Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
Cowanesque Indian Trail
Bradford County PA
Chemung County NY
Tioga County PA
Article: Cowanesque Indian Trail
Township: Tioga County PA
Article by Chester P. Bailey
Photographer - Joyce M. Tice Nov. 2002 
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Cowanesque Indian Trail Played Part in Penn History

Written (undated) and Submitted by Chester P. Bailey


A newspaper clipping given to me recently indicates that Pennsylvania Rt. 49 was once the Forbidden Trail patrolled by the Iroquois Indians. The article dated February 5, 1952, in pencil, does not show newspaper name. It includes a picture of a large sign, the caption of which says, "Large signs such as this, showing entrance to the ‘Forbidden Trail’ have been placed on Rt. 49 at Coudersport, also near Lawrenceville. On the sign, Straight through for the Forbidden Trail Route 49, shortest distance to Elmira and points east."

The article, which follows, "The signs have real historical significance, as this short section of the route was so named from historical events nearly 200 years ago.

About 1760, three men Christian Frederick Post and John Hayes, along with their Delaware Indian guide, Teedyiscung, while traveling between Philadelphia and Fort Duquesne (now Pittsburg) were halted by an Iroquois.

"The Iroquois, Chief Nutimue whose name occurs frequently in old Colonial records halted the two whites and their guide at the Mingo Town (present Knoxville)."

"The three travelers were told that no white or other Indian tribe members were allowed to travel over the trail between the headwaters of the Susquehanna and the Allegany Rivers. The route was known as the Forbidden Trail, a passage through the Iroquois hunting grounds noted for its abundance of all kinds of wild game and fish."

"The Pennsylvania Historical Society has a marker at the Knoxville location, explaining the historical event."

We believe the billboard sign was a promotion for Rt. 49 east from Coudersport, but they used the wrong Trail name to promote it. The trail between Susquehanna headwaters and the Allegany would have been in Potter and McKean Counties, which leads to Port Allegany. There are state historical markers along that trail. As far as we find there was never a historical marker in Knoxville, according to State Historical Society. In our search recently for HISTORICAL MARKERS OF TIOGA COUNTY no reference of such markers on Rt. 49 were found.

After referring to Paul A. W. Wallace, INDIANS IN PENNSYLVANIA, we do not question the event occurring based on the following. "Christian Frederick Post a Moravian Missionary married to an Indian wife. He wrote in his ‘observation’ accompanying his second Journal of 1758 to the Allegheny, Teedyuscung was known as a Delaware King. He was not of chiefly lineage but because of his unusual abilities and influence among Indians became known to the white men as "King of the Delawares". Both men took part in the Peace Conference at Easton in 1756 to 1758. Teedyuscung joined the Moravians in 1750."

The treaty of Easton in 1758 brought peace between Pennsylvania on behalf of the Delawares. Both Teddyuscung and Post wanted the Delawares in the Ohio-Alleghany region to be aware of it, thus the journey across Northern Pennsylvania, Wallace says, "News of the peace treaty, which a brave Moravian, Christian Frederick Post, carried to the Ohio-Alleghany country detached many of the Indians there from the French". Fort Duquesne fell without a shot being fired in 1758.

This is not the first time that mistakes have been made in local history, mainly because of name changes in waterways and towns. M. O. Rolfe in his chronological History OLD TIOGA published in 1877, pointed out that. "In 1756 Teedyuscung compelled the Iroquois to acknowledge the independency of the Delawares. This took place on the present site of the town of TIOGA, in the valley of the Tioga." But in 1756 the valley of the Tioga was what we now know as the Chemung and the town was Tioga Point now Athens where the Chemung joins the Susquehanna