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The Mayo River Crossing of The Great Wagon Road

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.

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.

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.

Notes: 1st photo displays the crossing during the year of 1775-2nd photo displays the crossing during the year of 1770 and the 3rd photo displays the crssing during the year of 1752. All maps used are courtesy of the Library of Congress

If you would like to learn more about The Great Wagon Road project, simply contact me and let me know.

Enjoy Your Journey !!

Piedmont Trails

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