EARLY ROADS IN VIRGINIA(Hickey's and others)

Morgan Bryan Road

In 1748 an historic roadway was cut across Lunenburg's western lands from north to south, but was not done by court order. Morgan Bryan, a Pennsylvania Quaker, had led a body of settlers down into Virginia, along the Shenandoah. In 1748 Bryan decided to move his family to the Yadkin River in North Carolina. He made the journey down the Valley of Virginia, crossing the Blue Ridge Mountains through Maggoty Gap (near Boone's Mill), and continued across what is now Franklin and Henry Counties into North Carolina. With the aid of his sons, three months were required to cut and clear a way for the passage of his wagon. In 1753 the Moravian brethren travelled Bryan's road when they came from Pennsylvania to make their settlement in North Carolina, (now Winston-Salem). They kept a diary of the trip, and noted that after crossing Smith River they came to John Hickey's store. The roadway became known as Morgan Bryan's Road, and was travelled by thousands who made their homes in the Carolinas.

There were three very early roads which led across Pittsylvania from east to west, known as Hickey's Road, the Pigg River Road and the Irish Road. Along these three highways travelled the early settlers, some moving westward from the more thickly settled sections of eastern Virginia; others having travelled down the valley, crossed the mountains and moved eastward.

Hickey's Road

Hickey's Road was ordered to be laid out at a court held for Lunenburg in June 1749, and led from a point on Staunton River to the Mayo Settlements in what is now western Patrick County, a distance of more than a hundred miles. As we have seen the Mayo Settlements were made by Pennsylvania emigrants and became a place of importance in the early life of the section. The road order reads: "It is ordered that a road be laid off and cleared the best and most convenient way from Staunton River to the Mayo Settlement at the Wart (Bull) mountain, and it is ordered that Joseph Mayes and all the male laboring tithables convenient to said road forthwith mark of and lay the most convenient way from Staunton River to Allen's Creek, and keep the same in repair according to law."

Richard Parsons was appointed surveyor from Allen's Creek to Banister River; Joseph Cloud from Smith River to the settlements. This road led from a point on Staunton River in northern Halifax by Mt. Airy, Chalk Level, and Chatham, crossing Banister river near the old Poor Farm, and turning west led across Henry and Patrick Counties. It took its name from John Hickey, whose store and settlement were near its western limits.

Irish Road
The Irish Road led in the same general direction of Hickey's Road, east and west. From early land plats we find it leaving a ford on Banister River near old Pigg's Mill, running thence to Whitmell and on into Henry County, crossing Grassy Creek to the west. It probably took its name from the early Irish settlers.