Pack Trains

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PACK TRAINS were a means by which raw materials and consumer goods were transported across the Allegheny Mountains. After crops were harvested in autumn, entrepreneurs in rural areas organized caravans of packhorses, each horse laden with pelts, whiskey, and other goods for barter. The main Pennsylvania trails were the Kittanning, along the Allegheny River, and the Rays-town Path, from the Ohio to the eastern cities. The pack trains returned with salt, iron, sugar, and perhaps some urban "luxuries" such as crockery. From its communal beginnings, packing became a professional vocation. As waterborne traffic on the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers became safer and more efficient in the early nineteenth century, the pack trains waned.


James T. Lemon, "Urbanization and the Development of Eighteenth-Century Southeastern Pennsylvania and Adjacent Delaware." William and Mary Quarterly 24 (1967): 501–542.

E. DouglasBranch/a. r.

See alsoRural Life ; Wagoners of the Alleghenies .