Biography of Judge Rose MacDonald Skoggs

Judge Rose MacDonald Skoggs of Berryville has had a distinguished career spanning authorship, librarianship, and public service. Born Rose Mortimer Ellzey MacDonald in Lexington, Virginia, she pursued education at Norwood Institute, Shepherd College, the University of Virginia, and William and Mary College. She served as the first female member of the Virginia State Board of Education and judge of Clarke County’s juvenile and domestic relations court. An accomplished author, her works include “Mrs. Robert E. Lee” and “History of Virginia for Boys and Girls.” She is a member of the Society of Colonial Dames and the Garden Club of Virginia. Married to J. Lewis Skoggs in 1947, they reside in Berryville.

Judge Rose MacDonald Skoggs, of Berryville, has had a varied and useful career, and her activities have included, in addition to service on the bench of the juvenile and domestic relations court of Clarke County, the authorship of a number of books, a position as librarian, and welfare work. In all of its aspects her career has been well directed to the advancement of her city and her region of the Shenandoah Valley.

Born Rose Mortimer Ellzey MacDonald, she is a native of Lexington, Virginia and a daughter of Marshall and Mary Eliza (McCormick) MacDonald. Her father was born October 18, 1835 and died September 1, 1895, while her mother, born October 18, 1840, survived her husband by many years and died February 8, 1934. Mrs. Skoggs attended Norwood Institute in Washington, D.C., and later entered Shepherd College in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. She completed her formal education with courses at the University of Virginia and William and Mary College.

Mrs. Skoggs began her career as librarian with the United States Bureau of Fisheries. She was later an educator, and was the first woman to serve as a member of the State Board of Education in Virginia. She has been supervisor of rural schools in Clarke County, and has served as judge of the juvenile and domestic relations court of the same county, thus giving evidence to her fellow townsmen of the scope of her abilities and the conscientious nature of her public service. Mrs. Skoggs was also founder of the Visiting District Nurse Association of Alexandria. She was chairman of the American Red Cross canteen in that city during World War I, and was chairman of the canteen in Clarke County, also managed by the American Red Cross, during World War II.

Mrs. Skoggs has been the author of a number of books, titles of which follow: “Then and Now in Dixie,” “Mrs. Robert E. Lee,” “Nellie Custis, Daughter of Mount Vernon,” “Clarke County, Daughter of Frederick,” and “History of Virginia for Boys and Girls” (co-author with John W. Wayland). She is also the compiler of an “Analytical Subject Bibliography” of the publications of the United States Bureau of Fisheries. As indicated by the titles above, Mrs. Skoggs is vitally interested in the historic background of her region of the country, and a profound student of it. She is a member of the Writers’ Club of Virginia.

Mrs. Skoggs also belongs to the Society of Colonial Dames, the Federation of Women’s Clubs and the Garden Club of Virginia. In her religious faith she is an Episcopalian.

In Berryville, Virginia, on May 31, 1947, Rose Mortimer Ellzey MacDonald was married to J. Lewis Skoggs. They reside in Berryville.


Couper, Wm. (William), History of the Shenandoah Valley, Family and Personal Records, vol. III, New York, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., 1952.

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