Breaking the Appalachian Barrier

Maryland as the Gateway to Ohio and the West, 1750–1850


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About the Book

In 1750 the Appalachian Mountains were a formidable barrier between the British colonies in the east and French territory in the west, passable only on foot or horseback. It took more than a century to break the mountain barrier and open the west to settlement.

In 1751 a private Virginia company pioneered a road from Maryland to Ohio, challenging the French and Indians for the Ohio country. Several wars stalled the road, which did not start in earnest until after Ohio became a state in 1803. The stone-paved Cumberland Road—from Cumberland, Maryland, to Wheeling, Virginia—was complete by 1818 and over the next 30 years was traversed by Conestoga wagons and stagecoaches. The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad—the first general purpose railroad in the world—started in Baltimore in the 1820s and reached Wheeling by 1852, uniting east and west.

About the Author(s)

John Hrastar had a 50-year career in the aerospace industry, most of it with NASA. He now researches and writes on history. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Bibliographic Details

John Hrastar
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 263
Bibliographic Info: 17 maps, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7044-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3039-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  vi
List of Maps  viii
Preface  1
Introduction  3
One ◆ Setting the Stage  11
Two ◆ Maryland to 1750  34
Three ◆ Competition for the Ohio Country  60
Four ◆ The War Years  92
Five ◆ The Changing West  120
Six ◆ The Waterway West  145
Seven ◆ Maryland as the Gateway to Ohio  170
Eight ◆ The Iron Link Between Maryland and Ohio  210
Chapter Notes  227
Bibliography  243
Index  249

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “A must read”—The Journal of Southern History