Last Saturday, I went for a walk at Cumberland Gap — Within the Shadows of the Cumberland Gap Heritage Walk. It took less than two hours to walk the 1.2 mile stretch of Wilderness Road Trail, stopping along the way to watch presentations by “former” Gap travelers. My ancestors who came to Kentucky through the Gap from Virginia and North Carolina in the early 1800s were on my mind much of the time.
David and Winifred Owens moved from Wilkes County, North Carolina to Rockcastle County, Kentucky between 1800 and 1810 along with Winifred’s parents Henry and Mary Mullins and her brothers Champ, Spencer, Terry, and Gardner. David and Winifred had eleven children at the time and most of her brothers had families as well.
Thomas and Martha Ramsey and their seven children were in Garrard County, Kentucky by 1810 from Virginia. His brother, Francis Alexander Ramsey settled in nearby Rockcastle County.
William Taylor came from Virginia to Garrard County before 1830.
Stephen and Rachel Hopkins were married about 1822 and lived in Claiborne and Hancock County, Tennessee until about 1865 when they crossed the mountains with most of their children and grandchildren to live in Harlan County, Kentucky.
Those are a few of my Cumberland Gap ancestors. How did they do it? How did anyone survive that trip? My Fitbit thought I’d climbed 25 flights of stairs. And that was in just a little over a mile.
See more pictures from the walk, including some with a few of the characters I met along the trail. This is an annual event. If you enjoy history or genealogy, you’ll enjoy it, but keep in mind parts of the trail are steep.