The Great Central Trail Of The Long House, Route 5, New York
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The Iroquois Indians were the trail makers for the early settlers of New York State and its surrounding territory. The white people landed here, strangers in a strange land. They met the Indian who was a woodsman without an equal. The Iroquois knew his country. He knew water courses, elevations and passes through the mountains. His race had used them for centuries. The Iroquois trails formed the first basis of water and land travel. The present day railroads and highways are based on information given to the early whites by the Indian, and particularly by the Iroquois Indian. A far flung net work of Iroquois paths led through the deep forests and along streams. These trails were worn deep by the travel of the Iroquois. These trails led to the numerous villages of the United Iroquois People. These Iroquois villages, situated in places that commanded the river systems of the country, have grown into such cities as Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, Schenectady and Plattsburg. Of these trails and water routes there are many examples that can be given. The old Connecticut Path from the Hudson River to Lake Erie was one of the main Iroquois Trails. Today a great highway and the New York Central Railroad follow this Indian path. The Indian path from the City of Philadelphia to the upper waters of the Susquehanna River is today a great highway. It was known in Indian days as the Kittanning Path. The modern road connecting the Potomac and the Ohio Rivers follows the Old Indian trail, Nemaolins Path. The Warriors Path down through Virginia and the Carolinas to the other side of the Appalachian Mountains is today a mighty highway. There are thousands of other examples. These were the hunting and trading routes of the Six Nations. The modern highways were traced hundreds of years ago by the moccasin feet of our people. On one of the several markers telling of Route 5 was the beginning inscription, “History of this road, an Indian Trail worn so deep by the feet of the Iroquois that it became your road of travel.”
Near Avon, a village on the Genesee River, the warriors visited the Seneca Village site of Conawagus, the birthplace of Handsome Lake, the great Seneca Teacher. After visiting the ancient Seneca burial ground they headed south following an old Seneca Trail that led to the Seneca town sites at the headwaters of this beautiful river. At Genesee they saw part of the trunk of “The Big Tree” under which in ancient days the Senecas held a treaty with the whites at which time they surrendered their beautiful Genesee Reservation. They passed through the ancient village site of Little Beard, a famous chief of colonial period. A short distance from there they entered beautiful Letchworth State Park, called the Colorado of the East. Not far from the upper falls they visited the of grave Deh-he-wa-mis or Mary Jemison.