25 August 1829 – Sixth entry

We entered on a very mountainous region crossed Meadow Mountain, Big and Little Sewell and numerous other ridges, for which the inhabitants say thay cannot afford names. All along these, numerous houses have been built for the purpose fo keeping entertainment. Many of them good houses. Houses are still being built for that purpose and much more land is clearing out where formerly there were no settlements. Staid all night at Tyrees fared well.

Lloyd’s official map of the state of Virginia from the Library of Congress

From Lexington, Virginia to Lewisburg, today’s West Virginia our travelers have come seventy-five miles through the Appalachian Mountains. First crossing the Blue Ridge Mountains, they have climbed into the Shenandoah valley at the altitude of 2,080 feet. The ages of the members of the caravan range from three-month-old Sallie Campbell McCluer born in May, and Mr. Icenhower’s father-in-law who is over ninety-years old. When they crossed Sewell Mountain they had climbed to 3,212 feet. Anna Icenhower and another member of the enslaved community were several months pregnant.

Maps like the one above were quite useful to the traveler in 1829. Nothing like the Google Maps (see below) we use today. They had no GPS coordinates to insert into an app either. In 1829 roads are dirt, and your mode of transportation determined your speed. A man on a horse could travel much faster than a wagon full of household goods, or one of the enslaved walking alongside. Inns were stopping points that were usually the right distance for a days journey from the last innkeeper. Perhaps Campbell has put up with William Tyree and Innkeeper in today’s Anstead, Fayette County, West Virginia.

About this map from the Library of Congress

Lloyd’s official map of the state of Virginia from actual surveys by order of the Executive 1828 & 1859.Summary Indicates drainage, state and county boundaries, roads, distances, place names, mills, factories, “places remarkable for military incidents,” and the railroad network.Contributor Names: Lloyd, James T.Fillmore, Millard, 1800-1874, collector. Created / PublishedNew York, 1861.Subject Headings-  Virginia–Maps-  United States–VirginiaNotes-  LC Civil War Maps (2nd ed.), 450-  LC Railroad maps, 310-  Description derived from published bibliography.-  Available also through the Library of Congress Web site as a raster image.-  VaultMedium1 col. map 30 x 48 cm.Call Number/Physical LocationG3880 1861 .L41 RepositoryLibrary of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington, D.C. 20540-4650 USA Digital Id https://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gmd/g3800.fi000077http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.gmd/g3880.rr003100

Written in 1829, this is the journal of William M. Campbell. This is also the story of Archer Alexander, an enslaved man born in Lexington, Virginia, who was taken to Missouri and who is with President Lincoln on the Emancipation Monument in Washington, D.C. today. Our story began on August 20th in Rockbridge County Virginia with four families, the McCluer, Alexander, Wilson and Icenhauer; and their enslaved. They were well-educated, whose fathers had fought for America’s Independence. These were families that had small farms and large plantations, worked by their enslaved, just as many generations had before them. Missouri was a young state with lots of inexpensive land that would allow these families to continue the only way of life they had known since 1619. Fifty people, both black and white would make this journey together…

There are 38 entries in Campbell’s journal, which begins on August 20, 1829 that you can read and follow the story of Archer Alexander. The next journal entry is dated 26 August 1829. To continue reading click on https://archeralexander.wordpress.com/2022/08/27/entry-7-date-26-august-1829/ Campbell’s journal is located in the Archives at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia and is being shared here so that we may hear all the voices, including those whose voices were not shared originally. Please keep in mind the context of the time in which this journal was written. Feel free to share your comments directly on this blog or on Archer Alexander’s Facebook page. You may sign up for alerts of the blog posts on your left.


A year after the last gun was fired that ended the Revolutionary War, a road was built from Warm Springs to Lewisburg. Lewisburg as a robust town that had been built up around Fort Union. In 1776, at last, this connected Warm Springs with Kanawha Valley. This was a rough road and was nicknamed “Shake Guts.” Before long, the salt making industry and the traveling public along with the voice of the settlers began yelling their heads off for a new road. Because of this cry, the Kanawha Turnpike was built. The old stage line was abandoned and the new road was extended from the valley of Virginia to the Kentucky line. This caused a new boom in traffic. A weekly stagecoach line between Charleston and Lewisburg was started. This section of the Kanawha Turnpike took on new life. No longer was the hoof beats of buffalo and the war hoops of Indians heard. The road became alive with activity filled from morning till night. The movement was incessant. The Bowling State and the cocky young drivers were taken down a notch when the drivers with thousands of cattle, hogs and sheep often held up traffic for hours at a time. Drummers, peddlers, senators, and all classes of people rode in the stages together. It is said that President Jackson came along this road when he traveled from his home at the Hermitage to go to Washington to serve as president.  Also peddlers, beggars, poor emigrants trudged the road and scattered when coaches of the wealthy flew by. (from http://www.anstedwv.com/history.html)

Photo by Dorris Keeven-Franke

2 responses to “25 August 1829 – Sixth entry”

  1. […] Archer Alexander. The next journal entry is dated 25 August 1829. To read the next entry click at https://archeralexander.wordpress.com/2022/08/25/25-august-1829/ Campbell’s journal is located in the Archives at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, […]


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