"In 1760, Carlisle was the most advanced post of the State.
Loading their pack horses with blankets, whisky and powder, the Indian traders climbed the gloomy Alleghenies to the little known region beyond. It was no easy thing to make progress along the narrow trails. Newly-fallen trees continually blocked the way, and the boughs of the over- shadowing forest eternally switched the traveler in the face. By 1770 the footpaths had become broader, smoother, and harder. The click of the iron-shod pack horse had grown familiar to the wilderness. The forest in places had shrunk back from the bridle-path, and a cabin nestled in an occasional clearing. Other paths were cut out. The tide of western immigration set in. Long trains of pack horses loaded with stores and agricultural implements, with furniture and cooking utensils, moved toward the setting sun. The chatter and laughter of white children were mingled with the gruff voices of the pack traders. In the year 1790 there were only six freight wagons engaged in hauling goods to Pittsburgh over the mountains. Groceries, liquor, salt, iron, etc., all entered the town on the backs of horses. Eastern merchandise hauled by wagon as far west as Shippensburg or Chambersburg, in Pennsylvania, and as far as Winchester, in Virginia, and from there packed the remainder of the journey. On the return trip from Pittsburgh, the horses were loaded with furs, skins, and ginseng. A pack train numbered between ten and twenty-five horses. When two trains going opposite ways met in the narrow paths of the mountains there was always trouble in passing and accidents were frequent. Up to 1796 all the salt used in this region was packed across the mountains."
From the commemorative number of the centennial of the paper,
Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette, July 29, 1886, written by A.H. Reed.
"The date mentioned by Mr. Reed in the forgoing extract may be assumed as about the time when the famous Conestoga wagon came into active operation, as the transportation facility of that period. John Hayden, however, of Fayette county, in 1789, drove the first wagon load of goods over the southern route as it was called. He drove four horses hauling about one ton and was nearly a month making the trip to and fro from Hagerstown, Md., a distance of 140 miles, receiving $3.00 per hundred for the freight charges from Jacob Bowman, of Brownsville for whom the goods were. From that date until the advent of railroads into Allegheny county the Conestoga wagon was a factor in commercial transportation and a familiar and picturesque feature in roadway landscapes."
Allegheny County's Hundred Years, 1886. By George Thurston, P. 242.