The Carolina Road or the “Old Carolina Road” are names for various sections of the Great Wagon Road and other routes in colonial America. “The ‘Old Carolina Road’, extending from Lancaster, Pennsylvania to the Yadkin Valley, was one of the most heavily traveled roads in eighteenth century America.”
Central Virginia (High Road)
Starting in Pennsylvania, this “Carolina Road” led through southern Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia and into Alabama. This was a major migration route of Swiss-German and Scotch-Irish settlers into frontier America in the 1740s until the American Revolutionary War.
Some consensus indicates this Carolina road started in Frederick, Maryland, with feeder roads and other trails reaching from Pennsylvania. Parts of this Carolina Road, almost 55 miles, follow modern U.S. Route 15 through Loudoun, Fauquier and Fairfax Counties in Virginia.
Used as a transportation route, in addition to early settlers, manufactured goods including woolen and linen clothes and leather products, such as harness, saddles, boots and shoes, were sent south, and hides, indigo and money were sent back north. Many drovers herded swine, cattle, sheep and even turkey flocks along the Carolina Road. Because many of these drovers would pick up cows and other livestock to add to their herds in northern Virginia, this was also called the “Rogues’ Road” by local farmers. “Indeed, as early as 1747, a Fauquier land grant refers to the Carolina Road as “Rogues Road,” a name that appears in Fauquier and Loudoun deeds throughout the early 19OOs. A few miles north of Leesburg, on old Montresor farm, a narrow wooded stream valley still bears the name Rogues’ Hollow, for tradition states that this geographic depression was the lair for thieves about to plunder travelers.”
Counties in Virginia, north to south, in the 1740-1750’s which the Carolina Road passed through or near were Fairfax (Loudon part in 1757), Prince William, Culpepper, Orange, Louisa, Goochland, Prince Edward (part would become Henry in 1776), Lunenburg (Halifx formed from part in 1752 and Mecklenburg formed from part in 1764). Brunswick was adjacent and east of Lunenburg.
Halifx and Mecklenburg counties Virginia are directly north of old Granville County, NC from which Orange County, NC was formed.
North Carolina Section
The Carolina Road extended into North Carolina as a major trade route and access for early settlers. However, once again it became known by different names, both locally and regionally. “In our state it is known as the Great Philadelphia Wagon Road, the Great Wagon Road, or simply the Wagon Road. In Virginia, it is called the Carolina Road, because it led to Carolina.”
An early settlement by Morgan Bryan, a Pennsylvania Quaker, took six weeks to travel from Pennsylvania to North Carolina.
“The trail called “The Great Wagon Road” or “The Old Carolina Road” passed thru the Bryan Settlement, about one mile south of the junction of the Deep Creek and the Yadkin River, at a place called the Shallow Ford.”
In York County, South Carolina, the Carolina Road seems to have split, one branch going westward to Chester and south to Columbia, South Carolina along U.S. Route 321, the other branch of the road staying nearer the river to Columbia (U.S. 21). The road ended at the Savannah River across from Augusta, Georgia.
The AdamsFamilydna.com has an interesting hsitory of Scots-Irish migration into the colonies. It makes a good short but fact-filled read. http://adamsfamilydna.com/2013/02/14/scots-irish-migration-to-america/
It’s interesting in that in the last wave it mentions the Charleston, SC connection. Part of some of the versions of the Hunt immigrant ancestor is that he landed at Charleston and moved up into North Carolina from there.
The Great Philadelphia Wagon Road through Virginia, North Carolina, and on to Georgia was the main road that thousands of Scots Irish who landed in Philadelphia used to spread southward to settle that back country including the North Carolina Piedmont and especially to our search that portion that was Granville County and then Orange County. The map here is a 1751 map by Fry and Jefferson sourced from Wikimedia (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d8/Kitfry-1-.jpg )with the route superimposed as crooked red line. Place names and arrow in red were added later for this post. This is one of the possible routes of our ancestors into Orange County. Possibilities are that they made the trip from Pennsylvania straight to North Carolina or perhaps briefly settled in some of the Virginia counties in the valley along the way..
Interactions between families of interest in our research in North Carolina, Orange County, Flat River region are shown between surnames of male lines of the four main Hunts (brothers?) in Rutherford County, North Carolina in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. They are William Wat Hunt (Veasey and Brackett), Absalom Hunt (Veasey and DeVinney), William Kinchen Hunt (Duke), and our Thomas Hunt (McFarland). Nothing was found for Brackett in Orange County. Veasey and DeVinney were both among surnames in the FamilyTree DNA study of Veasey.
In this post is the Flat River area mind map created from research findings. (The map is so large that it cannot be read here, but you can download a PDF file by clicking on this link: Flat River Cluster.