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Legends of the Skyline Drive and the Great Valley of Virginia   By: (1903-)

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First Page:


of the


and the

Great Valley of Virginia










Printed in the United States of America


Tucked away among the hills and valleys in and near the Shenandoah National Park and the Great Valley of Virginia are stories of the beginnings of the white man's life beyond the comparative ease of early Tidewater Virginia. These stories are true ones and they depict something of the courage and hardihood of the early Virginia pioneer. Perhaps in reading of their lives we may catch something of the majesty and charm of their surroundings which were reflected to a marked degree in their way of living. Surely they must often have said, "I will look unto the hills from whence cometh my strength" or how else may we account for the developments which came as the result of their constant struggle for survival?

Stories of colonial Virginia on the eastern seaboard are numerous and usually exciting but they are quite different from the tales beyond the Piedmont. A combination of them may enable us to know Virginia as a whole in a more appreciative way.

Long before the Knights of the Golden Horseshoe ever set foot in the wilds of Virginia, intrepid explorers had passed through various parts of the Valley country.

In 1654 more than sixty years before the Governor's expedition Colonel Abraham Wood received permission to explore beyond the mountains. His purpose was to establish trade relations with the Indians. His journey carried him through the lower Blue Ridge, crossing the range near the Virginia North Carolina line.

Reference is made elsewhere of the explorations conducted by the one time monk, John Lederer, whose journal of the trip was first translated from German and published in London in 1672.

Let us plainly understand however that each of these trips was of a migratory nature; not a thought was entertained by any of the participants of remaining in the Virginia mountains. Any white man found in these sections at this time was there because of good hunting grounds, hopes of good trading, the zeal of a missionary spirit or love of adventure and exploration.

The earliest settlers in the Valley in most part came either from Maryland or Pennsylvania. They came in search of rich, cheap land or for economic reasons or in the hope of establishing greater freedom for themselves and their children.

Two nationalities invaded the Great Valley almost simultaneously: the Germans and Scotch Irish both fine, sturdy, healthy and thrifty stock which is reflected in marked degree among the present inhabitants of the region. Their real interest in the new settlements may truthfully be said to have begun about 1730 when land grants were obtained. About two years later the actual move into the country and the house building commenced in earnest.

The German settlers located chiefly along the territory extending from Winchester to Staunton. The Scotch Irish on the other hand selected Staunton and the valley south of the town for their claims. No nice distinction can be made so easily, for we shall find the two groups interspersed all along the entire length of the Valley. But generally speaking their domains may be defined thus.

So much fighting during the wars of our country could not have been fought in this section of the State without leaving in its wake the stories of chivalry, courage and accomplishment, a few of which are included.

It is our desire that the trips along the Skyline Drive and in the Great Valley country may be enriched and the imagination stirred because of the accounts included in this small book... Continue reading book >>

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