Setting Some Migration Boundaries


I am continuing to study how my ancestors arrived in my Clarke County, Alabama homeplace. Because of changes in boundaries as well as other sociopolitical and economic factors, how they arrived cannot be separated from when they arrived and the use of appropriate terminology is logical. 

A number of my ancestors came through Georgia. Founded in 1733 Georgia was the last and largest of the original 13 colonies. When Georgia became a state in 1788, its western boundaries extended to the Mississippi River and the Louisiana Territory. 

Georgia 1795

The Mississippi Territory

In 1798 Congress changed the boundaries of Georgia by organizing the Mississippi Territory and opening the area for settlement.

A few settlers already lived in Mississippi when it became a territory. They were concentrated in two principal areas — the Natchez District and the lower Tombigbee settlements above and west of Mobile. Approximately 4,500 people, including slaves, lived at Natchez, considerably more than the combined free and slave population of 1,250 that inhabited the Tombigbee settlements in 1800.

My homeplace is located in what was “the lower Tombigbee.”  

Mississippi Territory

 Migration 1798 to 1819

 The summary of migration into the area between 1798 and 1819, written by Charles Lowery is suitable for my purposes. 

The Great Migration to the Mississippi Territory, 1798-1819

Lowery indicates that we should consider the time before the creation of the Mississippi Territory as one period of migration (1). He then divides the time between the organization of the territory and Mississippi and Alabama becoming states into two phases, one on each side of the War of 1812.

Mississippi was admitted to the Union as a state on December 10, 1817. Mississippi Becomes State 1819

Alabama was admitted to the Union as a state on December 14, 1819.

Alabama Becomes a State 1819

Lowery sees the end of this “Great Migration” when the impressive economic expansion following the War of 1812 was ended by the Panic of 1819.

The importance of cotton meant that the population of Alabama continued to grow over the next several decades. It should also be clear that after 1820 the term Alabama refers to the state. After 1820 It is no longer the Alabama Territory. After 1820 it is no longer that part of the Mississippi Territory that became the state of Alabama. After 1820, it is no longer part of some English Colonial dream or early American territorial ambition called Georgia. After 1820 it is the state of Alabama. 

Population of Alabama (figures for 1800 and 1810 are taken from that portion of the Mississippi Territory that became Alabama )


(1) My cousins who are the descendants of the indigenous population and/or Spanish explorers will not be satisfied with pre 1798 as a single historical period.

Reading, Reflecting, Writing

Spring 2018 Alabama History Reading List | Ann Creighton-Zollar, PhD, MHNE

The Old Federal Road in Alabama Has Been Surveyed | Ann Creighton-Zollar, PhD, MHNE

In 1814 We Took a Little Trip . . . Down the Alabama | Ann Creighton-Zollar, PhD, MHNE

The Settling of Indian Ridge: Thinking | Ann Creighton-Zollar, PhD, MHNE




My ancestors who were early landowners in Isle of Wight County, Virginia account for a very large proportion of my 23K matches on Ancestry. Using the trees of these matches, I was able to identify books that mention and journal articles about these European ancestors.

I have poured over dusty fragile tomes and read journal articles so old that JSTOR offers them free. Unfortunately, these works from the 1930s and 1940s offer a “whitewashed” view of Colonial American history. If you did not already know that Africans were present, you would not learn that they were from reading these works. These works include “abstracts” of wills rather than complete listing of estates. I think that additional study requires a visit to the County Clerk’s office, which I am unable to make.

The County Clerk’s office has found records related to the enslaved unbound in boxes. These records have supposedly been digitized. However, I have not yet found records online that provide information on the enslaved prior to the late 1700s. The ancestors that I am able to follow moved from Isle of Wight County Virginia to North Carolina. They did not move far from the ocean. Therefore, I am switching my focus from the Tidewater and coastal plain of Colonial Virginia to the coastal plain of Colonial North Carolina (1).


“When King Charles II conveyed the Carolina grant by a charter to the eight Lords Proprietors in 1663, the Albemarle region had been settled for at least five years by planters, who had on their own initiative traversed the Dismal Swamp and created a backwoods frontier settlement patterned on tidewater Virginia” (Butler, 1998)


The European ancestors that I am following did not move from Isle of Wight County Virginia into the Albemarle region of the North Carolina Coastal plain before 1700. I am following a set of my fourth great grandparents who were born in Bertie, North Carolina around 1730 (2). They left North Carolina around 1790 (3). This means that my initial focus has both geographical and chronological limits: the North Carolina Coastal Plain between 1700 and 1790 (4).


It appears that there were relatively few Africans, enslaved or otherwise, in North Carolina during the 1600s. It has been estimated that in 1700 there were fewer than 500 African Americans in North Carolina. By the time of the 1790 census that number had grown to more than one hundred thousand slaves (Butler,1988).

I don’t know if I had ancestors among the estimated 500 in 1700. I believe that some of my unidentified African fourth great grandparents were in North Carolina by 1790. I believe this based on the fact that several of my African American third great grandparents were born in North Carolina.


I have identified an African American third great grandfather, Henderson Rivers, who was born in North Carolina about 1814. His wife Jane, one of my third great grandmothers, claimed in the 1880 census that she was born in North Carolina and so were her parents. On another line my African American third great grandmother, Clarissa Rodgers, was born in North Carolina about 1815.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Ancestry estimates connect me with the African American population of the North Carolina coastal plain (which includes parts of Virginia and South Carolina (5). I tend to believe, as in tentatively hypothesize, that it was on the North Carolina coastal plain that my European and African ancestors first encountered each other.

I have wondered if any of them traveled together into Clarke County, Alabama where most of my second great parents, my grandparents, my parents, and I were was born. Did my slaveholding ancestors and my enslaved ancestors travel together or separately.

The first chronological conundrum is clear. My European American fourth great grandparents left North Carolina around 1790 and my African American third great grandparents were not born until 1814-1815. If the enslaved traveled as part of a household migration, then it was with people who left after 1815.

I am fascinated by the fact that these three African American third great grandparents were born in North Carolina around the same time. I am learning some interesting things about the enslavement of Africans in North Carolina. The first thing I learned is that North Carolina had no natural harbors like Virginia and South Carolina did. So the enslaved were either brought up from South Carolina or down from Virginia or they were North Carolina born. I have a great deal more to learn.

Butler, L. S., & Watson, A. D. (1988). The North Carolina experience: An interpretive and documentary history. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press.

Kay, M. L. M., & Cary, L. L. (1995). Slavery in North Carolina, 1748-1775. University of North Carolina Press.

Powell, W. S. (1990). North Carolina through four centuries. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Crow, J. J., & North Carolina. (2001). The Black experience in revolutionary North Carolina. Raleigh: Division of Archives and History, N.C. Dept. of Cultural Resources.

(1) “The North Carolina Coastal Plain is bordered on the ocean side by its drowned partner, the submarine Continental Margin, and on the inland side by the fall line that separates the Coastal Plain from the Piedmont and Appalachian provinces.” Riggs, S.R. and Ames, D.V. NORTH CAROLINA’S “LAND OF WATER” COASTAL SYSTEM in Tise, L. E., & Crow, J. J. (2017). New voyages to Carolina: Reinterpreting North Carolina history. The University of North Carolina Press.

(2) You can locate Bertie on the map by looking in the northeast. It is just west of the Tidewater.

(3) They were not alone in leaving North Carolina. “North Carolina was the third most populous state in the Union in 1790, but by 1860 it had dropped to twelfth in population. Hundreds of thousands of White North Carolinians fled the state during those years, seeking cheap, fertile land in Tennessee, western Georgia, Indiana, Alabama, Missouri, Mississippi, and other trans-Allegheny states and territories. Thirty percent of North Carolina’s native-born population, amounting to more than four hundred thousand persons, was living outside of the state in 1860. NORTH CAROLINA MUSEUM OF HISTORY

(4) The North Carolina Museum of History offers an online geography workshop that I found very helpful.

(5) There is no overlap between the North Carolina coastal plain and Georgia. So the long lived border disputes between the two are not an issue in this discussion. They are interesting –

Spring 2018 Alabama History Reading List

My homeplace is in Clarke County, Alabama. The specific location is known to residents as Indian Ridge. I was taken away from my homeplace at age seven. I became a refugee child in Chicago, Illinois. I have lived and been educated in three other states in which little was taught of the history of the Mississippi Territory or the part of that Territory which became Alabama.

In 2016 I decided to study my family history and to join a group working to construct a community wide genealogy. I eventually figured out that I could not work effectively without filling in some of the gaps in my historical knowledge. This is a partial record of the works that I have used to reduce the size of my historical knowledge deficit.

Clarke County, Alabama

Knowing nothing of the history of the county, I started with this work, which is now in the public domain and therefore freely available to anyone with an internet connection. It is more of a reference than a read.

BALL, T. H. (1882). A Glance into the Great South-East, or Clarke County, Alabama, and its surroundings, from 1540 to 1877. [With a map.]. Grove Hill, Ala.

My Assignment

The DNA cousin who leads our working group gave me the assignment of learning how “our ancestors” reached the location on which I was focusing. I found that assignment to be overwhelming, at least partially because as a professor of comparative family systems, I have issues with identifying “our kin” in a bilateral kinship system.

Therefore, I starting working on the narrower goal of discovering how my ancestors arrived on Indian Ridge. To date, I have only identified ancestors who were of African descent and enslaved and ancestors who were white slaveholding settlers. Therefore, I started with a focus on these two population groups. People with Native American ancestry or a history of descent from free people of color will need to consider different population subgroups.

The Internal Trade in Enslaved Africans and Forced Migration

There are a number of books that helped me to understand the general forced migration patterns of the internal slave trade from the eastern seaboard of the US into the Mississippi Territory.

Pargas, D. A. (2015). Slavery and forced migration in the antebellum South. New York, NY: Cambridge Univ. Press.

Baptist, E. E. (2014). The half has never been told: Slavery and the making of American capitalism, New York, NY: Basic Books.

Deyle, S. (2006). Carry me back: The domestic slave trade in American life. Oxford, U.K: Oxford University Press.

Some of the ancestors that I have successfully identified entered the area around the time of the Creek Civil War and the War of 1812. I have already focused on the importance of the Old Federal Road for those who came to my homeplace from or through Georgia.

Hudson, A. P. (2010). Creek paths and federal roads: Indians, settlers, and slaves and the making of the American South. Chapel Hill (C.: University of North Carolina Press.

My childhood fascination with a marker on Old Line Road led me to focus on Andrew Jackson’s line of March from Tennessee to the Battle of New Orleans. Jackson’s line of march demonstrates how those who followed him from Tennessee could have ended up in my homeplace.
Remini, the most widely known of his biographers, mentions that Jackson’s troops widened the roads through the mountains and that some of them were scouting Alabama lands for themselves. This is not the first time in history that “war roads” became settler roads.

The Rivers

One of the reasons that Jackson was so determined to take Alabama from the so called “Creeks” was the richness afforded by its rivers. The borders of my home county are formed by the Alabama river on the east and the Tombigbee on the west. My home place is to be found in the triangle formed by these two rivers before they merge to form the Mobile River. They are a reminder of what it means to be “sold down the river.”

Sledge, J. S. (2015). The Mobile River. Columbia, S.C.: University of Carolina Press.

Ward, R. (2010). The Tombigbee River steamboats: Rollodores, dead heads, and side-wheelers. Charleston, SC: History Press.

While some of my ancestors arrived in the area of my homeplace around the time of the Red Stick War (Creek Civil War) and the War of 1812, others did not arrive until It was possible to travel more easily “up the river” or after October 22, 1820.

October 22: The steamboat Harriet reaches Montgomery after ten days of travel from Mobile. This was the first successful attempt to navigate so far north on the Alabama River, and it opened river trade between Montgomery and Mobile.



Population of Ala

I have reason to believe that these figures represent an important undercount of the African American population The figures do not include those who lived in Alabama as runaways or maroons and they do not include those who lived among Native Americans.

The Maroons

It is possible for ships designed to sail the ocean to go up river, but in the case of the Mobile River, it makes much more sense to not do so. Some of the problems with trying to sail up this river were brought to my attention when I read Sylviane A. Diouf’s Dreams of Africa in Alabama: The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America.

Reading Dreams of Africa in Alabama is what brought Diouf’s work on marronage in the United States to my attention. This work forced me to wonder why there were few documented cases of long settled maroon communities in the swamps of Alabama. It also reminded me that the campaigns led by Andrew Jackson prevented the British from becoming a choice in the gulf borderlands the way they had in the Chesapeake.

Africans and Native Americans

From the expedition of Hernan de Soto until the present, the relationships between Native Americans and people of African descent in the Southeastern United States have been dynamic and complex. In order to increase my ability to understand that dynamic, I added works published in different time periods by those with diverse theoretical and philosophical orientations.

I added works that deal with the Creek, Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, as well as Seminole Nations. These groups were once referred to by historians as the “Five Civilized Tribes.”
I think for me the largest “take a ways” were how the concept of slavery and the relationships with people of African descent changed in these groups over time. I know that enslaved Africans used wars among whites as opportunities to steal themselves. I have read about how some of them used this opportunity during the War of 1812.

I now have a better understanding of why my African descended ancestors who came late to the Mississippi Territory could not runaway from enslavement by whites to freedom among Native Americans. By 1860 even the Seminoles who lived in “Indian Country” were holding African descended people as slaves. It is a complex story beyond my current explanatory goals.

Doran, M.F. (1978) Negro Slaves of the Five Civilized Tribes. Annals of the American Association of Geographers , 68(3), 335-350.

Jeltz, W.F. (1978) The Relations of Negroes and Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians. The Journal of Negro History, 33( 1), 24-37.

Snyder, C. (2007). Conquered Enemies, Adopted Kin, and Owned People: The Creek Indians and Their Captives. The Journal of Southern History, 73( 2), 255-288.

Twyman, B. E. (2001). The Black Seminole legacy and North American politics, 1693-1845. Washington, D.C: Howard University Press.

Krauthamer, B. (2015). Black Slaves, Indian Masters: Slavery, Emancipation, and Citizenship in the Native American South. University of North Carolina Press.

Katz, W. L. (2012). Black Indians: A hidden heritage. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Miles, T. (2015). Ties that bind: The story of an Afro-Cherokee family in slavery and freedom. Oakland, California: University of California Press.

Zellar, G. (2007). African Creeks: Estelvste and the Creek Nation. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.

Littlefield, D. F. (1979). Africans and Creeks: From the Colonial period to the Civil War. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press.

Wasserman, A. (2010). A people’s history of Florida, 1513-1876: How Africans, Seminoles, women, and lower class whites shaped the Sunshine State. Sarasota, Fla.: A. Wasserman.

Giddings, J. R. (1858). The exiles of Florida, or, The crimes committed by our government against the maroons, who fled from South Carolina, and other slave states, seeking protection under Spanish laws. Columbus, O: Follett, Foster and Co.

Belko, W. S. (2015). America’s hundred years’ war: U.S. expansion to the Gulf Coast and the fate of the Seminole, 1763-1858.

Guinn, J. (2005). Our land before we die: The proud story of the Seminole Negro. New York: J.P. Tarcher/Penguin.

Frontiers and Borderlands

I admit to becoming fascinated with historians defining and debating the concepts of “frontiers” and “borderlands.” I added a few books that allowed me to look at my homeplace from that perspective.
When I return to the study of Alabama history, I will start with modern text that reflects the changes in models of historiography since I was in school.

Dupre, D. S. (2018). Alabama’s frontiers and the rise of the Old South. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press.

For the time being, I am reading some science fiction and taking my historical study over into Mississippi.


Beyond Jackson: Enslaved African Americans Make Choices

Reading works about the War of 1812 as it played out in the Mississippi Territory did take me back to 1959-1960 middle school social studies in Chicago. Reading the works of Robert V. Remini, however, took me back to the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC). When Remini published the first volume of his three-volume biography of Andrew Jackson he was on the faculty of the history departments at UIC and I was a doctoral student in the UIC sociology department. I did not know of Remini and his research.

While I have always adopted a sociohistorical approach, I needed to prioritize the history of the 20th century over that of earlier centuries when selecting electives. Some of the history courses that remain important to me included the Forced Migration of Africans, the History of American Cities, and Black Chicago. (I also had to be very judicious about electives in anthropology and biology.)

If I had taken a course with Professor Remini, I would have been extremely frustrated by the fact that his coverage of the War of 1812 and the “Indian Wars” did not provide insight into the African American presence in the Old Southwest during this time.  In most of the books that I read on that war in the Mississippi Territory, race was treated as a binary variable. There were Native Americans or Indians (Jackson’s red skinned “children”) and European Americans or whites.

Some of these works did discuss men who were the products of Creek/white unions with a focus on the extent to which they wanted to adopt white ways of life or remain more traditionally Creek. These men were presented as playing important roles in the Creek Civil War (Red Stick War) which segued into the War of 1812 in this region.  People of African descent, when they were discussed at all, were usually nameless, faceless, slaves.

The Enslaved Had Options

I had read enough history to know that some enslaved African Americans had used the chaos of war to try and improve the quality of their lives. I selected for my reading list two recent works that provided more vivid presentations of African Americans during this time.

Smith, G. A. (2013). The slaves’ gamble: Choosing sides in the War of 1812. New York, NY: Algarve.

Taylor, A., & Pinchot, B. (2014). The internal enemy: Slavery and war in Virginia, 1772-1832. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company.


The slaves’ gamble: Choosing sides in the War of 1812.

An undergraduate student asked Dr. Smith why some slaves fought with the Americans while others fought with the British during the War of 1812. He answers the question 15 years later in this book. One of the central themes of this book is that the enslaved had more options than the British or the Americans and that they made choices.

With the intent of gaining freedom for themselves and their kin the enslaved made the choice to fight with the Americans, the British, the Spanish, the Native Americans, or runaway and join maroon communities. Smith says that he set out to write a book about the War of 1812 and ended up with a book about freedom.

Smith highlights the choices made by individual people through a series of mini-biographies of African Americans who were military combatants during the War of 1812. Each of these people took a gamble when they made their choice. For some the wager resulted in the desired outcome. Others “crapped out.”

People who are interested in genealogy will find Smith’s methodology worth studying. For me he unravels the link from the Chesapeake to Canada, especially Halifax and Nova Scotia, and Bermuda, Jamaica, and other islands in the Caribbean

In addition to being an excellent researcher, Smith is also a great story teller.  I watched several of his presentations because even though he presents the same vignettes, some of his remarks vary based on the audience. I have chosen to highlight his lecture at the United States Naval Academy Museum, but I also provide a link to his presentation at the Fort Worth Library

Dr. Gene Smith Lecture at the USNA Museum


The internal enemy: Slavery and war in Virginia, 1772-1832

The slaves of Virginia are the “internal enemy” in the title of this Pulitzer Prize winning book. Dr. Alan Taylor tells the story of about 3,000 enslaved African Americans from the Chesapeake region who escaped slavery by fleeing to the British.  Some of them were resettled in Bermuda, Trinidad, and Nova Scotia.  Some enlisted in the British Navy and participated directly in waging war on the United States during the War of 1812.

Taylor sets the story in the context of the shifting nature of slavery after the American Revolution. He also highlights the sectional conflicts that were strengthened partially because of this war and how it shaped the future of slavery in the United States.

This book will have you thinking more deeply about the Star-Spangled Banner.



Diouf, S. A. (2016) Slavery’s Exiles: The Story of the American Maroons, New York, NY: NYU Press.

Sayers, D. (2014). A Desolate Place for a Defiant People: The Archaeology of Maroons, Indigenous Americans, and Enslaved Laborers in the Great Dismal Swamp. University Press of Florida.


Diouf presents the history of those who escaped slavery yet remained in the South, sometimes creating self sufficient communities in desolate areas. In this 10-minute interview with Eric Foner she explains how she came to write this book and provides her definition of the concept.

Watch “Book TV: Sylviane Diouf, “Slavery’s Exiles: The Story of the American Maroons”

While the historian Diouf has attempted to study marronage across the United States, Sayers, an archeologist, has focused on the Dismal Swamp. The Smithsonian provides an interesting article on the project  in what was once “.. a thriving refuge for runaways.”  For those with a deep interest in this topic the book presents the work in exacting detail.


To Be Continued


In 1814 We Took a Little Trip . . . Down the Alabama

I have interrogated biographies of Andrew Jackson. My primary question has been how did Jackson get from Tennessee to New Orleans. This question first troubled me with the 1959 release of Johnny Horton’s “The Battle of New Orleans.”

“In 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississipp’
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in the town of New Orleans”

I sang along with great relish, while recognizing that the historical inaccuracy in the song was a geographical impossibility. I “knew” that Jackson (and his troops) marched into Alabama from Tennessee before heading to New Orleans.

The historical marker that I found as a small child gave me reason to believe that they camped overnight on Old Line Road, near my family’s homeplace on Indian Ridge. I did not know exactly what route they had taken.

In a Chicago classroom, my insistence that Jackson did not reach New Orleans by way of the Mississippi River was considered to be “off topic” and I was warned to “stay on subject.” That meant focusing on the “Indian Wars” and the War of 1812 as they played out in the Illinois Territory and the Great Lakes region. So, I turned my attention back to the Fort Dearborn Massacre and Tecumseh’s War.

The question of Jackson’s route through Alabama resurfaced in March 2018 as I worked on my genealogy and family history. Finally, the Red Stick War and the War of 1812 in South Alabama and along the Gulf coast were central topics in my studies.

I approached the topics like a middle school student. I read biographies of Andrew Jackson and drew a timeline emphasizing his “line of march” through Alabama.

Jackson’s line of March from Tennessee to New Orleans is clearly rendered in Remini’s Andrew Jackson and the Course of the American Empire 1767-1821. That presentation is repeated in Remini’s Andrew Jackson and His Indian Wars. 





In addition to biographies of Jackson, I read other books about the Red Stick War and/or the War of 1812. The books that I read focused on how this period in U.S. history played out in the Mississippi Territory, including what was to become Alabama.

In reading these works, as well as uncited reviews of them, I have been exposed to competing theories of history and models of historiography. I have been reminded that knowledge is socially constructed. People in different social positions ask different questions and these inform the possible answers.

In attempting to construct my genealogy, I have identified several ancestors who arrived in Alabama during and just after this time period. This time period has become personally relevant.  The works that I read help me to understand the context of their arrival. This provides a basis for me to better understand my ancestors.

Braund, K. E. H. (2012). Tohopeka: Rethinking the Creek War and the War of 1812. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press.

Jackson, H. H. (2015). Rivers of History: Life on the Coosa, Tallapoosa, Cahaba, and Alabama. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press.

Meacham, J. (2008). American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House. New York, N.Y: Random House.

Remini, R. V. (2001). The Battle of New Orleans. New York, N.Y: Penguin Books.

Remini, R. V. (2001). Andrew Jackson and his Indian wars. New York, N.Y: Penguin Books.

Remini, R. V. (1998). The Life of Andrew Jackson. New York, N.Y.: Harper & Row.

Remini, R. V. (1977) Andrew Jackson and the Course of American Empire. New York, N.Y.: Harper & Row.

Waselkov, Gregory A. (2009). A Conquering Spirit: Fort Mims and the Redstick War of 1813-1814. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press.

If you use the links above to purchase books from Amazon, I may receive a small commission. This would not increase your price and would help defray my costs. 

In the meanwhile sing along with Johnny Horton while trying to replacing the Mississipp’ with “Coosa and Alabama.”

The Old Federal Road in Alabama Has Been Surveyed

In an earlier post I mentioned the importance of the Old Federal Road in the settling of Indian Ridge: The Settling of Indian Ridge: Thinking. After the Louisiana Purchase, the road was built to speed the delivery of mail between New Orleans and Washington.

The road became a major route for people who decided to settle in Alabama, often on Creek lands. This encroachment led to the Red Stick War 1813-1814. The road was a major military road during the War of 1812. However, by 1860 the road, a major link to our history, was gone (

A Driving Guide is Forthcoming

The story of the Old Federal Road in Alabama is still being told. Yesterday one of my cousins asked about the path of the Old Federal Road because of a highway marker she had seen. That marker may be the result of efforts to position the Old Federal Road (at least those parts of it on public land) as a tourist attraction.


Archeologists from the University of South Alabama have surveyed the 250 miles of this first interstate highway into and through Alabama. The public version of their 300+ page report is available here.


The survey was designed to uncover the precise ground location of Old Federal Road, which was still unknown when a collaborative effort produced the interactive website housed at Auburn University.

The Old Federal Road in Alabama

The archeologists were able to pinpoint the location of a number of historic sites. They are expected to produce a guidebook that can help tourists with an interest in history drive to these sites.

I look forward to the publication and promotion of a guidebook for driving tours of the Old Federal Road in Alabama. The guidebook will be supported by other  projects designed to enhance economic development in counties near the Old Federal Road in Alabama.

Eleven Projects Selected for Extension’s nOld Federal Road Rural Development Initiative

I am still trying to understand why the Old Federal Road fell into disuse. I think the report from the USA faculty will make a contribution to my understanding along with the other books that I am studying.

Hudson, A. P. (2010). Creek paths and federal roads: Indians, settlers, and slaves and the making of the American South. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Southerland, Henry deLeon., Brown,Jerry Elijah,,. (1989). The federal road through georgia, the creek nation, and alabama, 1806-1836.


I am already annoyed that the report does not mention Clarke County and Suggsville.