Fort Charlotte and Cherokee Old Path
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. 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 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:
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 Tugaloo, Stephens, Georgia included:
Modern parallels. The modern roads that roughly match the old Fort Charlotte and Cherokee Old Path start in Charleston. Drive west on US-17 South to I-95. Merge onto I-95 South/Jasper Highway to just past Hardeeville. Take Exit 5 onto US-17 South to Savannah.
Settlers and Records
The first colonists in each county along what became the Fort Charlotte and Cherokee Old Path arrived before the trail existed, usually by way of the Atlantic Ocean. Nevertheless, some of the new arrivals and settlers after the late 1730s may have used the Fort Charlotte and Cherokee Old Path and even the King's Highway.
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 the late 1730s and who were candidates to have traveled the Fort Charlotte and Cherokee Old Path from the Charleston, or the Savannah areas.
For partial lists of early settlers who may have used the Fort Charlotte and Cherokee Old Path, see histories like:
in Charleston County, SC:
- Thomas Petigru Lesesne, History of Charleston County, South Carolina: Narrative and Biographical (Charleston, South Carolina : A.H. Cawston, c1931) (FHL Book 975.7915 D3L) WorldCat entry.
in Colleton County, SC:
- "Colleton County, South Carolina Early History" in Colleton County SCGenWeb at http://www.oldplaces.org/colleton/colhistory.html (accessed 27 March 2011).
- Evelyn McDaniel Frazier Bryan, Colleton County, S.C.: a History of the First 160 Years, 1670-1830 (Jacksonville, Florida : Florentine Press, 1993) (FHL Book 975.795 H2b) WorldCat entry.
in Beaufort County, SC:
- Lawrence S. Rowland, Alexander Moore, and George C. Rogers, Jr., The History of Beaufort County, South Carolina (Columbia, South Carolina : University of S.C., c1996) (FHL Book 975.799 H2r) WorldCat entry.
in Jasper County, SC:
in Chatham County, GA:
- Mary Granger, ed., Savannah River Plantations (Spartanburg, South Carolina : Reprint Co., 1972) (FHL Book 975.8724 H2w) WorldCat entry.
- Elizabeth Carpenter Piechocinski, Once upon an Island : the Barrier and Marsh Islands of Chatham County, Georgia (Savannah, Georgia : Oglethorep Press, c2003) (FHL Book 975.8724 H2p) WorldCat entry.
- Wikipedia contributors, "Charleston, South Carolina," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Charleston,_South_Carolina (accessed 27 March 2011).
- Wikipedia contributors, "History of Savannah, Georgia," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=History_of_Savannah,_Georgia (accessed 27 March 2011).
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 849. (FHL Book 973 D27e 2002). WorldCat entry.
- "McCormick County" in South Carolina State Library at http://www.statelibrary.sc.gov/mccormick-county (accessed 24 March 2011).
- South Carolina - The Counties, http://www.carolana.com/SC/Counties/sc_counties_alphabetical_order.html (accessed 5 April 2011).