Immigration  or Migration Trails

During colonial days when pioneers moved south or west, they followed trails made by animals or Indians, along the rivers and creeks where food, firewood, water and shelter were the most abundant.  Suppose you are searching for an ancestor known to have left Pennsylvania heading for Tennessee, but you can't find him.  He could have decided to settle aong the trail.  He may have traveled farther than his original destination, or he may have died en route.  The following list of principal trails might provide a clue as to where to continue your research.  A good reference project for the genealogist would be to obtain a map of the United States and mark the trails.
1.  The Warrior Path (also the Wilderness Trail,The Great Indian Warpath and the Tennessee Trail.)  This trail led from Philadelphia across the Susquehanna River to Lancaster, York and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania then to Hagerstown, Maryland and Winchester, Virginia, down the Shenandoah to Stanton, Virginia, then along the through between the main mountain ranges of the Appalachians into the valleys of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee, ending at Chattanooga.  A branch of this trail turned north into Kentucky, through the Cumberland Gap, and ended at Portsmouth, Ohio and Louisville, Kentucky.
2.  The Gallipolis Trail - left the Warrior's Trail near Staunton, Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley, following the valleys of the New and Kanawha Rivers to the Junction with the Ohio River at Gallipolis, Ohio.
3.  Braddock's Road - led from Maryland to Pittsburg, Pennsylvania along what is now US Route #40.
4.  The Old Trading Path - ran from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania went west to Lancaster, Carlisle, Bedford and Greensburg ending at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (about the same route the Pennsylvania Turnpike follows).
5.  The Occaneechi Path - led from Burmuda Hundred on James River in Virginia, through Petersburg to an Indian town on the Roanoke River about where it crossed over into North Carolina and South Carolina to Augusta, Georgia, where it connected to other trails.
6.  The Natchez Trace - led from Nashville, Tennessee south to Natchez, Mississippi where it connect with other trails.
7.  The Lower Creek Trading Path - ran from Greenville, Mississippi east through Birmingham, Alabama; Macon, Georgia; to Augusta, Georgia with important branches to Savannah, Georgia and St. Augustine, Florida.  This path connected directly to the Warrior's and Occaneechi Path.
8.  The National Road - ran from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania through Baltimore, and Frederick, Maryland; Wheeling, West Virginia; Columbus, Ohio; Richmond; Indianapolis and Terre Haute, Indiana to St Louis, Missouri.  It was the most extensively used of all.
9.  The Buffalo Trace connected with the Warrior's Path at Louisville, Kentucky up thru Indians, passing thru New Albany; Paolo, Greenwich, Washington to Vincennes, Indiana, on the Wabash River.  Sixty percent of eleven settlers going to Indiana used this trail.
10. The Old Chicago Road led from Indianapolis to Chicago passing  through Crawfordville, Covington and Williamsport on the Wabash River, Indiana,  it was intersected south of Williamsport by the Lafayette Road which ran north from Vincennes, passing through Sullivan, Terre Haute, Galatin and Covington.
11.  Old Connecticut Path ran from Boston through Worcester, Springfield, Mass. to Albany, New York where it joined the Mohawk Trail to Lake Erie.
12.  The Mohawk Trail led from Albany, New York to the Western and of Lake Erie passing through Utica, Syracuse, Auburn and Batavia, New York.
13.  The Great Trail led from  Pittsburg, Pennsylvania to Detroit, Michigan by way of Wooster, Fremont and the Reisen River.  This was an extension of Braddock's Road.
14.  The Cataba Trail started at Charleston, South Carolina to eastern Tennessee.  It connected with the Occaneechi Path at Columbia, South Carolina and the Warrior's Path of Kentucky at it's termination.

Copied from Lawrence County "Lawco Lore"
written by Sterling Bishop
Printed in Society's Newspaper - March 1987
Back to Home Page