Secondary Coast Road

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The Secondary Coast Road was a roughly parallel alternate to the King's Highway. As that highway became more popular, rival neighboring towns recognized its value and convenience. They began to compete for traffic by offering better accommodations, services, and attractions. In some places they could shave a few miles or a few minutes off the travel time compared to the original route. From Virginia to South Carolina this alternate to the King's Highway became known as the Secondary Coast Road. The Secondary Coast Road was probably opened to European settlers in the 1730s or 1740s. It began in Petersburg (Independent City), Virginia Genealogy and ended at Charleston County, South Carolina Genealogy. The length of the road was about 475 miles (764 km).[1] The alternate routes to the King's Highway in the north apparently did not carry the name "Secondary Coast Road" in places north of Petersburg, Virginia.

As roads developed in America settlers were attracted to nearby communities because the roads provided access to markets. They could sell their products at distant markets, and buy products made far away. If an ancestor settled near a road, you may be able to trace back to a place of origin on a connecting highway.

Route[edit | edit source]

The first European colonists settled in counties along this trail (north to south) as follows:[2]

Connecting trails. The Secondary Coast Road linked to other trails at each end. Other trails also branched off it in the middle.[3]

The migration routes connected at the north end in Petersburg (Independent City), Virginia Genealogy included:

The migration pathways connected at the south end in Charleston, South Carolina included:

Between those two ends the Secondary Coast Road also had junctions with three other important migration routes:

Modern parallels. U.S. Route 17 and any alternates roughly match the routes of the King's Highway and old Secondary Coast Road from Petersburg, Virginia to Charleston, South Carolina.

Settlers and Records[edit | edit source]

The first colonists in each county along what became the Secondary Coast Road arrived before the trail existed, usually by way of the Atlantic Ocean, or the King's Highway. Nevertheless, some of the new arrivals and settlers after the late 1730s may have used the Secondary Coast Road.

No complete list of settlers who used the Secondary Coast Road is known to exist. Nevertheless, local and county histories along that trail may reveal pioneer settlers who arrived after the late 1730s and who were candidates to have traveled the Secondary Coast Road from the Charleston, or the Savannah areas.

For partial lists of early settlers who may  have used the Secondary Coast Road, see histories like:

in Beaufort County, NC:

in Brunswick County, NC:

in Charleston County, SC:

  • Thomas Petigru Lesesne, History of Charleston County, South Carolina: Narrative and Biographical (Charleston, S.C.: A.H. Cawston, c1931) (FHL Book 975.7915 D3L) WorldCat entry.

External Links[edit | edit source]

Sources[edit | edit source]

  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 853. (FHL Book 973 D27e 2002). WorldCat entry.
  2. North Carolina - The Counties, (accessed 15 April 2011), and South Carolina - The Counties, (accessed 15 April 2011).
  3. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 847-61. (FHL Book 973 D27e 2002) WorldCat entry., and William E. Myer, Indian Trails of the Southeast. (Nashville, Tenn.: Blue and Gray Press, 1971), 12-14, and the book's pocket map "The Trail System of the Southeastern United States in the early Colonial Period" (1923). (FHL Book 970.1 M992i) WorldCat entry.
  4. "South Carolina Counties and Parishes - 1740" in The Royal Colony of South Carolina at (accessed 22 April 2011).