PatronPATRON + The Federal Road was the state of Alabama’s first interstate – Do you know where it was? [map and picture] March 15, 2022 August 12, 2022by Donna R Causey To view this content, you must be a member of Alabama Pioneers Patrons's Patreon at $2 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content. Tags: 1800'sAlabama historyEarly Alabama
I enjoy reading about Alabama history, having several ancestors that settled in Cherokee County, and Winston County, AL in the 1840s. Keep up the good work!
[…] in Georgia. The gin was built along a trading path that would become part of the route of the Federal Road, near a racetrack owned by Creek leader Charles Weatherford (father of future Red Stick Creek […]
[…] Fort, an American trading post, and Mississippi territorial capital as settlers streamed down the Federal Road from the Carolinas and […]
I think this is the same road in Alabama. My great, great, great, great grandfather John Purifoy was in charge with some others to build this road. His wife’s (Nancy Williams Purifoy) brother Williams Williams helped also. They lived in Barbour County near Eufaula. There is another newspaper report that states all this.
I read of your knowledge of the Old Federal Road and am interested in presenting an article to the WHIP Magazine which is the official Magazine of the American Driving Society. I am interested in what sort of wagons, carriages, etc and horses they used in settling this country and how they determined the route from Washington to New Orleans to cut down on time and distance and if you have any information that you would share please contact me.
I live very near the Old Federal Road as it runs by Talking Rock and Jasper, Ga
I used to ride on the old road near Tate with my old long gone friend , Hugh Tatum. That road is a later edition I think and not related to the Federal Road that travelled from near Columbus to North of Mobile at Ft. Stoddart.
[…] entered the Creek Nation, at Fort Mitchell, on the Chattahoochee, in Russell County, traversed the Old Federal Road as far as Mount Meigs, detoured to include the village of Montgomery in his itinerary, and taking […]
Anyone know where I could get a map of the Federal Road
Phyllis Miller there are several free ones online…google it!
Lafayette traveled this road to Montgomery in 1825 & attended a Ball in his honor at my GGGG Grandfathers Freeneys Tavern & Hotel, which is now the site of the Renaissance Hotel
It ended at Stockton, where my dad nad his ancesters are from. His gggrandmom owned a tavern north of Stockton. I wich I had paid attention when my grandparents were alive
Is this road the same as the old Georgia road that ran thru St. Clair County. It ran thru our home place and it preceded US 11 and I-59. The old telephone lines ran beside it. You can still see traces of it.
Billy Puckett…the Federal road did not run through St. Clair. It entered Ala. (today) near Phenix City, ran along the modern route of US 80 and turned SW after reaching Line Creek…a road called the Upper Federal road ran west through Mt. Meigs to Econchate (later, Montgomery). It passed through Snowdoun, Pintlala, and continued SW through Lowndes, Butler, along the county lines of Monroe & Conecuh, into Baldwin where it ended at Mims Ferry on the east side of the Tensaw….the ferry crossing went on Ft. Stoddard using Mims Ferry, later Hollinger’s Ferry…in Baldwin county, a section ran to Stockton and then to Blakeley. In Monroe, a route known locally as the Ridge road, cut over to Weatherford’s Ferry at the site of Claiborne where many travellers took steamboats to Mobile or crossed the river for places in the Mississippi Territory, Louisiana, and Texas
Think you are right Stacey, from information I heard many years ago. Old Federal Road ran by my place, few miles East of Georgiana, Alabama, and also East of McKenzie. Was told it ended area of Mobile, Al. Least, that was what Grandparents told me.
I’m sorry to butt In On this conversation, but is your location anywhere near what was Aberfoil or Smuteye? I have searched for a long time for the graves of my grandparents. They lived somewhere near Aberfoil. I have receipts where she shopped there. She passed in 1856 and he in 1857. It is my belief they were not as poor as many in that time, but I can find no records of where they we’re buried.
Does anyone know of a map that compares the Old Federal Road route to today’s highways in Alabama?
Chris Gundlach can you find it?
It would be great to know if any parts of this road still exist, with the same appearance as it had back then. I would love for any such parts to be located, and, where possible, made accessible to the public.
There is a remnant of “The Old Federal Road” that is now a street in Montgomery. It parallels Vaughn Road which is US 110 connecting Union Springs to Montgomery. Federal Rd. connects Halcyon Blvd to Halcyon Park Drive, north of Vaughn Rd.
To respond to a few comments: the Federal Road did not end at Stockton; it ran all the way to New Orleans. The east Montgomery street called Federal Road was never part of the real Federal Road. You should be able to view maps of the Federal Road hand-applied to county road maps at Old Alabama Town in Montgomery. I created those maps while on staff at the museum between 1997 and 2006. Fletcher Hale performed an aerial survey of substantial portions of the road in the 1930’s, and his original maps are in the library at the Alabama State Department of Archives and History. Also consider buying a copy of Leon Southerland’s book “The Old Federal Road.” His maps aren’t the most accurate, but the book is still an invaluable source of information.
The First Federally Maintained Road went through what was in 1820-30 Washington Co., AL (at the time the only county in AL. It is now Wilcox County. My Beard line lived there for five generations.
Just to reiterate what Bill Grant says above, “Byler Road”. Look it up! I believe that you will find that to be the oldest “interstate” in Alabama by approximately 5 years.
We have Lucas Tavern at Old Alabama Town in Montgomery. The Tavern is where Lafayette spent the night on April 2nd 1825 before travelling to Montgomery. We have some info on the Federal Road and books in the gift shop
Hey Al! Good to know you’re still kickin’. For all: the map with the Federal Road route in red shows the road going down to Mobile. This is incorrect. The Road turned west north of Stockton and crossed the Tensaw at Mims Ferry (on the northwest side of Ft. Mims. The family whose home became the fort operated the ferry.) and the Mobile/Tombigbee just west of that. Then it turned south toward Ft. Stoddart before heading west again. The Road did not end at Stockton; in fact, did not pass through Stockton. A branch road from Mobile to the Road did pass through that area, though. The actual western terminus of the Road was New Orleans.
Steve Stacey, the road that branched off the Federal Road at Mt. Meigs was not the Upper Federal Road (which was located further east) but was a branch road built after the establishment of Montgomery to connect the town to the Road. That branch is known as Ware’s Ferry Road, because of one of its most noted early landmarks (the road did not actually cross Ware’s Ferry, which was on the Tallapoosa, but led travelers to it). Another branch connected the other end of Montgomery to the Road headed south; that branch is today a stretch of Hwy 31 called Mobile Hwy.
A couple of folks have mentioned Byler Road, part of a network connecting Tuscaloosa to Nashville. This road was commissioned by the brand new Alabama Legislature in 1819, making it probably the first road commissioned by the state. By the time the Byler road opened in 1823, though, the Old Federal Road had already been in operation for over a decade.
A portion of it runs in front of my grandparents’ house on Highway 185 North in Greenville, Butler County, AL! Historic Fort Dale is right there, too. For those interested, I recommend the book The Federal Road through Georgia, the Creek Nation, and Alabama, 1806-1836 by Southerland and Brown http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MQO44Q4/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00MQO44Q4&linkCode=as2&tag=alabapione-20&linkId=HLHYNOLORLB2ETJJ
One of the old roads came into Florence and went by what is today Pope’s Tavern I believe…
Thank you for this info. It’s incredibly important to understand ancestors’ choices to move around on the frontier back in the day. Just learned of my Alabama roots.
Does anyone have info on the road (old river road) that ran thru Cropwell, AL in St Clair County?
Researching migration path of my ancestors from Moore Co NC to Yalobusha Co MS by 1850. Migrated just prior to taking the census in 1850 in MS. I can’t quite determine what roads were accessed by that era. The Old Federal Road seems to have been less used by then. Any ideas? With the swampy sections of midwestern AL at the border I believe they would have taken a northern or southern route to Yalobusha County. I noted on one map there was a branch that led from the Federal Road over to Natchez Trace. They could have taken the Trace up to areas close to Yalobusha County. It goes right through Webster County where my grandparents lived. Any helpful advice appreciated….they most likely took the Fall Line Road in NC to Augusta GA as we know they migrated from Moore County and this path went straight through there. It’s figuring out their journey from Augusta….thanks! Please email me with any clues….
The Federal Road passed through Burt Corn, there is a lot of history in that area. I remember going to Pine Orchard with my grandpa when I was very young.
Nothing has changed since then sad to say
My Mom is from Burnt Corn. That is a name I have seen on several unusual place name lists.
my grandmother was also born in burnt corn
Darren Newberry My grandparents lived 2 miles from Burnt Corn. Their name was Martin. Relatives that lived in that area were Wells and Waters. My Grandpa Wells owned Wells Mill Pond near Fair Nelson.
Yes, Burnt Corn is a very old community. Here is a story we wrote about it. http://alabamapioneers.com/burnt-corn-alabama-commnity-older-united-states/#sthash.NrGJBcd4.dpbs
I read that the federal road went by Rhama church and Andrew Jackson took his army by there on his way to the battle of New Orleans. The road was not wide enough for wagons, so they had to cut their way through.
I think that is correct, I think my ancestors came with him. The Salter family.
The Wells and Salter families lived near each other and many are buried at Rhama church.
Author, April Gardener has just released her new historical novel set in this era. Perhaps some here would enjoy an excellent read: https://www.facebook.com/AprilGardnerBooks/photos/a.535489369946817.1073741827.535478303281257/564515803710840/?type=3&theater
Cool story. Thanks!
I remember walking the remnants of the stagecoach road that connected Blakeley to this road with Mike Blake, local historian extraordinaire, in the 1970’s. Great article!
Hope the Creeks don’t become increasingly hostile again and want their land back!
What was the speed limit?
Mule and wagon, don’t know.
I published an article with photos of this subject in Alabama Heritage Magazine several years ago. Google AUM and Old Federal Road for interactive map.
I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone’s commentary. My 3rd great grandfather moved from Nash County North Carolina with his Mom and older brother to Jasper County Georgia in late 1790’s to 1800. He moved with his wife and family to Conecuh County about 1818 and I suspect used the Federal Road for part of their journey.
interesting article !!
There is a road in North Alabama – that follows the Little River from Desoto State Park to near the Desoto Falls. IT has been called the “Old Federal Highway” by the old timers in the areas. I know nothing more of it than that it is there – you can tell from the lay-of-the-land in that area. I have walked it before – with a metal detector – not finding anything. Noot at all sure of its orgins – or destination.
There is a portion of the old federal road that is still on maps in Magnolia Springs, Alabama. You can get to it by turning east just north of the Magnolia Springs River bridge. It is a little dirt road that wound back through the woods and emerged near highway 98 next to the Baptist Church. We used to play on it as kids.
In 1831, some of my ancestors traveled from Hall County, Ga. to McNarry County, Tenn. I would like to see some maps which show possible roads or trails they used. Areas to cover would be Southern Tenn., Northern Miss., Northern Ala. and Northern Ga. Any suggestions?
The Library of Congress, local colleges from each state and State Archives usually have many maps. Many of them can now be accessed online. Good luck in your research!
Dear Donna Causey,
I do not know you, but I am VERY grateful to you for your extensive work and your scholarship discovering, elucidating, and publicizing the activities of our ancestors in Alabama, the South, and the Nation. All of us owe you our deepest gratitude for your fine work.
Thank you so much! I enjoy discovering them.
My Great Great Great Grandfather Dennison Darling was one of the first to deliver mail on the old Federal Road. He also married Sarah Mims Daughter of Samuel Mims. Luckily they were safe in Mobile while the massacre was happening, I’ve found Darling’s Landing in Baldwin Co, but have had a hard time finding any info on who Dennison’s Parents were. I was born in Foley and raised by my Great Grandparents John Allen Darling and Hettie Alverda (Warren) Darling in Bon Secour. Those were the best days of my life, Such a wonderful place to grow up, Thanks for any info anyone might have,
I love reading the history of Alabama. That is where I was born and raised till age 19. Marriage and military brought me to California. Most of my adult life has been in California. Raising 2 children and working my way to retirement. Over the years I have been back to Alabama many times. I have the same feelings when I visit that I has growing up there. I was home and at peace. I have always loved Alabama and will always love it. IT’S HOME.
Chris Burgin, you captured many of my feelings about Alabama. Since SO MANY of my family and countless ancestors are buried there, I feel an almost indescribable and powerful attachment to the land. I wish us both long life.
Heather Sullivan Rice
The road ran roughly from Washington DC to New Orleans, right through the Holy Land. I mean, Alabama. Well, same thing.
Read the book, “The Federal Road”.
Talladega county part of 77.
[…] to my dad, part of the Old Federal Road passes behind my house and serves as part of my […]