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Historic Highways of America (Vol. 5) by Hulbert

This road passed through Shippensburg


road, fortified at Carlisle, Shippensburg, Chambersburg, Loudon, Littleton, Bedford, Ligonier, and Pittsburg became the great military route from the Atlantic seaboard to the trans-Allegheny empire. By it Fort Pitt was relieved during Pontiac's rebellion and the Ohio Indians were brought to terms. Throughout the Revolutionary War this road was the main thoroughfare over which the western forts received ammunition and supplies. In the dark days of the last decade of the eighteenth century, when the Kentucky and Ohio pioneers were fighting for the foothold they had obtained in the West, this road played a vital part.

When the need for it passed, Forbes's Road, too, passed away. Two great railways, on either side, run westward following waterways which the old road assiduously avoided--keeping to the high ground between them. Between these new and fast courses of human traffic the old Glade Road lies along the hills, and, in the dust or in the snow, marks the course of armies which won a way through the mountains and made possible our westward expansion.

The "Old Glade Road," the old-time name of the Youghiogheny division (Burd's or the "Turkey Foot" Road) of this thoroughfare, has been selected as the title of this volume, as more distinctive than the "Pennsylvania Road," which would apply to numerous highways.


B. H.

MARIETTA, OHIO, December 30, 1902.

The Old Glade (Forbes's) Road



When, in the middle of the eighteenth century, intelligent white men were beginning to cross the Allegheny Mountains and enter the Ohio basin, one of the most practicable routes was found to be an old trading path which ran almost directly west from Philadelphia to the present site of Pittsburg. According to the Indians it was the easiest route from the Atlantic slope through the dense laurel wildernesses to the Ohio.[1] The course of this path is best described by the route of the old state road of Pennsylvania to Pittsburg built in the first half-decade succeeding the Revolutionary War. This road passed through Shippensburg, Carlisle, Bedford, Ligonier, and Greensburg; the Old Trading Path passed, in general, through the same points. Comparing this path, which became Forbes's Road, with Nemacolin's path which ran parallel with it, converging on the same point on the Ohio, one might say that the former was the overland path, and the latter, strictly speaking, a portage path. The Old Trading Path offered no portage between streams, as Nemacolin's path did between the Potomac and Monongahela. It kept on higher, dryer ground and crossed no river of importance. This made it the easiest and surest course; in the wintry season, when the Youghiogheny and Monongahela and their tributaries were out of banks, the Old Trading Path must have been by far the safest route to the Ohio; it kept to the high ground between the Monongahela and Allegheny. It was the high ground over which this path ran that the unfortunate Braddock attempted to reach after crossing the Youghiogheny at Stewart's Crossing. The deep ravines drove him back. There is little doubt he would have been successful had he reached this watershed and proceeded to Fort Duquesne upon the Old Trading Path.

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