The town you see 1,400 feet below, the mountain on which you stand, and the Gap itself all bear the name of an English royal - the Duke of Cumberland. Prince William Augustus (1721-1765) was the third and favorite son of King George II. The popular young nobleman was sometimes called "Sweet William" after he successfully crushed the 1745 Jacobite rebellion in Scotland.
In Virginia, Peter Jefferson, Joshua Fry, and Thomas Walker - all politically well-connected planters - formed the Loyal Land Company in 1749 to sell Virginia's western lands. The Governor's Council in Williamsburg granted Loyal Land title to 800,000 acres west of these mountains. Sometime after Thomas Walker explored here in 1750, the Gap was named for Sweet William.