The Georgia Road, also called the Federal Road, was a toll road opened in 1805 from Savannah, Georgia across Cherokee Indian lands to Knoxville, Tennessee. Branches also extended to Nashville, Tennessee and Huntsville, Alabama. After improvements in 1819 it was renamed the Federal Road.
Historical Background[edit | edit source]
The 1805 Treaty of Tellico allowed the construction of roads through Cherokee Indian lands. The Middle Cherokee Trading Path was used for much of the route of the Georgia Road. It entered Cherokee land at Vann's Ferry and headed toward present-day Ramhurst, where it forked, one trail went north to Knoxville and the other west to Chattanooga (Ross Landing) and Nashville. Another fork started at South Pittsburg, Tennessee and followed the northwest side of the Tennesse River toward Huntsville, Alabama.
Indians, postal workers, settlers, slaves, miners, ministers, soldiers of the War of 1812 (1812-1815) and the Seminole War, and stagecoaches used the Georgia Road. Pioneers frequently squatted on Indian land next to road, and the Indians were soon forced to withdraw, or forcibly removed. The road was improved in 1819, and was then called the "Old Federal Road."
In 1828 gold was discovered in Georgia. The Georgia Road became the main route to the gold fields, many of them on Cherokee land. The miners demanded protection from Cherokee Indians. Soldiers were called in and by 1835 removed the Indians and their land was given away to whites in land lotteries.
The development of steamboats and railroads in the 1830s resulted in declining use of the Georgia Road. By 1845 many parts of the road had been abandoned.
Route[edit | edit source]
- Athens, Clarke, Georgia
- Vann's Ferry, Hall, Georgia
- Ramhurst, Murray, Georgia
- Conasauga, Polk, Tennessee
- west of Etowah, McMinn, Tennessee
- Old Tellico, Monroe, Tennessee
- Niles Ferry, Monroe, Tennessee
- follow the old Marysville road to Knoxville, Knox, Tennessee
- Ramhurst, Murray, Georgia
- Chattanooga (Ross Landing), Hamilton, Tennessee
- Monteagle, Marion, Tennessee
- Murfreesboro, Rutherford, Tennessee
- Nashville, Davidson, Tennessee
- South Pittsburg, Marion, Tennessee
- follow the northside of the Tennessee River to
- Huntsville, Madison, Alabama
Settlers and Records[edit | edit source]
There is no known list of settlers who travelled the Georgia Road. However, some of the early residents of Tennessee may have used the Georgia Road to reach their destination, as well as several other routes like the Great Valley Road, Natchez Trace, Wilderness Road, Kentucky Road, or Avery's Trace.
For early Tennessee settlers see:
- East Tennessee Historical Society, First families of Tennessee: a register of early settlers and their present-day descendants (Knoxville, Tenn.: East Tennessee Historical Society, c2000) [FHL 976.8 H2ff].
For early Alabama settlers see:
- Census, 1809, Madison County and Huntsville prior to 1819 (Microfilm made in 1978 of a photocopy in the Madison County Public Library, Huntsville, Alabama) [FHL 1034495].
- MariLee Beatty Hageness, Residents, 1808-1812, Madison county, Alabama, Mississippi Territory (Anniston, AL : MLH Research, ©1998).
- Edward Chambers Betts, Early history of Huntsville, Alabama: 1804 to 1870 (Montgomery, Ala.: Brown Print., c1916). FamilySearch Digital Library
Internet Sites[edit | edit source]
- Federal Road in New Georgia Encyclopedia describes both the Georgia Road and Federal Horse Path.
- Old Federal Road in About North Georgia details about the time before the road, its origins, details about the route, and history, the Georgia gold rush, Trail of Tears, and the road's declining use.
- Allen Parke Swayne, and James Parke Swayne, Old Federal Road in Rootsweb details about road locations in Georgia.
Sources[edit | edit source]
- Wikipedia contributors, "Federal Road (Cherokee lands)," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Road_(Cherokee_lands) (accessed 31 July 2010).
- "Old Federal Road" in About North Georgia at http://ngeorgia.com/ang/Old_Federal_Road (accessed 31 July 2010).
- "Federal Road" in New Georgia Encyclopedia at http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/nge/Article.jsp?id=h-801 (accessed 31 July 2010).
- Wikipedia contributors, "Georgia Gold Rush" in Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_Gold_Rush (accessed 5 August 2010).