The Great Wagon Road
Crossing the Yadkin River
Last Saturday’s Shallow Ford Walk (on March 7, 2009) took a small group of explorers on a journey back to the days of Daniel Boone. When we stepped to the edge of the Yadkin River near the historic Shallow Ford, we stood not far from where horseback riders and horse-drawn wagons and stagecoaches had traversed as far back as 250 years ago. (The first bridge in the Shallow Ford area would not be built until 1920.)
For many individuals who lived in earlier times, crossing the Yadkin River and moving into the territories beyond represented an opportunity to follow their dreams. They were headed westward, toward promise and the hope for a better tomorrow for themselves and their families.
If you haven’t yet listened to the AUDIO RECORDING that accompanied the previous post (Exploring Shallow Ford), I invite you to do so. It’s a 38-minute recording of the panel discussion — led by Rod Meyer and Kyle Stimson — that illuminates some of what life was like for the early settlers in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, and particularly describes the importance of the Great Wagon Road to settlers and travelers alike.
For more resource information and photos, please continue to the NEXT SECTION.
- Great Wagon Road (Source: Wikipedia) Though this article provides some good background information on the Great Wagon Road, as was pointed out during the panel discussion for the Shallow Ford Walk (MP3, 38 MIN.), it does not accurately depict the route that the Great Wagon Road is now thought to have taken through North Carolina.
- What is considered to be more accurate is this very nicely drawn map of The Great Wagon Road in North Carolina — 1750-1780, made available by the North Carolina Office of Archives & History, in association with the University of North Carolina Press.
- An article entitled The Scots-Irish from Ulster and the Great Philadelphia Wagon Road provides some very fascinating historical details of what life was like for America’s early settlers, and also describes the importance of the Great Wagon Road to the expansion of our young nation.
- For more history on the Great Wagon Road, as well as the Battle of Shallow Ford, check out this 1996 article by Ann Brownlee: The Shallow Ford.
Besides the above photo of the Great Philadelphia Wagon Road historic marker that’s located in Shallowford Square in Lewisville, I’ve included in the photo gallery some close-ups of the marker that make it possible to read the text and the maps that are on it. You’ll also find some photos of the Daniel Boone Trail markers that are located on both sides of the Yadkin River near the Shallow Ford. The photos are in the Great Wagon Road Markers photo gallery.
What Was it Like?
Can you imagine what life was like for those who lived hundreds of years before us? Can you picture the very different landscape of our town and the surrounding areas? Can you imagine the long-established Indians and the newly arriving European settlers? And what was it like for those passing through our town toward the western frontier? LEARN MORE by CLICKING on the links below: