— Fort Cumberland Trail —
The land west of the Allegheny Mountains was exclusively the Indians until the mid 1700's. The local Indians were part of the Shawanese tribe and a sub-division of the Algonquin Nation-one of the most warlike. With the coming of the white man, most of these Indians left the local area before 1751 and moved westward. Roving bands of other Indians were found here when the white settlers began moving in. Relics of these Indians have been found along area streams and are made of stone or bone. Metals were probably unknown to them.
Caiuctucuc, a large Indian village, was here at the juncture of these streams and ran up the river. Caiuctucuc meant "The meeting of the waters of many fishes." Other towns dotted the river bank for forty miles from Shawanese Old Town (Oldtown, Md.) westward and between the present West Virginia and Pennsylvania lines. They were known to exist at Cresaptown, in Cash Valley, and three miles westward along Braddock Run. The western branch of the Potomac River was called the Wappacomo Cohongaronta. Potomac means "Place of the burning pine." The South Branch of the Potomac River was called the Wappacomo or Wappatomaka. New settlers replaced most Indian names with simpler ones. Savage Mountain was named after the Indians.
The Indians had their chiefs and wise men. The men hunted, fished and fought. The families tilled the soil raising rich crops of maize (corn), beans, and other vegetables. They lived in lodges made of saplings covered with bark and skins. Furs on the floors served as seats and beds. In warm weather, they wore little clothing. Bodies were often decorated with paint or tattoos. In cold weather, they wrapped themselves in long cloaks and wore leggings and moccasins. See the photos above. One of their favorite foods was a cake made of finely beaten maize mixed with water. White settlers called them "Shawnee Cakes" and the name evolved into "Johnny Cake." Legend says a white man and an Indian princess jumped from the large rock known as "Lover's Leap" in the Narrows when her father denied permission for their marriage.
Nemacolin and Will were well known Indians of the area. Nemacolin and Thomas Cresap marked the trail westward which was followed by Braddock's army and partly by the National Pike. Nemacolin left his son George to be cared for by the Cresap family. Namesakes: Nemacolin (Lonaconing), George (George's Creek). Will lived along the mountain and stream bearing his name 3 to 4 miles to the west. The local settlers respected him and offer small gifts when taking possession of land in his area. Thomas Cresap surveyed "Will's Town" (just below present Corriganville, Md., along Will's Creek).
Fort Cumberland Trail