The Potage Path

A Perspective

The Portage Path was a walkway that connected the Cuyahoga and Tuscarawas rivers in Ohio. This was used for transporting goods around the state. The first people to use the Portage Path were the Erie, who had lived in a long strip of land in Ohio. The French at the time were in Canada, but they still discovered the path when they sent fur traders down into America. George Washington wrote a letter on October 10th, 1784, for Benjamin Harrison, who was the governor of Virginia. The letter described a river in Ohio and its amazing features. He also stated that he would send people down there to investigate further. Thomas Jefferson wrote many books,

one of which was the Notes of Virginia, which he described the Portage Path and had it on the map. The treaty with the English in 1783, after the Revolutionary War, had many states, such as Ohio, Virginia, New York and more, claiming that the Portage Path belonged to them. Jefferson’s notes from the Tuscarawas mentioned how these long, narrow vessels went straight to New Orleans without breaking the bulk. The boats held many goods, like whiskey, wheat, pork, flour, and more. More notes reveal that traveling the Portage Path was slow and this made the Government realize that the Portage Path was not useful for commercial boats anymore. Many places were named after the Portage Path; such as Portage County, Portage Country Club and Portage Path School. The watershed that use to divide 2 rivers is now a city with roads, houses and businesses.


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