“The Warrior’s Path” – Historical Marker

The Warrior’s Path historical marker sits in Allegany County. The State Roads Commission installed the sign in 1938.

The Warrior’s Path–a route utilized by diverse Native communities for trade, politics, and relocation–stretched hundreds of miles from present-day New York State to the Carolinas. Its course followed the Susquehanna River to the territory north of Harrisburg, before crossing through central Pennsylvania in a southwestern direction until it met with the northern branch of the Potomac River near Cumberland, Maryland then continued along the eastern side of the Appalachian Mountains. Use of the path can be recorded at least to the early 1700s. 

Although this historical marker describes this network as a “war path,” Indigenous peoples followed its direction for a variety of purposes, making both this descriptor and the name, “the Warrior’s Path,” something of a misnomer. In fact, as European immigrants drew upon the Native knowledge of this route as they spread their settlements across Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas in the mid-18th century, it also came to be known as the “Great Wagon Road.” 

One of the many Native groups to follow the path was the Haudenosaunee, who used the route to connect with the lands of southeastern tribal nations. The Tuscaroras also followed its course northward in order to become the sixth nation of the Iroquois Confederacy.

Image: “The Warrior’s Path” – Historical Marker (Maryland Historical Trust)

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Designed by Brian Habib