Great Indian Warrior/Trading Path (the Great Philidelphia Wagon Road) - Savannah, GA
N 32° 04.549 W 081° 05.922
17S E 490684 N 3548843
Quick Description: The Great Philadelphia Wagon Road ran from Georgia to New York and was one of the busiest roads in the colonies. It was formed on Indian paths which in turn were formed on game trails. This marker is at Liberty and Martin Luther King Jr in Savannah
Location: Georgia, United States
Date Posted: 8/14/2008 12:20:41 PM
Waymark Code: WM4EXM
The marker reads:
|"Great Indian Warrior/Trading Path|
(the Great Philidelphia Wagon Road)
The most heavily traveled road in Colonial America passed through here, linking areas from the Great Lakes to Georgia. Laid on animal trails and Native American Trading/Warrior Paths. Treaties among the Governers of New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia and nineteen chiefs of the Iroquois League of Five Nations in 1685 and 1722, opened the colonial backcountry for peaceful settlement and colonization in Georgia. The Path had two branches from Carolina, the western branch to Augusta and the eastern to Savannah, formed to find salt and game.
|National Society Daughters of the American|
Colonists. Project of the 2000-3 administration.
Mary Ann Groome Helper, National President"
From the Rowan Roots web site:
"Only a few trails cut through the vast forests, which covered the continent between the northernmost colonies and Georgia, the southern tip. The settlers, as they moved inland, usually followed the paths over which the Indians had hunted and traded. The Indians, in turn, had followed the pre-historical traces of animals. Who knows why the animals wandered where they did, but some of those early travelers on that road, the Scots-Irish Presbyterians, would have assured us it was certainly predetermined. Even so, few paths crossed the Appalachians, which formed a barrier between the Atlantic plateau and the unknown interior. In his 1755 map of the British Colonies, Lewis Evans labeled the Appalachians, "Endless Mountains." And so they must have seemed to the daring few who pierced the heart of the wooded unknown. But through this unknown, even then, there was a road. The Iroquois tribesmen of the North had long used the great warriors' path to come south and trade or make war in Virginia and the Carolinas. This vital link between the native peoples led from the Iroquois Confederacy around the Great Lakes through what later became Lancaster and Bethlehem, Pa. through York to Gettysburg and into Western Maryland around what is now Hagerstown. It crossed the Potomac River at Evan Watkins' Ferry, followed the narrow path across the backcountry to Winchester, through the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia to Harrisonburg, Staunton, Lexington, and Roanoke. On it went into Salem, NC, and on to Salisbury, where it was joined by the east-west Catawba and Cherokee Indian Trading Path at the Trading Ford across the Yadkin River. On to Charlotte and Rock Hill, SC where it branched to take two routes, one to Augusta and another to Savannah, Georgia. It was some road, but it was just a narrow line through the continuous forest. Virginia's Gov. Col. Alexander Spotswood first discovered this Great Road in 1716 when his "Knights of the Golden Horseshoe, " finally crossed the mountains, drank a toast to King George's health and buried a bottle claiming the vast valley for the King of England. His Knights' motto became "Sic Juvat Transcendere Montes, ~ or "Behold, we cross the mountains." In 1744, a treaty between the English colonists and the Indians gave the white men control of the road for the first time. By 1765 the Great Wagon Road was cleared all along it way enough to hold horse drawn vehicles and by 1775, the road stretched 700 miles. Boys and dogs, smelling like barnyards, drove tens of thousands of pigs to market along this road, which grew gradually worse the farther South you went. Inns and ordinaries, which spotted the road undoubtedly taught more than a few of them the ways of the world. But that was all later.
The majority of the folks who by the thousands would walk over Spotswood's buried bottle would have probably thought his whole 1716 ceremony a little preposterous and quite a bit pretentious. You see, they were plain folk trying to get away from Latin, from mottoes, and from knights with horseshoes no matter their element of manufacture, lead to gold. They were as different from Spotswood's cavaliers as a golden horseshoe is from an ox's hoof."