Learning Lincoln On-line
|Origin of the Old National Trail|
|A New Start! Westward Bound Why and Where the Emigrants would go--|
|Planning the Journey|
|Life & Death on the Trail|
|Wagons, Horses & Oxen|
|Milestone Markers & Maps|
|The Madonna's on the Trail|
|The Trail into the 20th Century|
|Trail On-Line Resources|
|Old National Trail is now U.S. 40|
|National Highway System Interstates and the Future|
THE ORIGIN OF THE TRAIL
Nemacolin's Trail, or less often Nemacolin's Path, was an ancient Native American trail that crossed the great barrier of the Allegheny Mountains via the Cumberland Narrows Mountain pass, connecting the watersheds of the Potomac River and the Monongahela River in the present-day United States of America. Nemacolin's Trail connected what are now Cumberland, Maryland and Brownsville, Pennsylvania.
The path was a network of trails that had long been used by indigenous peoples in pre-colonial America. Nemacolin's Path starts near present-day Cumberland, Maryland, continuing on to Brownsville, Pennsylvania to the neighborhood known today as Redstone located at mouth of Redstone Creek. In colonial America, the site was known as Redstone Old Fort for its defensive installation.
During 1749 and 1750, the Delaware Indian chief Nemacolin and Maryland frontiersman Thomas Cresap supervised improving the trail for the Ohio Company, at the behest of Christopher Gist. They developed the template trail and in large part the route for what became known on the eastern slopes as the eastern part of Braddock's Road. In 1755, the eastern part of Nemacolin's Path was used as military route by British General Edward Braddock in his attempt to capture Fort Duquesne.
In this section you will use the resource links for "Trail Travels" and determine:
A military road built in 1755 in what was then British America, it was the first improved road to cross the ridgelines of the Appalachian Mountains. It was constructed by troops of the Virginia Militia and British soldiers commanded by General Edward Braddock. In 1755, Braddock was sent to on an expedition to conquer the Ohio Country from the French at the beginning of the French and Indian War. At that time, George Washington was an aid-de-camp to General Braddock and the expedition gave him his first field military experience.
Starting from Fort Cumberland, Maryland, Braddock's army cut a military trail through the wilderness, roughly following Nemacolin's Trail, an improved, prehistoric Native American trail. While attempting to remove the French from Fort Duquesne (Pittsburgh) on July 9, 1755, he was met with defeat and was fatally wounded. He was carried off the field by George Washington and another officer. Four days after the battle, he died on July 13th. He left Washington his ceremonial sash that he wore with his battle uniform, which reportedly, Washington carried with him everywhere for the rest of his life. It is on display today at Washington's home, Mount Vernon, Virginia.
The Braddock Road was later utilized by numerous settlers moving westward, so much so, that in 1806, the Federal Government constructed the first totally federally funded highway. This highway, first called the National Road, eventually stretched from Cumberland, Maryland to Vandalia, Illinois. Closely paralleling Braddock's route, the National Road carried thousands westward and later figured prominently in the Underground Railroad helping slaves escape before the Civil War.
Find Your Answers from these National Road Resources
1. Why the Trail was built? Who would use it in the early 19th Century? What was the Enabling Law of 1803?
2. What was the trail before it would become a National Highway?
3. Who was General Braddock, and what did he have to do with the National Trail?
4. What role did the Native Americans have in starting a National Trail?
5. What is the starting point of the trail?
6. Who was the President when Congress made building a National Trail law?
7. Why is this particular trail called the "National Trail"?