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Revision as of 21:24, 5 April 2011

United States  Gotoarrow.png  Migration  Gotoarrow.png  Trails and Roads  Gotoarrow.png  South Carolina  Gotoarrow.png  Fort Charlotte and Cherokee Old Path

Fort Charlotte and Cherokee Old Path.png
The Fort Charlotte and Cherokee Old Path connected the South Carolina colonial British military Fort Charlotte near the Savannah River with several Indian trails, especially the Old Cherokee Path and the nearby Indian town of Tugaloo just across the Savannah River in what is now Georgia. Fort Charlotte was built 1765-1767 to help protect European settlers from Indian raids. Fort Charlotte was near the place where the Middle Creek Trading Path crossed the Savannah River from Georgia into South Carolina. Several other trails also radiated out from this fort. The Fort Charlotte and Cherokee Old Path was probably opened to European traders shortly after 1765. It was not fully open to settlers until the Cherokee were expelled during the American Revolutionary War. It began in McCormick County, South Carolina and ended in Oconee County, South Carolina. The length of the trail was about 70 miles (113 km).[1]

Historical Background

Scots-Irish (that is Ulster-Irish), French Huguenots, and German farmers began settling the area near what would become Fort Charlotte in the 1750s. Some of these early colonists near Long Cane Creek were killed by Cherokee Indians in 1760.[2] As a result, the British military constructed Fort Charlotte between 1765 and 1767 to help protect local colonists from hostile Indians. The fort was then turned over to South Carolina. The Fort Charlotte and Cherokee Old Path probably followed older Indian trails. Fort Charlotte was built at or became the nexus of several trails along the Savannah River in South Carolina and Georgia.

The north end of the Fort Charlotte and Cherokee Old Path was in Oconee County, South Carolina at the convergence of several Indian trails and settler roads mostly leading to the lower Cherokee Indian village of Tugaloo across the Savannah River in Stephens County, Georgia. Tugaloo was built at or became the nexus of several trails along the Savannah River in Georgia and South Carolina. The Cherokee Indians were forced to abandon Tugaloo during the American Revolution. The Old Cherokee Path seems to have begun in Tugaloo, crossed the river into South Carolina, and worked its way north up to Watauga County, North Carolina, Johnson County, Tennessee, and Washington County, Virginia. There it connected to the Great Indian Warpath or Great Valley Road as it was called in that area.

As roads developed in America settlers were attracted to nearby communities because the roads provided access to markets. They could sell their products at distant markets, and buy products made far away. If an ancestor settled near a road, you may be able to trace back to a place of origin on a connecting highway.


The first European colonists settled in counties along this trail (south to north) as follows:[3]

Connecting trails. The Fort Charlotte and Cherokee Old Path links to other trails at each end. The migration pathways connecting in Fort Charlotte, McCormick, South Carolina included:

The migration routes connecting in Oconee County, South Carolina, or in Tugaloo, Stephens, Georgia included:

Modern parallels. The modern roads that roughly match the old Fort Charlotte and Cherokee Old Path start in Mount Carmel. Go north on SC-81 to a little north of Iva where it forks left onto Good Hope Church Road. Follow that road onto SC-187/SC-24. Continue to follow SC-24 and it will eventually become the West Oak Highway. Follow it north to Westminster and the Toccoa Highway. That Highway will take you southwest to the Savannah River near where the old village of Tugaloo was at the confluence of Toccoa Creek and the Tugaloo River.

Settlers and Records

The first colonists in the two southern counties along what became the Fort Charlotte and Cherokee Old Path arrived before the fort or trail existed, usually by way of the Savannah River, the Middle Creek Trading Path, or the Augusta and Cherokee Trail. The northern three counties were Cherokee Indian areas until the American Revolution when the Cherokees were expelled as a result of siding with the British.

No complete list of settlers who used the Fort Charlotte and Cherokee Old Path is known to exist. Nevertheless, local and county histories along that trail may reveal pioneer settlers who arrived after 1765 and who were candidates to have traveled the Fort Charlotte and Cherokee Old Path from the Fort Charlotte area.

For partial lists of early settlers who may  have used the Fort Charlotte and Cherokee Old Path, see histories like:

in McCormick County, SC:

in Abbeville County, SC:

in Anderson County, SC:

in Oconee County, SC:

in Stephens County, GA:

External Links


  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 849. (FHL Book 973 D27e 2002). WorldCat entry.
  2. "McCormick County" in South Carolina State Library at http://www.statelibrary.sc.gov/mccormick-county (accessed 24 March 2011).
  3. South Carolina - The Counties, http://www.carolana.com/SC/Counties/sc_counties_alphabetical_order.html (accessed 5 April 2011).
  4. William E. Myer, Indian Trails of the Southeast. (Nashville, Tenn.: Blue and Gray Press, 1971). (FHL Book 970.1 M992i) WorldCat entry.