Archive for March, 2008

Colonial Danville Virginia For Lease in A.D. 1771 “Palm Tree Springs”

Friday, March 21st, 2008

        Is there global cooling or what?  Does “Palm Tree Springs” sound like Danville, Virginia?  John Dix, of Dix’s Ferry fame, seems to have had quite an imagination in describing his property where Danville was later established.  Here’s a much later Palm Springs in California, but it had another name in the 1800s: 

          Before the Revolutionary War began in 1776, Virginia was just a colony of Great Britain.  The following 1771 description is from the time when we were subjects of the King of England and what became Main Street in Danville was just an old Indian path leading to the ford across Dan River. There seems to be no record of anyone taking a lease on these two tracts and the ferry where, just a few years later, John Dix transported hundreds of soldiers, wagons, and horses across Dan River during the War, he made this advertisement in Williamsburg. 

       The Town of Danville, Virginia was established by the General Assembly in 1793 on 25 acres along the old road to the “Great Falls of Dan River.”  The small town was toallly surrounded by the 165-acre previously owned by John and his son Larkin Dix.  The valuable water front on Dan River was not a part of the original land-locked town. For a long time the 30-acre tract between the mill race (and later the Roanoke Navigational Canal) was separate from the nearby town.  The race began near the present Union Street Bridge and was about 3,000 feet in lenght to the grist mill between the present Bridge Street and the river.  Early records refer to this area as “Wynne’s Falls” for Col. William Wynne who, with his sons, owned thousands of acres in the area. 

This old undated map shows the area which was later Danville, Virginia.  The center line is the dividing line between Virginia and North Carolina (Pittsylvania and Caswell Counties).  Lower Saura Town is the site of an old Indian village down stream of Eden (formerly Leaksville, Draper and Spray).  The double line at left is the old Indian trail which became the Berry Hill Road (SR 863) west of Danville.  The town of Danville was formed in the center here between the river and North Carolina.  Like New Orleans, Danville could be called the “Crescent City.”   

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