Lower Cherokee Traders' Path
The Lower Cherokee Traders' Path originally connected the Catawba villages in the Waxhaws (Charlotte area) in North Carolina with Cherokee villages in South Carolina and Georgia (Tugaloo). Part of the Upper Road followed the same route as the Lower Cherokee Traders' Path. The length of the Lower Cherokee Traders' Path from Charlotte, North Carolina to Tugaloo, Georgia was about 160 miles (260 km).
The Lower Cherokee Traders' Path was an important trade route on the Piedmont connecting the Cherokee and other interior tribes with the Occaneechi tribe, middlemen traders in southern Virginia, to the early European colonists on the Chesapeake Bay. It was considered the west fork of the Occaneechi Path (Traders' Path) and became a major part of the Upper Road.
Modern Interstate 85 from Charlotte, North Carolina to Greenville, South Carolina runs a little north of the old route, and from there on South Carolina Highway 123 to the Georgia border is similar to the old route.
Counties on the Lower Cherokee Traders' Path (east to west)
- North Carolina: Mecklenburg, Gaston
- South Carolina: York, Cherokee, Spartanburg, Greenville, Pickens, Oconee
- Georgia: Stephens
Overlapping and Connecting Routes. The Upper Road, the Occaneechi Path, and the Great Valley Road (south fork) all connected to the Lower Cherokee Traders' Path at Charlotte, North Carolina. The Lower Cherokee Traders' Path and Upper Road fork off to the west though Gaston County, North Carolina and all the northern-most counties of South Carolina. Several trails continued on from the the western end of the Lower Cherokee Traders' Path at the former Cherokee village of Tugaloo, Georgia. The Upper Road continued on to Macon. The Unicoi Turnpike headed northwest to the Cherokee villages in Tennessee. The Coosa-Tugaloo Indian Warpath went off in the direction of Birmingham, Alabama. The Tugaloo-Apalachee Bay Trail headed for the Florida panhandle. The Fort Charlotte and Cherokee Old Path followed the northeast side of the Savannah River down to old Fort Charlotte in northwest McCormick County, South Carolina.
Settlers and Records
No lists of settlers who used or settled along the Lower Cherokee Traders' Path are known to exist. However, local and county histories along the road may reveal that many of the first pioneer settlers arrived from places to the northeast along the Upper Road, the Occaneechi Path, the Fall Line Road, or the Great Valley Road (south fork).
The most likely place of origin for settlers along the Lower Cherokee Traders' Path was from the Waxhaws and the Yadkin River settlements in North Carolina. Those from farthest away may have arrived from southern Virginia, Maryland, or even the Philadelphia area of Pennsylvania or southern New Jersey. Some Ulster-Irish setters may have come via the port of Philadelphia a generation earlier.
- Georgia History Early Trails describes westward migration on and route of the Lower Cherokee Traders' Path and other routes through Georgia.