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{{Infobox NIFGS|June 2012|{{Canadian Newspapers Course}}|Ryan Taylor, revised by Susanna de Groot, PLCGS}}  
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{{Infobox NIFGS|June 2012|{{US Migration Patterns}}|Beverly Whitaker, CG}}  
  
=== Social Notes and News Items (Continued) ===
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=== <br> Colonial Roads and Trails ===
  
=== Accidents and Illnesses<br> ===
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==== Braddock’s Road and Forbes’ Road  ====
  
Accidents and illnesses provided many items of news for social columns, some serious and some reported for the diversion of the neighbours.  
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[[Image:Colonial Roads and Trails.jpg]]
  
{| width="600" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" border="1"
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Both the Braddock’s Road and the Forbes’ Road were military roads, by-products of the French and Indian War. Both roads led to the forks of the Ohio River where later pioneers used water transportation to go down the Ohio River and on to the Mississippi.  
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| ''Dr. J. R. Porter was taken suddenly ill yesterday morning with appendicitis, and was operated on yesterday. His many friends will be glad to know that he is doing very nicely. The operation was performed by Dr. Hazelwood. ('''Oshawa Daily Reformer''', 7 January 1927)}}''
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{| width="600" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" border="1"
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Braddock’s Road was the first road to cross the Appalachian mountain range. “In early 1755, the British General, Edward Braddock, began supervising the construction of a wagon road through the wilderness areas of Maryland and Pennsylvania following routes laid out by George Washington... The road was successfully completed. However, due to some poor military tactics, Braddock failed in his military mission.(William Dollarhide, ''Map Guide to American Migration Routes'', Bountiful, Utah: AGLL, Inc., 1997, 10.)  
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| ''Drowned: while the steamer Moody was some three or four miles above Langley on her upward trip on Sunday last a passenger named Hugh McDougall fell overboard and was drowned. The steamer was promptly b-cked [microfilm scratched] and every endeavour made to rescue him but without success. The deceased was 32 years of age, a native of co. Aberdeen, Scotland but had resided for the greater part of his life in Wilmington, Kent, England, from which place he emigrated to this country. As this is the second case of this kind which has happened upon the river within the short space of three weeks, we would suggest that if any precautionary measures can be devised they should be adopted. ('''The British Columbian''', New Westminster, 9 May 1861)''
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In 1758 while it was still necessary for the British to advance on Fort Duquesne, the British forces were commanded by General John Forbes. Instead of using Braddock’s Road again, Forbes chose to build a new road further north and sweep down on the French by surprise. But once the road was completed and Forbes arrived with his troops, he discovered that the French had abandoned the fort. (William Dollarhide, ''Map Guide to American Migration Routes'', 11.) Finding it deserted, he renamed it Fort Pitt after his commanding officer; it became known soon as Pittsburgh.
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| ''Mrs. F. D. Walley of Little Red Deer had the misfortune to be kicked by a cow on Monday last with the result that her arm was broken. She was brought to town where the bone was set. ('''The Province Innisfail''', 1 February 1923)''
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{| width="600" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" border="1"
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==== Great Wagon Road  ====
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| ''The other day a cow belonging to Mr. Stratford near Donegal, fell feet first into a well thirty feet deep which contained four feet of water. The animal was taken out, and with the exception of a few bruises, received no serious injury. ('''St. Mary’s Argus''', 29 September 1881)''
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{| width="600" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" border="1"
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[[Image:Great Wagon Road-Philadelphia.jpg|center|Great Wagon Road-Philadelphia.jpg]]“The Philadelphia or Great Wagon Road began its history as ''the Warriors’ Path'', an ancient Indian highway that was used by Iroquois tribesmen of the north to go south to trade, hunt, and make war. When the colonists took over, it extended 800 miles from Philadelphia in the north down through South Carolina in the south, and was the only route of travel at that time.” (Merlin C. and Eva M. Finnell, ''Migration Trails of the Eastern United States'', 55.)<br>
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| ''Bow Island—The small daughter of H. Kjelgaard was quite sick on Thursday and was thought to have infantile paralysis. Friends will be glad to know this was not so and she is now quite well.'''(Medicine Hat News''', 21 September 1935)''
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<br>Tens of thousands used this road, beginning in colonial times and continuing long after. It carried more traffic than all the other early American roads put together.  
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| ''A vicious dog tore a new pair of garments belonging to Mr. Thos. McClay.'''(St. Mary’s Argus''', 6 October 1881)''
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The McDougall drowning is useful because it predates civil registration, and the possibility that the body was never recovered means there would be no church burial record.  
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The first section of the road was the Lancaster Road connecting Philadelphia to York and Lancaster. Immigrants from the Palatinate region of Germany who came between 1710 and 1730 were forced to the frontier along the Lancaster Road to provide a buffer against the Indian tribes. The lands there being infertile, many turned south into the more fertile Virginia Valley, with the first settlement beginning at Winchester in 1731.  
  
This newspaper item may be the only record of the death. A question raised is how the newspaper obtained the biographical information. It may indicate some family member lived in New Westminster or Langley, which would bear investigation.  
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After 1717 thousands of Scots-Irish followed the German Palatine pioneers, settling beyond them, closest to the Indians. Land title disputes in Maryland and Pennsylvania sent them south into the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  
  
The details may also be completely unreliable. It may be that a McDougall researcher would not think to look for Hugh’s drowning in this newspaper, simply because they did not know of his early death.  
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Even before the French and Indian War, Conestoga wagons carried pioneers out of Philadelphia, passing through Lancaster and Harrisburg, then turning to funnel through the fertile Shenandoah Valley that stretched five hundred miles southward between the mountains, a route which was later taken by Interstate 81. The Shenandoah Valley runs due west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, stretching from northern New York to central Georgia. It was a natural travel route between the Blue Ridge and the more formidable Appalachian Mountains on the western side of the valley.  
  
Fortunately, this newspaper was indexed in an umbrella volume of British Columbia newspapers and canny researchers will automatically check such volumes on the off-chance of finding something unexpected about their relations.  
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:The Conestogas rumbled through Winchester, founded in 1744, and continued south by southwest—with the impenetrable Appalachians looming on the right and the haze-drenched Blue Ridge on the left... Year after year the procession of new settlers moved farther down the Great Valley. A majority were Scots-Irish who, renouncing the rocky soil of their adopted Northern Ireland as well as family ties with their native Scotland, outnumbered even the Germans in this backwoods paradise. And for a while at least, the long trail to their settlements was alternately known as the Irish Road. Soon a village called Big Lick (later renamed the more dignified Roanoke) was laid out on an intermountain tableland around a large salt deposit long favored by buffalo and other animals. From there the pioneer tide moved on, by packhorse now, around the crumpled foothills of Walker Mountain, which protruded far into the Great Valley, to fill the rolling basin of the Holston. (Douglas Waitley, ''Roads of Destiny'' . . ., 258-259.)
  
Both the cow in the well and the Bow Island stories make interesting details for a family history, without being very significant in themselves.  
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<br>After about 1750 one branch of the Great Valley Road followed the old Indian trails through North Carolina, and on into South Carolina, and Georgia. Between 1761 and the Revolutionary War, the population of North Carolina doubled and then doubled again. The second branch of the Great Valley Road led to eastern Kentucky and Tennessee via the Cumberland Gap and the Wilderness Road.  
  
They add a good deal to making our ancestors come alive, however, reminding us that they had many tense days through accident and illness, more than we have in modern life.  
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Fort Chiswell guarded the crossroads where a trunk route crossed over the New River and the Blue Ridge beyond, to Winston-Salem and the Upper Road. The Richmond Roa, ran from Richmond, Virginia, southwest to Fort Chiswell, providing travelers access to the Wilderness Road into Kentucky or north through the Shenandoah Valley.
  
The torn ‘garments’ belonging to Tom McClay were almost certainly trousers, but the vaguer term was a Victorian euphemism to divert attention from the fact that they were discussing a covering for his legs.
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==== Cumberland Gap and the Wilderness Road  ====
  
In Victorian times, people did not refer to legs (even pianos had their legs covered in some places), this being indelicate.  
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[[Image:Cumberland Gap and Wilderness Road.jpg|center|Cumberland Gap and Wilderness Road.jpg]]The Cumberland Gap is a natural break in the Appalachian Mountain range (through the Allegheny Mountains), first used by hunting and war parties of rival Indian tribes north of the Ohio River and south of the mountains. In 1750, Dr. Thomas Walker discovered this gap, first called Cave Gap but later named Cumberland Gap. During that same year, Christopher Gist crossed the whole of Kentucky to the Miami River. In 1769 Daniel Boone reached the Cumberland Gap and passed into the Blue Grass hunting ground of both the northern and southern Indian tribes. Reports of this fertile region attracted land-hungry pioneers.  
  
=== Letters to the Editor<br> ===
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<br>Although illegal under the terms of the Proclamation of 1763, Judge Richard Henderson of North Carolina in 1775 organized the Transylvania Company to buy land from the Indians to sell to white settlers. Next, the Transylvania Company sent Daniel Boone and thirty woodsmen to mark off a trail from the eastern settlements through the Cumberland Gap and down the Kentucky River to the Ohio, a route which later took the name Wilderness Road. Boone established Boonesborough, a small fort on the Kentucky River, near the present city of Lexington.
  
One unexpected bonus occurs when a seemingly innocuous item provokes some reaction or comment which spices up the whole matter. A simple report of a child’s illness prompted her mother to write a letter to the editor:
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Some historians suggest that the origin of the Wilderness Road was at Fort Chiswell on the Great Valley Road where roads converged from Philadelphia and Richmond. Others claim the Wilderness Road actually began at Sapling Grove (now Bristol, Virginia) which lay at the extreme southern end of the Great Valley Road because it was at that point that the road narrowed, forcing travelers to abandon their wagons. The Wilderness Road moved through the Allegheny Mountains at Cumberland Gap, at what is now the junction of the state boundaries of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. Heading northwest, it splits at Hazel Patch, with one route to Boonesborough, the other to Frankfort.
  
{| width="600" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" border="1"
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In the early years, the Wilderness Road was simply a crude trail. Only pack teams could cross the mountains. Pioneers coming from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas before 1796 found it necessary to unload their Conestoga wagons at Sapling Grove and pack their belongings on horses. They lashed huge baskets and bundles of clothing, bed furnishings and household articles upon packhorses. Children perched on top, or rode in front and behind their mothers. The older boys and men who did not have mounts had to trudge along on foot. A caravan of pack horses and people on foot sometimes stretched out as far as three miles along the trail. Professional packhorse men made it a business to hire out to settlers or merchants for transporting supplies through the wilderness. They objected to road improvements, saying it would drive them out of business. Nevertheless, changes came about and swarms of people crossed through the Gap into Kentucky and beyond.
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| ''Aberdeen, Feb. 20, 1924.'' <br>
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''To the Editor of The Province:'' <br> ''Dear Sir: It has come to my knowledge that a series of rumors have been in circulation regarding the illness of my daughter, and attributing neglect or ignorance to Dr. Dorsey. In justice to him I shall be glad if you will publish the following facts.'' <br> ''There was an epidemic of scarlet fever in this district and the Aberdeen school was closed in consequence. Dr. Dorsey, as medical health officer of the municipality, went around and examined the children who were absent from school by reason of illness. He examined my daughter and found she had a slight sore throat. He told me to let him know if a rash developed, as a sore throat often preceded an attack of that disease. He did not examine the girl further or treat her in any way, and this was the only connection he had with the case. Yours truly, Mrs. Frank Laing.'' <br> ''(The '''Province Innisfail''', 22 February 1924)''
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==== Other Roads/Trails  ====
  
This would be of interest to both Laing and Dorsey researchers, and more information about the outbreak and about Dr. Dorsey’s difficulties might be found in the local board of health or school board minutes, if they have survived.
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Roads forked off from one another, connected with one another, paralleled one another, and not infrequently carried alternative names. This adds to the confusion but also points to a fact of major importance: migration paths are not totally predictable! Look for maps showing early American roads, some of which were no more than footpaths, others improved and used for many years.  
  
=== Agricultural and Business News  ===
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Major Indian trails in the East generally followed much older game trails made by the buffalo. These Indian trails included the Old Connecticut Path, the Iroquois Trail, the Lake Trail, the Kittanning Path, Nemacolin’s Path, the Great Trail, the Seneca Trail, the Warrior’s Path, the Falls of Ohio Trail, and the Scioto Trail. These trails created a highway system of foot paths made for single file travel and were then developed into pioneer routes.
  
The rural social columns included a great deal of agricultural or business news which other farmers would want to know.  
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The Old Connecticut Path followed the Boston Post Road to Springfield at which point it turned north to Albany.  
  
{| width="600" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" border="1"
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Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, formed in 1727, was settled as a result of the Lancaster Road. It was the first overland road from Philadelphia to Lancaster and on to Harrisburg. Those wishing to use the Susquehanna River to go further west into Pennsylvania didn’t have to first go south to pick up the mouth of the river in Maryland.  
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| ''Mr. E. Schmidt of Sebringville has commenced to manufacture copper kettles for boiling cider for apple butter''. ('''''St. Mary’s Argus''','' ''29 September 1881''
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{| width="600" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" border="1"
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The first direct overland route through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia went from Alexandria to Winchester. Completed in 1746, it was called the Pioneer’s Road. Winchester which was the most western town in Virginia at the time became the northern access point of the Great Valley Road. And at the other end of the Pioneer’s Road, Alexandria became a more popular port than Philadelphia for the many Scots-Irish immigrants in the last half of the 18th century.  
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|''Mr. John Kelly, jr., of North Easthope, exhibited a flock of Leicester sheep at the Provincial which attracted considerable attention. One of them is an imported ram which took the eye of all sheep breeders. '''(St. Mary’s Argus,''' 6 October 1881)''
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News from fairs, town, county or provincial, provide a great deal of information for genealogists. The wide variety of competitions, involving livestock, fruit and vegetables, grain, flowers, handicrafts, baking and canning, were often reported in detail, with all winners’ names being given. From these lists, it is possible to learn that an ancestor had a great skill either in growing, tending or making.
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At Salisbury and Rowan County in North Carolina, the East-West Trading Path intersected with the Great Wagon Road, bringing settlers to western North Carolina and Tennessee even before the Great Wilderness Road was opened. <br>  
 
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{| width="600" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" border="1"
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|-
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| ''Mr. McLagar of this town, got first prize for Flemish Beauty pears and the second for Bartletts at the Stratford show. (Stratford column in '''St. Mary’s Argus''', 29 September 1881)''
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=== Politics and Schools  ===
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Local political affairs are always reported, and may contain items of interest. Decades-old politics is usually fairly dry reading, but sometimes either the subject or the way it is reported will be worth noting.
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{| width="600" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" border="1"
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|-
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|''The annual school meetings of districts in this vicinity are over. The casualties are one black eye and a gashed cheek presented to the owner at the Red Raven meeting. ('''The Province '''Innisfail, 1 February 1924)''
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Rural schools ran their own business, two or three local men acting as trustees. Since the school was a matter of concern to the whole community, the annual meeting might attract a large crowd, and obviously feelings ran high at this one.
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Most papers, even in towns, ran school results as news each spring. It is possible to find our relations listed, and learn their places in the class even if we do not have any surviving report cards. Some results list exact results, some indicate who passed, and some may be for special subjects.
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''{{ Note | Christmas exams in Union S.S. no. 6''
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''Sr IV Vera Vodden, Bill Scattergood ''
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''Jr IV Jack Vodden, Norman Brown''
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''Sr III Allan Down, Amy Lysson*, Helen Lysson* ''
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''Jr III Mavis Firth, Llewellan Goyne II Billie Goyne, Carl Down, Nick Lisson*''
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''I Olga Goyne''
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''Sr Pr Wilfred Scattergood''
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''Jr Pr Isabel Goyne, Marjorie Down ''
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''Name in order of merit. *denotes absent through illness.''
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:''G. Elizabeth Hancock, teacher.''
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''('''Oshawa Daily Reformer''', 4 January 1927)}}''&nbsp;<br>
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{| width="600" cellspacing="1" cellpadding="1" border="1"
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|-
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|''Report of the standing in Household Science for the second half of the school year is as follows: Collegiate <br>Fort 11A E.Bellinger 94; E.Allen 92; D.Mickler 91... ('''Collingwood Bulletin''', 23 June 1927)''
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In the first example, all three members of the Lysson family being absent through illness would indicate either some contagious disease had stuck them all, or one was ill and the house had been quarantined, which was common at that time for a variety of sicknesses which were ‘catching’. The Collingwood example lists exact grades assigned. Modern readers will notice that the grades had different names then: instead of being numbered from one to eight, Junior and Senior Primer, First, Second, Junior and Senior Third, Junior and Senior Fourth.
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=== Sports<br> ===
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Although sports played a very small role in newspaper reporting in the early days, they gradually won a place in every paper. Most of the reporting, as we have noted, concerned professional sports at a national level, but in both the small weeklies and in the big dailies after 1950, we can find some local sports. Provided we know that a family member had some sporting experience, we might find it worthwhile to search for them in these pages. This is especially true when we find that a local reporter was sufficiently interested and talented in writing on the subject, because sports reporting is more personal than news reporting. The result can be stories which leave us with vivid descriptions, or quirky stories about our relations.
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''{{ Note | A hundred yards foot race between M. Carlyn and L. Larondelle, $2 a side, was the best feature in the sports. It was closely contested throughout and was only won after a hard struggle by Carlyn. ('''Edmonton Bulletin''', 7 March 1881) }}''
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This was one of a number of horse and foot races run that day, and is among the earliest of personal local stories in the Bulletin. The $2 prize seems in tune with the times, but a wrestling match proposed in The Alberta Star on 6 August 1909 and accepted, also in print, on the 13th, required the participants to post a $50 deposit for a $500 prize. This was enormous money for the time and place. It is interesting that the challenge was both conveyed and accepted through the newspaper, thus increasing public interest. In the Innisfail Province there is little sport, but the occasional reference is to the most popular of Prairie activities, curling. The sports which appear in the newspaper are bound to be those which most excite the local populace.
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____________________________________________________________ <br>  
 
____________________________________________________________ <br>  
  
Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course {{Canadian Newspapers Course}} offered by [http://www.genealogicalstudies.com The National Institute for Genealogical Studies]. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at [mailto:wiki@genealogicalstudies.com wiki@genealogicalstudies.com] <br>  
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Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course [http://www.genealogicalstudies.com/eng/courses.asp?courseID=211 US Migration Patterns] offered by [http://www.genealogicalstudies.com The National Institute for Genealogical Studies]. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at [mailto:wiki@genealogicalstudies.com wiki@genealogicalstudies.com] <br>  
  
 
We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.  
 
We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.  
  
[[Category:Canada]]
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[[Category:United_States]]

Revision as of 19:39, 6 August 2013

 
National Institute for Genealogical StudiesNational Institute for Genealogical Studies.gif

The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course United States Migration Patterns  by Beverly Whitaker, CG. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Contents


Colonial Roads and Trails

Braddock’s Road and Forbes’ Road

Colonial Roads and Trails.jpg

Both the Braddock’s Road and the Forbes’ Road were military roads, by-products of the French and Indian War. Both roads led to the forks of the Ohio River where later pioneers used water transportation to go down the Ohio River and on to the Mississippi.

Braddock’s Road was the first road to cross the Appalachian mountain range. “In early 1755, the British General, Edward Braddock, began supervising the construction of a wagon road through the wilderness areas of Maryland and Pennsylvania following routes laid out by George Washington... The road was successfully completed. However, due to some poor military tactics, Braddock failed in his military mission.” (William Dollarhide, Map Guide to American Migration Routes, Bountiful, Utah: AGLL, Inc., 1997, 10.)

In 1758 while it was still necessary for the British to advance on Fort Duquesne, the British forces were commanded by General John Forbes. Instead of using Braddock’s Road again, Forbes chose to build a new road further north and sweep down on the French by surprise. But once the road was completed and Forbes arrived with his troops, he discovered that the French had abandoned the fort. (William Dollarhide, Map Guide to American Migration Routes, 11.) Finding it deserted, he renamed it Fort Pitt after his commanding officer; it became known soon as Pittsburgh.

Great Wagon Road

Great Wagon Road-Philadelphia.jpg
“The Philadelphia or Great Wagon Road began its history as the Warriors’ Path, an ancient Indian highway that was used by Iroquois tribesmen of the north to go south to trade, hunt, and make war. When the colonists took over, it extended 800 miles from Philadelphia in the north down through South Carolina in the south, and was the only route of travel at that time.” (Merlin C. and Eva M. Finnell, Migration Trails of the Eastern United States, 55.)


Tens of thousands used this road, beginning in colonial times and continuing long after. It carried more traffic than all the other early American roads put together.

The first section of the road was the Lancaster Road connecting Philadelphia to York and Lancaster. Immigrants from the Palatinate region of Germany who came between 1710 and 1730 were forced to the frontier along the Lancaster Road to provide a buffer against the Indian tribes. The lands there being infertile, many turned south into the more fertile Virginia Valley, with the first settlement beginning at Winchester in 1731.

After 1717 thousands of Scots-Irish followed the German Palatine pioneers, settling beyond them, closest to the Indians. Land title disputes in Maryland and Pennsylvania sent them south into the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Even before the French and Indian War, Conestoga wagons carried pioneers out of Philadelphia, passing through Lancaster and Harrisburg, then turning to funnel through the fertile Shenandoah Valley that stretched five hundred miles southward between the mountains, a route which was later taken by Interstate 81. The Shenandoah Valley runs due west of the Blue Ridge Mountains, stretching from northern New York to central Georgia. It was a natural travel route between the Blue Ridge and the more formidable Appalachian Mountains on the western side of the valley.

The Conestogas rumbled through Winchester, founded in 1744, and continued south by southwest—with the impenetrable Appalachians looming on the right and the haze-drenched Blue Ridge on the left... Year after year the procession of new settlers moved farther down the Great Valley. A majority were Scots-Irish who, renouncing the rocky soil of their adopted Northern Ireland as well as family ties with their native Scotland, outnumbered even the Germans in this backwoods paradise. And for a while at least, the long trail to their settlements was alternately known as the Irish Road. Soon a village called Big Lick (later renamed the more dignified Roanoke) was laid out on an intermountain tableland around a large salt deposit long favored by buffalo and other animals. From there the pioneer tide moved on, by packhorse now, around the crumpled foothills of Walker Mountain, which protruded far into the Great Valley, to fill the rolling basin of the Holston. (Douglas Waitley, Roads of Destiny . . ., 258-259.)


After about 1750 one branch of the Great Valley Road followed the old Indian trails through North Carolina, and on into South Carolina, and Georgia. Between 1761 and the Revolutionary War, the population of North Carolina doubled and then doubled again. The second branch of the Great Valley Road led to eastern Kentucky and Tennessee via the Cumberland Gap and the Wilderness Road.

Fort Chiswell guarded the crossroads where a trunk route crossed over the New River and the Blue Ridge beyond, to Winston-Salem and the Upper Road. The Richmond Roa, ran from Richmond, Virginia, southwest to Fort Chiswell, providing travelers access to the Wilderness Road into Kentucky or north through the Shenandoah Valley.

Cumberland Gap and the Wilderness Road

Cumberland Gap and Wilderness Road.jpg
The Cumberland Gap is a natural break in the Appalachian Mountain range (through the Allegheny Mountains), first used by hunting and war parties of rival Indian tribes north of the Ohio River and south of the mountains. In 1750, Dr. Thomas Walker discovered this gap, first called Cave Gap but later named Cumberland Gap. During that same year, Christopher Gist crossed the whole of Kentucky to the Miami River. In 1769 Daniel Boone reached the Cumberland Gap and passed into the Blue Grass hunting ground of both the northern and southern Indian tribes. Reports of this fertile region attracted land-hungry pioneers.


Although illegal under the terms of the Proclamation of 1763, Judge Richard Henderson of North Carolina in 1775 organized the Transylvania Company to buy land from the Indians to sell to white settlers. Next, the Transylvania Company sent Daniel Boone and thirty woodsmen to mark off a trail from the eastern settlements through the Cumberland Gap and down the Kentucky River to the Ohio, a route which later took the name Wilderness Road. Boone established Boonesborough, a small fort on the Kentucky River, near the present city of Lexington.

Some historians suggest that the origin of the Wilderness Road was at Fort Chiswell on the Great Valley Road where roads converged from Philadelphia and Richmond. Others claim the Wilderness Road actually began at Sapling Grove (now Bristol, Virginia) which lay at the extreme southern end of the Great Valley Road because it was at that point that the road narrowed, forcing travelers to abandon their wagons. The Wilderness Road moved through the Allegheny Mountains at Cumberland Gap, at what is now the junction of the state boundaries of Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia. Heading northwest, it splits at Hazel Patch, with one route to Boonesborough, the other to Frankfort.

In the early years, the Wilderness Road was simply a crude trail. Only pack teams could cross the mountains. Pioneers coming from Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas before 1796 found it necessary to unload their Conestoga wagons at Sapling Grove and pack their belongings on horses. They lashed huge baskets and bundles of clothing, bed furnishings and household articles upon packhorses. Children perched on top, or rode in front and behind their mothers. The older boys and men who did not have mounts had to trudge along on foot. A caravan of pack horses and people on foot sometimes stretched out as far as three miles along the trail. Professional packhorse men made it a business to hire out to settlers or merchants for transporting supplies through the wilderness. They objected to road improvements, saying it would drive them out of business. Nevertheless, changes came about and swarms of people crossed through the Gap into Kentucky and beyond.

Other Roads/Trails

Roads forked off from one another, connected with one another, paralleled one another, and not infrequently carried alternative names. This adds to the confusion but also points to a fact of major importance: migration paths are not totally predictable! Look for maps showing early American roads, some of which were no more than footpaths, others improved and used for many years.

Major Indian trails in the East generally followed much older game trails made by the buffalo. These Indian trails included the Old Connecticut Path, the Iroquois Trail, the Lake Trail, the Kittanning Path, Nemacolin’s Path, the Great Trail, the Seneca Trail, the Warrior’s Path, the Falls of Ohio Trail, and the Scioto Trail. These trails created a highway system of foot paths made for single file travel and were then developed into pioneer routes.

The Old Connecticut Path followed the Boston Post Road to Springfield at which point it turned north to Albany.

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, formed in 1727, was settled as a result of the Lancaster Road. It was the first overland road from Philadelphia to Lancaster and on to Harrisburg. Those wishing to use the Susquehanna River to go further west into Pennsylvania didn’t have to first go south to pick up the mouth of the river in Maryland.

The first direct overland route through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia went from Alexandria to Winchester. Completed in 1746, it was called the Pioneer’s Road. Winchester which was the most western town in Virginia at the time became the northern access point of the Great Valley Road. And at the other end of the Pioneer’s Road, Alexandria became a more popular port than Philadelphia for the many Scots-Irish immigrants in the last half of the 18th century.

At Salisbury and Rowan County in North Carolina, the East-West Trading Path intersected with the Great Wagon Road, bringing settlers to western North Carolina and Tennessee even before the Great Wilderness Road was opened.

____________________________________________________________

Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course US Migration Patterns offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at wiki@genealogicalstudies.com

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.