|Signage on Pennsylvania State Road 2034 in Herrick. Note spelling.|
The main east/west thoroughfare for migration to the newly opened lands was known by many names. For those pioneers who had already made it to western New York, it was called the Newburgh turnpike, as Newburgh was where the road led. [Even though maps as far back as 1778 use the current "Newburgh" spelling, the Pennsylvanians still spell it "Newburg Turnpike."]
|NY Route 114 at Cochecton. The "end" of the Newburgh-Cochecton Turnpike.|
A zoomable map with annotations is at the link below. If possible, open it in another window to help you follow the text. https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=z7CBt6kucJTo.kLLRSGgoqpAg&usp=sharing
|Roads and places mentioned in this blog. Open in another window. The yellow marker on the far right is Newburgh on the Hudson River. The turnpike started at that location and ended at the red marker at Cochecton on the Delaware River. The road that continued west of the Delaware was often also called the Newburgh Turnpike, but it was chartered as the Great Bend Turnpike. It ended at the green marker, the Great Bend in the Susquehanna River. The Fullers and the Campbells were living close to "Peenpack" which is shown by the light green marker (D). Their destination of Bentley Creek is the dark blue marker on the left side.|
For those about to make the trek to the west it might have been called the "Great Bend Turnpike" or the road to Cochecton (pronounced "cuh-SHEK-ton," which was Lenape for "foaming water" or translated by others to mean "low land"). General James Clinton had proposed a similar road in 1805 to the military tracts (never built) which he called the "National Appian Way."[ii] This route took on that nickname.
|Signage on Great Bend Turnpike near Pleasant Mount. The turnpike changed names along the route depending on the "most common destination" of people of the area.|
Technically the route was a series of many different roads. The most easterly was the road that started at Newburgh on the Hudson River and terminated at Cochecton on the Delaware River. Its official name was the Newburgh-Cochecton Turnpike and was built and operated by a private enterprise, the Newburgh and Cochecton Turnpike company. Cochecton was chosen as the terminus as it was the site of a ford of the Delaware River to Damascus Manor on the Pennsylvania side.[iii] But it was also chosen, according to Ruttenber, because the principal stockholders had land in that area on which they had speculated.[iv]
|Delaware River from Newburgh-Cochecton Turnpike in Cochecton.|
The road from Damascus, Pennsylvania to the Great Bend in the Susquehanna River was called the Great Bend Turnpike. The enterprise that would build and operate this road was called the Company of the Coshecton [another common Pennsylvania spelling] & Great Bend Turnpike Road.[v]
|One share of Coshecton & Great Bend Turnpike Stock.|
At Great Bend the road connected with other well-used trails/roads that Indians had used for centuries and on which Sullivan's army had left its marks with over-packed supply wagons and artillery. The Old Lakawana Trail led from New Milford to the Great Bend. From there the well-traveled paths on either side of the Susquehanna River led to Newtown (now Elmira) and Tioga Point.[vi]
|Signage from Pennsylvania TR 945 in Gibson Township.|
Two ferries operated across the Susquehanna at Great Bend until the first bridge was built in 1814.[vii] I suspect the Campbells made use of the ferries at that location and traveled on the north side of the Susquehanna which flows westward almost along the NY/PA border. They would have passed through the ancient Indian town of Owego, a small pioneer and merchant village in 1805.
|At the crest of a hill, before reaching Pleasant Mount, PA,, the travelers could look back and see the Catskills of New York for the last time.|
The distance between Peenpack and Bentley Creek is about 170 miles. On horseback this could be done in 4 or 5 days. Walking with light provisions would take 8-10 days. With families, heavy supplies, and the droving of cattle/hogs/sheep, this distance could take 20-40 days to accomplish.