Crossroads to Settlement - Part of the Wilderness Road

Pioneers of Virginia's Frontier

The story of the Wilderness Road is one of discovery and determination. Settlers from the colonies ventured into the majestic and rugged Blue Ridge Mountains to make new lives and build great communities.

It’s the story of the growth of America. More than 43 million Americans can trace their heritage to families who traveled the Wilderness Road and ventured across the mountains and across the continent. In 1775, Daniel Boone is credited with leading a crew of men with axes who chopped their way through the wilderness from Virginia to Kentucky.

Most of all, the Wilderness Road is a story of people – courageous and pioneering people who made an indelible mark on our nation’s history.

Militia Colonel George Washington, only 24 at the time, rode westward on an inspection of frontier forts in 1756, stopping at Fort William in Botetourt, and sites in Shawsville and Martinsville before returning to spend the night at the foot of Mill Mountain along the Roanoke River.

Pioneer leaders included William Preston of Botetourt, known as the watchdog of the frontier. Colonel William Fleming, a Tinker Creek surgeon, acting Governor in 1781 and head of local government commissions. General Andrew Lewis, militia commander at the Battle of Point Pleasant.