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Historic American Highways

Significant Incidents in the Development of Highway Transportation In Colonial America and the United States during more than Four Centuries for the Settlers Moving West.



1539

DeSota brought 213 horses to America. They arrived in the Ohio Valley in 1600.

1540

Coronado in New Mexico, Vice Menoza, directed by Governor Coronado, to conquer 7 Cities/Cibola.

1565

Saint Augustine, northeast coast of Florida, first permanent white settlement in U.S. #1

1607

The Indian Canoe, Jamestown,Virginia, horses came here in 1609. Dugout Canoe favored.

1612

First bridge built located at James Towne Island, Virginia May 14, 1607, Wharf 200 ft. long.

1612

The Great Sauk Trail, branched from site of today's Detroit, came French, English, emigrants

1625

Paved Streets in Maine, Bristol township, made of cobblestones, at Fort Cache

1632

First Highway Law, September in 8th year of reign of King Charles I of England.

1636

The Connecticut Path, the Bay Path connecting Mass. Bay colony from New Town (Cambridge)

1673

First Colonial Post Rider, carrying mails between settlements of New England and New York.

1679

The Portage Path around Niagara Falls, connecting many rivers, emptying into Mississippi.

1700

The Iroquois Trail or Mohawk was central thoroughfare across today's New York State.

1751

The Pennsylvania Road, now known as Route 30, and in 1970's parallels Ohio Turnpike, and Pa. 30

1753

Washington crossing the Allegheny, with Christopher Gist, used by French to control Ohio

1755

Braddook's Road(General Edward Braddock of British forces, disembarked from Alexandria, Va.

1760

The Tobacco-Rolling Road from northern Virginia rolled thru Culpeper, Orange, Hanover co's.

1763

The Boston Post Road, a horseback post in 1729, improved under U.S. Postmaster. Opening of this road initiated day and night post between Boston and New York in 1764.

1766

The Flying Machine stage wagon between Philadelphia and New York, initiated speed delivery.

1769

San Diego, California, 1st of Spanish Missions founded Sunday, July 16th, U.S. Route 101 also known as El Camino Real of the Padres, for the road enjoined 21 missions, visited by Franciscans on foot, was first great central road, came many branches, by Spaniards.

1774

The Wilderness Road through the Cumberland Gap thru the Allegheny Mountains, at junction of state boundaries of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia, and the main pioneer road to West.

1794

The Whiskey Rebellion in western Pa. in 1794 was lack of a good road. Used pack horses. Monongahela farmers' revolt against government excise tax upon manufacture of whiskey had on economic basis. Livelihood depended upon sale of grain, lumber, meat, furs, ginseng. Prohibitive wagon freight cost of $3 to $10 for each 100 lbs. across mtns to Philadelphia.

1795

The Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike Road heralded roadbuilding, and best in 13 colonies.

1797

Zane's Trace began at Ohio River near mouth of Big Three Mile Creek (Aberdeen, Ohio)and ended up river at Wheeling, included Maysville Pike which connected Natchez Trace.

1802

Catakill Turnpike, 95 mile road from Catskill, New York on Hudson River to Wattle's Ferry, and by 1783, this route one of three main paths connecting New Eng. with Great Lakes reg. Travelers from southern New York, Conn. and Rhode Island used this over Mohawk Turnpike.

1804

Oliver Evans Amphibious Digger, first stream driven vehicle propelled on land.

1806

Lewis and Clark at Fort Clatsop, 1st transcontinental exploration sponsored by U.S. Gov't.

1808

Gallatin's Road and Canal Report. Sec. of Treasury, became mold for national transportation policies, "early and efficient aid of Federal Government, facilitate commercial Interests".

1809

Natches Trace extended from Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez, capital of Mississippi Territory.

1810

The Team-Boat Perry on Delaware River at Philadelphia, and Colonel John Stevens built in 1813 a horse treadmill ferryboat at Hoboken, New Jersey to cross to New York City.

1814

Growth of Coastwise Travel, New York to Philadelphia, U.S. Route 1, most heavily traveled road.

1816

First State Board of Public Works, at Gen. Assembly of State of Virginia Feb. 5, 1816.

1829

Hobby Horse Bicycle first patent in U.S. issued N.Y. City on June 26, 1819 to W.E. Clarkson.

1820

General Jackson's Military Road from Nashville, Tenn. to New Orleans, Louisiana, projected to shorten by 220 miles the 736 miles between Nashville and Natchez Trace, 21 to 35 ft. wide.

1822

Sante Fe Trail, first of pioneer road established between Mississippi River and Far West.

1823

First American Macadam Road laid upon Boonsborough turnpike road between Hagerstown and Boonsboro, Maryland, now U.S. Route. Company that built it incorporated in Md. Jan. 30, 1822. Second road surface in U.S. following this was built by U.S. on 73 miles of National Pike or Cumberland Road from west bank of Ohio River, opposite Wheeling, to Zanesville, Musk. River.

1825

The Erie Canal opened October 16th from Buffalo to Albany, 363 miles long canal. It did not injure the stage coach companies between the terminal cities but it did bankrupt the Conestoga wagon freight carriers.

1826

The Michigan Road was the main north and south route over which the settlers moved. But contrary to popular impression, the immigrants to southern Michigan entered principally by way of the Erie Canal, the Great lakes and the old Chicago Turnpike which followed the Sauk Indian trail leading southwest from Detroit. The Michigan Road was used by settlers who established their homes in Indiana. Over this road the pioneers of the 1830's called 'movers' drove their ox-drawn covered wagons thru hills of southern Indiana counties to prairies beyond Wabash River (8 months of year). Michigan Road, named after the lake and not the state, was second only to National Rd. Emigrants from Pennsylvania, New England and other eastern states floated in flatboats and barges and upon rafts down the Ohio River to begin their northward journey at the riverside settlement at Madison. Settlers journeying northward frm the southern states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and the Carolinas, crossed the Ohio River from Milton to Madison. More than half of homesteaders in northwest quarter of Indiana reached there by the Michigan Road. Some entered southern Michigan over this route. The 267 mile long Michigan Road began at Madison on the Ohio River, through Michigantown, to the Wabash river crossing at Logansport, on to South Bend, west 36 miles to M Michigan City on lake Michigan. The 100 foot wide road was obtained by treaty.

1827

The Northwestern Turnpike incorporated by act of the General Assembly, bad terrain. It reached Parkersburg in 1838 from Winchester, great difficulties due to topography.

1830

The Maysville Turnpike, thru Blue Grass region of Kentucky, 64 mile unit of long mail road branching from National Pike at Zanesville, Ohio, running southwest through Maysville and Lexington, Kentucky, Nashville Tennessee, Florence, Alabama, to New Orleans.

1830

The Iron Horse Wins hauling a B & 0 railroad car on August 28th, over horse coach.

1836

El Camino Real, the Royal Highway, from Santa Fe, New Mexico to St. Augustine, Florida.

1836

The Deserted Villages in rural areas, like ghost town remnants of mining camps, due to products of changing conditions in agriculture, industry, transportation, social life, nearly halfway between Millville and Tuckahoe, N. J., a village called Cumberland Work.

1836

The New England Town Hall where assembled all males over twenty one from town and the township , meeting convened once each year, usually during February, March or April. The town meeting became fountain head of all representative government in the county. There were elected, or appointed, regular town officers, such as clerk, treasurer, assessor, surveyor of highways, school committeement, others.

1836

The Parish Church, governed by its vestry, cared for by church wardens, was cradle of society and government in early Virginia. Parish church in Virginia was patterned after its Anglican counterpart. Early records used words Parish and Town interchangeably.

1836

The County Courthouse, the county seat of local goverment. The word county is derived from the territory in France governed by a count. It was applied after the 11th century to the Engoish shires, the antecedent of which were the ancient tribal governments superior to the clans or family groups, which had their habitat in the towns. These two forms of English local goverment--the tribe, or county, and the clan or town, were transplanted to the English colonies in America. The town predominated in New England but the Parish was the accepted political subdivision in Louisiana. The ounty was divided into precincts or 'walks' each in charge of a surveyor or foreman. Tithable persons were local residents over 16 years of age, whether free, slave or indentured.

1839

The First Iron Bridge was over Dunlap's Creek, Main Street, Brownsville, Pennsylvania.

1840

The National Pike or Cumberland Road, first road to be built with Federal Funds in U.S. Later known as U.S. 40, and today's Interstate 70 running parallel, in places, Thomas Jefferson selected it by the old Portage path across the Allegheny Mountains at Cumberland, Maryland, it moved through Pennsylvania, Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois for 677 miles ending at the Mississippi River, completed in 1840, 20 years after beginning construction. Heavily laden Conestoga freight wagons passed continually by fast stage coaches drawn by six horses. The last construction expenditure made in Indiana, 1841.

1841

A continuous steel rail connection from New York through Albany to Buffalo.


MAP OF
INDIAN THOROUGHFARES OF OHIO

The general plan of this map is that of Hutchins. Several Indian trails and Indian villages have been added from other maps, making it perhaps the most complete map of the Indian east and central Ohio published. It will be noticed that it does not include the western portion. This is owing to the fact that the old maps give almost no Indian villages or trails of western Ohio, showing the absolute ignorance which existed of it when the central and southern portion were quite well known. The Indian trails are numbered to correspond with the chart. The three centers of Indian population should be noted, that of the Wyandots on the western shores of Lake Erie, where they settled about 17Ol; that of the Delawares, between the Ohio and Muskingum and westward, whither they came from the eastern valley whose name they bore between 1740 and 1750; and the Shawnee in the Scioto Valley, which they occupied after 1740. By the middle of last century the Indian population in Ohio was fully determined. Counting four to a family there may have been twelve thousand Indians in the present Ohio in 1770, but as Ohio became the general fighting ground the northern and western nations hurried their warriors eastward to the border, and in 1779 there were possibly ten thouand warriors alone within the confines of the northern old Ohio. Boquet's route is marked, conspicuously, as is Braddock's Road and Forbes'.


Principal Land Subdivisions
Imposed on Present Map of Ohio

1667

Ohio first explored by the French; Lasalle's discoveries; disputed still.

1763

The French assigned the Great West to the English.

1779

George Rogers Clark won control for Virginia, called Northwest Territory.

1783

Treaty of Paris, Great Britain relinquished her right and interest States of Virginia, New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts made claims.

1784

Virginia Military lands contains about four million, two hundred four Acres Among Virginia soldiers receiving allotments here were Gen. George Washington, George Rogers Clark and Daniel Morgan. Washington's was in Clermont County totaling to 3,051 acres. Acreage reserved for Va. Military Warantees.

1852

Unclaimed lands went back to the U.S. and in 1871 ceded back to Ohio.

1872

This land given to Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College, now OSU, for its support.

1792

Fire Lands or Sufferer Lands, homes burned in New Haven, Greenwich, Fairfield, Norwalk, New London Connecticut. Set aside May 10, 1792.

1782-1820

Congress Lands; sold to purchasers by immediate officers of government. Surveyed into townships 6 miles square, and subdivided into one mile square or 640 acres with Section No. 16 preserved for schools. Others sold in sections, halves, quarters or half quarters; land districts named after towns.

1786

Seven Ranges, First survey west of Ohio River, portion of Congress Lands Ohio Company, First Purchase, paid for by Continental Certificates.

1796

United States Military District land purchased with bounty certificates.

1795

Western Reserve Land sold for about 40 cents an acre. In 1820, Congress divided sections of 640 acres in seven ranges into smaller units; rectangular system.

1786

Thomas Hutchins, geographer of the Colonies and Northwest Territory, surveyed 7 Ranges, beginning on the Pennsylvania line, and only district surveyed under Continental Congress.

1787

Ordinance of the Northwest Territory, July 13, comprised five states.


Maps of Ohio County Boundary Lines
(Click on the year and view the map.)

1792

1797

1799

1801

1803

1806

1808

1810

1812

1814

1816




Pioneer Migration Routes through Ohio

Ohio Migration Routes Map Page

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