Secondary Coast Road
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, Virginia and ended at Charleston County, South Carolina. The length of the road was about 475 miles (764 km). 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.
The first European colonists settled in counties along this trail (north to south) as follows:
- Petersburg, Virginia 1645
- Prince George County, Virginia 1616 by English from Jamestown
- Sussex County, Virginia 1617 by English from Jamestown
- Southampton County, Virginia late 1610s by English from Jamestown
- Isle of Wight County, Virginia late 1610s by English from Jamestown
- Suffolk County, Virginia 1619 by English
- Gates County, North Carolina 1690s by Virginians
- Hertford County, North Carolina 1680s by Virginians
- Bertie County, North Carolina 1690s by Virginians
- Martin County, North Carolina 1720s from Halifax and Tyrrell counties
- Beaufort County, North Carolina 1690s by Virginians
- Craven County, North Carolina 1690s by Virginians
- Jones County, North Carolina 1710 by Swiss/Palatines who settled New Bern
- Onslow County, North Carolina 1705/1706 by English/Welsh, then Scots-Irish (that is Ulster-Irish)
- Pender County, North Carolina 1730s by Scots-Irish
- New Hanover County, North Carolina 1724 by English/Welsh, then Scots-Irish
- Brunswick County, North Carolina 1713 by English/Welsh, then Scots-Irish
Connecting trails. The Secondary Coast Road linked to other trails at each end. Other trails also branched off it in the middle.
The migration routes connected at the north end in Petersburg, Virginia 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:
- Jonesboro Road after 1769 had a junction with the Secondary Coast Road near New Bern, Craven, North Carolina. The Jonesboro Road connected New Bern, North Carolina to Jonesborough and Knoxville, Tennessee on the Great Valley Road.
- Fayetteville, Elizabethtown, and Wilmington Trail joined the Secondary Coast Road near Wilmington, New Hanover, North Carolina. The Fayetteville, Elizabethtown, and Wilmington Trail went from Wilmington to Fayetteville, Cumberland, North Carolina on the Fall Line Road.
- Wilmington, Highpoint, and Northern Trail met the Secondary Coast Road near Wilmington, New Hanover, North Carolina. The Wilmington, Highpoint, and Northern Trail connected Wilmington to the Great Valley Road in Roanoke County, Virginia.
Settlers and Records
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:
- C. Wingate Reed, Beaufort County: Two Centuries of Its History ([Raleigh, N.C.: Edwards and Broughton], 1962) (FHL Book 975.6186 H2r) WorldCat entry.
in Brunswick County, NC:
- Lawrence Lee, History of Brunswick County, North Carolina (Bolivia, N.C.: Brunswick County, 1980) (FHL Book 975.629 H2L) WorldCat entry.
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.
- Wikipedia contributors, "King's Highway (Charleston to Boston)," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King's_Highway_(Charleston_to_Boston) (accessed 14 April 2011).
- Wikipedia contributors, "Charleston, South Carolina," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Charleston,_South_Carolina (accessed 27 March 2011).
- Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 853. (FHL Book 973 D27e 2002). WorldCat entry.
- North Carolina - The Counties, http://www.carolana.com/NC/Counties/nc_counties_alphabetical_order.html (accessed 15 April 2011), and South Carolina - The Counties, http://www.carolana.com/SC/Counties/sc_counties_alphabetical_order.html (accessed 15 April 2011).
- 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.
- "South Carolina Counties and Parishes - 1740" in The Royal Colony of South Carolina at http://www.carolana.com/SC/Royal_Colony/sc_royal_colony_counties_parishes_1740.html (accessed 22 April 2011).