Made an early start; left the river. Crossed the Cole Mountains a small bridge, roads tolerable and encampted at two fine springs near Mud River, a branch of Guyandotte. One route lay through Tay’s Valley, a fine country. A great profusion of Peaches were found all along the road from Greenbrier Virginia to Greenup Kentucky. We fared well on peach pies, etc.*
Editor’s Note: Cole Mountains is Coal Mountains, Tay’s Valley is Teay’s Valley
In 1829, the joy of an abundant peach crop can really help one on a long journey. Dinner would depend on what game was shot that day. These travelers, both black and white are experiencing the same pleasures, and difficulties. While traveling. The enslaved would break camp in the morning, packing the tents, boxing up the pots and pans, and filling the canteens. Until the next stop, when they set up the tents, cooked the dinner, fed the cattle and horses, and took care of the children. With their household good being shipped ahead on the river, the wagons would have been just a little lighter. Roads were just a wide clearing in the woods, and bridges simple. Following rivers and streams was very important as you had to water your stock and refill your canteens. Every day was the same, but the scenery changed. Other travelers may pass you, or you them, if you were lucky. Not many places to “pass” in the woods.
*This is the journal of William Campbell (1805-1849) leading four families from Lexington, in Rockbridge County, Virginia to St. Charles County Missouri, written in 1829. There are 55 people in this caravan, 25 of which are enslaved. Among the enslaved is Archer Alexander, born in 1806 who will leave behind his mother, never to see her again. The journal is in the collections of the Leyburn Library, Special Collections and Archives, located at the Washington and Lee University, in Lexington, Virginia, and for which we are deeply indebted to Lisa McCown. Editor and author is Dorris Keeven-Franke.