Reconsidering Braddock’s Road to Martin’s
In 1755, General Edward Braddock’s army marched off into history, following and improving the Ohio Company road westward from Fort Cumberland, Maryland on an expedition to capture Fort Duquesne. Braddock’s army met with disaster at the Battle of Monongahela, and he was mortally wounded. He died during the retreat, and was buried underneath the road that would henceforth, in its many variations, bear his name. Although the expedition was a failure, the road became a major portal for early westward migration, and played a significant role in shaping America.
By the mid-1800s, Braddock’s road was viewed as a historic linear landmark that merited study. The first study was conducted by T. C. Atkinson, and was published in 1847. The second study was performed by Henry Temple and John Kennedy Lacock, who published in 1908 and 1912, respectively. These studies are the source of the longstanding conventional wisdom that Braddock’s expedition followed Hoffman Hollow southwest from Clarysville, turned north at the top of Hoffman Hollow, and encamped east of Frostburg and Georges Creek, in the vicinity of Grahamtown and the Allegany Cemetery.
While there can be no reasonable doubt that Atkinson documented a primitive sunken road in Hoffman Hollow, none of the aforementioned researchers presented evidence that it followed the route of Braddock’s expedition. Temple acknowledged that the sunken road was eroded by civilian wagon traffic that occurred long after the expedition, but thought it likely that such traffic followed Braddock’s original cleared route — overlooking the fact that the route had been subject to a number of government authorized improvements in the 1700s.
The profusely illustrated 107-page book “Reconsidering Braddock’s Road to Martin’s” challenges the conventional wisdom, presenting compelling evidence that Braddock’s expedition traveled northwest along Porter Run, turned west at the site of the village of Eckhart Mines, and camped between the head forks of Georges Creek, within the town limits of present-day Frostburg. The book provides contemporaneous quotes indicating that the expedition followed the Ohio Company road, a deed that proves the Ohio Company road was not located in Hoffman Hollow, and pre-expedition maps that show the Ohio Company road passing through the head forks of Georges Creek; i.e. Frostburg. The book also includes maps made by participants of Braddock’s expedition that show Braddock’s road following Porter Run, and locate the encampment between the head forks of Georges Creek. Post-expedition maps are included that locate Martin’s plantation – the site of the encampment – west of the eastern head fork of Georges Creek. The book also documents the discovery of a cannonball at the projected location of the encampment.
All proceeds from sales of the book are donated to the Cumberland Heritage Foundation, an organization dedicated to the discovery and interpretation of historic resources in the mountains of western Maryland. The book is available from Amazon. The price of the book is driven by the cost of color printing.
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