Mohawk or Iroquois Trail

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United States Gotoarrow.png Migration Gotoarrow.png Trails and Roads Gotoarrow.png New York Gotoarrow.png Mohawk Trail

The Mohawk Trail, also known as the Iroquois Trail, or Great Indian Trail, started as an Indian footpath from Albany, a major early New York trade center, to Fort Oswego, the first British fur trading post on Lake Ontario established in 1722. An important fork of this trail from Fort Schuyler (Utica) to Fort Niagara (Youngstown) is also described in Great Genesee Road. Each end of the Mohawk Trail connected
Mohawk Trail map.png
to other important migration pathways. The length of the Mohawk Trail from Albany to Fort Oswego was about 190 miles (306 km).[1][2]

Background History

Albany, New York was founded by the Dutch in 1614 and quickly became New York's premier fur trading center and second largest town. In 1664 England conquered the former Dutch colony and renamed it New York.

In 1722 the British built a fur trading post near the mouth of the Oswego River on the southeast side of Lake Ontario. In 1727 they constructed log palisades, the first of a series of fortifications in the area. This was the first British military outpost on Lake Ontario. More nearby forts were also added in 1741 and 1755. These forts around the trading post helped establish the British as a power on the Great Lakes, and were sometimes collectively were called Fort Oswego.

Indian trails through the forests existed for hunting, for trading, and for making war. To reach what became Fort Oswego and build it up, the British most likely improved an already existing Indian path between Albany and Fort Oswego. The route for carrying furs and skins to Albany, for communication, and for military troop and supply movements became known as the Mohawk or Iroquois Trail.

In 1726, after a period of absence, the French re-settled and fortified the Fort Niagara area on the southwest side of Lake Ontario and guarding the Niagara River.

The French and Indian War (1754-1763) led to improvement of Indian pathways into roads for the military and for settlers. In 1758 the British built Fort Schuyler (now Utica, New York) to guard the Mohawk River ford and junction of the Mohawk Trail to Fort Oswego and the Mohawk Trail to Fort Niagara.

In 1759 British troops from Fort Oswego were shipped along Lake Ontario to Fort Niagara.


The counties along the Mohawk Trail route (southeast to northwest) were as follows:[1]

The Mohawk trail had a west fork from Fort Schuyler to Fort Niagara that partially overlapped the Great Genesee Road. Counties along the west fork of the Mohawk Trail route (east to west) were:[3]

Settlers and Records

External Links

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  1. 1.0 1.1 Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 851. WorldCat entry. FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. Wikipedia contributors, "Fort Oswego" in Wikipedia: the Free Encyclopedia at (accessed 30 June 2011).
  3. "Great Genesee Road" in Handybook, 849.