05 November 2014

Trekking in the footsteps of long ago ... seeing all that is out there ... invaluable to our family history research!


Though many of us have heard of Lewis & Clark and their 1804 expedition, there were earlier explorers who tackled specific locales.  For example, John Lawson, in 1700 set out to survey the interior of the colony of Carolina and in 1709 published “A New Voyage to Carolina; Containing the Exact Description and Natural History of That Country: Together with the Present State Thereof. And a Journal of a Thousand Miles, Travel'd Thro' Several Nations of Indians. Giving a Particular Account of Their Customs, Manners, &c.

The reason that I bring this up is because a Raleigh writer is re-creating John Lawson’s trek.
Over the next several months, Huler will segmentally re-create – more or less – the 550-mile trek that English explorer John Lawson began on Dec. 28, 1700, when he set out to survey the interior of the young colony of Carolina, possibly for its governing Lords Proprietors. On a map, Lawson’s route made a ragged “C,” starting in a canoe near what is now Charleston, S.C., going inland toward present-day Columbia and Charlotte, and terminating at the Pamlico River beyond Washington, N.C.

When he states “It’s not so much slavishly following his steps as just doing what he did: taking a long walk, looking around and seeing what you see, and talking about it.” Huler said. “Waking people up to what’s out there.” that really hit an emotional note with me.  We are kindred souls ...

Just last weekend, I spent a train trip back and forth to DC marveling at all that one can see from the window of a train.  While many around me chatted, stared at their computers, slept, drank (and I do mean alcohol) and much more, I was reminded of the splendor of our world and how much of it goes unnoticed by so many.  I also notice the seasons so intensely, especially as the cotton goes from a green plant to a field of white snowballs on slender brown stalks.  Or my view into the interior of the woods and swamplands as leaves fall, kudzu dies off, and that world is now revealed to me. And, so much which has been abandoned – buildings, equipment, railroad tracks, vehicles, and more.  I previously wrote about this in Ramblings from a train ... using travel as an opportunity to “see” the world as it is now and as it was!

You can read about Huler’s planned trek in Raleigh writer walks trail of 1700s explorer John Lawson.

To understand our ancestors often requires increasing our understanding of the world as it was then (and some of it remains untouched even now).  Whether you are trekking in the footsteps of a long ago explorer, or like me just marveling in what can be seen from the window of a train, when we examine the terrain we encounter like an explorer, we get a perspective into our world that we will easily miss when we are not looking ... much of it the more primitive and off-the-beaten path environment of when our ancestors lived.





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