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in Page county, Va., and Port Republic in the present county of Rockingham.
The main road continued up the Valley, following closely the line of the present Valley Turnpike until a point at or near Lacy Spring in the present county of Rockingham was reached. There the road turned to the left and the present Keezletown Road in Rockingham county was the route, passing through the villages of Keezletown and Cross Keys. About three and one-half miles southwest of Cross Keys the road again turned to the left and the present road leading to Beard's Ford was followed. The road crossed North River at Beard's Ford; Middle River just below Mt. Meridian in Augusta county, Va., and then the present road from Mt. Meridian was followed to a point about two and one-half miles southwest of New Hope, Va. Again the road turned to the left and the present road passing through the villages of Hermitage and Fishersville, in Augusta county, Va., became the route. From the place last named, the road led past Tinkling Spring Church to the Valley of the South River, where the two roads or trails again united. The road went up the South River in Augusta county, Va., passed over into the Valley of the South River in Rockbridge county and down that valley to the James River. The road also passed through present Botetourt and Roanoke counties, crossed the Blue Ridge through the water gap of the Roanoke River, and leaving Henry county, Va., to the left finally reached the Catawba Towns in Western North Carolina.
Deeds from the Craigs, Crawfords and other families prior to the Revolution who lived in the vicinity of Mt. Meridian, Va., which are recorded at Staunton, refer to the Indian Road.
In 1772, James Kerr entered 400 acres of land. His home was near the present Village of New Hope, and Round Hill and the Indian Road are both mentioned by Thomas Lewis in his entry book.
Round Hill is today the most prominent natural object in New Hope, Va.
The foregoing describes with accuracy the old Indian Road through Virginia; but changes in the road were made several
times by the Indians. The Governors of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia had a conference with the Six Nations of New York at Lancaster, Pa., June 22, 1744, which continued until July 4, 1744. Apparently before the treaty of Albany made by Governor Spots woods with the Five Nations in 1722 the road of the Iroquois to the South was on the Eastern side of the Blue Ridge. The Indians stated at the Lancaster Conference that at the request of the Governor of New York they had changed the route in order to comply with Governor Spotswood "a good deal more to the West". They also stated that the whites did not comply with the agreement as to the road, "but came and lived on our side of the Hill", meaning the Blue Ridge. They also stated that they encountered difficulties with the whites with reference to the "new road", and had again changed it to the west, and that it was then at the foot of the Great Mountains and that they could not locate it farther to the west because "the country was absolutely impassable to man or beast". This shows that the Indian Road in 1744 was at the eastern foot of the Alleghany or North Mountains. They wanted the use of the old road, the course of which is described in the note and kind treatment on the part of the people who lived on it and which was guaranteed to them by the Virginia Commissioners at the Treaty of Lancaster, 1744. See Colden's History of the Five Nations, pp. 151-2, &c.
Parkman, in his Conspiracy of Pontiac, Vol. I, p. 7, gives the synonymous names for the Five Nations. Among them for the Senecas he gives Chenandoanes and Jenantowanos. The name first stated is a closer approximation to Shenandoah than many of the English variants of the name of that river. In a deed recorded at Staunton, Va., land is described as lying on the "north branch of the Jenantowano run", and this land is on the north river of the Shenandoah, the stream which for many miles is the dividing line between Rockingham and Augusta counties, Virginia. This deed was executed June 4, 1760, and clearly shows the visits of the Senecas to the Valley of Virginia after the settlement of the country by the white race.
Early Settlements In The Valley.
There is some evidence tending to show that white settlements existed in the Shenandoah Valley prior to 1717. On July 18, 1717, Sir William Keith, Lieutenant-Governor of Pennsylvania, and a number of the Council of that Colony, held a conference at Conestoga, Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, with the Mingo or Conestoga Indians of that province, the substance of which was as follows: The Indians desired to know what "Christians were settled in the woods behind Virginia and Carolina". (Writer's italic). To this the Governor replied that they (the Indians) had full knowledge of the settlements in Maryland, Virginia and Carolina; that these settlements had nations of Indians under their protection to whom they furnished goods, and these settlers in turn were furnished with merchandise by their respective Governments. (Minutes of the Provincial Council of Pennsylvania, Volume 3, page 8).
The question turns upon the fair construction to be placed upon the language of the Indians as reported. "Behind the woods" clearly implies remoteness from the older permanent settlements; and, since the "woods" in Eastern Virginia then as now extended to the top of the Blue Ridge, there is a strong historical probability that white settlements had been made in the northern end of the Shenandoah Valley prior to I7I7
The evidence is clear that this section was fairly well known to the people of Virginia and Maryland as early as 1712; that the county was almost entirely free from Indian inhabitants, and consequently the inducements to settle in this fertile section were very strong.
As early as 1710-12 German imigrants had settled in the
The Laird house, 3 miles east of Keezleton and 8 miles east of Harrisonburg, Rockingham county. The land was granted to Henry Winns, of Orange county, 1747, and conveyed to James Laird, Sr., in 1760.
The cabin on the left (in the upper picture) is the "improvement cabin", built in 1744 or 1745 to obtain the patent. The second house was built by James Laird, Sr., in 1761 or 1762.