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The Kanawha Trace

posted Apr 20, 2010, 1:57 PM by James Wise   [ updated May 9, 2011, 2:10 PM ]
The Kanawha Trace is very important to the settlement of Southern Ohio. The Quakers and Dunkers, and many others from Southern Virginia and North Carolina, followed it as they came to Ohio Country. It was probably the most used land route for migration into Southern Ohio in the years before the Old National Road (c1827).

Brethren used this as a major path from Virginia to Ohio. There was a major early settlement of Brethren below Roanoke, VA, on the front of the Blue Ridge in Franklin and Floyd Counties. Those that came to Western Ohio came using the Kanawha Trace.

These notes pick up the Trace at the crossing of the Ohio River.

Pioneers crossed the Ohio River at Gallipolis by raft landing at the old town dock area, today's City Park. At Galipolis, the Kanawha Trace followed Gen. Lewis' Army Road to Chillicothe 9after the battle of Point Pleasant, 1774, he pushed the Indians back to their main city, building a road for his cannon, now US 35: remnants of Old 35, and likely the Trace, are seen in various placed throught he valleys either side of the new road). The Army Road, and the Trace, started in downtown Gallipolis. Old 35 goes of of Gallipolis north of the old city and goes along Chicamauga Creek inland almost to Mills before it crosses the creek. This probably was the original route. (The creek enters the Ohio River south of Gallipolis, but swings north behind most of the city before it turns inland.

Chillicothe Road, a street in the south part of Gallipolis crosses the swamps with a bridge and goes west till it junctions with OH 588 going on to Rodney. OH 588 starts in Gallipolis at the city park and bridges the top end of the swamp.) At Rodney, the Jackson Road is Old 35. Crossing Raccoon Creek at Adamsville, Woods was certainly Wood's Mill. The Trace then went on to Rio Grande, where the Adamsville Road is north of US 35, actually the back drive on Bob Evans farm. Judge Poor's (or Squire Poor) was at Winchester, south of 35 at OH 327. This is the original Old 35, or Gallipolis Pike, now called Dixon Run Road. Jackson is still a major Ohio town, the town and trace are both south of modern US 35. Richmond is now called Richmond Dale, and is on a stretch of the old road north of modern US 35. Kilgore's Ferry over the Scioto River is at the bridge on US 35/50, north of the mouth of Paint Creek. The Trace angled into Chillicothe on Eastern Ave (Jackson or Gallipolis Road). It then turned up Hickory Street to Main Street, and went west past the State Capitol. Chillicothe was the first Capitol of the State of Ohio. It had been a major Shawnee Indian center and is still noted for its Hopewell Indian mounds (Mound City). There were early settlers with Dunker family names along this stretch of the Trace, but we have no record of churches.

Leaving Chillicothe, the Kanawha Trace followed the Zane Trace out of town on the Limestone Road (now Western Ave; Limestone was the original name for Maysville KY, the destination of the Zane Trace). They went west along Paint Creek (US 50). Elijah Johnson's would be north of Bourneville, and the Trace followed an old Indian trail that went west up a wide valley. The road is called Lower Twin, and goes to South Salem. From the Covered Bridge on Lower Twin, just west of So Salem, the Trace went north off the present road and kept to the highlands (going directly in front of Robt Smalley's house, which now sits far back a lane from the road) to Greenfield, where it forded Paint Creek on the rocky bottoms, just south of town (the old Fall Creek Church was farther south, west of Paint Creek on Fall Creek). From there, the Trace turned westward and crossed Rattlesnake Creek at Monroetown (East Monroe, on OH 28), to Leesburg (US 62 and OH 28), and on west to Joel Willis', now Highland, where the old Lexington Church was just south of town. In Highland, the Trace turned north on Wilmington or Antioch Rd. This is the same old winding Trace until it gets to Wilmington, where the Antioch Road met old 73, which turned west on the trace into town. Old 73 now deadends at the Airport, heading directly toward the control tower.

The Trace went westward from Wilmington to Waynesville, along OH 73. It crossed Todd Fork Creek and at Caesar's Creek State Park went north at the Y, going through Harveysburg, where it wound down to Caesar's Creek (now under the reservoir). The Trace went to Corwin where it forded the Little Miami into Waynesville. Corwin is north of 73, the Trace separated at the Cemetary. It went up into the north part of Waynesville, and came back out on OH 73 on the west side of town. The Trace (and OH 73) continue on west to Springboro and Franklin along the present route (the Old Upper Springboro Pike to Waynesville coming into Franklin on 2nd Street). In the 1870's the ferry was replaced by a suspension bridge on 4th Street, later by the present Lion Bridge on 2nd Street.

At Franklin, the Trace forded the Great Miami River below the 6th Street RailRoad Bridge, then William Barkalow started a ferry at his house in 1804 (at the Tressel). The Trace went back north along the river and turned west, OH 123, past Rev Tapscott's house (in front of his Primitive Baptist Church), just east of the town of Carlisle. The Trace continues on from Carlisle, until it crossed Twin Creek, there it turns on Sugar Street to Sunsbury and stayed south of Germantown and Big Twin Creek. At the five points, it went ahead (to the right) on the Mudlick and Sigel Road to where Henry Moyer lived, and where it met the road going west out of Germantown (OH 725). The Trace continues along 725 to Gratis. Keep right at the Y into Gratis, and OH 122 is the old winding Trace angling northwest to Eaton, where St Clair's Fort still stood from the Indian Wars. From Eaton, US 35 follows the Trace to Richmond IN. Whitewater Meeting was founded 1809, in a log church at a cemetary that stood almost directly under the US 27 overpass, just beyond the railroad tracks (200 feet west of the old brick church at North G street).

The Kanawha Trace is very important to the settlement of Southern Ohio. The Quakers and Dunkers, and many others from Southern Virginia and North Carolina, followed it as they came to Ohio Country. It was probably the most used land route for migration into Southern Ohio in the years before the Old National Road (c.1827).