Staunton River Tour
Halifax County, Virginia
Washington Passes Through Halifax
“Wilson’s Ferry,” the first ferry and the only means of crossing the Dan
Thursday, October 02, 2003
Dear Mr. Shaw,
I was reading your above mentioned internet article after discovering some recent family documents (and document copies). I believe I have information on the location referred to as Wilson’s as described in your history of Washington’s Halifax trip…
I have documentation that my ancestors, the Wilson’s, owned property in the Dan River area at that time of Washington’s visit. I have a copy of a deed from Abraham Little to Peter Wilson dated Peter Wilson’s will presented in a Halifax County court on February 16, 1764, naming various lands and structures in and around the area you described as Dix’s Ferry. These lands and structures continued to be held by the Wilson’s. Peter Wilson and his family were among the earliest permanent settlers of Danville, coming from Scotland in 1720. Peter Wilson established “Wilson’s Ferry,” the first ferry and the only means of crossing the Dan, other than the ford, at that time. Peter is the father of John Wilson, one of the 12 founders of the City of Danville.
In addition, George Wilson, son of Colonel John Wilson above, owned large tracts of land on both sides of the Dan River, as well as Laurel Cliffs – his homestead. His father, Col. Wilson’s homestead – Dan’s Hill - was just across the river from Laurel Cliff’s. They also owned a store known as “The Ferry, to which people for miles around would come to catch up on the latest news.” I believe that “The Ferry” is very likely the “Wilson’s” at which Washington ate while in the area, as referred to in your summary “Staunton River Tour.”
Please feel free to correspond via email as needed.
Robin Wilson Nelson