The Great Wagon Road Project has been concentrating on the North Carolina section until August of this year. As we trace the road through the various creeks and streams, we add our data to the ever growing final presentation and our ultimate goal of national recognition. The North Carolina segment begins along the northern sections of Rockingham County near the banks of the Mayo River. Below are pictured several map sources depicting the road from 1752 to 1775. You will see the variance between each map. This is just one of the issues with the project determining the original road and it’s present day location.
Mayo River Crossing 1775
Courtesy of Library of Congress see source list (1)
Mayo River Crossing 1770
Courtesy of Library of Congress see source list (2)
Mayo River Crossing 1752
Courtesy of Library of Congress see source list (3)
As you can see, mapping the original route requires the study and research of several sources. The project also looks for references included in diaries, journals, newspaper clippings, history of early settlements along the road and much more. Locating the original route during the 18th century is difficult enough but the project also has to identify it in present day location as well. This is in sync with our outline and accomplishing our goal of national historic trail recognition.
Moravian Diary Archives
Courtesy of Records of The Moravians in North Carolina see source list (4)
The project also has members who concentrate on the ground work. This is vital with our research as we attempt to locate the road and walk in the actual footsteps of our ancestors. Photos are taken, local interviews are conducted and local land records are researched. Locating a land deed with a mention of the road not only proves it’s existence during that particular time period, but it also places the road in a specific location that can be identified today. The project members engage themselves with the process of map overlaying while applying GPS coordinates to record the exact location.
This entire process is followed with each mile of the road as the group explores and locates the old discoveries and finds many new artifacts. Along the North Carolina sections of the original road, the path can be seen as deep ruts, tall road banks and fords along the creeks and rivers. So many families traveled the Great Wagon Road that a great portion of their migration can be viewed today in present day rural areas.
The Great Wagon Road Project Flyer
If you have information about your family and/or the Great Wagon Road, the project would love to hear from you. The members have corresponded with numerous families living in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. If you would like a copy of our flyer to pass around with your friends and neighbors, please let us know. We’ll be happy to email you a copy. If you would like to become a volunteer, simply contact Piedmont Trails. The Great Wagon Road deserves it’s place among our history. With the preservation of this historic road, it also preserves our ancestors who were among the tens of thousands involved with the largest southern migration during the 18th century.
As the project moves forward, new articles will appear displaying our progress and discoveries along the road. Don’t miss any of these items by subscribing to Piedmont Trails. As always, we wish you all great success with your personal research. Our ancestors left an amazing journey to follow.
Enjoy Your Journey To The Past !!
- 1-Library of Congress-Contributor Names Fry, Joshua, approximately 1700-1754. Jefferson, Peter, 1708-1757, joint author. Sayer, Robert, 1725-1794. Jefferys, Thomas, -1771. Created / Published London, Printed for Robt. Sayer 
- 2-Library of Congress-Contributor Names Collet, John. Bayly, J. Hooper, S. (Samuel) Created / Published London : S. Hooper, 1770.
- 3-Library of Congress-Contributor Names Bowen, Emanuel, -1767. Created / Published [London, 1752]
- 4-Records of the Moravians in North Carolina Volume I pg. 26 Adelaide Fries