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Monocacy Path used by Native Americans began at Conejohela

Section of the Map: Historic Indian Paths of Pennsylvania by Dr. Paul A. W. Wallace, 1952 (Yellow Highlight of Monocacy Path by S. H. Smith, 2014)
Section of the Map: Historic Indian Paths of Pennsylvania by Dr. Paul A. W. Wallace, 1952 (Yellow Highlight of Monocacy Path by S. H. Smith, 2014)

This is a section of a map entitled Historic Indian Paths of Pennsylvania.  The map uses Indian names for their paths and sites, with only a few trading posts so noted.  Indian names generally use spelling that has become the popular English usage.

Modern place names, like (York) in quotes, are scattered on the map to help readers get their modern bearings.  I’ve highlighted the Monocacy Path in yellow; located from Susquehanna River running west to the future town of York, then continuing southwest to the future border between Pennsylvania & Maryland.

The Susquehannock Indians occupied the Conejohela area until 1680.  This last settlement was located within the current Native Lands County Park, in the Long Level area.  The Susquehannocks likely used this initial location of the Monocacy Path to travel westward even when their forts (villages) were located on the eastern shore of the Susquehanna River in the vicinity of current Washington Boro.  This initial location of the Monocacy Path basically follows the current East Prospect Road and Mount Rose Avenue into the City of York.

Between 1680 and the arrival of colonial fur traders and other Europeans in the area, the starting point of the Monocacy Path along the Susquehanna River shifted from the current Long Level area to a second location at Wrightsville.  “Capt. Beaver’s” marks the current location of Wrightsville on the map.  The 1914 book, Beginnings of the German Element in York County, Pennsylvania by Dr. Abdel R. Wentz, notes that John Grist, the first white squatter in the territory west of the Susquehanna River, encountered an Indian named Captain Beaver about at the location of current Wrightsville.

From this second location, the Monocacy footpath evolved into the Monocacy trail; through a widening into bridle paths adequate for pack horses.  In 1739 the Monocacy Trail is developed into the Monocacy Road; capable of carrying carts and wagons.

Related posts include:

The 1952 map “Historic Indian Paths of Pennsylvania” is the work of Dr. Paul A. W. Wallace.  Dr. Wallace initially presented this map with an October, 1952 article in Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, Vol.76, Issue 4, Pages 411 to 439.  Continue reading for a biography of Dr. Wallace and discover the meaning of his Indian name Tor-ri-wa-wa-kon.


The Pennsylvania State Archives contains the collections of Dr. Paul A. W. Wallace as Manuscript Group 192.  This is the bibliography of Dr. Wallace; which the PA State Archives includes on their Internet site:

A noted anrthropologist, historian, and folklorist, Dr. Paul A. W. Wallace (b. 1891, d. 1967) earned national recognition for his studies of both Pennslvania German culture and the Indians of Pennsylvania, New York, and Canada. Born in Toronto, Wallace conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork among the Iroquois and Huron tribes at the Six Nations Reserve in Brantford, Ontario, as well as in other Indian communities located in Canada and western New York. After developing a close friendship with Aren Akweks (Ray Fadden) of the Akwesasne Mohawk Counselor Organization, Wallace was adopted into the Mohawk Nation on July 15, 1949, taking the name Tor-ri-wa-wa-kon (“holding a message”).

He served for many years as chairman of the Department of English, Lebanon Valley College; editor of Pennsylvania History, quarterly journal of the Pennsylvania Historical Association, 1951-1957; consultant to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, 1951-1957; and historian on the staff of the Historical and Museum Commission, 1957-1965. His numerous publications include Conrad Weiser, 1696-1760, Friend of Colonist and Mohawk (Philadelphia, 1945); The White Roots of Peace: The Muhlenbergs of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, 1950); Indian Paths of Pennsylvania (Harrisburg, 1952 and subsequent editions); Thirty Thousand Miles with John Heckewelder (Pittsburgh, 1958); and Indians in Pennsylvania (Harrisburg, 1961).

In a 2012 post I asked the question: What Happens When One Projects an 1821 Map onto a 1953 Map?  My conclusion at that time was the following map indicating the location of a possible Susquehannock Indian Path Inland.  After discovering the work of Dr. Paul A. W. Wallace, I believe this is possibly the initial starting point location of the Monocacy Path in what is now Eastern York County.

Terrain Map from Trails.com (Notations and path added by S. H. Smith, 2012)
Terrain Map from Trails.com (Notations and path added by S. H. Smith, 2012)

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