Origins Of An Amazing Trail

The Great Wagon Road began as an Indian Trail allowing the Catawba and Iroquois to communicate with one another. Several smaller tribes were associated with these Indian Nations. For example: The Cherokee and the Tuscarora were members of the Iroquois Nation. Other Indian Nations were Algonquian, Siouan and Muskhogean. The later were mainly located along the Gulf region from Georgia to present day Mississippi. The Cherokee were the most powerful using their fur trading experience along the trail. The Shawnee offered the most resistance along the Great Wagon Road. Ambushes along the trail were frequent during the early years of migration. Many early explorers remarked and documented the trees along the route. Trees that were different from others due to their deformities. It is believed that the Indians created these trees to mark the trail for future generations. Many of these trees can still be seen along the original road.

Indian Trail Tree

Once the Lancaster Treaty of 1744 was signed, the road transformed from a trading path with the Indians to a migration path for early settlers. Now, the beginning of wagons and families took shape along the road. Narrow passageways were found after departing Pennsylvania into Maryland. From Virginia and points south, the road was a mere foot path stretching only to a couple of feet wide in several places. Many families would stop and settle while others would push forward filled with determination to find the best fertile soil, the best valley to live freely and raise the next generation. It is amazing to think of the actual number of families traveling this road from 1744 to 1799. In this short span of 55 years, 1/4 of American ancestry can be traced to this amazing historical trail. It is fascinating to think that 25% of American genealogy is and will forever be linked to the Great Wagon Road.

The June research continues as the group pushes forward with the project. Volunteers are needed for all states, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. If you would like to submit a request to volunteer for the Great Wagon Road Project, simply contact the page.


June Update-Volunteer Duties

The Great Wagon Road Project is well underway and the group is in need of volunteers. We have had many questions concerning the volunteer duties. In this segment, the numerous tasks of the volunteers will be given in detail. We are seeking participants from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Maryland and Pennsylvania. If you are located in any of these states and you’re interested in joining the group, please see the Contact page to submit a Volunteer Request.

As stated earlier, the group has had many questions concerning volunteer duties. The outline below gives details on these duties and the tasks required to reach our goal of National Historic Trail status. If you have not researched historical documents or genealogy materials before, please don’t let the list intimidate you. There are many different duties listed below that do not require researching skills.

Volunteer Duties

  • Researching materials is the number one task needed for this project. The volunteer would need to be familiar with map reading, 18th century handwriting deciphering and understanding survey measurements.
  • Communication skills are needed in order to communicate with various sources and organizations willing to assist and aid the project. This task would also include conducting interviews and documentation.
  • Organizing files, photos, journals, testimonials and much more. The participants must be fluent with spreadsheets and possess skills for organizing and quickly gathering the documents when needed. Case sensitive searching must accompany the storage space.
  • Portfolio & Presentation skills are needed for the final stages of the project. The end result will be contained in a booklet format according to National Historic Trail guidelines.

Group meetings are conducted once a month for now and are performed online. Attendance is requested for all volunteers and group leaders. If you have any questions about volunteering for this project, please submit your question on the Contact page.

Thank You all for your support of The Great Wagon Road Project and be sure to stay up to date with the latest news and progress of the group.

The Research Begins

The initial journey has been a slow and challenging start, but the group is well on it’s way to goal. We are a group of volunteers dedicated to the preservation of The Great Wagon Road. Our goal is to have the 18th century trail recognized as a historic national road. We are supported by Piedmont Trails and dedicated to the years of research required to complete this task. The website will bring awareness to our goal and provide updates with our progress. The journey will take us through several states such as Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. With this much territory to cover and a vast amount of documents and data, the journey will be filled with adventures and priceless treasures. We are in need of more volunteers and if you’re interested in joining us, please click on the Contact page and submit your request. We are always looking for more information about this historic trail and if you have information you would like to share with the group, please let us know.

With Research Comes Treasure

The group has been researching the trail over the past few months and many documents have been collected for our purpose. It appears the trail originated as a migration road during the years of 1740 and 1741. Prior to this, the road was a hunting trail used by local Indians for generations. During the early period, the trail was limited for wagon use as many places were not wide enough to accompany the weighted wagons. As the years went by, the road naturally became wider and allowed huge amounts of families, livestock herds and freight to be carried along the route to neighboring towns and settlements. As we research further into the details of the road, the website will share some of the highlights and history with you. So visit us often as we travel The Great Wagon Road once again. Join in our journey as we work to preserve this historic trail for today and for generations to come. Thank You so much for supporting our group and may you find priceless treasures along your own journey of history and genealogy.