The trails described also match those in The Book of Mormon:
Cutting through the wilderness of woods were numerous paths, which connected the scattered cabins, and opened communication with other far-away communities. Some of these were transient and dim, paths only between fields and homes. Others were deeply marked trails, trodden and scored by generations of soft-shoud aboriginal wayfarers.
These permanent trails led along the banks of all the water courses and evenutally converged at the mouth of Buffalo Creek, where they joined the great main traveled way which followed the shore of Lake Erie to the west and continued along the banks of the Niagara to Lake Ontario. (“Buffalo Creek Reservation,” Buffalo Historical Society Publications, Vol. 24, 1920, p. 11)
The Empire State, as you love to call it, was once laced by our trails from Albany to Buffalo, – trails that we had trod for centuries – trails worn so deep by the feet of the Iroquois that they became your roads of travel, as your possessions gradually eat into those of my people. Your roads still traverse those same lines of communication which bound one part of the Long House to the other. (William M. Beauchamp, “Perch lake mounds, with notes on other New York mounds, and some accounts of Indian trails,” New York State Museum Bulletin 87, Archeology 10, 1905 p. 47 (see “Trails,” pp. 33-47 below))
It makes sense that the highways, roadways, and pathways during Book of Mormon times would have followed the rivers and lakes as well. One such highway was to the north. It was called the Narrow Passage.
(The following report comes from William Martin Beauchamp, “Perch lake mounds, with notes on other New York mounds, and some accounts of Indian trails.”)
In the League of the Iroquois, Mr Morgan gave a definite and interesting account of the principal Indian trails of New York, overlooking some things which seriously affected his scheme. Sites of Indian towns were constantly changing, and trails of necessity changed and were forgotten. An abandoned forest path is soon obliterated. All his towns were not properly located if the record is to be considered two centuries old. Much of the time Indians took a general rather than a fixed course in going from place to place, for the advantage of hunting or for other reasons. Thus trails were very faint in some places, becoming plainer as they approached towns. Remembering such things, Mr Morgan’s general plan will serve as a proper basis for some remarks on Indian trails. At some period it may have been essentially correct, but in the nature of things this was but for a brief time. With this reservation it deserves high praise.
His scheme makes the trail leave Albany along the old turnpike, going to a spring 6 miles west and thence to Schenectady, crossing the river at the ford, where a bridge was afterward built. This may be allowed, though it may not have been Van Curler’s exact route in 1634. Yet it is doubtful whether there was any trail or much travel there before the Dutch came, for the Mahicans at Albany were at war with the Mohawks west of Schoharie creek, and made their footprints as light as possible. At Schenectady the trail probably divided, when there was one, following both banks of the Mohawk. When Van Curler followed that stream westward in 1634, all the Mohawk towns were west of Schoharie creek, and the Indians did not care to ford that for some reason. Curler crossed the river, followed the north bank till the creek was passed, and then recrossed to the. south bank, where all the towns were. When all these were on the north side, a few years later, there was no use for the southern trail. When the south bank was occupied it was used again. Mr Morgan’s scheme places but one small village on the north.
In 1634, and for some years later, all the Mohawk towns were between Schoharie creek and Spraker’s. His scheme places  Te-hon-da-lo’-ga at the mouth of the creek, Canajoharie on the east bank of Ot-squa’-go creek at Fort Plain, and the upper Mohawk castle in Danul;e. llerkhr.er county. Thence his trail went to I’tica, Vhitesboro, Oriskany and Rome. This was a very recent route.
On the north he supposed that the trail turned off to Johnsttown, a modern feature, returning to the river at Fonda, and going thence to Rome, This does not allow for the fact that as early as 1600 one Mohawk town was far up Cayadutta creek, another still farther on the Garoga, and a third on the Ot-squa’-go. all several miles from the Mohawk. Rome was not an objective point till western trade became vigorous, and there was probably little travel that way till the i8th century. Van Curler, in going to Oneida in 1634, certainly left the Mohawk east of present Canajoharie, crossing the hills to the upper waters of Oneida creek. Later accounts show that this was long the only great trail, and this fact Morgan overlooked. This affected his scheme beyond the portage. He said:
From Rome the main trail, taking a southwest direction, passed through Verona, Te-o-na-tale’, and finally came out at Oneida Castle. This was the principal village of the Oneidas.
Knowing the latter was a recent town. Gen. John S. Clark placed Old Oneida in the southwest corner of Vernon, where Sauthier’s map shows it. On his map of 1700 Colonel Romer marked his route as leaving the Mohawk at the third castle, thence southwesterly near the head of Schuyler lake, thence west to Old Oneida, whence a branch trail led to the portage. Being on horseback his party took the main road west to Onondaga.
From the modern Oneida Castle, Morgan’s trail went through Canastota, Canaseraga, Chittenango and the Deep Spring, Manlius and Jamesville, to Onondaga Valley. Xo colonial traveler mentions Deep Spring, though one of Gansevoort’s officers spoke of it as “Sunken Spring in the road,” in 1779, and the Onondagas tell me that their favorite resting place was at Green lake, near Kirkville and north of this route. Johnson and the Moravians alike show that the main trail in 1756 was a mile south of Jamesville, entering Onondaga valley far south of the turnpike. The Moravian journals show that there were several trails between Oneida and Onondaga, touching the Tuscarora towns.
Mr Morgan’s three Onondaga villages are not well located, as is easily proved. Ka-na-ta-go’-wa, or great village, is now where he placed it, but it was 3 miles north of this in 1779, the farthest north of all. There was no village at Gis-twe-ah’-na. In this scheme the trail passed up the hill west of the present village of Onondaga Valley, northwest through the sites of Camillus and Elbridge, thence through Sennett and Auburn, crossing Owascocreek just above the prison, following the old turnpike halfway to Cayuga lake, then going direct to the old Cayuga ferry, half a mile above Cayuga bridge. It crossed the foot of the lake about 4 miles farther north, at the old fording place near the lower bridge. This, however, was not the trail used by the Moravians and others in the middle of the i8th century. That went directly over the hills from Onondaga, at that time 4 miles south of the present canal, passed some miles south of Marcellus village, crossed the foot of Skaneateles lake and that of Owasco, reaching the village of Ganiatarage 1^2 miles north of Union Springs, intersecting there the trail which connected the Cayuga villages east of the lake. This was also Colonel Gansevoort’s route in going eastward from the foot of Cayuga lake to Fort Stanwix in 1779. The principal Cayuga village was at Great Gully brook, 3 miles southeast of Union Springs. From the mouth of this stream the lake was usually crossed in canoes, and the trail went on to the foot of Seneca lake, passing through the Cayuga village of Nuquiage, not far from that lake. This is an historic route from Onondaga to the first Seneca castle. That given by Mr Morgan seems much later.
In his scheme, after fording the foot of Cayuga lake, the trail followed the north bank of Seneca river to Seneca lake. He noted another trail, crossing the lake in canoes, and running west from the shore to Seneca Falls. Thence it followed the south bank of the river, intersecting the other trail at the lake, and running 1 l/2 miles north to the first Seneca castle, near Geneva. Thence it followed nearly the line of the turnpike to Canandaigua, at the foot of that lake.
The Moravian journals make quite a difference here. From the foot of Seneca lake they went 4 miles west-southwest to a deserted
town, where the trail divided, one path going to the head and the other to the foot of Canandaigua lake. There were others to various points. At last they found the right one, but a very bad road. This took them through old Onnachee in Hopewell, and Canandaigua lake was then called by this name. The outlet was crossed on a rude Indian bridge. Ganataqueh (Canandaigua) was a few miles beyond, on a hill. Thence they went to Hachniage (Honeoye) near the foot of Honeoye lake. Still going west they crossed Noehnta creek, the outlet of Hemlock lake, and came to Ohegechrage or Conesus lake. Ten miles farther they reached Zonesschio (Geneseo) on the Genesee river, but not the later site.
This is essentially one of Morgan’s two trails. One of these went southwest from Canandaigua to the foot of Honeoye lake, then in sight of Hemlock lake, passing the foot of Conesus lake, crossing the Genesee at the present Geneseo, and leading to Little Beard’s town, at one time the largest Seneca village. This had no existence in 1750 on its later site, and Geneseo was then near the mouth of Canaseraga creek.
The other trail, considered the main one by Morgan, went from Canandaigua through the villages of West Bloomfield and Lima, to Avon on the Genesee, crossing the river a few rods above the bridge, and following the bank to Ganowauges a mile above. This is satisfactory for quite recent times, but it leaves out the important early villages near Honeoye Falls and in Mendon, as well as the great fort and town near the village of Victor. The great trail certainly once included these. Guy Johnson’s map of 1771 has two of these trails from Canandaigua, and a third one farther south. Pouchot’s map of 1758 is of more interest than value, as he probably had not been over the road, but notes on these various charts may be reserved for an appropriate place.
The remaining section of the main trail, as given by Morgan, lies west of the Genesee river, in a region where there were no Seneca villages in 1650. It led from the river to the great Caledonia spring, then through the village of Leroy, crossing Black creek near Stafford and striking Tonawanda creek a mile above Batavia. Passing through that place, it turned northwest through Caryville,
and led to the present Seneca village of Tonawanda. There it “branched. One path led northwest, through the creek and swamp, past Royalton and then to the Cold spring 2 miles northeast of Lockport. Continuing northwest it reached the ridge road and terminated at the Tuscarora village near Lewiston. This latter trail of course dates from the occupation of that reservation.
The other branch went southwest from the Indian village to Akron and Clarence Hollow, thence to Williamsville and the head of Main street, Buffalo, where it ended. Mr Morgan said:
This trail was traced through the overhanging forest for almost its entire length. In the trail itself there was nothing particularly remarkable. It was usually from 12 to 18 inches wide, and deeply worn in the ground; varying in this respect from 3 to 6, and even 12 inches, depending upon the firmness of the soil. The large trees on each side were frequently marked with the hatchet. Morgan, p.429.
It remains to notice his lake and river trails. From Oswego one followed the lake ridge to Irondequoit bay, turning up the bay to its head, crossing the Genesee at the Rochester aqueduct, striking the ridge road at the lower falls and going west to the Tuscarora village, a recent town.
A trail followed the Genesee river on each side, connecting the recent Seneca villages occupying the valley. These need not be mentioned here, and for many interesting details the reader is referred to Morgan’s valuable work.
Trails naturally converged at Tioga point, where the Chemung united with the Susquehanna, and these became important thoroughfares for the Iroquois in their later wars. From this point he named two trails up the Susquehanna. One followed the north bank, crossing the Chenango at Binghamton, thence to the Unadilla, and there intersecting the Oneida trail. The I/rail again branched at Charlotte river, one branch going to the Cherry Valley creek and then to Canajoharie. The other followed the Charlotte to its head, crossed to the Cobleskill, intersecting the Schoharie trail at Schoharie creek, ending at the lower Mohawk castle. A branch turned up Foxes creek, crossed the Helderbergs and ended at  Albany. This was the Indian Ladder road. Another crossed tintown of Middleburg to the Catskill, following that stream to the Hudson.
It is evident that these trails came from the recent occupation of Schoharie creek by the Mohawks, of the Susquehanna by the Oneidas and Tuscaroras, and of the Chemung by the Cayugas; in part by all. In 1753 there was no road at all along the north bank of the Susquehanna from Owego to the Chenango river.
It is so obvious that most trails came from the situation of towns changing as these did, that it can be assumed that trails connected all friendly towns of any given period. Their rapid obliteration may also be inferred from the fact that no one pretends to locate, by physical features or oral tradition, any trail used 250 years ago. We know the general course of some yet older, but not because any one has seen their traces. In still more cases we know where early towns stood, but have no hint what thoroughfares led to other places. These certainly existed, but have left no visible signs. Indeed it is quite probable that the later trails had their prominent features more from the white man’s shoes and the hoofs of cattle than from the Indian’s moccasin. Woodland paths are common now by every lake and stream; when and by whom were they made? Ask our farmers, hunters and fishermen.
That Indian trails were well defined from Utica westward, soon after the Revolution, no one will doubt. That some of them afforded the best lines of travel for pioneers is just as clear. The Indian was a well trained woodman, and the white man profited by his skill, but in the nature of things the great results would have been much the same had the latter been left to himself. The New York Central Railroad would have gone from Albany to Buffalo had there never been an Indian trail in the State.
Some of these early routes have interest, and the location of some on early maps may be mentioned. A few local trails will be also referred to, but it is evident that no complete account could be given unless we knew the age and nationality of every town.
The earliest trail which can be traced westward from Albany is from the itinerary of Arent Van Curler in 1634. His recorded miles
are each equal to about 2 English miles, and the latter will be used here. There were then no white settlements west of Albany, and the Mohawks were all west of Schoharie creek. The first day, having traveled 16 miles, he was near the Mohawk river. The second he went 2 miles, crossed the river and walked 20 miles more.
The third he recrossed the Mohawk, and a mile farther came to Onekagoncka, the first Mohawk castle. A mile farther Canowarocle was passed, and Senatsycrosy at the end of another. Canagere, the second castle, was 3 miles beyond, or 44 from Albany. The third castle, Sohanidisse, was 3 miles farther. Osguage was a mile beyond, and Cawaoge still another. The fourth castle, Tenotoge, was 2 miles farther, east of the present Canajoharie, and about 51 miles from Albany. For at least 13 miles he had followed the south bank of the river. Like later travelers, he now soon left it. Leaving Spraker’s he took a westerly course, crossing Canajoharie creek but passing south of the next large stream, the Otsquago. That day’s tramp of 14 miles ended on high land near the west line of Montgomery county. The next day 15 miles brought him near Jordanville. Next day he crossed two branches of the Unadilla, probably near North Winfield and North Bridgewater, or a little farther south, camping a little west of the west branch, after walking 15 miles. The next day their course was near Sangerfield or Waterville, but at the end of 16 miles they had not quite reached Oriskany creek. This they saw next morning, and at the end of 9 miles they were at Oneida, east of Oneida creek and near Munnsville. They walked through the snow, and the miles seemed long.
The records of the sojourn of Father Jogues, in 1642 and later, tell us nothing of the main trail, still on the south side of the Mohawk, but show many minor trails from place to place and for many purposes, as we might expect.
The famous horseback ride of Wentworth Greenhalgh in 1677, Avhen he went from Albany almost to the Genesee river, shows a little variation. There were four Mohawk castles and one small village, all on the north side of the river. That he followed the same trail as Van Curler when he left this, may be gathered from
his saying that Oneida was ” about 30 miles distant from the Maquaes river, which lyes to the northward.” Onondaga was still in Pompey, about 2 miles south of Morgan’s later trail. The Seneca towns lay north of that route, and he passed Cayuga lake by some path available for horses, evidently on the north.
The trail from the last Mohawk castle to Onondaga changed but little for a great length of time, and only as the two places and Oneida changed their sites. It was always the practice to leave the river at the upper Mohawk town, and take the direct overland trail.
This is the route laid down on Colonel Romer’s map of 1700, and when Johannes Bleeker jr and David Schuyler went to Onondaga in 1701, they said that they got to Eghwake creek, the east branch of the Unadilla, on the evening of June 7. Oneida had been moved northeast of its former site, and they reached there next day. Part of the early trail had been abandoned, but much of it was still used.
At that time there was little land travel along the Mohawk above Little Falls, yet the portage at Rome was sometimes used. On Colonel Romer’s map a trail leads from Oneida to that spot, and runs at right angles to the main road, from which it was a short day’s journey. When a trading post was established at Oswego it became an important thoroughfare. This is what Romer’s companions wrote in October 1700:
10th Col. Romer told us that his instruccons were to see how much lesse the Carrying place could be made; whereupon we resolved forthwith to go thither, as we did, with an Indian which we hired who shew us the way. We came by a most miserable path to the Carrying Place, which we viewed as far as the Wood Creek, when Col. Romer resolved to go to Oneyda. I2th do. In ye evening we came to Oneyda. O’Callaghan, 4:807
From this and the map it will be seen how far the portage was from the main trail. On the map the trail goes from Oneida to Onondaga, then on Butternut creek, and from that town the party traversed two trails only: one to Onondaga lake and the other to the fishing place on Chittenango creek.
A few years later Onondaga was moved to the east side of Onondaga creek, but this removal had most effect on the branch trails,
the main one changing but little, still passing the old town a mile south of Jamesville, where the pickets long remained.
Guy Johnson’s map of 1771 has a trail from Oneida, through “Ganaghsaraga, a Tuscarora town” to Onondaga, and thence by way of Owasco lake to the foot of Cayuga, following the north bank of Seneca river to Seneca lake and Canadasegy. Canadaragey (Canandaigua) next appears, and there are three trails thence to Genesee river. The southern goes by Anarara (Honeoye) to Chenussio; the middle one direct to the same place, and the third to Canawagus, while another runs northeast from Canawagus to the head of Irondequoit bay. From Geneseo the trail goes direct to Fort Schlosser on Niagara river, and small villages appear along the way. A trail ascends the east side of Genesee river, and elsewhere Kanestio is connected with Ganuskago (Dansville). There are no trails on the Susquehanna, the river being used instead.
Sauthier’s map of 1779, made by order of Governor Tryon, shows some of the changes made as the frontier extended. Some of the earlier trails still appear south of the Mohawk, but there are new starting places on that river. The German Flats afforded two, and there was another road on the north side. Fort Schuyler (Utica) had become a starting point for Old Oneida and the towns beyond. On this trail were Old Oneyda, Canowaroghare, (now Oneida Castle), Canadasseoa and Canassaraga Castle, two Tuscarora towns. From the latter one trail went to Three Rivers, and another to Onondaga, then on Onondaga creek. From Canowaroghare one went to Fort Stanwix, and another to the Royal Blockhouse by way of New Oneyda Castle (now Oneida Valley). From the latter place one reached Wood creek, while another went to Fort Stanwix. Among others one went due north through the wilderness to Ogdensburg, then called Oswegatchie.
Lieutenant Lodge’s map, made in the campaign of 1779, carries the trail south of Conesus lake. Pouchot’s map has some special features, but they are of doubtful value. The Jesuit Relations contribute little on this subject, though some make it clear that there was a good trail from Salmon river to Onondaga by way of Brewerton, and apparently one from the same place to Oneida
passing the other end of Oneida lake. On the Jesuit map of 1665 the Black and Oswegatchie rivers both bear the title, “R. qui vient du coste d’agne” or the Mohawk country. By the latter route the Mohawks took Father Poncet back to Canada in 1652. For a considerable part of the way the routes were one. Gen. J. S. Clark has elaborated the full route very clearly, in a note to Rev. Dr Charles Hawley’s translation of the Relations as they concerned the Mohawks. He supposed that one trail from the Mohawk followed its north bank to Rome, continuing along the line of the present Rome & Watertown Railroad till it struck Salmon river, 10 or 12 miles from the lake. From the Mohawk another followed the west bank of West Canada creek and near the line of the Black River Railroad and Black river to Great Bend. Lake Ontario might then be reached by following the stream, or by a portage of a few miles to Indian river the St Lawrence might be entered through the Oswegatchie. The usual war path of the Mohawks was through Lake Champlain and the Sorel river. The lake was reached by several trails.
The trail by which the French usually came to early Onondaga led from the mouth of Salmon river to Brewerton, and thence it varied as the village moved. The French at last came by way of Oswego. Champlain also came by way of Brewerton, but where he left Lake Ontario has been much disputed. It was far to the northeast of Oswego, and Salmon river has been thought a probable place. That he crossed the Chittenango at Bridgeport is likely, and that he followed a trail is evident from encountering a party going to the fishing place. The path probably led up the ridge east of the Chittenango valley, but has left no traces.
The trails leading to the Susquehanna valley became important nearly 200 years ago, when the Iroquois land claims in Pennsylvania assumed a new aspect. They had been matters for diplomatic action, even in the 16th century. When the Iroquois realized that there was money in them they sent a resident viceroy to rule their subjects there and care for their lands. This and their southern wars led to many journeys. As early as 1737 Conrad Weiser was sent as an ambassador to Onondaga by way of Owego. In 1743
he went again with quite a party on horseback, and in the party were John Bartram and Lewis Evans. The latter made a map of the route, the former wrote the itinerary. In 1745 Bishop Spangenberg came over much the same route, and his party also rode. In 1750 Bishop Cammerhoff and Zeisberger tried a different course, coming in canoes as far as Waverly on the Chemung river, and going thence to Cayuga on horseback. While previous travelers had gone by way of Owego creek and Cortland county, they followed Wynkoop creek, passed Cayuta lake, reached the site of Ithaca, and went down the east side of Cayuga lake to the Cayuga towns. All of these journals are of interest, but while some parts of the route are easily recognized, some are hard to identify, nor was the path always quite the same, even in going and returning. Between Bartram’s account of the road and that of Spangenberg there is quite a difference, though they had the same guides and made the trip but two years apart.
Each may be summarized after leaving Owego. Bartram’s general course was on the east side of Owego and West creeks, crossing a steep hill to a tributary of Fall creek, and passing some ponds in the town of Cortland. From the site of Homer he followed the west branch of the Tioughnioga, seeing Mount Toppin but not the ponds near by, and crossed to a branch of the Susquehanna rising in Pompey. Part of Pompey hill was crossed and the Indian village in La Fayette visited. The Onondaga valley was entered from the southeast. The route was slightly changed on the return, and a branch trail led to Onaquaga.
In his notes on Spangenberg’s journey in 1745, Mr John W.
Jordan made his route up Owego and Catatonk creeks, leaving the latter above Candor, crossing Ganatowcherage or West creek in Richford township, passing over Prospect hill in Harford and a creek in Virgil which is an affluent of Fall creek, and reaching Crandall’s pond in Cortland. It may be that the route was up West creek instead of Catatonk, as in Bartram’s route. From Crandall’s pond or Lake Ganiataragachrachat they went to Big lake or Ganneratareske in Preble, and thence to Oserigooch, the largest lake
in Tully. Beyond this the trail was bad, but they went by way of Cardiff, as later travelers did. Most of the trail to Owego was so little used that it was hardly discernible even to Indians, who depended as much on the lay of the land as the actual path.
Zeisberger and Frey attempted this route alone in 1753, starting properly from Owego, but losing the faint trail so often that they were discouraged and turned back. Afterward they were told that if they had gone on a day longer they would ” have had a good road, because two roads meet there, and a road branches off, turning toward Cayuga lake. It is much frequented.” Their observation on this is of interest :
The Indians had no proper trail, but where they cannot distinguish it each one runs through the woods according to his own judgment. Consequently it frequently occurs that from two to three miles, and farther, there is no visible road. Zeisberger, p. 1753
On this occasion they finally went up the east branch of the Tioughnioga by canoe as far as they could, leaving it northeast of Cortland and crossing the hill to Onogariske creek, now called the west branch of the Tioughnioga. When they left the river the Indian guides “ran hither and thither into the forest, until at length they found a path.” They reached the west branch between Homer and Preble, and “the trail that comes up from Owego, and is quite clearly defined here.” At the lake the trail divided, one branch going to Onondaga and the other to the village of Tueyahdassoo^ where other trails diverged.
It is evident that hundreds of trails have left neither trace nor tradition, though some were once of great importance. Wherever there were towns or frequent camps there must have been forest paths. In a score of counties there was a network of these, old and new, almost as complex as our own roads now. No general scheme of these is possible, but it may be assumed that all early towns were connected and most lakes and valleys were accessible by them. Even distant points were reached by the most practicable routes. There were war paths, hunting paths and paths of peace. Very few of these are on record and it will suffice to mention those briefly.
In Albany county the Indian Ladder road is well known, a recent trail from Albany to the Schoharie valley, crossing” the Helderbergs in Guilder-land. Five trails were mentioned in Rensselaerville in 1711, and the Schenectady trail soon became important.
In Broome county the trail to Binghamton, over Oquaga mountain and another nearer Windsor, were worn deep. These were recent,, there being no early settled occupation of the county.
In Cattaraugus county a trail ran through Carrollton, following Cold Spring creek and passing into Napoli on lot 41. A trail from Allegheny river followed the same creek into New Albion. Thence it went to Niagara Falls and Canada.
In Cayuga county some trails appear on maps relating to Sullivan’s campaign. Gen. John S. Clark placed Thiohero “at the foot of Cayuga lake, on the east side, at the exact point where the bridge of the Middle Turnpike left the east shore. The trail across the marsh followed the north bank of an ancient channel of the Seneca river.” The early trails were very many, and the Moravians described some.
There are a few trails on record in Chemung county, and some appear on the Susquehanna in Chenango county. In Columbia county the stone heaps were by Indian trails, and on the map of the Livingston patent a trail crosses it midway from east to west. Reference has been made to trails in Cortland county, followed by the Moravians.
A wide trail followed the Charlotte river in Delaware county, in 1786. In Franklin county are early and recent portages. A trail called the Catskill Path led from Castle Heights due north to the Coxsackie plains in Greene county. Some recent portages alone represent the many early trails of Jefferson county, but the recent trails of Madison county are better known. One of these was from Oneida to Chittenango, and thence to Onondaga, passing some distance south of Canaseraga. A well defined trail went from Oneida creek, through the west part of Hamilton, and down the Chenango river. The Oneidas and Tuscaroras came up that river in canoes as far as they could, and diverged to their several towns.
Mr George H. Harris has left us an excellent account of the trails in the lower Genesee valley, and his judicious remarks are quoted here:
In general appearance these roads did not differ in any particular from the ordinary woods or meadow path of the present day. They were narrow and winding, but usually connected the objective points by as direct a course as natural obstacles would permit. In the general course of a trail three points were carefully considered first, seclusion; second, directness, and, third, a dry path. The trail beaten was seldom over 15 inches broad, passing to the right or left of trees or other obstacles, around swamps and occasionally over the apex of elevations, though it generally ran a little one side of the extreme top, especially in exposed situations. . . Fallen trees and logs were never removed, the trail was either continued over or took a turn around them. The Indians built no bridges, small streams were forded or crossed on logs, while rivers and lakes were ferried on rafts or in canoes. Harris, p.37
To these general rules exceptions will be found, as in the case of bridges, and sometimes swamps. Mr Harris noted a branch trail from Canandaigua lake to the head of Irondequoit bay, then to Genesee falls and along the lake ridge to the Niagara river. Trails converged above and below Rochester at two points. The trail from Canandaigua was on the Pittsford road, dividing a little east of Allen’s creek, and going to Brewer’s landing. Several branch trails diverged from it. The other trail reached the river near Franklin and North St Paul streets.
A trail came to South Rochester from Caledonia springs. Several others are mentioned in and about the city, two being portage trails. There were others about Irondequoit bay, but he differs from Morgan only in added details. Mr O. H. Marshall also described the trails followed by De Nonville’s army in 1687.
Mr Irving W. Coates said that five trails met at Littleville, on the Canandaigua outlet in Ontario county, and traced their general course. Others were mentioned in Sullivan’s campaign and in the Moravian journal.
Mr Jeptha R. Simms mentioned several trails in Schoharie county, with more details than Morgan gave. In Ulster county a great trail started from Saugerties, followed the Esopus, crossing to the
Rondout at Marbletown, leaving that stream at Napanoch, passing through Mamakating hollow, and reaching the mouth of the Neversink river at Port Jervis. In these and other cases most of the trails are modern.
With these data before us, and admitting a general truth, we can see that the Cayuga chief Wa-o-wo-wa-no’-onk, or Peter Wilson, was somewhat rhetorical when he said:
The Empire State, as you love to call it, was once laced by our trails from Albany to Buffalo, trails that we had trod for centuries trails worn so deep by the feet of the Iroquois that they became your roads of travel, as your possessions gradually eat into those of my people. Your roads still traverse those same lines of communication which bound one part of the Long House to the other.
(William Martin Beauchamp, “Perch lake mounds, with notes on other New York mounds, and some accounts of Indian trails,” Bulletin of the New York State Museum, no. 87, Albany: New York State Education Dept., 1905, pp 33-47: http://www.archive.org/stream/perchlakemoundsw00beauiala)