BEFORE THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR some settlers came west and for protection tried to make farms close to the forts. They often had to flee inside of the forts when Indians raided and attacked. Many became discouraged and moved back east. During the Revolutionary War, no new settlers came west. After the war, Indian treaties made in 1784 and 1785 allowed land to be bought at 30 pounds for 100 acres. Many settlers came after the War who didn't buy or receive permission to come from anyone. They cleared trees and built cabins and were known as squatters. Earlier pioneers had marked off land that they wanted to come back and settle on but couldn't stay there to live until it was safe to return. They used a tomahawk to mark trees around the area they called their own and carved their initials and sometimes their name on these. This was called "Tomahawk Rights." When they returned, sometimes their claims were allowed, but often other settlers had already built a cabin and started to farm there, or the land had been bought by another.

Many Indian trails crossed Pennsylvania from east to west. They usually followed streams and rivers or along ridges of mountains. The Frankstown Path was known as a main road. The eastern part of it is now part of the William Penn Highway. The western section of the Frankstown Path followed the Kittanning Path, that connected Frankstown to Kittanning. Along the Raystown Path the Pennsylvania Road was built. Part of the Raystown Path became part of the Lincoln Highway. Most of the Nemacolin's Path from Cumberland, Maryland, to Brownsville and then to Pittsburgh, was used by General Braddock to build his road. The Kiskiminetas Path passed from Indiana to Tarentum (Chartier's Old Town). The Allegheny Path connected Philadelphia to Paxtang (Harrisburg).

The poorest pioneers simply walked across Pennsylvania carrying their belongings on their back.

How long would it take you to walk across Pennsylvania?

Those who could afford it went by pack horses. A family used several pack horses. On these they carried the youngest children sitting in baskets, in between tied-on crates.  Babies, chickens, and little pigs were also carried in tied-on baskets. Farm tools, food supplies, tents and bedding, clothes, dishes, and kitchenware were all tied-onto the pack horses. They also drove their animals (the cows, cattle, sheep, and hogs) along with them. The men and boys drove the animals and scouted out the path ahead.

How long would it take you to walk to school from your home?

Commercial pack horse trains were also used to carry cargo between east and west. A man rode on the first horse, and another man on the last horse in the train. Each horse's reins in between these horses were tied to the horse in front of him. The pack horse trains going west carried things the pioneers couldn't make themselves including salt, dry goods, and hardware.

What would you want to take on your packhorse
to your new home?

The trains traveling east carried furs, whiskey, and ginseng (an American herb used to make medicine).

 

 

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