The Great Wagon Road

Return to issue

The Great Wagon Road

by T. H. Breen
Southern Cultures, Vol. 3, No. 1: Spring 1997

"Over two centuries ago the Moravians made their way into North Carolina on the Great Wagon Road. Their pathway has shaped personal and regional histories ever since."

This is the place you’re looking for,” Darrell Lester shouts, standing in the middle of a small cow pasture. Behind him flows the south branch of the Mayo River, a broad stream made unusually shallow by an early spring drought. Bill McGee, Tony Kelly, and I have tried to keep up with Darrell, but a barbed-wire fence at the edge of the field slows our progress. “That’s where the Moravians came down from the Valley of Virginia,” Darrell says, pointing to a large bramble-covered ditch about ten-feet deep and twenty-five-feet wide that runs up a rocky hill into the nearby woods. This ditch is the Great Wagon Road.