Secondary Coast Road

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United States  Gotoarrow.png  Migration  Gotoarrow.png  Trails and Roads  Gotoarrow.png  Secondary Coast Road

Secondary Coast Road.png
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 Prince George County, Virginia and ended at Charleston County, South Carolina The length of the road was about 475 miles (764 km).[1] The similar alternate routes to the King's Highway apparently did not carry the name "Secondary Coast Road" in states north of 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:[2]

Connecting trails. The Secondary Coast Road links to other trails at each end. The migration pathways connecting in Charleston, South Carolina included:[3]

The migration routes connecting in Savannah, Georgia included:

Modern parallels. The modern roads that roughly match the old Secondary Coast Road start in Charleston. Drive west on US-17 South to I-95. Merge onto I-95 South/Jasper Highway to just past Hardeeville. Take Exit 5 onto US-17 South to Savannah.

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. Nevertheless, some of the new arrivals and settlers after the late 1730s may have used the Secondary Coast Road and even the King's Highway.

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 Charleston County, SC:

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

in Colleton County, SC:

in Beaufort County, SC:

  • Lawrence S. Rowland, Alexander Moore, and George C. Rogers, Jr., The History of Beaufort County, South Carolina (Columbia, South Carolina : University of S.C., c1996) (FHL Book 975.799 H2r) WorldCat entry.

in Jasper County, SC:

in Chatham County, GA:

External Links


  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), 853. (FHL Book 973 D27e 2002). WorldCat entry.
  2. South Carolina - The Counties, (accessed 22 March 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. Wikipedia contributors, "History of Augusta, Georgia," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia,,_Georgia (accessed 27 March 2011).