Proceeded on our journey; passed through Barboursville, the country town of Cabell County, Virginia. It is a small village of fifteen dwellings. Crossed Mud River and drove down Guyandotte Valley to its mouth; we passed through Guyandotte, a small handsome village. We had great difficutly and delay in crossing the mouth of Guyandotte and driving up its steep banks. The Ohio at this point is a notable stream and presents a view of several miles on the opposite side. Lawrence County Ohio extends for many miles. It appears to be a poor broken country. We proceeded down the Ohio River and encamped below the mouth of Twelve Pole, opposite to the village of Burlington, the capital of Lawrence County. It is a small village of 15 houses, handsomely situated and badly built. Between the Guyandotte and Big Sandy 12 miles in Cabell Co., Va., the Ohio bottoms are from 3/4 to 1-1/2 miles wide, a very fine body of land. The houses are indifferent. There are some Iron Works in this County. The roads were found excellent, except the mouths of the streams where the banks were very steep. We made 24 miles today.*
Finally, they have reached the Ohio River Valley and travel is getting easier! They achieved twenty four miles in one day, the farthest in one day yet. Here there are more travelers too, because there were more travelers traveling from the north side of the Ohio River and further east, from places like Pennsylvania, and they were using these roads too. The more travelers there were, that meant not only was the road better packed, and cleared, but that there would be more amenities, innkeepers, blacksmiths, and “entertainment” for the those using the road. Now that they have reached the valley, without the steep mountainsides to climb, they will make better time.
*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, and with him is also his own son, Wesley. His mother is the nurse for the McClure’s youngest child. This journal is located 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.