The Occaneechi Path or "Trading Path," also called the "Indian Trading Path," "Catawba Path," "Catawba Road," "Indian Road," or "Warriors' Path" was a network of trails (not just one path) connecting the Piedmont region including Chesapeake Bay (Petersburg, VA), Occaneechi Village (Clarksville, VA), the Waxhaws (Charlotte, NC), and Cherokee villages of Carolinas and Georgia (Augusta, GA). Along the way several other pathways eventually merged with or forked off this path including parts of the Upper Road, the Fall Line Road, the Great Valley Road (South Fork), and the Lower Cherokee Traders' Path. Pack caravans plied the Occaneechi Path with guns, gunpowder, knives, jewelry, blankets, and hatchets in trade for furs and deerskins. The length of the Occaneechi Path from the Petersburg, Virginia to Augusta, Georgia was roughly 510 miles (820 km).
The path was named after the Occaneechi (also Occoneechee, Akenatzy), a small but important tribe who acted as trading middlemen, and who lived primarily on a four-mile long island in the Dan and Roanoke rivers near present-day Clarksville, Virginia.
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.
Settlers and Records
No lists of settlers who used the Occaneechi Path are known to exist. However, local and county histories along the road may reveal that many of the first pioneer settlers arrived from places to the northeast along the route.
- Wikipedia contributors, "Trading Path," Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trading_Path (accessed 26 January 2011).