Where The New River Got Its Name

New River Gorge

New River Gorge in the Spring

We’ve all heard the story. You know the one…the New River is one of the oldest rivers in the world. Then why is it called the new?

Like a women her exact age remains a mystery. To add to her mystic she’s also had aliases.  One of the first white men that tried to tag her with his own name was Colonel Abraham Woods. He was a well-known European fur trader and explorer. He sent  a couple of his best men into the Appalachian Mountain area specifically in search of deer and beaver for their pelts. So it’s quite possible that those men, Thomas Batts (Batte) and Robert Fallam, may have been two of the first few white men to experience this mountainous region and ride what they called “Woods River”.

Digging a little deeper I find that just a few years prior to that, Edward Bland wrote home to London of the western territories of Virginia and North Carolina.  Everything was new…He called them the New Brittaine and New Virginia. Branding is obviously not a new trend… So when Bland came upon a river that wasn’t marked on any his maps, what else was he going to call it but the “New River”.

The New River is born in North Carolina and travels north which is an odd thing for a river to do. So she’s old but she’s called the New, and she’s goes against what is a general rule of rivers in flowing the wrong way. By the time she travels through Virginia and into West Virginia she’s picking up some powerful steam. Showing it off by way of wonderful white water and leaving a trail of summer fun in her mist. She’s been feeding and providing to this area in many ways over many years, and just like any mountain woman she’ll continue to do so till she hasn’t a drop left.

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