“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Yorktown in York County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Tobacco Road

Tobacco Road Marker image. Click for full size.
By David Graff, September 20, 2014
1. Tobacco Road Marker
"An act for Ports, &c. That from and after the first day of October (1692), all shipps, barques, and other vessells whatsoever, arriveing into, or sayling out of this country for trayd, shall unload and put on shoare, and take from shoar to load on board, all tabaccoes, goods and merchantdises, at one or other of the poarts … mentioned in this act…" Virginia General Assembly, April 1691, Legislation establishing Yorktown

Tobacco, in the 17th and 18th centuries, was a valuable form of currency. It could be used to pay taxes, fines and salaries of government and church officials as well as purchase merchant goods. Upon the founding of the commercial port of Yorktown in 1691, the price for a half acre town lot was 180 pounds of tobacco.

This road trace in the 18th century was a busy thoroughfare called Tobacco Road. The road provided an easy route for exported goods, including thousands of pounds of tobacco, to reach the port facilities on the York River, while circumventing most of the town.

By 1750, the amount of tobacco sent from Yorktown began to decline as crop yields on local plantations started to
Tobacco Road Marker image. Click for full size.
By David Graff, September 20, 2014
2. Tobacco Road Marker
at the start of the Tobacco Road Trail.
decrease. The town never recovered from the devastation of the 1781 siege and the port became a shadow of its former self.

Today, Tobacco Road is a quiet walkway providing a link between the waterfront and the National Park Service Visitor Center. As you stroll along, envision the road as it once was – a vital link for both Yorktown and Virginia's economy.
Erected by Colonial National Historical Park, National Park Service.
Location. 37° 13.996′ N, 76° 30.226′ W. Marker is in Yorktown, Virginia, in York County. Marker is on Water Street 0.1 miles east of Compte de Grasse Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is near the southeast end of Water Street on a section generally restricted to pedestrian traffic. It marks the start of the Tobacco Road Trail which leads to the NPS Visitor Center. Marker is in this post office area: Yorktown VA 23690, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Monument to the Alliance and Victory (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Victory Monument (about 400 feet away); Yorktown Victory Monument (about 500 feet away); Yorktown (about 500 feet away); Yorke Village (about 600 feet
York River image. Click for full size.
By David Graff, September 20, 2014
3. York River
Taken from the Tobacco Road marker location.
away); Yorktown's Sunken Fleet (about 600 feet away); The Brig Betsy (about 600 feet away); York “Under The Hill” (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Yorktown.
Regarding Tobacco Road. The marker includes a drawing of the road when it was used for loading ships. The caption reads: In the 18th century, tobacco was prepared for shipment by packing it into large wooden casks, called hogsheads. The hogsheads were then rolled to the waterfront for loading onto ships bound for England.
Categories. AgricultureColonial EraRoads & Vehicles
Along the Tobacco Road Trail image. Click for full size.
By David Graff, September 20, 2014
4. Along the Tobacco Road Trail
More. Search the internet for Tobacco Road.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 19, 2014, by David Graff of Halifax, Nova Scotia. This page has been viewed 335 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on October 19, 2014, by David Graff of Halifax, Nova Scotia. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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