National Geographic : 1932 Jan
THE TRAVELS OF GEORGE WASHINGTON Photograph by Clifton Adams WASHINGTON WAS A FREQUENT VISITOR TO THE STATEHOUSE IN ANNAPOLIS During his long residence at Mount Vernon, the Virginian sought relaxation and amusement in the Maryland capital in the racing and theater season each year. The Congress of the Con federation was in session here when General Washington, having won the War for Independence, surrendered his commission as Commander-in-Chief of the Army in 1783. From Fort Mayo Washington went over to Fort Trial, on Smiths River, on the present Roanoke -Winston - Salem High way. Here he stopped with John Hickey, the first merchant prince of southside Pied mont Virginia. In 1747 Hickey had been granted a peddler's license by the county court of Lunenburg. Gradually he grew rich, and at the time of Colonel Washing ton's visit he not only kept an ordinary, but owned a mill, a store, and thousands of acres of creek bottoms in what since has been divided into four counties. Hickey's great caravans of covered wag ons hauled goods from what is now Peters burg across all the intervening country by way of Chatham, passing over it so con stantly that it became known for nearly a hundred miles as Hickey's Road, a desig nation that still persists. Then, when flat boats began to move up Roanoke River and Danville began to take form as head of navigation on the Dan, his wagons headed in another direction, and the road from present-day Martinsville to present-day Danville became known as Hickey's New Road. Shortly after Washington stopped with John Hickey, the latter's uncollected ac counts grew so large that he became in solvent. He deeded to Samuel Gordon, the surviving partner of Boyd and Gordon, of Blandford, later incorporated into Peters burg, not only his lands and his store, but his cattle, horses, and hogs, all of his out standing notes and accounts. Happily, Hickey was able to stage a "comeback" and in his will left a planta tion to his widow and one to each of his ii children-perhaps one of the earliest Americans to make and lose a fortune and then to make another. His career was one of the early business romances of the Old Dominion.