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Zane's Trace

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Introduction

Road Trip

Internet Resources

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Introduction

Introduction

 

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          Zane's Trace is the name for a frontier road constructed under the direction of Col. Ebenezer Zane through the Northwest Territory of the United States (in what is now the state of Ohio). The road was constructed during 1796 and 1797, ran from Wheeling, Virginia (now Wheeling, West Virginia) to Maysville in the relatively new state of Kentucky, and was a little over 230 miles long.   Some other names for Zane's Trace at various locations along its route were Tod's Trace, Maysville Road, Maysville Pike, Limestone Road, Limestone and Chillicothe Road, Zanesville Pike and Wheeling Road.

     After serving in the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War, Col. Zane traveled to Washington, D.C., in early 1796 to petition Congress for money to finance the construction of a road that would encourage settlement in the Northwest Territoryand speed up travel times to Kentucky. Zane would profit by construction of the road, both because he owned most of the land at its starting point of Wheeling, and also because he intended to buy tracts of land along the route (see below). Congress approved a contract financing the project in May, 1796. Col. Zane was assisted in overseeing the construction by his brother, Jonathan Zane, and his son-in-law, John McIntire, as well as by a Native American guide, Tomepomehala. Col. Zane took advantage of existing Native American trails for some of the route, including the Mingo Trail in the area between present day Fairview, Ohio, and Zanesville, Ohio, and the Moxahala Trail in the area between present day Zanesville, Ohio, and Chillicothe, Ohio.

          Chillicothe was the only settlement along the route which existed at the time of its construction. The Trace was constructed    through heavily forested, hilly terrain, and at first was not easily traveled by wagon. After Ohio became a state in 1803, a state transportation tax was levied and used in 1804 to improve the entirety of the Trace, clearing out stumps and widening the thoroughfare. Between 1825 and 1830, the segment of Zane's Trace between Wheeling and Zanesville was rebuilt as part of the new National Road. 

 The rivers and streams along the Trace were crossed by ford or ferry. Col. Zane ran a ferry across the Ohio River at Wheeling, where a bridge was not available until 1837. Ferries across Wills Creek in present day Cambridge, Ohio, were run by Ezra Graham, George

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and Henry Beymer, and John Beatty. William McCulloch and Henry Crooks ran a ferry across the Muskingum River from Zanesville to Putnam, Ohio (now also a part of Zanesville). A bridge was built over the Muskingum River in 1813. A bridge was present over the Hocking River near Lancaster, Ohio, as early as 1809. Benjamin Urmston ran the ferry across the Scioto River at Chillicothe. Ferries ran across the Ohio River to Maysville, Kentucky, and eventually the town of Aberdeen, Ohio, was founded in 1816 on the Ohio side of the river. A bridge was not built connecting Aberdeen and Maysville until 1931.

     To follow Zane's Trace today, start at Wheeling and follow U.S. 40 west to Zanesville. From Zanesville, follow U.S. 22 southwest to Lancaster. Just west of Lancaster turn on S.R. 159 and follow it southwest to Chillicothe. From Chillicothe, follow U.S. 50 west to Bainbridge. Then follow S.R. 41 southwest to Aberdeen on the Ohio River. Zane’s Trace travels through 11 counties in Ohio.

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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)

Adams County, OH (5)

Belmont County, OH (1)

Bracken County, KY (5)

Brooke County, WV (1)

Brown County, OH (5)

Campbell County, KY (5)

Clermont County, OH (5)

Clinton County, OH (4)

Coshocton County, OH (2)

Fairfield County, OH (3)

Fayette County, OH (4)

Fleming County, KY (5)

Guernsey County, OH (1,2)

Harrison County, OH (1)

Harrison county, KY (5)

Highland County, OH (4)

Hocking County, OH (3)

Jefferson County, OH (1)

Lewis County, KY (5)

Licking County, OH (2)

Marshall County, WV (1)

Mason County, KY (5) Man (right) small lt

Monroe County, OH (1)

Morgan County, OH (2)

Muskingum County, OH (2)

Nicholas County, KY (5)

Noble County, OH (1,2)

Ohio County, WV (1)

Pendleton County, KY (5)

Perry County, OH (2)

Pickaway County, OH (3)

Pike County, OH (4)

Robertson County, KY (5)

Ross County, OH (3,4)

Tuscarawas County, OH (1)

Vinton County, OH (3)

 

Genealogy Road Trip

This “Family History Road Trip” is divided into segments that require between 1 and 2 hours of driving time.  The entire 234 mile journey should take approximately 5 hours to drive at 50 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 historical route. 

 

SEGMENT 1

From: Wheeling, WV

To: Cambridge, OH

SEGMENT 2

From: Cambridge, OH

To: Somerset, OH

SEGMENT 3

From: Somerset, OH

To: Kinnikinnick, OH

SEGMENT 4

From: Kinnikinnick, OH

To: Sinking Spring, OH

SEGMENT 5

From: Sinking Spring, OH

To: Maysville, KY

SEGMENT 6

 

 

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Segment 1

SEGMENT 1

From: Wheeling, WV

To: Cambridge, OH

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Driving Distance = 51 miles;   Driving Time = approximately 1.00 hours

Our road trip begins at Wheeling, West Virginia.  Start at 1401 Main Street where the Visitor’s Center is located within the Wheeling’s Downtown Historic District. 

The district includes 205 contributing buildings in the central business district of Wheeling. It includes the site of the original location of Fort Henry. It also includes the separately listed West Virginia Independence Hall and Baltimore and Ohio Passenger Terminal.

To leave Wheeling from the Visitor’s Center go one block on 16th street and turn left onto Market Street north to its intersection with routes Interstate 70 / US Route 40 and US Route 250 then proceed west over the river.  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 from Old Washington to Cambridge, Ohio the seat of Guernsey County.

Cambridge is well-known among glass collectors as being the location for

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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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Segment 2

SEGMENT 2

From: Cambridge, OH

To: Somerset, OH

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Driving Distance = 50 miles;   Driving Time = approximately 1.00 hours

Leave Cambridge via US Rt. 40 towards 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.

You will leave US Rt. 40 in downtown Zanesville by turning left onto S. 6th Street and following signage for US Route 22 (Maysville Pike) to Somerset, Ohio.

The village of Somerset was established in 1810 by settlers from Somerset, Pennsylvania at the spot on Zane's Trace located midway between Lancaster and Zanesville.  Saint Joseph Church, the oldest Catholic church in Ohio, is located just outside of Somerset on State Route 383.

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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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Segment 3

SEGMENT 3

From: Somerset, OH

To: Kinnikinnick, OH

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Driving Distance = 48 miles;   Driving Time = approximately 1.00 hours

Leave Somerset via US Route 22 (W. Main Street) and continue southwest through the village of Rushville to Lancaster, Ohio  the seat of  Fairfield County.

The U.S. Government awarded Ebenezer Zane square-mile tracts of land at the points where his trace crossed the Hocking, Muskingum, and Scioto rivers.  After the trace was completed by 1797, Zane's sons began to carve the square-mile tract astride the Hocking into saleable plots, the city of Lancaster formally came into being in 1800.

Depart Lancaster on US Route 22.  A short distance beyond the junction with US Route 33 you will turn left onto Ohio State Route 159 towards Chillicothe.  Continue on through the village of Tarlton located in Fairfield and Pickaway counties.

Tarlton was originally settled and called Newellstown in 1801, and was probably the first settlement in Pickaway County, Ohio. Nearby Tarlton is the Cross Mound, which was built by the pre-Columbian Mound Builders.

Continue on through Kingston in Ross County to Kinnikinnick located at the junction of Ohio State Route 159 and Ohio State Route 180 16.6 miles north-northeast of Chillicothe.

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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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Segment 4

SEGMENT 4

From: Kinnikinnick, OH

To: Sinking Spring, OH

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Driving Distance = 42 miles;   Driving Time = approximately 1.00 hours

From Kinnikinnick continue on SR 159 into Chillicothe the seat of Ross County.

Chillicothe was the center of the ancient Hopewell tradition, which flourished from 200 BCE until 500 CE. This Amerindian culture had trade routes extending to the Rocky Mountains. They built earthen mounds for ceremonial and burial purposes throughout the Scioto and Ohio River valleys. It was after the American Revolution that most European settlement came to this area. Migrants from Virginia and Kentucky moved west along the Ohio River in search of land. Chillicothe served as the capital of Ohio from the beginning of statehood in 1803 until 1810.

In the center of Chillicothe turn right onto US Route 50 west and continue on through Bourneville to Bainbridge.

Bainbridge and Chillicothee were two of the fourteen early towns, surveyed and plotted by General Nathaniel Massie on his land grant in what became the State of Ohio.  The Harris Dental Museum, the first dental school in the United States, is located in Bainbridge.

Soon after passing through Bainbridge turn left onto Ohio State Route 41.  Follow this route to the village of

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Sinking Spring in Highland County, Ohio.

An unusually shaped octagonal schoolhouse constructed in 1831 is found in Sinking Spring.

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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Segment 5

SEGMENT 5

From: Sinking Spring, OH

To: Maysville, KY

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Driving Distance = 43 miles;   Driving Time = approximately 1.00 hours

From Sinking Spring continue south on SR 41 through the communities of Peebles and West Union in Adams County, to Aberdeen, in Brown County, Ohio.

Aberdeen was founded in 1796 by James Edwards on the north shore of the Ohio River, at the site where a ferry had sprung up between Fishing Gut Creek and Maysville, Kentucky. It was named for Aberdeen, Scotland, the birthplace of James Edwards. Aberdeen was incorporated in 1816, by Nathan Ellis, another early settler to that region.

Aberdeen is connected to Maysville, Kentucky by the Simon Kenton Memorial Bridge to downtown Maysville and the William H. Harsha Bridge.

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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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Internet Resources

Internet 
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General Resources

Topic Specific Resources

Download a free 2-page Fact Sheet

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about American migration routes

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Family Historian's
Reference Library

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The following Link will take you to our library of genealogy reference books.   Here you will find books about historic American roads, trails, and paths.  In addition, there are texts that pertain to ethnic and religion groups, history, geography as well as other books that will assist you with your research.

This Link will take you to our

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collection of reference books.  

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Image Gallery

Image Gallery

During our research we have collected images and photographs that are of general interest to a variety of historic American roads, trails and migration.  Some of them are presented on this website because we believe they tend to provide the reader with additional information which may aid in the understanding of this topic as well as our ancestors past lives.

Historical Marker (2003)

 

Use this LINK to see the “Image