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Monday, June 12, 2017

A visit to Petersburg, Virginia- in 1655-1685 Richard Womack set out from this fort to trade with the Indians

We drove to Petersburg, Virginia on our way to North Carolina. This is the area, just south of Richmond, where the Womack's lived in the 1600's. We wanted to see the ruins of the fort and trading post where Richard Womack set out from to trade with the Indians in the mid 1600's. The path from here followed south along the Occaneechi Trail.

We stopped at the visitor's center, and found out that the courtyard there was the setting for the washing area scene in "Mercy Street" in case you are a fan (we are!) I remembered the gate to the street vividly as that is where the young slave boy had to decide whether to remain with his mistress or make a break for freedom.

Nearby was the trading post, now known as "Peter Jone's Trading Post" which had originally been called Fort Henry. It was commanded by Abraham Wood in Richard Womack's time. Later it was left to Abraham's son-in-law, Peter Jones, for whom Petersburg was named. The ruins stood near the banks of the Appomattox River.

350 years after Richard Womack set off from here on trading expeditions!

Connected Blog Posts:
1655-1685 Richard Womack- Trading Paths 1600's
1655-1685- Richard Womack- Fellow Traders

Further information:
Historical Marker for Peter Jone's Trading Station
Abraham Wood
1673 Abraham Wood's letter describing a trading expedition

Saturday, June 3, 2017

1852- The Route to Texas- Maps

We have very few clues as to which roads our ancestors actually traveled. 

We can see where they had relatives along the way- likely spots to stop, rest, visit, and learn about the way ahead (separate post)

 We can also look and see where there were ferries available to cross the larger rivers (separate post)

Luckily there are also some old maps of the time. From these we can see which modern roads follow the original roads, and try and chart possible paths west. (After you click on the link, you can click again on each map to zoom in and see more details.) I had always thought of these 1852 pioneers to Texas traveling through the wilderness, but from what we see of these maps, this was not the case. For the most part, they would have followed an existing route which passed through established towns along the way.

1845 Map of Mississippi

1852 Map of Mississippi

1850 Map of Louisiana

1853 Map of Louisiana

Using the location of our ancestors homes in Mississippi and Texas, their relatives homes in 1850, and the possible routes from the old maps and information on routes west at the time, I came up with a couple of possibilities for their journey. Of course, this is just a guess! They may have gone a different way- but this gives me some idea of what their journey MAY have looked like!

1852- Possible routes from Rankin Co. Miss to Trinity Co. Tx

* Although it is a later date, this 1880 railroad map of Mississippi and Louisiana still gives us a good idea of what might have been a good route from Rankin County; surely the railroad followed a practical route accessing major towns of the can see Cato, the Rankin County home of the Franklin's, on this map, as well as Flowery Mound, the home of the Campbell's in Concordia Parish. The railroad follows from Jackson, Miss. south paralleling the Natchez Trace to Natchez, then straight westward, going north of the lake in Catahoula Parish, then down to Alexandria, and branching at Burkeville Tx. with the southern branch going to Woodville in Tyler Co. Tx. (which would have passed through Wood Bluff.)

1882 Railroad map Miss and La.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

1770 Virginia Map- Account of Colonial Virginia at base of map


"A concise account of the number of inhabitants, the trade, soil, and produce of Virginia"

“In the Colony of Virginia, are 131,000 Tithables, 55, 958 pf which are white Men, and the residue consists of Negro Men and Women; It will I suppose be reckoned a very moderate computation to allow three Children for every pair of Negros Thithable, if so the Number of Negro slaves will amount to 187,606, and as none but White Men are listed as Tithables, we must suppose there are 50,863 women, the proportion between the Sexes being commonly stated as 11 to 10, and allowing three Children to every Woman there will be 152,589 Children; consequently the number of Inhabitants White and Black in Virginia will amount to 447,008, a number greatly exceeding any of the Colonies in America. As to the Value of this great number of Slaves, we can only make a probably computation founded on Principles well known and admitted in the Colony; A Negro Man or Woman between 16 and 40 Years of Age is reckoned now worth Fifty Pounds, tho 3 or 4 Years ago they went at double that Price, reckoning then the above number of Negro Thithables but at 40 Pounds each they will amount to 3,001,680 Pounds Virginia Currency, and as to the residue valuing them but at 30 Pounds each they will amount to 3,376,890 Pounds and all of them to 6,378,570 Pounds. 

 As to the Trade of the Colony, its Staple is Tobacco; and tho it does not yield much to the Planter; notwithstanding that- between 50 and 60,000 Hogsheads are commnibus Annis, exported to Great Britain, yet as 17,000 Tons of Shipping are employed, and many thousand British Inhabitants supported thereby, it is very valuable to the Subjects and may also be said to be a Jewel to the Crown as so large a sum arises out of the Duties. 

The Country indeed is very capable of improvement and some attempts have been made to raise Hemp though not considerable, the Soil however is very proper for such production. As to the Drink chiefly used in the Colony, it is generally Cyder, every Planter having an Orchard, and they make from 4,000 to 5 or 6,000 Gallons annually, in proportion according to their Rank and Fortune. As to the Soil it is very different in different Parts, that which lies upon the Rivers and their Branches is generally a black deep soil and produces the largest Tobacco, and all other Plants, and as the Country abounds in large Navigable Rivers a great proportion of the Land is of this kind the produce of which is very easily brought to Market, but the Land that lies distant from the Rivers is generally of a middling Quality yet produces Maize or Indian Corn sufficient for the supply of the Inhabitants who chiefly use Bread made from this Grain and the very meanest and hilly Lands are very properly for the Peach Tree, every Planter having an Orchard of those Trees the Brandy made from that Fruit being excellent, and indeed might be made in sufficient Quantities for the supply of the People, was there not so much Rum imported from the Sugar Islands.

 As to the Manufactories of Virginia, they consist chiefly of Cotton, for very little Woollen and Linnen Cloth is made in the Province, there being but few Sheep, and as but little Land is spared from Tobacco and Grain, so few of the Inhabitants understand the management of Flax most of the Men as well as Women of the lower Classes wear Cotton Cloth, both in Summer and Winter and it has been computed that there has been Manufactured for one or two Years past of this kind of Cloth to the amount of 250,000 Pounds Annually. Altho’ this necessarily lessens the Importation of European Goods, it is not wholly of choice, the People being obliged to it, as the Balance of Trade has for many Years been against them, the Colony being much indebted to Great Britain,, even in the opinion of good Judges to the amount of 1,500,000 Pounds.

In regard to the Stocks of Horses, Cattle, and Hogs, they are very considerable especially the first, there being a great Number of the best English breed now among us, and as to Plate and Household Furniture this Colony exceeds all the others upon the Continent, so that upon the whole it is much the richest as well as the greatest Importance to Great Britain and therefore well deserves its Encouragement and Protection.”

 At the top right of the map is a symbolic Indian maiden holding a portrait of King George III and a cornucopia of plenty representing the main products of the colony; tobacco and fruits.