Marker Logo HMdb.org THE HISTORICAL
MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Woodbridge in Prince William County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Potomac Path

The King's Highway

 
 
The King's Highway ~ The Potomac Path Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., March 4, 2008
1. The King's Highway ~ The Potomac Path Marker
Inscription.  The King’s Highway was the first north-south route through Virginia. The road began in Boston and ended in Williamsburg. It may have followed one or more trails that American Indians used before European colonization.

The route was first cleared on land south of what became Prince William County during the 17th century. Then known as the Potomac Path, the route passed through Dumfries after it crossed the Occoquan River at Colchester.

Road Maintenance

In the 17th and 18th centuries, Virginia law required landowners to annually contribute time to road maintenance. Slaves and tenants largely maintained the King’s Highway in Prince William County.

Sections of the King’s Highway were paved in the 1920s and incorporated into U.S. Route 1. Route 1 loosely follows the Potomac Path through Prince William County. Segments of the colonial road are now protected.

Traveling Armies

In 1781, Generals George Washington and Jean-Baptiste de Rochambeau used the King’s Highway to reach Yorktown with their cavalry and wagons. Eighty years later, Federal and Confederate troops followed
The King's Highway ~ The Potomac Path Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., March 4, 2008
2. The King's Highway ~ The Potomac Path Marker
Rippon Boulevard and the Mary G. Porter Traditional School can be seen immediately behind the marker.
the road during numerous Civil War campaigns.
 
Erected 2007 by Prince William County.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the The Washington-Rochambeau Route marker series.
 
Location. 38° 37.165′ N, 77° 16.644′ W. Marker is near Woodbridge, Virginia, in Prince William County. Marker can be reached from Forest Grove Drive north of Rippon Boulevard (Virginia Route 784), on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in a mini-park, on the NE corner of the intersection. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2114 Rippon Boulevard, Woodbridge VA 22191, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Preserving History (within shouting distance of this marker); The Old Potomac Path (within shouting distance of this marker); Rippon Lodge (approx. ¼ mile away); Centuries of History (approx. ¼ mile away); Historic Landscape (approx. ¼ mile away); Latrobe's View (approx. 0.3 miles away); Neabsco Creek (approx. 0.3 miles away); a different marker also named Potomac Path (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Woodbridge.
 
More about this marker. On the left is a map detailing the route then known as the Potomac Path. The map carries the caption, "This detail of Peter Jefferson’s and Joshua Fry’s 1751 Map of the most inhabited part of Virginia containing the whole province of Maryland with part of Pensilvania, New Jersey, and North Carolina shows the Potomac Path’s route through Prince William County (highlighted in blue)." The marker identifies the source as Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

The lower center of the marker displays a 1768 newspaper article. It carries the caption, “Mail was carried over the King’s Highway and delivered to post offices along the route. This notice in the July 7, 1768 Alexandria Gazette lists people who had letters awaiting them in Dumfries.”
 
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. A duplicate of this marker is located near a stretch of the old Potomac Path at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.
 
Also see . . .
Closeup of the map in the left image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., March 4, 2008
3. Closeup of the map in the left
 Virtual Tour of The King's Highway. (Submitted on March 4, 2008, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.)
 
Categories. Colonial EraRoads & Vehicles
 
King's Highway (Remains). image. Click for full size.
Historic American Buildings Survey, circa 1959
4. King's Highway (Remains).
Parallel to U.S. Route 1, Woodbridge vicinity, Prince William County, VA Library of Congress [HABS VA,76-WOOD.V,3-]
King's Highway (Remains). image. Click for full size.
Historic American Buildings Survey, circa 1959
5. King's Highway (Remains).
Parallel to U.S. Route 1, Woodbridge vicinity, Prince William County, VA Library of Congress [HABS VA,76-WOOD.V,3-]
 
More. Search the internet for The Potomac Path.
 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 29, 2019. This page originally submitted on March 4, 2008, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 5,341 times since then and 38 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on March 4, 2008, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.   4, 5. submitted on August 10, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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