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West Virginia Encyclopedia honors Marshall Expedition

Oct. 21, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

CHARLESTON -- The West Virginia Encyclopedia has launched a special section honoring the bicentennial of the Marshall Expedition.

The 1812 expedition, led by U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Marshall, crossed the Allegheny Mountains and traveled by wooden boat down the Greenbrier and New rivers in what was then Western Virginia. Their 227-mile, six-week journey two centuries ago helped lay the groundwork for the canals, roads and railroads that would open up the west.

Marshall University in Huntington is named for John Marshall.

Marshall, surveyor Andrew Alexander and others left Lynchburg on Sept. 1, 1812. They traveled by batteau, poling up the James and Jackson rivers to present-day Covington. From there, they hauled the 60-foot wooden boat over the mountains to enter the Greenbrier River at present Caldwell, near Lewisburg.

Eventually, the group reached the New River at present Hinton. They reached Kanawha Falls, at present Glen Ferris, on Oct. 9, 1812.

Editors also developed an interactive map of the expedition for the online encyclopedia using an electronic reproduction of the original map drawn by surveyor Andrew Alexander. It is enhanced with illustrations and text to provide details of the historic journey.

Visit www.wvencyclopedia.org/pages/marshallexpeditionmap to view the re-creation of the expedition.

The pioneering survey established the general route that would be followed by the James River & Kanawha Turnpike, the Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, and even Interstate 64.

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