I've always wondered about how my ancestors moved from one state to another when there were no roads. Since they were among the first white settlers in the colonies in the 1600s, how did they know how to get from one place to another?
Most of my colonial ancestors were either immigrants to New York or Pennsylvania, several lines immigrated to the Eastern Shore of Virginia (and many other counties in Virginia). How did they move from there to places south such as North Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky and places west?
The first road used by colonists was The Great Pennsylvania Wagon Road. It was also known by other names as it passed through individual states.
This road stretched 800 miles and went from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and ended in Augusta, Georgia. It also had branches which went to several different areas. In the beginning, the road was only wide enough for horses and in places were old Indian trails. Many times, settlers had to clear the pathway with axes, picks, and shovels.
One of the first surveyors of the road was Postmaster Benjamin Franklin. He injured his arm when he fell from the wagon due to the wagon bouncing through deep ruts.
During the American Revolution, the wagon road became the chief supply route to move supplies and troops from the north to the south.
During the 19th century, the road fell into disuse and has disappeared in many places. Some of the original route through Maryland and Virginia is now State Highway 11.
Facebook Group "Finding Your Virginia Roots"
Wiser-Alexander, Kathy. "The Great Wagon Road of the East"; Legends of America.
"The Great Wagon Road"; Wikipedia. URL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Wagon_Road
By MarmadukePercy - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10261031
My name is Vicky, and after researching my family history since 1999, I have found amazing stories that need to be told. I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!