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The 
National
Road

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Introduction

Road Trip

Internet Resources

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National Road (Shield black)

Introduction

Introduction

 

National Road (Shield black)

     The National Road or Cumberland Road was one of the first major improved highways in the United States, built by the Federal Government. Construction began in 1811 at Cumberland, Maryland, on the Potomac River, and the road reached Wheeling, Virginia (now West Virginia) on the Ohio River in 1818. Plans were made to continue through St. Louis, Missouri, on the Mississippi River to Jefferson City, Missouri, but funding ran out and construction stopped at Vandalia, Illinois in 1839.

     A chain of turnpikes connecting Baltimore, Maryland, to the National Road at Cumberland was completed in 1824, forming what is somewhat erroneously referred to as an eastern extension of the National Road. This eastern portion of the National Road is generally referred to as the Cumberland Road.  In 1835 the road east of Wheeling was turned over to the states for operation as a turnpike, and came to be known as the National Pike, a name also applied to the Baltimore extension.

     The approximately 620-mile (1000 km) road provided a portage between the Potomac and Ohio Rivers and  a  gateway  to the West  for  thousands  of settlers. It was the first road in the U.S. to use the new macadam  road  surfacing.  Today  the  alignment  is

The National Road (entire route)tn

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followed by U.S. Highway 40 with only minor realignments. The full road, as well as its extensions east to Baltimore and west to St. Louis, was designated "The Historic National Road", an All-American Road, by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Y. Mineta in 2002.

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Winding Road 1

Road Trip

Road Trip

Winding Road 2

If you have traced your 18th or 19th century ancestors to any of the counties listed below it is quite possible that they traveled to that location along this migration route.  Therefore you may find additional relevant information about your ancestral lineages by taking the following road trip through these localities.

COUNTY (Road Trip Segment)

COUNTY (Road Trip Segment)

COUNTY (Road Trip Segment)

Allegany County, MD (3) 

Baltimore City, MD (1)

Baltimore County, MD (1)

Bedford County, PA (3)

Belmont County, OH (5)

Berkeley County, WV (2)

Bond County, IL (12)

Brookfield County, WV (5)

Carroll County, MD (1)

Champaign County, OH (7)

Clark County, IL (11)

Clark County, OH (7)

Clay County, IN (10)

Coles County, IL (11)

Coshocton County, OH (6)

Crawford County, IL (11)

Cumberland County, IL (11)

Darke County, OH (8)

Delaware County, IN (9)

Delaware County, OH (7)

Edgar County, IL (11) Man (right) small lt

Effington County, IL (12)

Fairfield County, OH (6)

Fayette County, IL (12)

Fayette County, IN (8)

Fayette County, PA (4)

Franklin County, OH (7)

Frederick County, MD (1,2) 

Garrett County MD (3)

Greene County, OH (7)

Greene County, PA (4)

Guernsey County, OH (5,6)

Hamilton County, IN (9)

Hancock County, IN (9)

Harrison County, OH (5)

Hendricks County, IN (10)

Henry County, IN (9)

Howard County, MD (1)

Jasper County, IL (11)

Jefferson County, WV (2)

Johnson County, IN (9)

Licking County, OH (6)

Madison County, IN (9)

Madison County, OH (7)

Marion County, IN (9)

Marshall County, WV (5)

Miami County, OH (8)

Mineral County, WV (3)

Monongalia County, WV (4)

Monroe County, OH (5)

Montgomery County, IL (12)

Montgomery County, MD (1)

Montgomery County, OH (8)

Morgan County, IN (10)

Morgan County, WV (2,3)

Muskingum County, OH (6)

Noble County, OH (5)

Ohio County, WV (5)

Owen County, IN (10)

Parke County, IN (10)

Perry County, OH (6)

Preble County, OH (8)

Putnam County, IN (10)

Randolph County, IN (8)

Rush County, IN (9)

Shelby County, IL (12)

Shelby County, IN (9)

Somerset County, PA  (3)

Sullivan County, IN (11)

Union County, IN  (8)

Union County, OH (7)

Vermillion County, IN (10)

Vigo County, IN  (10, 11)

Washington County, PA (4)

Wayne County, IN (8)

 

Genealogy Road Trip

This “Family History Road Trip” is divided into segments that require between 1 and 2 hours of driving time.  The entire 1,100 mile journey should take approximately 24 hours to drive at 45 miles per hour.  Within each segment you will find links to resources* that will assist you in planning a successful and enjoyable experience.  The following maps are designed to show a close-up view of the counties and communities along this migration route.  Relevant county seats are designated with aStar yellow-green 32x30, beginning and end points of each segment are noted with a Bullet (red ball) dk green2 and historical sites with a purple circle.

 

SEGMENT 1

From: Baltimore City, MD

To: Frederick, MD

SEGMENT 2

From: Frederick, MD

To: Hancock, MD

SEGMENT 3

From: Hancock, MD

To: Addison, PA

SEGMENT 4

From: Addison, PA

To: Claysville, PA

SEGMENT 5

From: Claysville, PA

To: Cambridge, OH

SEGMENT 6

From: Cambridge, OH

To: Wagram, OH

SEGMENT 7

From: Wagram, OH

 To: Donnelsville, OH

SEGMENT 8

From: Donnelsville, OH

To: Cambridge City, IN

SEGMENT 9

From: Cambridge City, IN

To:  Bridgeport, IN

SEGMENT 10

From: Bridgeport, IN

To:  Terre Haute, IN

SEGMENT 11

From: Terre Haute, IN

To:  Woodbury, IL

SEGMENT 12

From: Woodbury, IL

 To:  Vandalia, IL

 

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Segment 1

SEGMENT 1

From: Baltimore City, MD

To: Frederick, MD

228149- 2

Driving Distance = 56 miles;   Driving Time = approximately 1.00 hours

Your trip along the National Road begins at the Baltimore Visitor Center located at 401 Light Street.  From here proceed 1 block west on Conway St. to St. Charles Street and proceed about blocks north to W. Baltimore St.) and turn left.  After several blocks transition left onto Frederick Avenue (SR 144).  Proceed on this route out of Baltimore City and through Baltimore County to Ellicott City the county seat of Howard County, Maryland.   While driving along the Frederick Road (SR 144) look for one of the several mileposts  still in existence.  Near Mount Airy turn right onto Ridge Road (SR 27) then turn left onto Main Street kepp on S. Main St. north then turn left onto the Old National Pike.  Continue of this route through New Market towards Frederick.  On the outskirts of Frederick transition on to Patrick Street (SR 144) to the center of the city.  Frederick is the seat of Frederick County, Maryland.

National Road (1) TN copy

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Use the following LINKS to find information about the counties and localities found along this segment of the Route.

General Profile

Genealogy & History Resources

Historical Sites

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228149- 4

Segment 2

SEGMENT 2

From: Frederick, MD

To: Hancock, MD

228149- 2

Driving Distance = 59 miles;   Driving Time = approximately 1.25 hours

Leave Frederick Maryland, via West Patrick Street (US Rt. 40).  Just past the Frederick Towne Mall take the left fork and transition onto US Rt. 40A.  Go through Middletown and Boonsboro to Hagerstown the seat of Washington County, Maryland. 

 Middletown is a small, rural community steeped in American history. Located in the beautiful Middletown Valley that stretches between the Catoctin Mountains on the east and South Mountain on the west, the town reportedly gained its name from its location midway between those ranges. The early German and English settlers started to arrive in the valley in the 1730s. Boonsboro is located at the foot of South Mountain, and is proximate to the Antietam National Battlefield.

In the center of Hagerstown you will US Rt 4A will end and rejoin US Rt. 40.  Continue on this route until it joins Interstate 68 at the Potomac River. Just east of Hancock leave Interstate 68/US Rt. 40 at the E. Main Street (MD 144) exit and continue on into the center of this town.

Hancock is notable for being located at the narrowest part of the state of Maryland. The north-south distance from the Pennsylvania state line to the

National Road (2) TN copy

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West Virginia state line is only 1.8 miles. The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal passes through the town, and the Western Maryland Rail Trail connects Hancock with Fort Frederick State Park.

Use the following LINKS to find information about the counties and localities found along this segment of the Route.

General Profile

Genealogy & History Resources

Historical Sites

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228149- 4

Segment 3

SEGMENT 3

From: Hancock, MD

To: Addison, PA

228149- 2

Driving Distance = 70 miles;   Driving Time = approximately 1.75 hours

Leave Hancock on MD Rt. 144 and co0ntinuev on this road until it transitions back to US Rt. 40.  Just prior to intersection with Interstate 68 turn right onto MD Rt. 144 (National Pike Rd.). Follow until it transitions to the Baltimore Pike continue on this road as it run parallel to the new I68/US40 highway.  Northeast of Cumberland MD 144 will transition back to  the I68/US40 highway.  Take this to the exit to US Rt. 40A west and proceed into Cumberland seat of Allegany County, Maryland.

Cumberland is a western gateway city in the central neck of Maryland . It is only one of five navigable land routes west over the Allegheny Mountains and past the formidable barrier of the Allegheny Front escarpment, serving as the entry into the Appalachian portion of Maryland, and the mid-west of the United States.  As such it served as a historical outfitting and staging point for westward emigrant trail migrations throughout the first half of the 1800s, allowing the settlement of the Ohio Country and the lands of the Louisiana Purchase, after the American Revolution.

Continue on through Cumberland on US RT 40A through the city of Frostburg and on into Garrett County, Maryland. 

Frostburg had its beginnings back in 1811 when surveying began for the National Pike, a road used to transport crops and raw materials to East Coast markets. President Thomas Jefferson had authorized construction of the road in 1806. Meshach Frost built the first house in present-day Frostburg in 1812 and named it Highland Hall. This building was a popular stopping point for celebrities and dignitaries who traveled the National Pike.

National Road (3) TN copy

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Proceed along this route through the village of Grantsville.  Just past the hamlet of Strawn you will leave Maryland.  After a few miles enter the borough of Addison in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

Grantsville flourished as a stop along the nearby National Road, U.S. Route 40. From 1818, the national road carried hundreds of thousands of pioneers and settlers in stagecoaches and covered wagons. Addison was served by the National Road.  Located here is the Petersburg Tollhouse, one of several toll houses on that road.

Use the following LINKS to find information about the counties and localities found along this segment of the Route.

General Profile

Genealogy & History Resources

Historical Sites

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228149- 4

Segment 4

SEGMENT 4

From: Addison, PA

To: Claysville, PA

228149- 2

Driving Distance = 81 miles;   Driving Time = approximately 1.75 hours

Depart Addison on Main Street and follow until it intersects with US Rt. 40.  Proceed west on US Rt. 40 towards Uniontown, the seat of Fayette County, Pennsylvania.  Follow US Route 40 through the center of the downtown area.

Uniontown was popularly known as Beesontown, "The Town of Union" was founded by Henry Beeson on July 4, 1776, coincidentally the same date as the United States Declaration of Independence. The National Road, also known as the Cumberland Road, was routed through Uniontown in the early 19th century, and the town grew along with the road (now US 40). Within 10 miles of Uniontown is Fort Necessity, built by George Washington during the French and Indian War (part of the international Seven Years War).

From Uniontown continue on US Route 40 west to Brownsville located along the Monongahela River.

Brownsville was founded in 1785 and located 35 miles (56 km) south of Pittsburgh along the Monongahela River. In the 19th century, the borough became an industrial center, transportation hub, outfitting center, and river boat-building powerhouse. It was a gateway city for emigrants heading west to the Ohio Country, Northwest Territory and beyond on the various Emigrant Trails to the far west from its founding until well into the 1850s.

From Brownsville maintain your course west along US Rt. 40 to Washington, the seat of Washington County, Pennsylvania.

Washington (originally “Catfish Camp”), was first settled by colonists

National Road (4) TN copy

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around 1768. The county of Washington was created in 1781 and is the first county in the U.S. to be named in honor of President George Washington.  Washington was the center for the 'Whiskey Rebellion' of 1791, which was one of the first open rebellions against the new U.S. government and Constitution.

From Washington it is about a ten mile drive to Claysville, Pennsylvania.

Use the following LINKS to find information about the counties and localities found along this segment of the Route.

General Profile

Genealogy & History Resources

Historical Sites

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228149- 4

Segment 5

SEGMENT 5

From: Claysville, PA

To: Cambridge, OH

228149- 2

Driving Distance = 71 miles;   Driving Time = approximately 1.50 hours

Leave Claysville on US Rt. 40 and enjoy the scenery along the Little Wheeling Creek to its junction with the Wheeling Creek at Elm Grove, West Virginia.  From here you will begin to experience the suburban outskirts of Wheeling, the seat of Ohio County, West Virginia.  

During the fall of 1769, Ebenezer Zane explored the Wheeling area and established claim to the land via "tomahawk rights." He returned the following spring with his wife Elizabeth and his younger brothers, Jonathan and Silas; they established the first permanent European settlement in the Wheeling area, naming it Zanesburg. In 1793, Ebenezer Zane divided the town into lots, and Wheeling was officially established as a town in 1795 by legislative enactment.

In downtown Wheeling, follow US Route 40 to its intersection with Interstate 70  then proceed west over the river on the Fort Henry Bridge.  Take the Zane Street Exit to follow US Route 40.  Continue to follow the US Rt. 40 signage as Zane St. transitions to Main St. on the  west side of the river.   Leave Wheeling on US Rt. 40 (National Road) towards St. Clairsville, Ohio, the county seat of Belmont County, Ohio.  Beyond St. Clairsville US Rt. 40 will transition to Interstate 70.  Stay on this route to the village of Old Washington in Guernsey County. Here US Rt. 40 will depart the Interstate.  Proceed on

National Road (5) TN copy

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from Old Washington to Cambridge, Ohio the seat of Guernsey County.

Cambridge is well-known among glass collectors as being the location for the Cambridge Glass, Boyd Glass and Mosser Glass plants. The Cambridge area is also famous for its "S" shaped bridges, dating back to the building of the National Road in 1828.

Use the following LINKS to find information about the counties and localities found along this segment of the Route.

General Profile

Genealogy & History Resources

Historical Sites

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228149- 4

Segment 6

SEGMENT 6

From: Cambridge, OH

To: Wagram, OH

228149- 2

Driving Distance = 65 miles;   Driving Time = approximately 1.25 hours

Leave Cambridge via US Rt. 40 through New Concord to  Zanesville,  the seat of Muskingum County, Ohio. 

Located at Zanesville is the famous Y-shaped bridge (called the "Y-Bridge") spans the confluence of the Licking and Muskingum rivers. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is the only bridge of its type in the United States. It has been rebuilt numerous times since the 1850s.

From Zanesville continune on US Rt. 40 through the village of Hebron in Licking County to Wagram located at the crossroads of US Rt. 40 and County Rt. 41.

 

National Road (6) TN copy

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Use the following LINKS to find information about the counties and localities found along this segment of the Route.

General Profile

Genealogy & History Resources

Historical Sites

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228149- 4

Segment 7

SEGMENT 7

From: Wagram, OH

 To: Donnelsville, OH

228149- 2

Driving Distance = 73 miles;   Driving Time = approximately 1.50 hours

From Wagram continue on US Rt. 40 into Columbus. the capital and the largest city in Ohio. It is also the county seat of Franklin County.

Named for explorer Christopher Columbus, the city was founded in 1812 at the confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy rivers, and assumed the functions of state capital in 1816. The National Road reached Columbus from Baltimore in 1831, which complemented the city's new link to the Ohio and Erie Canal and facilitated a population boom.

Continue through the center of Columbus on US Rt. 40. After you cross Big Darby Creek you will enter Madison County, Ohio. Continue of US Rt. 40 west to Springfield the seat of Clark County, Ohio.

Springfield, founded in 1801, traces its early growth to the National Road, which ended in Springfield for approximately 10 years as politicians wrangled over the path it would continue. Dayton and Eaton wanted the road to veer south after Springfield, but President Andrew Jackson made the final decision to have the road continue straight west to Richmond, Indiana.

National Road (7) TN copy

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Continue through downtown Springfield on US Rt. 40.   A few miles west of Springfield will bring you to the village of Donnelsville, Ohio.

Use the following LINKS to find information about the counties and localities found along this segment of the Route.

General Profile

Genealogy & History Resources

Historical Sites

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