Friday, July 13, 2012
I recently saw this excellent graphic linked on an 18th century oriented message board and thought it was worth sharing (thanks to Bob Sherman in SC for posting it!).
It illustrates the physical realities of road travel to the backcountry in the 18th century and should explain how and why so many people and goods from Pennsylvania flowed to western Virginia in the 18th century especially if one considers topography! A generalized discussion of topography and it's effect on Virginia settlement patterns can be seen here:
When 18th century people said they were heading 'up' the Shenandoah Valley, they meant moving south:
http://www.southernspaces.org/2004/shenandoah-valley for further reading I highly recommend this book:
In the late 18th century Benjamin Rush discussed this phenomenon. His somewhat stilted take can be found in the link below and contains some great info on early settlement:
Another excellent graphic addressing roads in the period can be found here: