Book Cover


The Ancient Warrior Trail and the Old Allegheny Indian Trail

The latter part of the seventeenth century saw the Shawnee Indians moving into the present territorial limits of Pennsylvania. After the defeat and dispersion of the Conestoga and Susqeuhanna Indians by the Iroquois at Indian Town near what is now Millersville, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, a considerable party of Potomac Shawnee Indians from the vicinity of Old Town, Maryland, were permitted to settle in the Conestoga district. With these Indians came some traders who were associated with them before their coming to the Potomac.

The LeTorts, Huguenots, were in the Conestoga district prior to 1700. Martin Chartier (iml15), a Frenchman, was in the Conestoga region prior to 1680 with a Company of Mississippi Shawnees who came via the Carolinas. Peter Brazallian, another Frenchman, was in the same Shawnee settlement along the Maryland line east of the Susquehanna, and was associated with LeTort and Chartier during the same period.

During this time period another clan of Shawnee, the Hathawekela tribe, with whom Chartier was associated, removed from the Potomac to the Allegheny and the Monongehela districts. They did not go to the Susquehanna, but to Old Town on the Potomac from South Carolina and then over the Warrior Trail to Allequippa Gap and then westward by the Old Allegheny Indian Trail along the Juniata to the Shawnee Cabins, near Schellburg where they probably left some families for a time. A part of this migration settled westward of Allequippa Gap and eventually found their way to the Conemaugh River, in the vicinity of Johnstown, Cambria County, Pennsylvania. This migration was the earliest to southwestern Pennsylvania and formed the nucleous for the Shawnee settlements along the Monogehela, Allegheny and Ohio.

This Shawnee caravan to Ohio was piloted by LeTort and Chartier with some of their younger associates from the Conestoga and Maryland districts. They would have been very familiar with the celebrated Ancient Warrior Trail between Old Town on the Potomac and Standing Stone on the Juniata and Allequippa Gap, the gateway of the west. The trail crossed the Juniata on the east side of the Gap, just west of Old Bloody Run, now Everett, Pennsylvania to the junction with the Old Allegheny Indian Trail, the only westward branch.

The original Old Allegheny Indian Trail intersected the Ancient Warrior Trail on the southeast side of the Allequippa Gap near Mt. Dallas. It ran westward on the south side of the Junita river (through Allequippa Town) for a distance of about three miles where it crossed the river about one hunderd yards north of the old Lutz Woolen Mill and passed through a ravine leading to the summit of the hill at the east end of Willow Grove (about a mile east of the Narrows) where it crossed the mountain and crossed over to the west side of Dunnings Creek, near the present bridge at Chalybeate and continuing westward on the north side of (Town Creek) the Raystown branch of the Juniata by way of the Shawnee Cabins on the flat about a half mile west of Schellsburg from whence it continued westward by way of Buckstown (Edwards Swamp), Stoyestown (Stoney Creek), Fort Ligonier (Loyal Hann), Harrison City (James Dunning's Sleeping Place), and thence to the Allegheny River about twenty miles up the Allegheny River from the site of Old Fort Duquesne, the 'Forks of the Ohio', in round numbers a distance of about one hundred miles.66
The southwest branch of the Old Allegheny Indian Trail left the main trail about four miles west of the crossing of Dunning's Creek (west of Wolfsburg about a mile) at what is commonly known as the Forks where the Glade Pike branched southwestward from the Pittsburgh Pike (being long known as Stuckeyville). The old Burd-Braddock Road followed this trail over Dry Ridge to Yougheheney and this trail was used by Allequippa and her people in their migrations between the Juniata and Monongehela when she reigned over her flourishing tribe at old Alliquippa Town at the southwest side of the Mt. Dallas Gap.67

The great significance of this trail was that it was major factor in the conquest and settlement of southwest Pennsylvania. In early Colonial days it was the only direct east and west trail in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

The first county organized west of the Susquehanna was York in 1749 followed by Cumberland in 1751. In 1756 Colonel John Armstrong erected a stockade at Raystown toward the western border of Cumberland County in the foothills of the Alleghenies to the west of the great Warrior Trail along the route of the Old Alleheny Indian Trail and named it Fort Bedford in honor of the Duke of Bedford. This became the advanced frontier post of the English facing the French at Fort Duquesne on the opposide side of the Allehenies. The building and naming of the stockade at Raystown may be considered the first official Colonial Act which contributed to the founding of Bedford and orgainization of the county to follow a few years later in 1771.

The first white man to visit and explore within this vast primeval territory, all once embraced within the bounds of Bedford County, was Thomas Powell in 1625. In the autumn of that year from the summit of Martin Hill he looked out over the peaceful scenes nestled between Evitt's and Tussey Mountains, now Friends Cove and Snake Spring Valley, and the endless mountains towering beyond. He turned and went back to the more hospitable and salubrious shores of the Chesapeake.

Martin Chartier (iml15) was the first white man to travel the Old Allegheny Indian Trail. He was an adopted son of the Shawnees, married a Shawnee woman and spent his life with them and shared their wanderings and fortunes. He joined the Shawnees prior to 1675 below the mouth of the Ohio on the Mississippi, detached from LaSalle's southern expedition.

A few years later, about 1680 he came with the Shawnees from the vicinity of St. Louis on the Mississippi to Old Town on the Potomac. He was a leader in their councils and had much to do with the shaping of their destiny. He doubtless led the caravan of Shawnees in 1698 from the Potomac by way of the Warior and Allegheny Trails back to the Ohio, the Allegheny and Monogahela, their ancient home.

Others followed where Chartier (iml15) led. He and LeTort were the pioneer traders from the Susquehanna to the Ohio. He had associates and followers. At this period Chartier was no longer a young man. Among the early western Pennsylvania traders were Peter Chartier, a son of Martin, Edmund Cartledge and James Dunning who were associated with the elder Chartier and LeTort, who traveled and traded along the Allegheny Trail and its brances.

This document maintained by
Material Copyright © 1998 {, Inc.}