Updated 9/10/13

In Podcast #61 the Trekkers travel close to the Cumberland Gap to show you an early frontier fort called Martin’s Station, established in 1775 to protect the early settlers from Indian attacks. Find out how the pioneers lived inside and outside the fort; learn along with the Trekkers how to open a frontier door; see the interesting (and sometimes crazy) animals that live there including bison, a hungry horse, and inhospitable sheep; finally, discover why the Trekkermobile broke down and who caused it. Come on, let’s go trekking!

Dr. Thomas Walker, who encouraged Joseph Martin to settle in this area and build Martin’s Station, had explored southwestern Virginia 19 years before Daniel Boone!  In fact, Dr. Walker and Joseph Martin named the Cumberland Gap during their first excursion there in 1750.  It wasn’t until 1769 that Daniel Boone arrived, and he was surprised to see that Joseph Martin had beaten him.  Dr. Walker and Joseph Martin named many places in this part of Virginia. The town of Martinsville was named after Joseph Martin.  When Dr. Walker wasn’t out exploring, he lived at Castle Hill outside of Charlottesville, Virginia (see photo below).  He and his wife were the guardians of Thomas Jefferson after his father died when he was just eleven.  Later, in 1781, Dr. Walker’s wife delayed the British troops who were traveling to Charlottesville to capture Thomas Jefferson and other Revolutionary War leaders.  One story says that she insisted that they eat an elaborate breakfast with her at Castle Hill.  This delay gave Jack Jouett just enough time to warn Jefferson and the other Patriots!  If you’d like to learn more about Jack Jouett’s famous ride, check out Podcast # 49.

Please be patient while the video loads... Read this while you wait!

SOL Correlation:


K.2 The student will describe everyday life in the present and in the past and begin to recognize that things change over time.


2.3 The student will identify and compare changes in community life over time in terms of buildings, jobs, transportation, and population.


VS.2b The student will demonstrate knowledge of the physical geography and native peoples, past and present, of Virginia by locating and describing Virginia’s Coastal Plain (Tidewater), Piedmont, Blue Ridge Mountains, Valley and Ridge, and Appalachian Plateau.


VS.2d The student will demonstrate knowledge of the physical geography and native peoples, past and present, of Virginia by locating three American Indian language groups (the Algonquian, the Siouan, and the Iroquoian) on a map of Virginia.


VS.4b The student will demonstrate knowledge of life in the Virginia colony by describing how the culture of colonial Virginia reflected the origins of European (English, Scots-Irish, German) immigrants, Africans, and American Indians.


VS.6 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the role of Virginia in the establishment of the new American nation by c) explaining the influence of geography on the migration of Virginians into western territories.


VS.10b The student will demonstrate knowledge of government, geography, and economics by describing the major products and industries of Virginia’s five geographic regions.

Valley & Ridge

Castle Hill, home of Dr. Thomas Walker (Photo credits)