Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Now Even This Little Trace Is Gone
(I wrote this post several years ago. Since then this stretch of timber has been cut and this old road has been completely eradicated. That should not happen to these horses.)
This is a portion of an old wagon road that went from the interior of the county out to the James river. It was used in the 20th Century for farmers to take goods down to the steam boats. Farm families here rode on those steam boats as they hopped from one place in Tidewater to the next. My Grandmother told me that the trip from this path to Norfolk (about 35 miles directly) would begin before the sun came up and one would be home well after dark. The steam boats went from Smithfield, to the Peninsula, to Norfolk and back.
This might be a portion of the same route used by my great grandfather when he would drive a team of three trained farm horses toward Portsmouth where he would purchase a wild mustang (known then as "Texas Broncs") off of the rail road cars and hook it into the fourth position in the harness and drive them home. The long trip did an awful lot to get the wild horse started in his training.
The white settler's roads often followed the same trek that the Indians had used for centuries. It is very likely that this road, then but a foot trail, had been in use for many years before John Smith first landed in Isle of Wight in 1608.
Now there is only a small section of this trail recognizable to the eye. Just a small trace of history left. That's all.
I am riding Holland, a Spanish Colonial Mustang from Shackleford Island in this picture. When my ancestors rode along this trail in the late 1600's they would have been riding Spanish colonial horses just like Holland. Back then that was the only kind of horse in this part of Virginia.
Now they are nearly extinct.
Just a small trace of history left. That's all.
Posted by Steve Edwards