Rapidan Wildlife Management Area Users
3/18/06 Wilhite Wagon Trail Work Day
We are planning to work on a trail in the Middle River Tract on the weekend of May 20th to the 21st.
Some History on the Wilhite Wagon Trail
In 1981, Tom Floyd who was active with the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club wrote a book Lost Trails and Forgotten People, The Story of Jones Mountain.
There are two passages in the book that refer to the Wilhite Wagon trail. Here they are:
First Passage (Page 51):
The shadows of tragedy descended twice on the McDaniel family. The hard-working Calvin McDaniel died before his children were grown. Then, about 1885, fire swept through the home, destroying the house and all of the family’s belongings. The family kept the land but did not rebuild. Elic McDaniel moved to the home territory of the McDaniels on the Conway River. Tom and Maggie (“Miss Mag”) moved with their mother to the top of Chapman Mountain on the Wilhite Wagon Road (now an abandoned trail in Shenandoah National Park, paralleling the Hoover Road, which was built later). Their home was near a spring about a thousand feet west of the present-day Blakey Ridge Fire Road. Ed McDaniel moved to the old Tom Graves place near Graves Mill but continued farming the Staunton River fields, holding title there until the establishment of the National Park.
Second Passage (Page 84):
Time was running out for the mountain people, but before they could absorb the shock, another event distracted them and brought national publicity to the Rapidan area. In 1929, President Herbert Hoover purchased 160 acres of land on the far side of Fork Mountain and built his summer White House in a hemlock grove where the Laurel Prong and the Mill Prong came together to form the Rapidan River. The old Wilhite Wagon Road was closed, and the new “Hoover” Road was constructed for access to the presidential retreat.
The Wilhite Wagon trail is to the West of the 4 WD Trail. It is mislabeled Wilhoite Wagon Trail.