« PreviousContinue »
THE NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM FROM 1775 TO
1800 — EXTENSION AND USE OF WILDERNESS ROADS — A JUNCTION POINT IN THE FOREST — THE TRAVEL ROUTE INTO TENNESSEE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FOREST TRAILS AND RIVERS EARLY EFFORTS TO IMPROVE THE PATHS - DESCRIPTIONS OF MOVEMENTS OVER THEM PLACE OF WOMEN IN PIONEER LIFE AND WORK — A CHART OF WESTWARD MARCHES
EVERAL thousand people marched over the Wil
derness Road each year during the Revolution period, nearly all of them starting from North Carolina and Virginia. On arriving in Kentucky every new family took up land, was presented with a log cabin by its neighbors, cleared some ground and planted corn. In the early years of the revolt against England the Kentucky settlements were often attacked by hostile red men, but without permanent effect. Twice the whites were defeated with a loss of about sixty killed, but the tide of white travel through the woods rose in such everincreasing volume that temporary reverses were soon forgotten. The pioneers never brooded over their dead. All the attention and strength they could give were demanded by those who still lived.
* Entire church congregations made the journey in a body, and on several occasions such a pilgrimage was led by the pastor, just as Hooker had conducted his people through the forests of Massachusetts long before. One of the religious organizations that travelled to Kentucky was the Baptist Church of Spottsylvania, Virginia, under the guidance of Pastor Lewis Craig. It proceeded across the country not only as a caravan of travellers but as an organized moving church.
The year 1784 found about thirty thousand people in the Kentucky region, and the immigration of that summer amounted to some twelve thousand men, women and children. The overland movement still maintained a caravan character. By its increased use the Wilderness Road was being robbed of many of its difficulties, and to the one original path had been added various extensions and ramifications. A reference to the accompanying map will disclose with approximate completeness the several routes that at various times, and from different eastern localities, were used to reach the interior of the country. The relationship which these different roads bore to the general westward advance can be discussed with propriety at this point, though not all of them had become important highways of travel at quite so early a date as we have reached.
The origin and direction of Boone's Trace have already been given, and its course through the territory embraced in the map can be easily followed. Boone's actual work in marking the first road began at a point some distance to the northeast of Fort Chissel, and then proceeded to the Warriors' Path, as indicated. Within a few years the preferred route had veered from the Warriors' Path somewhat to the south of the point where Boone forsook that highway, and assumed a rather more direct line toward Boonesborough. The eastward end of the original trace marked by Boone was easily reached over rough roads, previously made, that extended westwardly from Richmond and eastern Virginia.
A route extending southwest through the valley between the Blue Ridge and Alleghany ranges was the one followed for a part of its way by Calk. He crossed
1 Perkins' "Western Annals." Only apnroximate estimates can, of course, be given. It is certain that 1784 saw a great influx, and it has even been estimated that 30,000 souls went to Kentucky in that year.
1. Catskill Road and west
ward extension to Delaware and Susquehanna
Rivers. 2. Road across New Jersey. 3. Road from Philadelphia to
Fort Pitt. 4. Road from Baltimore to
Redstone. 5. The Great Road from Yad
kin River to Philadelphia
(435 miles). 6. Boone's Wilderness Road. 7. The Warriors' Path. 8. The Bison Street. 9. The Tennessee Path. 10. Cumberland River Trail. 11. Road from Kentucky to
St. Louis. 12. Berry Trace. 13. Whetzel Trace. 14. Northward extension of
Warriors' Path. 15. Kellogg's Trail. 16. Boone's Lick Road. 17. Government Road, by con
sent of Choctaws and
Chickasaws. 18. General Jackson's Road. 19. The Unicoy Road. 20. Traders' Path to Chero
kees. N. T. Indicates Native Trail.