Youngest. Mayor. Ever?

Jeremy Aldrich -- January 3rd, 2009

One of the impressive things about our new mayor is his youth.  Several newspaper articles have speculated that he may be the youngest Harrisonburg mayor ever.  But it looks like at least one former mayor was younger than Mayor Degner.

I looked at several sources including Historic Harrisonburg by John Wayland, a website with highlights from the Rockingham Register, and a handy index of names gathered from local cemeteries.  Thomas L. Yancey, who was mayor for two years, was only a month into his 24th year when he took office on March 17, 1857.  Yancey, a lawyer, was the son of William Burbridge Yancey and Margaret Newman.  He died just before his 29th birthday of a fever contracted during his service as a captain of the Confederate cavalry.

10 Responses to “Youngest. Mayor. Ever?”

  1. I turned up two other mayors younger than Kai – Henry V. Strayer took office at age 27 in 1880, and Sheffey L. Devier took office at age 26 in 1924. There may be others; even compiling a definitive list of mayors (much less finding their birth dates) is proving somewhat difficult.

  2. Brian M says:

    I wondered after the DNR printed the words “possibly youngest” whether that could possibly be true. In current history yes, but ever? Thanks, Jeremy for doing the research.

  3. David Miller says:

    Ditto and thanks for those links, I have a copy of The History of Harrisoburg but didn’t know about those other great resources

  4. Renee says:

    Haha neat.

  5. Thanh says:

    I’m impressed with your detective skills Jeremy! Thanks for sharing this information.

  6. Thomas Yancey is also probably the greatest mayor in the history of the city.

  7. Kurt Hodgen says:

    If we want to “split hairs”, we could say Kai is the youngest mayor of the City of Harrisonburg. The others listed would have been Mayors of the Town of Harrisonburg!

  8. Kurt Hodgen says:

    Oooops. Looks like H’burg was a city by the time Mayor Devier took office. Now I know why I don’t post things! Apologies to Mayors Degner and Devier.

  9. JGFitzgerald says:

    But Kai is the youngest mayor of Harrisonburg since the state declared it to be a City of the First Class.

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