In 1828, he married Ann Eliza Moss. Unfortunately, in 1829 Hugh’s medical school was forced to close; he was again offered teaching positions throughout the nation but decided to remain in Winchester. Doctors and patients traveled long distances to consult with Hugh and he was one of the leading eye surgeons in the nation. He moved his wife and growing family to a large brick house on Braddock Street; the house probably contained space for a medical office. In 1847 Hugh reopened his school with a slightly changed name: Winchester Medical College.  The facility was a large brick structure built a few blocks from Dr. McGuire’s home, and it contained offices, a lecture hall and surgical rooms. The quality of teaching was outstanding. Hugh’s son, Hunter, took his first medical courses there; in 1857, Hunter was elected to teach as professor of anatomy at the college.

During the early days of the American Civil War (1861-1865), while General Jackson’s troops were near Winchester before their trip to Manassas, illnesses in epidemic proportions struck the civilian population of Winchester and the soldiers. When General Jackson and his troops returned to Winchester for the winter, the sickness returned as well. Scarlet fever and typhoid affected the civilian population and caused several deaths during January and February 1862. Hugh was most likely very busy taking care of the civilians and volunteering in the military hospitals as time allowed.

As rumor spread throughout Winchester that the Confederates would evacuate the town, Hugh threatened to burn his house and send his family out of the town, rather than submit to Yankee occupation; he did not carry out this threat. As the Confederate troops moved out into the campaign field in 1862, illness struck the McGuire home.  Mary, Hugh’s eldest daughter exhibited severe symptoms of tuberculosis; when she first contracted the disease is unclear, but by spring 1862 she was so ill that Ann Eliza wrote to Hunter, begging him to come home. In May 1862, Union troops under General Banks burned Winchester Medical College, which must have been devastating to Hugh.

Whether Hugh stayed in the occupied town or went with the Confederate army is unclear.  At some point during the war, possibly during the Valley Campaign, Hugh was on the front lines of a battle caring for a wounded soldier when a messenger arrived from Hunter ordering Hugh to move to a safer location; Hugh ignored the order and sent back a message which, translated, told Hunter to mind his own business. Also at some point during the war, probably during 1862, Hugh was commissioned as a Confederate Surgeon; he held the military rank and pay of a major.

In the late autumn of 1862, much to his wife’s dismay, Hugh decided to go to Lexington to supervise a newly established hospital. Hunter sent him an order as “Medical Director of the Army” on the subject of “Assignment to Duty” instructing him to remain in Winchester. Hugh ignored his son, rode by him on the way out of town, and left a messenger to deliver his reply… “Tell Hunter he is a d—— fool.”

Following details about the war and post-war era are still under investigation.  Hugh McGuire died on August 9, 1875, and was buried in Winchester’s Mount Hebron Cemetery.

Mrs. Ann Eliza Moss McGuire 

(b. 1808, d. November 1, 1878)

No photograph available yet.

Originally from Fairfax County, Virginia, which is located across the Potomac from Washington D.C, Ann Eliza Moss did not grow up in the Shenandoah Valley. In 1828, she moved to the town of Winchester in Frederick County, Virginia, when she married Dr. Hugh Holmes McGuire. Dr. McGuire was the founder of the Medical School of the Valley of Virginia and was one of the most prominent surgeons in America. Unfortunately, the year after the marriage – 1829 –  the college was forced to close because the other professors had accepted positions elsewhere. However, Ann Eliza’s husband still had plenty of work; other doctors and patients came from all over the nation to consult with him about surgical techniques and medical treatment.

In 1830 her first child, Mary Rebecca, was born and over the next eighteen years she had six more children: three girls and four boys in total. As the family grew, they moved to a beautiful brick house on the corner of Amherst Street and North Braddock Street.

With sons in the Confederate military during the American Civil War (1861-1865), Ann Eliza opened her home on several occasions to famous officers, including General “Stonewall” Jackson, and befriended Mrs. Jackson when she came to Winchester. Ann Eliza and her daughters stayed in Winchester for the duration of the war, enduring over forty occupations by Union troops and experiencing first-hand Winchester’s war. Following the Battle of Antietam (September 1862), at least one severely wounded soldier was cared for at the McGuire home. Later that same year, her husband traveled to Lexington, Virginia, to oversee a new hospital, and Mrs. McGuire was not particularly pleased with his decision During the conflict, her eldest daughter suffered from tuberculosis and eventually died in 1864.

In late 1864 or 1865, Ann Eliza made some imprudent remarks about Union soldiers when her youngest son marched passed the home as a prisoner and consequently was put under house arrest, followed by the house turned into a Union hospital for six months.

More details about her life are still under investigation. Ann Eliza McGuire died in on November 1, 1878, surviving her husband by three years. She is buried in Winchester’s Mount Hebron Cemetery.

Mary Rebecca McGuire

(b. November 18 or 19, 1830, d. January 12, 1864)

No photograph available at this time.

Mary was the first child of Hugh and Ann Eliza McGuire, the oldest of seven children. Not much is known about her youth. It seems she never married. Her brother, Hunter, described her as having the “sweetest and kindest [of] hearts.”

At the beginning of 1862 Mary became very ill with tuberculosis and for two years her family “ministered to all her wants, comforted her in her suffering & trials & witnessed all her patience, her Christian meekness & fortitude.”

Mary Rebecca McGuire died on January 12, 1864, and is buried in Mount Hebron Cemetery. The inscription on her tombstone reads: “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”

Further details about her short life are under investigation.

Margaretta “Getty” McGuire

(b. July 23, 1833, d. March 12, 1893)

No photographs available at this time.

Margaretta, the second child of Hugh and Ann Eliza McGuire, was nicknamed “Getty” and went by this name among family and friends.  Not many details about her youth are known at this time; she never married, and reasons are unclear at this time.

Getty experienced the Civil War from the homefront, through letters, and through Winchester’s war. Letters suggest she spent much time volunteering at hospitals and caring for critically wounded soldiers. Other records suggest she took a large role in caring for her dying older sister and looking after her mother and youngest sister.

In autumn 1862 General Jackson went into Winchester for a day of social calls.  Since Getty’s letter on the subject is still being transcribed and may take some dedicated time, here is Henry Douglas’s account of what happened.  (I have taken the liberty of changing Douglas’s “Miss Betty” to “Miss Getty”; whether this was his error or an editor’s, I am not certain).  On the day we left Charlestown, the General, with McGuire, and one other member of his staff, went to Winchester to make some calls.  This was the only day during the war he ever spent in social duties.  He dined at the house of his Medical Director’s father, Dr. Hugh McGuire, and after dinner at the request of Miss McGuire went to Lupton’s gallery to have his photograph taken for her.  This is the best likeness that was ever taken of him during the war, and may be called his official photograph…  When the photograph was about to be taken, the artist called the attention of the General to the absence of a button and offered to sew it on.  The General produced the button from his pocket, asked for a needle and thread, and said that as he was in a hurry he would put it on while the photographer was getting his camera ready.  This he did, sitting in the chair without removing his coat.  But the button is a little out of line – he did not get it as straight as he usually got things.  It is the third button from the top on his left breast and the little deflection is seen in all the copies of that picture… …the Winchester picture taken for Miss Getty McGuire (pages 199-200, I Rode With Stonewall).

Getty was not cordial toward Yankees, but it seems unlikely that she would have done anything rash that could have brought disaster on her family.  In a letter written in the autumn of 1862 she refers to them as “Northern wretches.” A post war letter describes her hatred of Yankee soldiers, but further details are still under researched.

1864 and 1865 were particularly hard years. Getty’s older sister died, the McGuire ladies were put under house arrest, and their home became a hospital. In a letter, she admitted that she felt “very weak” and was too troubled to work in the hospitals any longer, affected by the awful scenes.

After the war, there are limited details about Getty’s life. Margaretta H. McGuire died on March 12, 1893, and is buried in Mount Hebron Cemetery.

More details about her life are in various research stages.

Dr. Hunter McGuire (c. 1863?)

Dr. Hunter McGuire

(b. October 11, 1835, d. September 19, 1900)

Hunter grew up in Winchester and sometimes followed his father when he went to citizens’ homes to treat their illnesses. He liked science, participated with other children in the fun and innocent amusements of the time, enjoyed reading, and, although popular with friends and acquaintances, often preferred to be alone. In his teens Hunter took some classes at his father’s medical college; on the 1850 census he is listed as a “student.”

He attended medical school in Philadelphia at the University of Pennsylvania and Jefferson Medical College. During 1857 Hunter spent a term teaching at the Winchester Medical College as professor of anatomy. By 1859 he returned at Jefferson Medical College and was involved in the squabbling between northern and southern students over John Brown’s Raid and execution; Hunter led the “student secession” movement, in which 300 southern students, who had felt threatened, transferred to University of Virginia in Richmond to complete their education. Controversy and over this action forced Hunter to leave the school in Richmond and he transferred to Tulane University in New Orleans (unclear if he was teaching or still a student at Tulane). Hunter liked New Orleans and considered remaining in that city permanently, but then Virginia seceded and he returned home.

Hunter believed strongly in the principle of States’ Rights and the right of secession. He and two of his younger brothers enlisted and went to Harper’s Ferry to be trained and organized by General Jackson. Realizing Hunter had more talent and potential than the average soldier, orders came from Richmond to appoint Hunter McGuire to post of Brigade Surgeon in the First Virginia Brigade commanded by General Thomas J. Jackson. In the Confederate armies only 27 of all the surgeons had actually performed surgery prior to the war and Hunter was one of those 27. Illness among the troops was Hunter’s first and continuous test; the close proximity of hundreds or thousands of men contributed to the rapid spread of “childhood” diseases or other illnesses and the lack of sanitation in the camps was a real concern.

The Battle of First Manassas on July 21, 1861, was Hunter’s first experience in battlefield medicine, and included treating the brigade commander. When General Jackson and army moved to Winchester, Hunter went as well. The winter expeditions to The Canal, Bath, and Romney increased the illness among the troops and the sickness spread to the civilian population. In spring 1862, General Jackson evacuated Winchester, and Hunter was very distressed at leaving his family to face the invading Union troops. He actively and innovated served throughout the Valley Campaign, helping to ensure the best medical care possible for the Confederate sick and wounded. Although Union surgeon Jonathan Letterman is credited with establishing the system of ambulance evacuation for battlefield casualties, it is probable that Hunter had implemented a similar system during the Valley Campaign, possibly ahead of Letterman.  (Loss of Confederate military records prevents a confirmation of this fact).

In May 1862, General Jackson and his army triumphantly entered Winchester, capturing a huge stockpile of medical supplies and seven Union doctors. Hunter suggested to General Jackson that these surgeons should be treated as noncombatants and released on the agreement that they would try to secure the release of captured Confederate doctors.  This is the first recorded time in history that surgeons and other staff who care for injured troops were treated as noncombatants and it laid the ground work for resolutions.

The Seven Days Battles, Second Manassas, the Antietam Campaign, and Fredericksburg produced additional challenges and hardships for the medical director. In late autumn 1862, when the army camped near Winchester, Hunter brought General Jackson to his home and Hunter’s sister Getty asked the general for a photograph, leading to the creation of the “Winchester Photo.”

At the Battle of Chancellorsville on May 2, 1863, General Jackson was wounded. When he found the general, the general informed Hunter that he thought he was dying. Alarmed by the loss of blood, Hunter re-bandaged the wound and compressed the artery on the return to the hospital in the back of the ambulance. At two in the morning on May 3rd with three other surgeons present, Hunter informed General Jackson that amputation would probably be necessary and with the general’s consent administered chloroform and proceeded with the operation on the left arm. On May 4th Hunter supervised the removal of his wounded commander to a safe location at Guinea Station and believed that he was recovering well. At one in the morning on May 7th, Hunter, who had not slept for three nights, was not awakened when General Jackson began experiencing intense pain in his side; examination the next morning led Hunter to believe that General Jackson had pneumonia.  Other doctors came from Richmond and were consulted; Mrs. Jackson arrived.  The patient’s decline was rapid over the next three days and on May 10, 1863, at about 3:15 pm General Jackson died.

The following day Hunter went to Richmond and was present at the funeral on the 12th; he was one of the pallbearers and was also present at the burial in Lexington, Virginia. After General Jackson’s death, Hunter offered his resignation as medical director to the new commander, General Richard S. Ewell, but Ewell declined and retain Hunter in his original position.  Hunter was acquainted with General Ewell and in August 1862 had amputated the officer’s wounded leg; General Ewell was not the best patient and his leg was re-injured several times causing it to not heal properly. Hunter went with General Ewell on the Gettysburg Campaign.

In 1864, the campaigns in Virginia began with the Battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania Court House which will produce heavy casualties in the II Corps.  As Union armies close around the Petersburg and Richmond area, General Early, the new II Corps commander, journeyed to defend the Shenandoah Valley which was ravaged by Union generals.

In 1865 defeat loomed for the Confederacy, but Hunter displayed stayed at his post of duty.  On January 12th Hunter attended his younger brother Hugh’s wedding to Miss Sally Gallaher. In March, Union troops advancing on Charlottesville, captured and burnt Hunter’s wagon of personal belongings, medical records, and personal papers. While attempting to escape pursuers, Hunter fell off his horse and was captured. Union General Sheridan, grateful for Hunter’s previous efforts to release captured surgeons, offered him  a two week parole, after which Hunter rejoined General Lee’s army on their final campaign. Hunter was paroled with other Confederate officers at Appomattox Court House; afterward, he may have tried to find his brother Hugh who had been mortally wounded.

Dr. Hunter McGuire, post Civil War era
(Image in Public Domain, Wikicommons)

After the war, Hunter tried to establish a medical practice in Winchester, applied for a teaching position at the Medical College of Virginia, and then started to build a medical career in Richmond, Virginia. On December 19, 1866, Hunter wed Mary Stuart at her family home in Staunton; they will eventually had nine children. In 1877 Hunter’s first hospital, known as Retreat for the Sick, opened, and in 1881, he resigned from the Medical College of Virginia to focus on his own practice. After a disagreement over patient treatment in 1882, Hunter withdrew from Retreat for the Sick and will open St. Luke’s Hospital in 1883, where he served as chief doctor; this facility was the first private hospital in the south. (St. Luke’s Hospital is still in operation today; there is a modern built hospital in the Richmond area named after Hunter: Hunter Holmes McGuire Virginia Medical Center and it serves the veteran community).

In 1886 St. Luke’s Hospital will open a school for nursing, and five young women were in the first graduating class; Hunter’s school of nursing was the second of its kind in the southern states. In 1892 he helped found the University College of Medicine in Richmond and served as professor of clinical surgery for fifteen years without receiving any monetary compensation. Throughout his post-war career, Hunter served as president of numerous associations in the field of medicine. In 1893 he was elected president of the American Medical Association and in this position he advocated reforms in sanitation and hygiene to increase life expectancy and advancement of medical professionals’ training in their field.  Hunter became one of the founders and the president of College of Physicians and Surgeons, Richmond, Virginia.

Somehow, Hunter found time to accomplish tasks and goals outside of his responsibilities in the medical field and as a husband and father. In 1878, he traveled to Europe, where British authors, physicians, and military leaders were anxious to meet him and talk about his experiences, medical discoveries, and service with General Jackson. American recognized him as a knowledgeable and talented public speaker, and between 1896 and 1897, Hunter and Mary helped to establish a museum eventually known as Museum of Confederacy and currently as Museum of the American Civil War. He also wrote about the cause and conduct of the Civil War, trying to explain the reasons Southern soldiers fought.

On March 19, 1900, Hunter suffered a stroke and died several months later on September 19, 1900, at approximately 10:00 am. He is buried in Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond; in January 1904, a memorial statue of Hunter McGuire was unveiled in the Virginia capital.

Additional details about Hunter McGuire’s life, medical practices, and war experiences are under research or are simply too numerous to include here.

Edward McGuire

(b.1837, d. 1882)

No photograph available at this time.

Edward, sometimes called “Ed” by the family, was known for his good temper and jokes during youth. Prior to the Civil War, Edward served in the United States Navy. When Virginia seceded, he resigned and enlisted with his brothers Hunter and Hugh.

Later, he transferred to a Confederate commerce raider, in the Chesapeake Bay. He was captured (probably in 1863) and spent about a year in prison at Fort Delaware before his exchange. After his release, he joined Lieutenant John Yates Beall, a former comrade, and worked as a secret agent for the Confederacy in Canada.  Although Beall was captured and hung as a spy, Edward escaped into Canada across the Niagara River.

After the war, Edward returned to Winchester. He married, had several children, and died in 1882. It is not confirmed where he is buried.

Additional details under investigation and not ready for inclusion at this time.

Captain Hugh McGuire

Captain Hugh H. McGuire

(b. 1842, d. May 8, 1862)

Prior to the Civil War, Hugh worked as a tutor in the region around Fredericksburg, Virginia. At the beginning of the conflict, he seems to have enlisted with his brothers and eventually became a became a secretary for General Jackson and probably holding this position through 1862.

In 1863 Hugh transferred to the newly organized 11th Virginia Cavalry, where he will eventually hold the rank of Captain and command Company E.

On January 12th, 1865, Hugh married Sally Gallagher at her family home, Rose Hall, in Waynesboror, Virginia. On November 8, 1865, their first and only child – Mary – was born.

During the final retreat and campaign of the Army of Northern Virginia, at the Battle of Amelia Spring on April 5, 1865, Hugh was mortally wounded in the abdomen.  He died over a month later on May 8, 1865. It is not confirmed if he was moved to his bride’s home, a hospital, or left in a field medical facility; it is also not confirmed if Hunter or or his father saw him. There is a memorial gravestone in the Stonewall Confederate Cemetery in Winchester to Captain Hugh McGuire.

William P. McGuire

(b. July 19, 1846, d. November 15, 1826)

Photograph from the Handley Library Online Archives)

Called “Willie” by the family, William did not enlist with his older brothers at the beginning of the war, being too young. In autumn 1862, his parents sent him away from Winchester to attend a school run by the Brooke Family.

At the end of 1863 or beginning of 1864, he enlisted. During the winter of 1865, Willie was captured by Union troops and marched through Winchester on his way to prison in the north; his sister wrote that William was marched passed the family home. Released fro prison at the end of the war, Willie returned to Winchester.

He completed medical training and became a doctor. William owned the Braddock Street house property from 1868 to 1879. He married Miss Nannie Tucker and had four children. Dr. William P. McGuire died on November 15, 1926 and is buried in Mount Hebron Cemetery.

Further life, medical, and military details are still under research.

Annie McGuire

(b. 1848[?], d. July 5, 1917)

No photograph available at this time.

Annie McGuire lived at home during the Civil War years and her names makes occasional appearance in Winchester journals, suggesting she had friends and was an active part of the community. She never married, though reason for this are unclear.

She is buried in the family plot in Mount Hebron Cemetery, Winchester, Virginia.

More details about Annie’s under research and will hopefully present a clearer image of her life.