McDowell County officials commemorate new Sandy Creek driving tour

WELCH, WV (WOAY) – A new driving tour detailing the history of Sandy Creek in McDowell and Mingo Counties held its first expedition.

Sandy Creek is home to a rich history involving the French and Indian War, or the Seven Years War as it’s also called. In 1756, the Sandy Creek Expedition began. It was a scouting mission in parts of what is now McDowell and Mingo Counties. To help detail the lengthy history of this expedition, officials around McDowell County created the Sandy Creek Expedition Driving Tour. 

“We’re going to travel throughout McDowell County and also over in Mingo County to follow the path of the pioneers that were coming through here back during the late 1700’s,” said Welch City Councilman James Spence.

To commemorate the first tour, officials held a small ceremony in the city of Welch. It featured members of the city council, chamber of commerce and even a representative from Congresswoman Carol Miller’s office. They say they wanted to find new ways to tell the history of McDowell County. 

“See what all is available, see what all will be exposed for the trail. And one opportunity we have for our tourists is to experience what it was like through the mountains back then in our area.”

The Sandy Creek Expedition is also significant in that it was the first time the Cherokee warriors, British Military and the Virginia Militia all worked together on the same effort. 

“A lot of history is in this county and it hasn’t always been presented or exposed, so we’re going to start working more with that. I think we learn from history. We learn positive and negative things.”

The driving tour was created in a combined effort from the McDowell County Commission, Mountain Resource and Development Council, History Education Services and the McDowell County Solid Waste Authority for preparing the trail. The organizers hope the trail will highlight the history of the county, as well as bring in new tourists.

The driving tour is 60 miles long, stretching from Valls Creek to Wharncliffe in McDowell and Mingo Counties. 

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