From the time of the first settlement of Kentucky till near the close of the eighteenth century, the most frequented route of travel from the Eastern and Northern States to Kentucky was called the “Wilderness Road.” John Filson, a native of Delaware, and one of the earliest settlers of Kentucky, returned to his former home, in 1786, and kept a journal of the stopping places, and the distances between them. Starting from the “Falls of the Ohio,” (Louisville), he mentions thirty-six places between that point and Staunton. Among the places named are Bardstown, Harrod’s Station, Cumberland Mountain, Powell’s Mountain, Black Horse, Washington Court-house, Head of Holston, Fort Chiswell, New River, Alleghany Mountain, Botetourt Court-house, North Branch of James River, and Staunton. The distance from the Falls of the Ohio to Staunton by this route, as noted by Filson, was five hundred and nine miles. (Life of Filson, by Colonel R. T. Durritt). The trip on horseback must have required considerably more than a month.
In the year 1783 or 1784, a large party of Augusta people,—Allens, Moffetts, Trimbles and others,—removed to Kentucky, going by the route just mentioned. Among the emigrants was Mrs. Jane Allen Trimble, wife of Captain James Trimble, a woman of rare excellence, in whose memoir we find the graphic account of the trip.
Soon after the Revolutionary war, Captain Trimble and others, who had been soldiers, went to Kentucky to locate the land-warrants issued to them for military services. They were delighted with the country, and on their return to Augusta a spirit of emigration was awakened throughout the county. The memoir states that it was in 1784, but other accounts say 1783. In September of one of those years, a company was formed, consisting of eight or ten families, who made known that they would meet in Staunton on the 1st of October, in order to emigrate to Kentucky, and they invited others to join them, either in Staunton or on the route to Abingdon. On the Sabbath previous to their departure they attended their several churches, and heard their last sermons in Virginia, as they supposed. Mrs.
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Edited Annals of Augusta County,Virginia, from 1726 to 1871 copyright © 2006-2017 by EagleRidge Technologies, Inc..