Wilderness Road

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Roads of the Tapestry
We're goin' west to Kaintuck
The Dug Road the old Reedy Creek Road
The Road down Troublesome
Road through Moccasin Gap
June Carter, 1965. "The Road to Kaintuck"
Ballads of the Old West, Select Track 2


See also: The Kentucky Road (probably should be merged with this article)

NY Times Article

The following is an excerpt from a New York Times article Boone's Trail now well marked: DAR unveil Monumment to Commemorate Honor to Famous Pioneers. New York Times, 1 August 1915. This excerpt focuses on the portion of the article dealing with the Route of the Wilderness Road in Southwest Virginia. The route described in this article is simlar to that shown by Summers, 1929, but differs from some modern representations.


Boone entered Virginia through Moccasin Gap, so the first marker on Virginia soil was at Gate City, the county seat of Scott County, just a mile from the Gap. From there the trail leads across Moccasin Ridge to the waters of Copper Creek, and down this creek to Clinch River, where, at Clinchport, the second tablet is erected. From Clinchport the trail leads along the water course now known as Stock Creek, around the Natural Tunnel, where the third tablet is placed, and down Purchase Ridge to the little town of Duffield, where is placed the fourth tablet.

From Duffield the trail crosses a spur of Powell Mountain, through Kane’s Gap, and down into the Cove, where was nestled Scott's Fort, an old fort of the earliest settlers and where Boone is known to have rested for a night, if not longer. Here at Fort Scott, on the boundary of Lee County, is the fifth tablet. The sixth is at Jonesville, the Lee County seat, and the seventh at Boone Path Post Office, above Rose Hill, at a point where the trail crosses the...Lexington Highway.

There was much discussion as to the spot where James Boone was killed, but local tradition and history pointed to a place between Ewing and Wheeler's Station in Lee County, and here were found two rudely marked graves, so here was erected a tablet to the memory of James, the eldest son of Daniel Boone. An eighth tablet was erected to mark the site of Fort Blackmore, an old Colonial fort in Scott County, where the Boone party rested from October. 1773, until Marchy 1775, while Boone himself was detailed to command a company to pro- tect the border settlements while the border men were at Point Pleasant driv- ing out the Mingoes. Mrs. Robert Gray was in charge of marking the trail in Virginia.


"In Testimony of the Gratitude of Posterity for the Historic Service of cutting for the Transylvania Company the Transylvania Trail, the first great pathway to the West, March-April, 1775, from the Long Island of Hoiston River, Tennessee, to Otter Creek, Kentucky, by the Gallant Band of Axemen, Pioneers and Indian Fighters, who at the Risk and Loss of Life opened the Doors of Destiny to the White Race in Kentucky and the West.

Daniel Boone Squire Boone Edward Bradley James Bridges
William Bush Richard Callaway Samuel Coburn Jacob Crabtree
Benjamin Cutbirth David Gass John Hart William Hays
Rebeccah Boone Hays William Hicks Edmund JennIngs Thomas Johnson
John Kennedy John King Thomas McDowell Jeremiah McPeeters
William Miller William Moore James Nail James Peeke
Bartlett Searcy Reuben Searcy Michael Stoner Samuel Tate
Samuel Tate, Jr. William Twitty John Vardeman Felix Walker
A Negro Man A Negro Woman

Bonne Trail Web Site

Article on WIlderness road and others


Thomas Speed, 1886

Source:Speed, 1886:p19 William Brown's Journey 1782

Set out from Hanover Monday, 27th May, 1782; arrived at the Blockhouse about the first week in July. The road from Hanover to this place is generally very good; crossing the Blue Ridge is not bad; there is not more than a small hill with some winding to go over. Neither is the Alleghany Mountain by any means difficult at this gap. There are one or two high hills about New River and Fort Chiswell. The ford of New River is rather bad; therefore we thought it advisable to cross in the ferry-boat. This is generally a good-watered road as far as the Block-house. We waited hereabouts near two weeks for company, and then set out for the wilderness with twelve men and ten guns, this being Thursday, 18th July. The road from this until you get over Wallen's Ridge generally is bad, some part very much so, particularly about Stock Creek and Stock Creek Ridge. It is a very mountainous country hereabout, but there is some fine land in the bottoms, near the watercourses, in narrow slips. It will be but a thin-settled country whenever it is settled. The fords of Holstein and Clinch are both good in dry weather, but in a rainy season you are often obliged to raft over. From them along down Powell's Valley until you get to Cumberland Gap is pretty good; this valley is formed by Cumberland Mountain on the northwest, and Powell Mountain on the southeast, and appears to bear from northeast southwestwardly, and is, I suppose, about one hundred miles in length, and from ten to twelve miles in breadth. The land generally is good, and is an exceeding well-watered country, as well as the country on Holstein River, abounding with fine springs and little brooks. For about fifty miles, as you travel along the valley, Cumberland Mountain appears to be a very high ridge of white rocks, inaccessible in most places to either man or beast, and affords a wild, romantic prospect.

p25 Quoting Daniel Boone:

"The aspect of those cliffs," he says, "is so wild and horrid that it is impossible to behold them without terror.

James Graddy

From Draper Mss 13 CC 130 letter froom Jessee Grady to Lyman Draper fide Source:Hamilton, undated

[about July or August of 1777]

Went by Blackmore's Station next day and didn't see the smoke of a chimney after that until we got to Boonesboro. The pretty springs of water and the woods rendered Powell Valley exceedingly beautiful. I could have stopped very freely in it. A rock road all the way down and mountains to one side of us. Just before we got to the foot of Cumberland Mountain the company, three fourths of a mile ahead of us, had all their horses stolen. They could do nothing better than just turn their featherbeds loose. They could do nothing with them about their cattle. We never saw any Indians and were not interrupted. I was most afraid coming down Cumberland Mountain. The place was narrow and rocky. Stood up on either side not broader than a house. Woods more beautiful in Cumberland Valley than any other place.

Some Useful Links

Source:Dunbar, 1915:136 et seq
Source:Chalkley, 1922:183 et seq (Before the Gates of the Wilderness Road).