Entry 4 From Virginia to Missouri

A Fine Tavern Stand 8.23.29

Came to Callahan’s for breakfast. A fine Tavern stand. Finely kept by the owner who is much a gentleman. We now commenced traveling on the turnpike. The road is very excellent considering the mountainous regions through which it passes – crosses the Alleghany. Passed the White Sulpher Springs where there were two hundred visitors. This is the most valuable mineral water in the world and would be frequented by double the present number of visitors if there were good roads to it and it was owned by an active and energetic man. Crossed Greenbrier River by the finest bridge in Virginia Toll 93-3/4 cents and came to Louisburg in the evening. Met many acquaintances with some of whom we staid.

This is the journal written in 1829 by William Campbell, of the journey from Lexington, in Rockbridge County, Virginia to St. Charles County Missouri, and includes the story of the enslaved Archer Alexander. It can be found in the Leyburn Library, Special Collections and Archives, located at the Washington and Lee University, in Lexington, Virginia. A very special thanks goes to Lisa S. McCown, Senior Assistant and all of the staff there. . This journal is presented here with the spellings as presented by the writer in 1829. Written by Dorris Keeven-Franke with a special thanks to Donna LaBrayer Sandegren.

While William Campbell and McNutt and Cummings would have stayed the night at an inn or “stand” as they were called, the families would not have. Most were considered a little too “rough” for women and children. They would have camped nearby. Archer, Louisa, Mary, Bill, Sam, and the other enslaved would have most likely camped either in or under the wagons. Someone would be stationed to watch the cattle and horses as well. Travel was rough through the Allegheny Mountains and could be expensive too, as the 93 – 3/4 cents would amount to nearly $25 in today value, just to be able to take those buggies, wagons, horses and cattle across the wide Greenbrier River, and stay in Lewisburg, which is West Virginia today.

Today

In order to follow the trek from location to location we found that we were taking the Midland Trail National Scenic Byway or Highway 60 in West Virginia. The route was full of breathtaking vistas, that made us wonder in amazement what it must have been like for these fifty people. In the comfort of an air-conditioned vehicle one can traverse what took them a day in an hour or sometimes even less. We found friendly people willing to share directions, history, and their own stories all along the way. For more about the route today see http://www.midlandtrail.com/

Continue the Journey

2 thoughts on “Entry 4 From Virginia to Missouri

  1. U.S. 60 is, indeed, a beautiful drive! I drove it many times in the early 70s between my childhood home in Huntington, WV, and my adult home in VA before I-64 was an option. If I recall correctly, I-64 from Covington, VA, to Charleston, WV, was the last stretch of highway to be completed in the original interstate design — because any route is difficult to build through the mountains, plus the WV legislators couldn’t agree on whether or not to incorporate what was the WV Turnpike. In the end, the Turnpike route won out and was upgraded to meet interstate standards, so that’s why I-64 goes from Lewisburg south to Beckley and then back north to Charleston. I think I-64 through WV is a bit nerve-wracking, but if one wants to save 30 minutes, go that way. When I have the time, I prefer meandering along U.S. 60!

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