George Washington Papers

[Diary entry: 21 March 1748]

Monday 21st. We went over in a Canoe & Travell’d up Maryland side all the Day in a Continued Rain to Collo. Cresaps right against the Mouth of the South Branch about 40 Miles from Polks I believe the Worst Road that ever was trod by Man or Beast.

Thomas Cresap (1694–1790) was born at Skipton, Yorkshire, Eng., and immigrated to America about 1719, settling first in Maryland and later moving to the area of present-day Wrightsville, Pa. There he became a leader of the Maryland forces in the boundary dispute between Maryland and Pennsylvania, 1730–36. His Pennsylvania establishment was burned by Pennsylvanians in 1736, and he moved to the vicinity of Shawnee Old Town (now Oldtown, Md.), where he built a fortified trading post at the crossroads of a series of trails much traveled by Indians and whites. By 1749, when he was one of the organizers of the Ohio Company, Cresap was widely known throughout the frontier as a trader and land speculator, and Shawnee Old Town had become one of the leading frontier trading posts. Cresap acted as a surveyor and agent for the Ohio Company and helped lay out the company’s road from Wills Creek to the Monongahela. He supported the Patriot cause during the American Revolution, in which his more famous son Michael played a leading role on the frontier.

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