Kanawha Trace

Mary Draper Ingles Route


The Waybill that we have, begins at New Garden Friends Church on the Northwest side of Greensboro, near Guilliford Battlefield. (Another New Garden Friends Church, there are several of them, is north of Richmond IN, this waybill was for a specific family group). Clemmons was likely at Guilford, a small town on NC 66. By distance, Beesons would be the town of Colfax; and Kernersville, east of Winston Salem, is Kerners. Continuing on NC 66 to US 52, Bittings would likely be at Stanleyville or Rural Hall, Gordings would be at Pilot Mountain, and Unthanks at Mount Airy. Following the route of US 52 into Virginia, Perkins would be at Cana VA and Mankins at Ward's Gap might be the modern Fancy Gap on US 52 at the Blue Ridge Parkway. Going west the Trace went to Road's Fork at modern Hillsville on top of the ridge, where US 52 and VA 100 each continue their own route down into the New River Valley. The Trace followed VA 100 down Little Reed Island Creek through Popular Camp Mountain. It crosses Reed Island River at Patterson and then the New River (Fugat's Ferry, now a bridge). VA 100 does not cross Draper's Mountain to Pulaski, and John Feeley's would be at McAdam or possibly Draper. Crossing Walker Mountain, VA 100 comes to Poplar Hill, which would be Shannon's and comes back to the New River, which has taken a big loop, at Pearisburg, old Giles Court House, and US 460. Peter's Ferry could be located at Narrows, where they could recross the New River. (It must be remembered that in these early days, the lack of bridges in the frontier areas meant that obstacles that we now ignor drastically effected travel patterns. A Traveler sometimes went longer, or worse, routes, because there was no way they could cross a River. This is true of the routes here, and across West Virginia.)

[Remember, also, that in those days Virginia went clear to the Ohio River.] Across West Virginia, the Kanawha Trace, by tradition, followed the Shawnee Indian War Path close to the New or Kanawha River. Peterstown is just in West Virginia at US 219 and WV 12. Christian Peter's home would have been out of Peterstown on WV 12. There Bozoo Road goes left and down into the old river bottom, a shorter route than WV 12. Bluestone Lake floods this area, but the Indian River enters the New below Indian Mills, coming down the valley from the Northeast. The Blue Stone River comes up the valley from the Southwest about 15 miles down stream and Pack's ferry would have been out in the lake, between them (before Wolf Creek Mountain). Unless there was a bottom land route (now flooded), the mountains push in close to the New River and the Trace would have followed a trail up to Pipe Stem, and followed the Pipestem Creek down to the Blue Stone River crossing. Following up another trail out of the Blue Stone, Pack's could possibly be at Nimitz and Jumping Branch, where another old road (WV 3) goes to Shady Spring. There modern US 19 shows sections of an old road near it. US 19 goes to Beckley, Mount Hope and Glen Jean (with Harvey just beyond) and on to Fayetteville on the downriver side of the New River Gorge. This is possibly "Road's Fork", where the Trace did not try to recross the New River, but took WV 16, to Beckwith where it took the very rugged Falls Creek Road over Cotton Hill. The creek and trail come out at the Falls of the New River, now Kanawha Falls (where the Kanawha River Dam now is). The Gauley River enters the New River at Gauley Bridge above the Dam, and the River changed, it is larger, and has a more constant flow. The valley widens. It is now called the Kanawha. Here below the falls, early settlers built flat boats and floated down the River to Point Pleasant, then down the Ohio to Kaintuck or Cincinnati.

The Trace followed a country road along the south bank of the Kanawha River. It is pressed closely by high rugged mountains, the only level areas are where mountain streams enter the river. A couple of these have become towns, Deep Water, Eagle. Benjamin Morris probably lived where Montgomery is, where WV 61 comes down off the mountain. There is a better roadway, and towns of Crown Hill and Cabin Creek. At Chelyan the West Virginia Turnpike and US 119 come down to the River. Leonard Morris had a fortified log house ("fort") at Marmet, on the south side of the River just above Charleston, where the Toney's and others fled during the Indian raids of 1794. Venables would have been in the eastern area of South Charleston called Kanawha City, where there used to be a second branch of the Kanawha River by that name. Cobb's would also be in South Charleston near Vandalia. The Coal River enters the Kanawha at St Albans, where US 35 comes in from downstream and Ohio. There is quite a ridge, actually a mountain, between the two nearly parallel rivers for many miles. Hanley's, M'Collister's and Grice's would have been stops on the lower river before crossing to Gallipolis OH. The Trace followed the bank of the Kanawha River clear to the Ohio, then down the bank of the Ohio to across from Gallipolis, because of high ridges along both rivers. At Gallipolis, they would have rafted over the Ohio, landing at the old town dock area, today's City Park.

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