Main Indian Paths
And Migration Trails In Pennsylvania
In the early days the Native North Americas did not have pack animals and just walked about. They did hunt the game so many of their Walking Paths were the same as the paths made by the animals that they hunted. They went great distances to hunt, trade and war so these paths were hooked up into a system. Then came the white man with his European ways and the paths at some places were to narrow for a horse so they made them wider and they became the Pack Trails. As the sons of the Early Settlers became self sufficient to be able to marry they started to look for good cheap land to farm. So after the food was planted in the Spring, some would pack, say from eastern Pennsylvania to western Pennsylvania, with food and tools, to clear an area for a cabin and garden during the good months and return home for the harvest. Then the next year the whole family would move to the new location in the Spring, plant a garden and build a Cabin etc. Now there was conflict between the French and English and the English could not move their heavy equipment on the trails so they widened the trails so they could move wheeled vehicles to Cannon the French Forts. These were the first Wagon Roads into the English wild west of Pennsylvania . We must remember that the French had been there for some time but mostly used the waterways to reach their Trading Camps and Forts.Note that in the Andes where the Llama was used, the people had great roads for war and commerce as they did in Europe, Asia and North Africa.
Conestoga wagon had broad wheels, the rear
wheels being larger than the front, a white fabric hood that was about
12' long and about 4' 8" high, and a convex, from front to back, wagon
box which was about 8' 10" long and 3' 6" wide. It was made for a heavy
load and with six horses could carry over 7 tons. The Prairie Schooner
used on the plains was much lighter. It used two to four horses and the
wagon box, with the wheels removed, was floated as a boat.
Most of the information below is from the book "Indian Paths of Pennsylvania" by Paul A W Wallace and can be found on the internet at a low price.
Great Shamokin Path
The catawba ran from Ichsua (Olean) on the Allegheny in New York through Indiana, Homer, Palmerton, New Florence, Northeast of Blairsville, Old fort Palmer, Ligonier, Pleasant Grove, Stahlstown, Acme, Laurelville, near Mt Pleasant, Prittstown, Connellsville and Uniontown. from there to Morgantown, W. Va.and on to the Carolines, Kentucky and Tennessee and was one of the most important paths in North America. It was known by many names and its extensions served from Florida to Canada and the Mississippi Valley.
OLD KITTANNING INDIAN TRAIL
One of the most important migration
the Kittanning Trail from Frankstown through the Kittanning Gap and up
to Clearfield Creek to Loretto. Then it ran through Ashville and Chesh
Springs, past Carroltown, to Canoe Place (Cherry Tree), and then to
County (now Indiana, Indiana County) and on to Kittanning on the
River. Another trail extended west to the Venango Path and Logstown
and then into Ohio. The trail from Conewago in Adams County to
in Cambria County passing through South Mountain, Shippensburg, the
River, Huntingdon, Sinking Valley near Altoona, and the Frankstown
near Hollidaysburg and on to Kittanning has been referred to as The Old
Kittanning Indian Trail. This included the Frankstown Path to Forbes
between Shippensburg and Carlisle.
Kuskusky - Kittanning Path
was a projection of the Great Shamokin Path
This route continued west to the Delaware village of
Kuskuskies (New Castle) within the boundaries of present-day
Lawrence County. The modern road which approximates this
section is U.S. 422.
BRADDOCK'S ROAD - Nemaolin's Path - The Cumberland Trail
Nemacolin's Path was named for the Delaware Indian who assisted Colonel Thomas Cresap in blazing a path from Cumberland, Maryland to a trading post of the Ohio Company of Virginia at present-day Brownsville, PA. Soon after, the governor of Virginia sent Major George Washington to expel the French from British territory. He widen the trail to accommodate his supply wagons and that portion became known as Washington's Road. Later during the French and Indian War a company of 600 soldiers under the command of Major General Edward Braddock set out from Ft. Cumberland to widen Washington's old road through Maryland, past the ruins of Fort Necessity on into western Pennsylvania. This became the Braddock Road or The Cumberland Road and its extension West became known as the National Road and today is called U.S. Route 40. It was the first highway built entirely with federal funds. Braddock died near the site of Fort Necessity and was buried in the road to conceal his grave. In 1804 the remains were re-entered on a small knoll adjacent to the road.
Early Catholic families from County
landed at New Castle on the Delaware River south of Philadelphia and
Braddock's Road by way of Cumberland to Jacob's Creek near
From here the passed through Westmoreland and crossed the Allegheny
at Freeport and settled in Armstrong and northern Butler County. Since
the Cumberland Trail passed the Catawba Trail near Uniontown and
at Brownsville, other travelers may have flat boated the Monongahela to
the Ohio and Allegheny rivers at Pittsburgh.
TUPEHOCKEN PATH - PERKIOMEN PATH - Shamokin Path
The Tulpehocken Trail from Shamokin
to the Tulpehocken Creek east of Lebanon was used by the Iroquois
from Onondaga (Syracuse) and parts of the Six Nations to the
Creek and Philadelphia region. Those going north from Tulpehocken
this the Shamokin Path. From the Tupehocken Creek to Philadelphia some
used an extension of the path called the Allegheny Path (Forbes Road)
in earlier times the Perkiomen Path to the north passing through
THE GREAT SHAMOKIN PATH
In 1718 Shamokin was the most
town in Pennsylvania. An Iroquois command post controlling the
of refugee groups of Shawnees, Tuscaroras, Conoys, Nanticokes and
from the south. The path connected to Kittanning on the Allegheny, the
largest Indians settlement to the west before its destruction by
John Armstrong in 1756. These two towns controlled most all of the
and foot traffic in all of Pennsylvania and extended to Lake Erie and
in the north, the Delaware in the east, the Potomac in the southeast,
the Ohio River Valley in the southwest.
FORBES ROAD - Raystown Path and The Old Trading Path
In 1758, General John Forbes convinced the Army to use the Raystown Path (Bedford) as a military road. The road to the east had been cleared by Colonel James Burd. However the road was nearly impassable so Colonel Bouquet worked ahead of the advancing army to make the improvements and widen the old bridle path or cut new paths over the hills. By November 24 the army had reached Fort Duquesne. 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.
Big Pipe Creek and Little Pipe Creek flow into the Monocacy River about10 miles south of the present PA/MD border and form part of the Monocacy watershed. The Monocacy River watershed was the site of many land surveys, claims and roads. One of these roads, (approx. 1750) ran from Conestoga and Conewago into MD close to the Monocacy River, crossing Pipe Creek and, through other connections, on to the Potomac. The actual routes are not accurately known. The border between MD and PA was in dispute for many years before the survey by Mason and Dixon and many of the MD claims extended into what is now PA. Therefore there was a rather free flow of traffic between the Conewago Valley area and the Monocacy watershed. This flow prompted the formation of mission churches at many places along the route including Littlestown, Taneytown and many more. Since many of the claims and surveys were named for the creeks and rivers that they encompassed, you may have seen areas and/or surveys called Pipe Creek.
In the early 1700's France's King Louis
the Lower Palatinate and many fled down the Rhine to Rotterdam. In 1708
and 1709 the Duke of Marlborough was assigned by Queen Anne to
the immigrants to England. Some of these people were transported to New
York and were moved at the expense of the Queen to Livingston Manor, in
what is now Sullivan County, NY. Many of these surnames were latter
at Goshenhoppen, PA, now called Bally. Their travel route was either
Delaware River or the trail from New York to Baltimore. In 1719 this
trail followed from Baltimore in Maryland and passed through Conewago.
PA which is a short distance north west of the Susquehanna River and in
present day Adams County, PA and on to Philadelphia and New York. Some
of these families moved to Westmoreland after the