Jubal Early Drive

A motorist waits to turn on to Jubal Early Drive from Plaza Drive. The major Winchester thoroughfare bears the name of a Conferate general, which some people believe should be changed.

WINCHESTER — A petition signed by all members of the Winchester Police Department seeks to change the name of Jubal Early Drive to Hunter Edwards Drive in honor of the officer who fatally crashed on the road in 2018 while responding to a call about a street fight.

The 30-year-old Stephens City resident, who was a city police officer for four years, hydroplaned in his cruiser on an icy patch of the street while en route to assist fellow officers. His death triggered an outpouring of grief in the department and community.

“The men and women of the police department have not forgotten Officer Edwards,” Police Chief John R. Piper wrote in a July 16 letter to City Council. “We ask that you allow this community to join us in ensuring his life and legacy are remembered and memorialized properly, so that future generations know the ultimate sacrifice that Officer Edwards made for the city of Winchester and its citizens.”

The road was named for Early, a Confederate general, in 1991, but there is effort to rename the street because he was an unrepentant supporter of slavery. The move comes amid an effort to remove Confederate names nationwide from public places.

Piper wrote that Edwards was a loyal friend, husband and loving father in addition to being a good cop. “While some may feel that council should not rename this street after another person, we could not disagree more. This would, in fact, be an appropriate and lasting tribute to a great man and outstanding police officer who gave everything to Winchester!”

Some don’t believe the road should be renamed at all.

City Council is scheduled to continue its discussion about the road’s name at its meeting on Tuesday.

Numerous names have been suggested to replace Jubal Early. Among the most popular choices are, according to a city survey, Meadow Branch, Patsy Cline, Abrams Creek, Magnolia and Winchester. Also suggested are: Thomas Laws, the slave who smuggled information to the Union Army that helped defeat Early at the Third Battle of Winchester; Spottswood Poles, an outstanding Negro League outfielder from Winchester and decorated World War 1 veteran, and Dr. Sara Winifred Brown, a prominent African American physician, Winchester native and professor of gynecology at Howard University.

— Contact Evan Goodenow at egoodenow@winchesterstar.com

(12) comments

Jubal Early

Why don't we name it after a black Confederate soldier who served in the southern army they're were numerous ones that fought for the south and they weren't forced to pick up arms to help the south mount a stubborn resistance.

Jason Murray

I think that a more accurate reflection of African-American participation in the war,that is pertinent to Winchester, would be one of the U.S. Colored Troops buried in the Winchester National Cemetery. Philip Brent is one such Soldier that actually lived in Winchester until his passing in 1919.

When will the lost-cause propagandists stop with exaggerated falsehoods about wide-spread Black loyalty to the confederacy that never really existed except in propaganda films like Gone With The Wind?


Keep it simple. Edwards Drive if that's the way council chooses to go. Poles Drive. Same thing. Laws Drive, etc. All acceptable.

Doc Samson

Perhaps there would be a legitimate issue if Jubal Early hadn't been an unrepentant white supremacist... but he was. I don't think this instance is problematic and think this would be an appropriate change...


Renaming Jubal Early Drive to Hunter Edwards Drive is a passive backdoor approach to eliminate Confederate history from Winchester. People clearly see through this! If you want to honor the memory of Officer Edwards name the new bridge that crosses over I-81 after him.

Spock Here

Berbrier points to the following quote in a 1991 issue of The Populist Observer, the newsletter of the Populist Party: “Blacks, Orientals, Indians and Hispanics are taught to love their history, while whites are being taught to hate their own.”

According to Berbrier’s analysis, these supremacist groups feel that if whites do express pride in their heritage, they are branded racists and bigots. He writes that their euphemisms, like “heritage preservation” are so-called “ethnic affectations designed to destigmatize white supremacists and separatists alike by implying that they are just another ethnic group with similar needs.”

Spock Here

So "confederate history". An economy reliant on slave labor, a general who believed that black human beings must be subjugated; this shameful history cannot be eliminated, but why should it be honored?


I don't know why we have to change it at all. Way too many snowflakes in our country these days.


One could argue, that there are 'way too many racists in our country these days, too....sad!'

Jason Murray

I have no issues whatsoever with renaming the road for someone who gave their life while engaged in service to our community. I look forward to turning onto Hunter Edwards Drive during my morning drive to work if this how the City Council would like to proceed.


Totally agree.


Mr. Murray, I again commend you for your civility and your willingness to put action to your words. Thank you. I too would not object to renaming this road after Officer Edwards if Council decides to do so.

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