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Pennsylvania Trails - Page 2

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Irriquois IndiansThe Great Indian Warpath - Also known as the Great Indian War and Trading Path, or the Seneca Trail, this historic path was a network of ancient Indian routes with many branches. The Native American trail ran through the Great Appalachian Valley through several states including Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Alabama. Various Indian tribes  traded and made war along the trails, including the Catawba, numerous Algonquian tribes, the Cherokee, and the Iroquois Confederacy. The British traders' name for the route was derived from combining its name among the northeastern Algonquian tribes, "Mishimayagat" or "Great Trail", with that of the Shawnee and Delaware, "Athawominee" or "Path where they go armed".


The system of footpaths branched off in several places onto alternate routes and over time, shifted westward in some regions to adjust to pressure from British colonies. In the north, from West Virginia to the Great Lakes, the route was called Seneca Trail formed the boundary of "the frontier" by the time of the French and Indian War (175663). When King George III issued a proclamation in 1763 forbidding further settlement beyond the mountains and demanding the return of settlers who had already crossed the Alleghenies, a line was designated roughly following the Seneca Trail. Parts of the trail would later be blazed as other trails including the Great Valley Road, Kanawha Trail, Wilderness Road, Catawba Trail, Unicoi Trail, and the Georgia Road.

The Great Shamokin Path - In 1718 Shamokin was the most important Indian town in Pennsylvania. Here, an Iroquois command post controlled the movements of refugee groups of Shawnee, Tuscarora, Conoy, Nanticoke and others Indians from the south. The path connected Shamokin to Kittanning on the Allegheny River, the largest Indian settlement to the west before its destruction by Colonel John Armstrong in 1756. These two towns controlled most all of the water and foot traffic in all of
Pennsylvania and extended to Lake Erie and Syracuse in the north, the Delaware River in the east, the Potomac River in the southeast, and the Ohio River Valley in the southwest.


Monocacy Trail - Big Pipe Creek and Little Pipe Creek flow into the Monocacy River about 10 miles south of the present-day Pennsylvania-Maryland border and form part of the Monocacy watershed. The actual routes are not accurately known; however, the trail led from Philadelphia and crossed into Maryland near Taneytown. it then went on to the village of Monocacy,  the first settlement in Frederick County, Maryland. Today it is known as Creagerstown. Monocacy was located at a crossroads and consisted of just a few log cabins and blacksmith shop.


It is believed that the Monocacy path then made its way parallel along present-day Route 15 and parts of Old Frederick Road. Then, from there it traveled to Frederick and connected with Braddock Road and ran through South Mountain. Immigrants that were traveling from Pennsylvania to Virginia used the Monocacy Trail. Many of these immigrants that traveled the Monocacy Trail settled in the area that is known today as Frederick County. The Monocacy River watershed was the site of many land surveys, claims and roads in the early days of American settlement. The border between Maryland and Pennsylvania was in dispute for many years before the survey by Mason and Dixon, which found that many of the Maryland claims  extended into what is now Pennsylvania.


National Road - By the early 19th century, the wilderness of the Ohio country had given way to settlement. The road George Washington had cut through the forest many years before, called Braddock's Road, was replaced by the National Road. See full article HERE.


Nemacolin's Trail - Also called Nemacolin's Path, this was an ancient Native American trail that connected present-day Cumberland, Maryland with what is now Brownsville, Pennsylvania. It ended in the neighborhood known today as Redstone located at mouth of Redstone Creek. In colonial America, the site was known as Redstone Old Fort for its defensive installation. It crossed the great barrier of the Allegheny Mountains via the Cumberland Narrows Mountain pass and connected the Potomac River and the Monongahela River watersheds on either side of the Allegheny range. During 1749 and 1750,  Delaware Indian Chief Nemacolin and Maryland frontiersman, Thomas Cresap, supervised improving the trail. Nemacolin's Trail became the gateway by which settlers in Conestoga wagons or by stage coaches reached the promised lands of the American near and far west. In 1755, the eastern part of Nemacolin's Trail was used as military route for British General Edward Braddock's ill-fated attempt to capture Fort Duquesne, becoming Braddock's Road. Later parts of the trail would form the Cumberland Road, the National Road, the National Pike, and eventually U.S. Route 40. In 1785 the State of Pennsylvania authorized "The Pennsylvania Road" from Harrisburg to Pittsburgh following the old Forbes Road.




The road was changed in many ways. It now ran through Greensburg rather than Hannastown and took a south branch through Wilkinsburg. The Great Conestoga Road, completed in 1741, and the later Lancaster Pike (opened in 1794) went from Philadelphia to Lancaster. These two roads were linked and this was now the main migration route from the east to the Ohio Valley after the Revolution until the building of the Erie Canal in 1834. This road combined the Raystown Path from near Pittsburgh to Harrisburg and the Allegheny Path to Philadelphia. The Raystown Path was blazed by Delaware and Shawnee Indians moving between the Forks of the Ohio (modern Pittsburgh) and the lower Susquehanna Valley (modern Harrisburg). Prior to the Seven Years' War, it was the primary route for Pennsylvania fur traders and their packhorses moving in and out of the Ohio Country. The name of the route is derived from John Ray (also spelled as Rae or Wray), one of the early fur traders in this region.




Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated November, 2016.


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