It takes people to make a road. It takes endurance, courage, and determination to make a road grow and withstand the test of time. It takes nature to cooperate, the land gives the resources, and the people create. The Great Wagon Road would merely be a blend of the landscape if it weren’t for the vision of so many people. This combination is what makes the Great Wagon Road so special and unique. It was the first of many to come. Once a footpath held together by the various native tribes, by 1755, the path developed into the most famous road in the colonies.
Diverse cultures, languages, and customs equate to the people, and the identical characteristics pour out on the road from one mile to the next. It’s critical to preserve the folks living on the shoulders because it is up to them to create the reputation and longevity of the road. What good comes from a road that leads to grumpy patrons and dead ends in the middle of nowhere? Many individuals think today that the Great Wagon Road was famous only because of its destination. Although the length of the road contributed to its prominence, it was the people who sustained the road’s life. Without them, the road would disappear into the landscape forever.
Who are these exceptional and mysterious people? The Great Wagon Road Project is happy to share them with you. Many arrived with few possessions but with a colossal of dreams. Some stayed, and others left for distant lands south or west. The project wants to bring them forward from the past so you can know who they were. Over the past three years, the doors have opened to the old homes once located along the Great Wagon Road. We catch a glimpse of life along the road with tavern ledgers, diaries, land surveys, and local documents. We can almost hear the blacksmith working or a family’s chatter as they sit down for the evening meal. The endless number of names flow from the past, and with them emerges a person with thoughts, feelings, and life from 280 years ago.
So, get ready for the information in the coming days. Piedmont Trails continues to embark on the journeys of the Colonial Indentured Project, the Patriot/Loyalist Project, the Yadkin Valley Railroad Project, and the Great Wagon Road Project. We are constantly researching and working on preservation goals. Get excited! Soon, new details will be arriving about the people who first gave new light to the Great Wagon Road. People like Leonard Schnell, Robert Hussey, Christopher Kuefer, Alexander Spotswood, the Iroquois tribe, John Armstrong, Chief Gachradadow, Chief Canasatego, Tocarry-Hogan, George Whitefield, John Wilson, William Graham, Evan Watkins, Morgan Bryan, Squire Boone, William Linville, the Catawba tribe, and the list goes on and on. Until next time, enjoy your journey to the past, my friends.