Crossing of the Dan

Mike Geisinger, past president of the Dan River Chapter of the VASSAR; Anne Raab, regent, Berryman Green Chapter, NSDAR; Barbara Bass, president of the Halifax County Historical Society; Jennifer Bryant, South Boston Halifax County Museum director; Douglass Powell, past president, Dan River Chapter, SAR; Carl Espy, Halifax town manager; Jeff Myers, secretary, Dan River Chapter SAR; Dwight Spangler, Dan River Chapter, SAR; Doug Ford, South Boston Halifax County Museum board; and Garry Hall, Crossing of the Dan committee chair stand at a historical marker at the corner of Seymour Drive and Broad Street that recognizes the Retreat to the Dan.

A renewed interest in the American Revolutionary War and specifically the historic events that occurred on the Dan River near present-day South Boston in February 1781 began with a small pamphlet entitled “The Retreat to the Dan” written by local historians W. Carroll Headspeath and Spurgeon Compton and published in 1915.

The historical highway marker on the cover was erected in 1939 and originally stood near a site at the old Boyd’s Tavern on Highway 58 West near Riverdale.

This marker was the only monument of any kind commemorating the Dan River crossing in 1781.

At the request of Berryman Green Chapter, NSDAR, the marker was relocated in 1974 to a grassy plot at the south end of Main Street, where it remained until 1999 when it was moved for the third time to The Retreat to the Dan Wayside located at the corner of Seymour Drive and Broad Street.

In 1998, Berryman Green Chapter Regent Frances Paige Loftis and members including Betty Willis and Barbara Johnston launched a capital campaign to raise funds to construct a site to memorialize the events highlighted in Headspeth and Compton’s booklet.

The Retreat to the Dan Wayside was dedicated in February 1999.