Great Pensacola Trading path in national project

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 5, 2003

The Capt. Thomas Carter Sr. Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Colonists was the host chapter for a special unveiling of a trail maker at the Pioneer Museum of Alabama recently.

The sign was erected as part of the society's National President's Project to place historic trail markers in all 50 states.

Mary Alice Sanders, chapter regent, said all chapters were encouraged to suggest trails to be considered and the Capt. Thomas Carter Sr. Chapter suggested the Great Pensacola Trading Path which snakes its way through Troy and Pike County.

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"Our chapter had several people work on the wording for our trail selection - John Key, Billy Gibson, the state historian and several others," Sanders said. "Entries were submitted from all across the state and we were very excited and honored that ours was selected. Alabama had one selection, but I know Georgia had two and some other states might have had more than one."

The Capt. Thomas Carter Sr. Chapter had to provide the $1,000 funding for the maker, but Sanders said it was money well spent.

"These trail makers are placed all across the country for educational and historical purposes," Sanders said. "They will be there for future generations so they will know the importance these trails played in the development of our country and serve as an educational and historical tool for the children of tomorrow."

"Because the Great Pensacola Trading Path was selected as part of the National President's Project, we had a large number of dignitaries from the state organization and from other chapters attend the ceremony. We were proud to have them in our community for this very special ceremony."

The trail sign that was unveiled Saturday details the significance of the Great Pensacola Trading Path. It reads:

In the early 1800s, south Alabama was still inhabited by many groups of Native Americans - Creek, Chickasaw and Choctaw among others. They traveled, hunted, traded and made war on many ancient trails here. European settlers improved these roads which included The Mobile and Hobuckintopa Trail, Old Wolf Path, Blind Jack, Three Notch Road and the Great Pensacola Trading Path which ran from Tuckabatchie to Pensacola, Fla.

In 1824, troops under Capt. Daniel E. Burch improved a section of these paths through Troy, known as Three Notch, as part of the Great Pensacola Trail Trading Path.

The Rev. Benny McKee said the trail brings to memory the ones whose lives were expended in its establishment as it grew from a trail or several trails into the roadways it is today.

"Let the visitors to this historical maker see and hear the sounds of the past," McKee said. "Let them visualize the ancestry of the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Cherokee, Creek and Seminoles as they labored to layout paths between their hunting grounds.

"Let them hear the laughter of the nomadic tribes as they camped, held dances and worshiped the Great Spirit who gave them life."

McKee reminded the gathering of those who cleared and widened Indian paths into roads for travel by wagons and those who established homesteads along the trails.

He also reminded them of the firing of muskets along the trail during the Civil War and of the roaring of vehicles that now pass through and the hustle and bustle of the towns and cities that have grown along the paths.

"Let future visitors visualize and hear the past that we dedicate and bless in the unveiling of this historical marker," McKee said.

The sign was erected by the Alabama State Society and the National Society Daughters of the American Colonists. The sign was the project of the 2002-2003 administration, Mary Ann Groome Helper, national president.