EXIT 114 on I-64e, to Ivy Road, RT 29 N, and US-250 BUS, Charlottesville, VA 22903 nr Ivy, Virginia
Many early roads follow old Indian trails. These well worn dirt trails were paved over and made into major roads. Running north south, upcoming Route 29 is known intermittently as the Seminole Trail.
But The Seminoles aren't a Virginia tribe. Seminoles came from Florida about a thousand miles south. So why a Seminole Trail here?
Well it is has been argued the Seminoles were a multi-ethnic tribe from their beginning.
This is to say that the Seminoles are composed of various tribes but also of runaway slaves. Could this trail have been a Road to Freedom to the swamps of Florida?
All across the continent, escaped slaves frequently joined Indians and became part of their tribes. The Seminole were originally part of various tribes from Georgia and they began to migrate south to Northern Florida in the later half of the eighteenth century to avoid white settlers. Other tribes mixed with the Seminoles including Virginia's own Cherokee and Monacan peoples.
The next connecting factor would be the runaway slaves who joined the seminoles. Slaves from as far north as Virginia fled and joined the Seminole and many intermarried. They became known as Black Seminoles.
It could be that this Seminole Trail was actually a part of a little known Underground Railroad which like the Underground Railroad to the north, allowed escaping slaves to find freedom. But instead of escaping north to Canada, this trail took the slaves to Florida where they lived among the Indians as free and equal members of the Seminole tribe.
The history of Black Seminoles is well documented. They were fierce warriors in what became known as the Black Seminole War. In the years around eighteen thirty six (1836), Seminoles and escaped slaves together fought the white man to retain their freedom and their land.
In fact, the Seminoles repulsed the white man many times and are to this day the only Indian Nation who were NOT forced to sign a Peace Treaty. The Seminoles never surrendered.
So to conclude that this Seminole Trail was a road to freedom is no big stretch of imagination.
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