Fayetteville and Leasburg Road

The Museum of Durham History’s latest installment in the Durham A-Z series is G is for Geography and Growth, on display through October 14, 2015. This exhibit highlights how Durham’s unique geography influenced how and where people travelled and settled in Durham County. In conjunction with the new exhibit, community historian David Southern writes about five colonial and pre-colonial roads that crossed Durham and the surrounding area. These old paths played an important part in shaping the Durham we travel and live in today.

Massey’s Chapel on Fayetteville Road in southern Durham. credit: Open Durham



Fayetteville and Leasburg Road

Like Fayetteville and Leasburg Roadthe Hillsboro-Fayetteville Stagecoach Road that entered the county from the south, near O’Kelley’s Chapel on present-day NC 751, this road followed the same course northerly from Avent’s Ferry on the Cape Fear River (near present-day NC 42) through the future villages of Corinth and New Hill. In Durham County it soon veered right from the stage coach road toward Massey’s Chapel, and it followed Fayetteville Road / Fayetteville Street parallel to the later right-of-way of the Durham and South Carolina Railroad (now the American Tobacco Trail) passing the campus of North Carolina Central University through the neighborhood once called Hayti. From there it continued northerly through the future city of Durham via Ramseur, Dillard, and Cleveland streets to present-day Roxboro Road, following it north across Ellerbee Creek and Eno River to Milton Road just past the Northern High School campus. Milton Road takes its name from the village of Milton on the Virginia border in northern Caswell County, and between Durham and Milton the old road passed through the original Caswell County seat, Leasburg. Milton Road now terminates at Guess Road, but the portion of Guess Road north of that junction to the Orange county line was called Milton Road well into the twentieth century. Milton Hill school, remarked upon in Jean Anderson’s splendid history of Durham County, was situated on an early track of this road, now an abandoned loop in the woods parallel to Guess Road.

Originally published in the News & Observer

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