The Great Wagon Road In North Carolina

A Detailed Description For Years of 1745-1770

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The last segment featured the trail reaching the Carolina wilderness. As the early settlers gazed upon the horizon, they carried within them the dreams of their hearts and the hope of the future. The pioneers have been traveling for weeks now, enduring the hardships of the road and it’s many hazards. The families along with the animals are becoming more and more tired of the daily travel. The rough terrain is harsh along with the elements of nature forcing her hand upon the pioneers. Many of these pioneers changed their destination routes and settled in areas near the road. 

The tall swaying pines were greeting the pioneers as they crossed the Virginia/Carolina state line onto present day Amostown Road located in Stokes County. Traveling 5 miles, they reached present day, Sandy Ridge after crossing Buffalo Creek and Blackies Branch. The trail has continued as an Indian hunting path but it is also following the old buffalo herd trails. The buffalo made several paths that lead to water such as Buffalo Creek. The actual ford of Blackies Branch is located on Dillard Road. The road now joins with NC 704 for 4 miles until it joins NC 772. The next major water crossing would be located at the Dan River. Many different fords have been located along the river, many believe that the most popular ford was located along Glidewell Road near present day Dodgetown Road. Upon reaching the Dodgetown area, a junction in the trail appears. This junction was named Limestone Road during 1770. The pioneers who traveled the road prior to 1770 took the trail extending onto Highway 89 south to Walnut Cove where portions lie across Highway 65 and 66 through Stokes County.

The Great Wagon Road branches into many different trails along the Carolina countryside. As you follow NC 772, 3 miles from Dodgetown area, the settlers would be arriving in present day Dillard. Continuing along NC 772 for 4 miles, the trail turns on Hickory Fork Road until Willard Road. I strongly recommend a 4 wheel drive in this area along Willard Road due to the very rural area and frequent flooding from the Dan River. Once the river is crossed here, the present day road transforms into a dirt path until it reaches Saura Farm Road.  Tuttle Road is located after traveling 2 miles. This road will join US 311 and Oldtown Road near Walnut Cove. Continuing onward for 4 miles, the trail reaches present day Brook Cove Road and then joins Highway 8 until it reaches the original Townfork Settlement. A bridge is now located near the original ford at Town Creek. 

A few surnames who settled this area prior to 1760 are Armstrong,  Beard, Bitting, Braley, Donnel, Gillespie, Grogan, Kerr, McClure, McAdoo, Nicks, Nix and Walker. Majority of these pioneers lived near Buffalo Creek in present day Stokes County, NC.

Documentation proves that settlers were traveling this area as early as 1718

Highway 8 leads the present travelers to Germanton which was established in 1790. The crossing of Buffalo Creek would be waiting on the early settlers which today can be crossed by a bridge. The original trail now travels 1 mile to the junction of Highway 65 in Rural Hall. From here you travel 2 1/2 miles along Germanton Road/Highway 8 until Stanleyville Drive. 5 miles to University Drive in Winston-Salem and 1/2 miles to West Haynes Mill Road. Another 1/2 mile crossing Grassy Creek until the trail reaches Bethania Station Road. At this point, the Moravians built a new road that reached their settlements. This segment will continue with the original trail. 

From Bethania Station Road the trail travels along Beck’s Church Road to Bethabara. In 1763, a new road was ordered in this area that leads to present day Salisbury and the Yadkin River. This route would have been closely followed by Morgan Bryan and his traveling party from Virginia. The actual route can be located near Speas Road and Midkiff Road. The area has drastically changed over the years due to agriculture and economic progress. After 2 miles the trail joins Reynolda Road in Winston-Salem. Traveling for 5 miles along Stratford Road and Reynolda Road, the trail then reached Silas Creek Parkway and Ebert Road. Traveling 4 miles to NC 150 and Old Salisbury Highway, this portion of the road was originally a pack horse Indian trail that traveled east to Cross Creek, otherwise known as Fayetteville, NC.

Documentations prove that George Washington traveled sections of the Great Wagon Road while on his Southern Tour during 1791.

From this point, the road travels 27 miles along NC 150 and US 29 to reach the Yadkin River. Today a bridge marks the crossing along the original route. The above data documents the original route of the road entering into North Carolina. Depending upon the timeline of the early pioneers depends on what actual route they traveled. North Carolina was a land of wilderness with little to very few settlers prior to 1745 in this region. Portions of the land were open meadows which were perfect grazing lands for buffalo. The last document verifying the sightings of buffalo in the region can be found in the Moravian diaries and date to the year of 1758. Huge trees also dominated the landscape as well as wildflowers and natural springs. The land that our ancestors gazed upon so many years ago has greatly changed all through the years. But due to research, it is possible to travel along the same route our ancestors did during the 18th century.

To have a better understanding of the sounds our ancestors heard while on the Great Wagon Road, click here. Also, if you would like to have a better understanding on how the wagons crossed rivers and creeks, click here. Depending upon the timeline of your ancestor, greatly varies  which route was taken. Prior to 1765, only two routes were used from Big Lick(Roanoke), Virginia to Carolina. After 1770, several new routes were established and used up to the American Revolutionary War. By 1790, road improvements were made along the many routes leading into North Carolina and additional routes were made traveling south and west from the region. 

The Great Wagon Road Is A Historic Trail

The early settlers used the road to travel back and forth from North Carolina to Pennsylvania. The road allowed the sale of cattle and crops for many of the pioneers. Supplies were transported into North Carolina via the road to stock shelves in merchant stores located in Moravian settlements, Salisbury and other early towns established prior to 1770. The next segment on the road will give a detailed route entering into South Carolina and Georgia.  Also, a new page will be arriving to Piedmont Trails in  January 2019. This page will give research techniques and information about all 18th and early 19th century migration trails throughout the entire United States.

Piedmont Trails appreciates your support so much. I hope everyone is able to discover many treasures along the trail of your ancestors. Determining the actual route of your ancestors can be a difficult project, but it is not impossible by any means. Using the right research techniques and creating a timeline from your notes will greatly help you determine the right route. All of our ancestors left an amazing trail to follow. Enjoy your journey !!

The Origins of Kernersville

The Story Of A Small Town In Forsyth County, NC

What defines a small town? Could it be the actual size of the population? Could it be the boundaries that restrict its growth? Or could it mean something more, a feeling of belonging? A feeling that means home. Kernersville is one of those special places that welcomes you in with a smile. Nestled in Forsyth County near present day Winston-Salem, Kernersville speaks volumes of history as soon as you enter through the city limits. The downtown streets are narrow with little shops all in a row. Shade provided by the trees lining the sidewalks cast shadows on your feet as you stroll along. The crossroads located in the center of town were distinguished many years ago with the name of Dobson’s Crossroads. At one time, a tavern with an inn stood at the road welcoming weary travelers. Before this, David Morrow owned the land who purchased it from Caleb Story. Caleb Story held a land grant dated 1756 for 400 acres of what is now known as part of Kernersville. Before Caleb Story, the land belonged to the Indians. Cherokee, Catawba and the Sioux were among these tribes. Broken pottery has been located within the city limits of Kernersville along with numerous amounts of arrowheads. Several of these I have found personally and wondered what stories they could tell if only allowed to speak.

kernersville map

Map of Kernersville 1834

During the late 18th century, Dobson’s Crossroads was a major stop along the route north, so many travelers would rest at the tavern and the inn. It was built circa 1772 by William Dobson. He raised his family and operated the daily functions of the business. The main road that crossed in front of the tavern was the colonial stage road. If you have ancestor’s who migrated the Great Wagon Road and settled in or around the area of Kernersville, it’s very probable that they may have stopped or even stayed at the inn. After the Revolutionary War, George Washington was making his way on his southern tour. He was visiting the country after he was elected as our first president. He arrived at the crossroads June 2nd, 1791 and breakfast was prepared for him. Washington had just left Salem on May 31st. This will give you an idea on the length of travel time it took between Salem and what is now known as Kernersville. Present day travel would take you approx. 15 minutes. It should be noted that George Washington made several stops along the way and did not travel at night.

Dobson Crossroad

Dobson Tavern and Crossroads

William Dobson sold the land which now consisted of over a thousand acres to Gottlieb Schober in 1813. Gottlieb traveled to Carolina with the Moravians and was the first postmaster of Salem. He left the Moravian church and moved his family to the inn. Gottlieb’s son, Nathaniel inherited the property and continued to operate the tavern which also by now had a store. Joseph Kerner purchased the property from Nathaniel on November 14, 1817 and moved his family from the Friedland settlement. Friedland, a Moravian settlement was located approx. 7 miles from the inn. To learn more about Friedland, click here. The origins of Kernerville’s name arrives with Joseph Kerner. Joseph and his family continued to operate the business renaming it Kerner’s Crossroads. He purchased additional lands increasing his vast amount to a total of 1,144 acres before his death in 1830. The division of the land occurred among the children of Joseph Kerner and the lands remained within the immediate family until 1841 when Salome, daughter of Joseph, and her husband, Appollos Harmon, sold a portion of their property. Bits and pieces were donated or sold over the years until the inn was sold as well. Phillip Kerner, son of Joseph, operated the inn until he sold the property to Robert Henly of Randolph County. Eventually, the crossroads began to take on the appearance of a community. By the end of the Civil War, several churches had been built along with other businesses and by 1871, Kernersville was incorporated. What happened to the inn? Well, Henly operated the inn until 1882 when he sold the property to Dr. Sapp. The inn was renamed Sapp Hotel and Dr Sapp operated a drug store on the premises as well. Years later, it became known as Auto Inn until eventually the inn was torn down and replaced with another business. The days of the tavern and the inn are lingering in the past with the stories and the people of long ago.

 A Sampling of Surnames of Kernersville

Adkins, Blackburn, Blackwell, Brooks, Coltrane, Cooke, Davis, Dicks, Donnell, Dunlap, Flynt, Frentress, Friende, Fulp, Fulton, Galloway, Greenfield,  Harmon, Huff, Ingram, Johnson, Joyce, Joyner, Kerner, Lain, Leak, Lindsay, Linville, Lowery,Matthews, Morris, Morton, Motsinger, Pepper, Phillips, Pinnix, Plunkett, Prince, Record, Ring, Roberts, Sapp, Shore, Sigmon,Snow, Stafford, Sullivan, Swaim, Swisher, Teague, Vance, Walker, Weatherly, Whicker, Whitaker

What makes a small town special? The answer to this is fairly easy and I think everyone would agree with me, it’s the people. The seeds of a town are held by the roots of it’s people, nourished to grow beyond it’s original boundaries to new beginnings and blue skies. It’s the daily routines of neighbors, the casual events at the local store, the children attending school, the baseball games, the dances filled with hopeful romances, the picnics and parades. It’s the rhythm of the people creating a heartbeat that unites a small town. That’s the “special”. As always, Thank You all so much for your support of Piedmont Trails and I wish you all great success with your journey to the past.

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Pictured at the beginning of the blog is Korner’s Folly. You can learn more about this amazing house by clicking here. Built by the grandson of Joseph Kerner, the house has special features unlike any other in the state. Jules Korner was a very unique person who traveled the world and decided to help design and build this magnificent home. It’s located in the heart of Kernersville. Thanks Again Everyone and we’ll see you along the trail.

 

Occupations of The First Settlers on The Carolina Frontier

1742-1762 Time Period

Majority of the first settlers to North Carolina were farmers. This list shows the occupations of persons living in North Carolina between the years of 1747 and 1762.

Adams, Johannes-potter

Ardnt, Peter-tavern keeper

Baker, Henry-wagonmaker

Baker, Samuel-miller

Barth, Johann Ludwig-butcher, tavern keeper

Bashford, Thomas-innkeeper

Beard, John Lewis-butcher, tavern keeper

Berry, James-candlemaker

Boise, Bostain-tailor

Boone, Jonathan-spinner

Boone, Squire(senior)-weaver

Bowers, James-tavern keeper

Braly, John-schoolmaster

Brandon, James-miller

Brandon, John-tailor

Brunner, George-gunsmith

Bunting, John-tailor

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Carson, James-tanner

Carter, James-millwright, surveyor

Cathey, Andrew-shoemaker

Cathey, George-miller

Craig, Archibald-innkeeper, ferry operator

Cranston, Andrew-doctor

Cusick, Edward-innkeeper

Deane, Luke-Indian trader, innkeeper, ferry operator

Dickey, John-gunsmith, merchant and store keeper

Dickson,Michael-weaver

Douglas, Alexander-stonemason

Dunn, John-attorney

Feree, Isaac-ferry operator

Forster, Hugh-saddler

Franck,Jacob-innkeeper, distiller

Frohock, John-miller

Gillespie, Elizabeth-innkeeper

Gillespie, Matthew-cordwainer

(c) National Trust, Calke Abbey; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Graham, James-stiller

Grob, Henrich-millwright

Hall, David-blacksmith

Harrison, William-attorney, innkeeper

Hendry, Henry-schoolmaster

Hickey, John-merchant

Horah, Henry-weaver, innkeeper

Hughes, Edward-tavern keeper

Huggen, James-tavern keeper

Johnston, John(juinor)-hatter

Jones, David-weaver

King, Richard-clothier

Lock, Francis-carpenter

Long, John-tavern keeper, planter-merchant

Luckie, Robert-wheelwright

Lynn, James-architect

Lynn, John-doctor

McConnell, William-merchant

McDowell, David-joiner

McGuire, John-Indian trader

McHenry, Henry-tailor

McKnight, WIlliam-malster

McManus, James-merchant

Magoune, George-innkeeper

Michael, Conrad-tanner

Miller, James-tailor

candle

Mitchell, John-merchant

Montgomery, Hugh-merchant, tavern keeper

Montgomery, William-tavern keeper

Morrison, William-miller

Oglethorpe, John Newman-surgeon

Oliphant, John-miller

Parker, John-doctor

Patton, John-blacksmith

Reed, Samuel-cordwainer

Rintelmann, Christopher-weaver

Rounsavill, Benjamin-ferry operator

Ryle, John-innkeeper

Shinn, Samuel-mason

Sleven, William-weaver

Steel, Robert-schoolmaster

Strayhorn, Gilbert-tailor

Thompson, John-cooper

Thomson, John-Presbyterian minister

Verrell, John-attorney, tavern keeper

Walton, Richard-tanner

Whitesides, John-miller

Williams, William-hatter

Woods, Robert-carpenter

This list derives from the book entitled, “Carolina Cradle” written by the late Robert B. Ramsey. Dr. Ramsey was a history professor at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. Definitions of a portion of the occupations are as follows:

weaver-person who weaves fabric

hatter-person who makes and sells hats

mason-a person who works with stone

millwright-person who designs or repairs machinery

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The settlers mentioned in this article were living in the Piedmont area of present day North Carolina. The Yadkin River would have been near the center of the area. Wishing you all great success on your research and Thank You So Much for your support.

 

 

 

 

Carolina Frontier Settlements

The Importance of March 25, 1752 in North Carolina

North Carolina was considered a frontier in 1752; an unsettled region with vast amounts of land opportunities. As discussed in the previous blog, the Great Wagon Road allowed access to this area and growth occurred quickly. March 25, 1752 was an important date due to the last new year’s day in England and her colonies under the Julian system of chronology. This day was also important to 49 settlers living near the Yadkin River and north of Lord Granville’s boundary. These 49 settlers were issued land grants, the largest amount from Lord Granville’s agents on a single date.

land grants

This segment will concentrate on 15 of these 49 settlers. They are Samuel Blythe, Robert Allison, Thomas Allison, Fergus Graham, James Hill, Henry Huey, Andrew Kerr, William Morrison, Robert Reed, Henry White, Moses White, Benjamin Winsley, Alexander McCulloch and John McCulloch.

Robert and Thomas Allison settled along the waters of Fourth Creek after migrating from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Their houses were two miles apart and were more than likely related, but have no definite proof of this. Read more about Fourth Creek Settlement here.

William Morrison was one of 4 brothers who migrated from Ireland with their father, James Morrison in 1730. William and Hugh Morrison settled in Nantmeal Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania before 1737. William later became a tax collector in 1746 in Colerain, Lancaster County. William Morrison’s brothers, Andrew and James were also living in Lancaster County during the years of 1742-1747 and followed William to North Carolina. William’s 1st tract of land adjoined John McConnell’s property near Davidson’s Creek Settlement. According to Rowan County, NC Deeds, 111, 372; William purchased land along Third Creek where he operated a mill and built his house. William died in 1771 at the age of 67. His brother, Andrew died in 1770 at the age of 52.

James Miller from New Castle County, Delaware settled along Fifth Creek in Rowan County, NC. He owned 560 acres and died prior to October 21, 1761 when his farm was sold at auction.

Samuel and Margaret Blythe had 4 sons and daughters who were baptized at the first Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania between the years of 1718 and 1725. Samuel Blythe was living in Lancaster County in 1733. This Samuel Blythe died in 1775 in Cumberland County, PA and his namesake migrated to North Carolina and settled on Sill’s Creek near the property of Felix Kennedy in Rowan County, NC.

Fergis Graham migrated from Chester County and he appears on the tax list of 1737-1738.

James Hill owned 640 acres on the branch of Second Creek. He later sold the property to Henry Schiles in 1754.

James and Henry Huey  lived in Chester County during the years of 1739 and 1740. Robert Huey was living in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania in 1737. Henry Huey later arrived in North Carolina and purchased 612 acres on the north bank of Fourth Creek, Rowan County, NC.

Andrew and John Kerr purchased lands four miles from one another along Third Creek, Rowan County, NC. They both migrated from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

The Reed family settled in Nottingham township between 1738 and 1743. Robert Reed left Pennsylvania shortly after 1743 and arrived in North Carolina. He obtained a land grant on Marlin’s Creek. He later sold his property and was living in Orange County, NC in 1761.

Henry White, with his wife, Johanna, were living in Rapho Township, Lancaster County, PA when he sold his land on May 22, 1749. He soon left for North Carolina where he obtained his land grant in 1752.

rowan-co-1780-map (1)

James McCulloch with his two sons, John and Alexander, obtained lands between George Davidson and the Catawba River. James McCulloch originated from Fallowfield township, Chester County, PA and settled there in 1739. He left for North Carolina approx. 1747. His will was probated in 1758 and mentioned 4 sons and a grandchild.

Moses White settled along the Davidson’s Creek as well as Benjamin Winsley.

These first settlers traveled mainly from Pennsylvania to reach the lands of North Carolina before the Great Wagon Road was no more than a 4ft. path in many areas. They traveled the route before many inhabitants settled along the trail. In other words, the route they took to arrive in North Carolina was a frontier of wilderness. Once they obtained their land grants, they married, had children and prospered. Ten years later, the Great Wagon Road was referred to as a “road” and no longer a trail or path. The first pioneers paved the way for others to follow their footsteps into the Carolina frontier.

kerr mill

Kerr Mill, Rowan County, NC