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The Unicoi Trail (in red on the map) was a pre-colonial Indian trading path connecting the western parts of North and South Carolina with eastern Tennessee. At first it was open to trade only—no settlers. But after about 1795 settlers began using it.
The Unicoi Trail, Unicoi Turnpike, or Trading Path, emerged from the Saluda Gap where North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia now meet. The trail headed west on the south side of the far west part of North Carolina over to the Tennessee border where it passed through the Unicoi Gap. The trail then curved north toward the Overhill Cherokee villiages and ended at either Tellico or Vonore. The Unicoi Trail was the most heavily used trade route into east Tennessee, but settlers were forbidden to use it prior to ???????
After ?????? the Unicoi Trail was the most convenient way for pioneers from the Waxhaw area of the Carolinas to cross the mountains into east Tennessee.
Settlers and Records
There is no known list of settlers who travelled the Unicoi Trail. However, some of the early residents of Tennessee may have used the trail to reach their destination, as well as several other routes like the Great Valley Road, Wilderness Road, Kentucky Road, Avery's Trace, or Georgia Road. For early Tennessee settlers see:
- East Tennessee Historical Society, First families of Tennessee: a register of early settlers and their present-day descendants (Knoxville, Tenn.: East Tennessee Historical Society, c2000) [FHL 976.8 H2ff].