18th Century Roads

18th Century Classified Ads

We don’t own a crystal ball that predicts the future or sheds light on the past. If we did, we would already know the answers to our many questions, wouldn’t we? Every day, you wake to a new start, a morning at first light, a new chapter on your journey to the past. At any given moment, we could hit a bump in the road, and that’s ok. A new source or another direction just might be what we need at times. If we use a variety of sources outside of the norm, we may discover a new adventure. A perfect example of other resources is classified ads. Let’s take a closer look.

Notice the article on the right. The notice says that a property is for sale in Richmond, Virginia. It further states 405 acres joining the James River Canal filled with apple and peach trees. One hundred and fifty cleared acres, with the remaining filled with hard timbers such as oak and hickory. A two-story house with five rooms sits on the property with a separate kitchen, smaller dwellings, and a large barn. Notice the stone quarry and the reference to the bridge in Richmond. For a Daniel Hylton descendant, this ad is a goldmine of information. A separate house with four rooms needs repair. Mr. Hylton is willing to extend credit and divide the property into smaller lots. Trading the property is offered for equal-valued lands in Albemarle, Buckingham, or Cumberland. Last but not least, the middle initial L appears in the name. A treasure indeed. Note the passage between the main house and the kitchen, measuring 40×12. The kitchen sits separately from the main house as customary of the day. Note the date of publication, January 25, 1797. The question is, did Daniel Hylton sell his property?

The second ad shows seven acres for sale. It’s located less than two miles from Alexandria on the turnpike road from Leesburg to Colchester Road. What other details can we find? The property is part of an estate in the name of Thomas Redmond, deceased. The ad also mentions his executor, Sarah Redmond. Piedmont Trails has family files on both of these families. The Redmond surname dates to early 1720 in Virginia.

The third ad is small but mighty. John Hendrick gives a warning to all persons moving wood and timber from his recently purchased property. George Mayo is mentioned as the original owner. Mr. Hendrick must have had a major problem with this to take out an ad.

All kinds of ads appear in early newspapers. Many local articles are filled with family treasures. But, if we don’t take the time to look, we may never know the contents or the treasures that appear on these faded pages. The roads mentioned in the first two ads gives clarity how the roads appeared during that time period. Each of the ads presented in this article can be found on the Library of Congress website. The links for each one is listed below. Share your thoughts about the 18th century classifieds and share what you’ve discovered by reading them. Enjoy Your Journey Today to the Past!!


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