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The 
Great Wagon
Road

Pioneer Woman  (paleblue)

Introduction

Road Trip

Internet Resources

Image Gallery

 

 

Introduction

Introduction

 

     The Great Wagon Road was a Colonial American thoroughfare from Pennsylvania to North Carolina and from there to Georgia. It was the heavily travelled main route for settlement of the Southern United States, particularly the 'back country'.

     Beginning in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the Great Wagon Road passed through the towns of Lancaster and York in southeastern Pennsylvania.  At Chambersburg, Pennsylvania the road turned southwest along the Great Indian War and Trading Path that follows U.S. Route 11, an ancient Native-American pathway that extended from Iroquois Confederacy in New York State as far south as Alabama.  It continued through Hagerstown, Maryland to the crossing of the Potomac River at Williamsport, Maryland and into Virginia where the route entered the Shenandoah Valley at Winchester, Virginia. was locally referred to as the Philadelphia Wagon Road. 

     The Shenandoah portion of the road is also known as the Great Valley Road and later the Valley Pike.  Note that despite its present day name, the southern part of this road was by no means passable by wagons until later Colonial times. The 1751 Fry-Jefferson map mentions the term 'Waggon' only north of Winchester. 

     South of Shenandoah Valley, the road reached the Roanoke River at the town of Big Lick (today, Roanoke, Virginia). Near the present day cities of Roanoke and Salem, Virginia the Great Wagon Road forked southwest, leading to Fort Chiswell and into the upper New River Valley and on to the Holston River in the upper Tennessee Valley, from which the Wilderness Road led into Kentucky.

     South of the present day cities of Roanoke and Salem, the Great Wagon Road was also called the Carolina Road.   From there, the route passed through the Roanoke River Gap to the east side of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and continued south through the Piedmont

Click on the map to view a full-sized image

region and the present-day North Carolina towns of Winston-Salem, Salisbury, and Charlotte, ultimately reaching Augusta, Georgia on the Savannah River.

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Winding Road 1

Road Trip

Road Trip

Winding Road 2

If you have traced your 18th or 19th century ancestors to any of the counties listed below it is quite possible that they traveled to that location along this migration route.  Therefore you may find additional relevant information about your ancestral lineages by taking the following road trip through these localities.

COUNTY (Road Trip Segment)

COUNTY (Road Trip Segment)

COUNTY (Road Trip Segment)

Adams County, Pennsylvania (2,3)

Aiken County, South Carolina (12)

Augusta County, Virginia (5,6)

Berkeley County, West Virginia (3,4)

Botetourt County, Virginia (6,7)

Cabarrus County, North Carolina (9)

Chester County, Pennsylvania (1)

Chester County, South Carolina (10,11)

Davie County, North Carolina (9)

Edgefield County, South Carolina (12)

Forsyth County, North Carolina (8,9)

Franklin County, Pennsylvania (3)

Franklin County, Virginia (7,8)

Frederick County, Virginia (4)

Henry County, Virginia (8)

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (1,2)

Mecklenburg County, North Carolina (9,10)

Montgomery County, Virginia (7)

Newberry County, South Carolina (11,12)

Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania (1)

Richmond County, Georgia (12)

Roanoke County, Virginia (7) 

Rockbridge County, Virginia (6)  

Rockingham County, Virginia (5)

Rowan County, North Carolina (9)

Saluda County, South Carolina (12)

Shenandoah County, Virginia (4,5)

Stokes County, North Carolina (8)

Union County, South Carolina (11)

Washington, County, Maryland (3)

York County, Pennsylvania  (2)

York County, South Carolina (10)

 

Genealogy Road Trip

This “Genealogy Road Trip” is divided into segments that require between 1 and 2 hours of driving time.  The entire 772 mile journey should take approximately 17.25 hours to drive at 45 miles per hour.  Within each segment you will find links to resources* that will assist you in planning a successful and enjoyable experience.  The following maps are designed to show a close-up view of the counties and communities along this migration route.  Relevant county seats are designated with aStar yellow-green 32x30, beginning and end points of each segment are noted with a Bullet (red ball) dk green2 and historical sites with a purple circle.

 

SEGMENT 1

From: Philadelphia, PA

To: Lancaster, PA

SEGMENT 2

From: Lancaster, PA

To: Gettysburg, PA

SEGMENT 3

From: Gettysburg, PA

To: Martinsburg, WV

SEGMENT 4

From: Martinsburg, WV

To: New Market, VA

SEGMENT 5

From: New Market, VA

To: Staunton, VA

SEGMENT 6

From: Staunton, VA

To: Fincastle, VA

SEGMENT 7

From: Fincastle, VA

To: Ft .Chiswell &

Rocky Mount, VA

SEGMENT 8

From: Rocky Mount, VA

To: Winston-Salem, NC

SEGMENT 9

From: Winston-Salem, NC

To: Charlotte, NC

SEGMENT 10

From: Charlotte, NC

To: Chester, SC

SEGMENT 11

From: Chester, SC

To: Camden &

Newberry, SC

SEGMENT 12

From: Newberry, SC

To: Augusta, GA

 

228149- 4

Segment 1

SEGMENT 1

From: Philadelphia, PA

To: Lancaster, PA

228149- 2

Driving Distance = 79 miles;   Driving Time = approximately 1.50 hours

 

Click on the map to view a full-sized image

Use the following LINKS to find information about the counties and localities found along this segment of the Route.

General Profile

Genealogy & History Resources

Historical Sites

Arrow (red up)

228149- 4

Segment 2

SEGMENT 2

From: Lancaster, PA

To: Gettysburg, PA

228149- 2

Driving Distance = 55 miles;   Driving Time = approximately 1.25 hours

 

Click on the map to view a full-sized image

Use the following LINKS to find information about the counties and localities found along this segment of the Route.

General Profile

Genealogy & History Resources

Historical Sites

Arrow (red up)

228149- 4

Segment 3

SEGMENT 3

From: Gettysburg, PA

To: Martinsburg, WV

228149- 2

Driving Distance = 70 miles;   Driving Time = approximately 1.50 hours

 

Click on the map to view a full-sized image

Use the following LINKS to find information about the counties and localities found along this segment of the Route.

General Profile

Genealogy & History Resources

Historical Sites

Arrow (red up)

228149- 4

Segment 4

SEGMENT 4

From: Martinsburg, WV

To: New Market, VA

228149- 2

Driving Distance = 74 miles;   Driving Time = approximately 1.25 hours

 

Click on the map to view a full-sized image

Use the following LINKS to find information about the counties and localities found along this segment of the Route.

General Profile

Genealogy & History Resources

Historical Sites

Arrow (red up)

228149- 4

Segment 5

SEGMENT 5

From: New Market, VA

To: Staunton, VA

228149- 2

Driving Distance = 46 miles;   Driving Time = approximately 1.00 hours