The colonial roads in Georgia consist of at least twenty-one primary routes. The article will name each of these while emphasizing the timeline and the location. Since its founding as a royal colony in 1732, the area known as Georgia contained numerous roads, paths, and trails. The majority of these early routes spanned westward from the coastal shore. The most common means of travel was by foot or horse. Many of these routes were less than a few feet in width, equivalent to a narrow path. The traveler would leave the shores and experience a frontier lined with tall trees, dangerous waterways, and rough terrain. The Native tribes living in this area created a network of trails connecting one to another that reached way beyond Georgia’s boundaries. This road web system put the first colonial Georgia roads on the map as trading paths. Trade among the Native tribes connected one village with another and transformed the early routes. The presence of British authority smoothed the way for early settlements, commerce, and economic growth for the colony. Let’s take a closer look at the roads. Next, we will explore twenty-one of the most prevalent early routes in colonial Georgia.
The below list contains the name of each road highlighted in the article. Over time many of these roads changed their courses and their names. Original routes would often shift directions from one immediate area to another. Learning more about these colonial routes will enable you to determine how, when and where your family roots connect.
- Augusta Road
- Barrington Road
- Ebenezer Road
- Frederica Military Road
- Georgia Road
- Great Wagon Road
- Louisville Road
- Lower Trading Path
- Lower Uchee Road
- Ogeechee Road
- Post Road
- Quaker Road
- Red Hollow Road
- River Road
- Savannah Road
- Sunbury Road
- Tillots Path
- Trading Path
- Upper Path
- Upper Uchee Road
- William Bartram Trail
The King’s Highway is not on the list, but if you would like to learn more about this fascinating road, please enter “King’s Highway” in the search tab on our home page and view the articles and data we have uncovered for this road.
The least amount of data we currently have on one of these roads is Tillots Road. This route was prevalent up to 1795 per located records and documents. Beginning at the Savannah River and McBane Creek, Tillots Road travels southwest to Waynesborough and 18th-century Burke County. The route continues across the Ogeechee River and travels through Washington County circa 1790. At this point, the road parallels Lower Uchee Path and crosses the Oconee River. Through the years, Tillots Road connected and joined other trails. We suspect that another name for Tillots Road is Tom’s Road. Further research is needed to determine this theory.
The Upper Uchee and Lower Uchee are two separate roads correlating each other. Beginning at Ogeechee River, the routes extend past the Oconee River and Carr’s Shoals, traveling just north of Dublin. Early maps indicate the roads merging and ending in present-day Alabama. The first documentation of the original path date from 1729, making this route one of the oldest in the colony.
The River Road proves its past from the founder of Georgia, James Oglethorpe. Once the only British road leading into the area, this horse path quickly became popular with the first settlers. Years later, portions of the original route were incorporated with the King’s Highway and known to locals as the Old River Road.
The Lower Trading Path, the Upper Path, and the Trading Path linked together and were used as trading routes by the British in 1690. The road was known then as the Horse Path leading across the lands of Georgia and ending near New Orleans today. Years later, portions of this route were known as the Federal Road. We are continuing the vast amount of material associated with this road. Today, documents prove its existence during the Lord Proprietors’ ownership from 1629 to 1729. A separate article will be forthcoming on this 17th-century by-way, Georgia’s oldest road.
The Louisville Road and the Post Road connected at the Ogeechee River in 1770. The Louisville Road, established through Colonial Assembly, became a favored stage route for travelers arriving at the Capital. The Post Road traveled along the coast and was known to early settlers as Old St. Mary’s Road. It began first as a walking path with the Native Americans and was used later as a primary defense route for the patriots during the American Revolutionary War.
Savannah Road traveled from Savannah to Rock Landing near the Oconee River. This road was an early trading route, with most of the original path still used today. The trail eventually connected to the Trading Path during the 18th-century. The Savannah Road and the Quaker Road were both capital roads, meaning their routes led to the current Capital at that time. Tobacco Road was another name for Savannah Road. The Sunbury Road is one of the youngest routes in the coastal area. Dating to 1790, Sunbury was one of the leading ports in the colony and this road allowed late 18th-century traffic to the district. Popularity between Sunbury port and Savannah port sided with Sunbury during 1761. The road traveled to Greensboro and was also known as Ludsbury Road.
Ebenezer Road dates to the 1733 Salzburgers’ first settlement in Georgia. The original route was a mere walking trail near the community that functioned intact for two years. New information and discoveries for this colonial route require a separate article exclusively dedicated to the road. The future commentary will include family histories of migrating families settling in the community from other colonies.
Red Hollow Road is an extension of the original River Road. The route’s direction led to Petersburg and Toccoa without crossing one waterway, a distance of over 70 miles. Beginning in Savannah and leading to Augusta, the road was known for the Red Hollow House, which operated as an inn.
The William Bartram trail depicts the journey of Bartram in 1773. He travels to the western edges of Georgia and documents fantastic adventures and detailed drawings.
Frederica was a small fort with few residents in 1736. Known today as Old Town, the road became an active military route for the surrounding areas.
The Great Wagon Road entered through Georgia near Augusta. Stay tuned for more updates on this route from the Great Wagon Road Project.
Piedmont Trails will have much more on these colonial roads of Georgia. We will share early forts and family surnames in the coming months. Until then, I hope this article will provide you with a good beginning to understanding the names and locations of these colonial roads.
- Bartram, William “Travels Through North & South Carolina, Georgia, East & West Florida” published by James & Johnson Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1791
- Bowen, Emmanuel “1748 Map of Georgia”
- Candler, Allen Daniel “The Colonial Records of the State of Georgia” published by C.P. Byrd State Printer Atlanta, Georgia 1904
- Carey, Matthew “1795 Map of Georgia”
- Reese, Trevor Richard “Colonial Georgia: A Study in British Imperial Policy in the 18th Century” published by University of Georgia Press Athens, Georgia 1963