Allegheny Mountains

Allegheny Mountains

Overview
For individual mountains with a similar name, see Allegheny Mountain
Allegheny Mountain
Allegheny Mountain may refer to:* The Allegheny Mountains range in the eastern United States** Mountains within the range, including:***Allegheny Mountain — or "Alleghany" — demarcating much of the border between the two states...

.


The Allegheny Mountain Range (icon), also spelled Alleghany, Allegany and, informally, the Alleghenies, is part of the vast Appalachian Mountain Range
Appalachian Mountains
The Appalachian Mountains #Whether the stressed vowel is or ,#Whether the "ch" is pronounced as a fricative or an affricate , and#Whether the final vowel is the monophthong or the diphthong .), often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America. The Appalachians...

 of the eastern United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. It has a northeast-southwest orientation and runs for about 400 miles (640 km) from north-central Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, through western Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

 and eastern West Virginia
West Virginia
West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

, to southwestern Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

.

The Alleghenies comprise the rugged western-central portion of the Appalachians.
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Encyclopedia
For individual mountains with a similar name, see Allegheny Mountain
Allegheny Mountain
Allegheny Mountain may refer to:* The Allegheny Mountains range in the eastern United States** Mountains within the range, including:***Allegheny Mountain — or "Alleghany" — demarcating much of the border between the two states...

.


The Allegheny Mountain Range (icon), also spelled Alleghany, Allegany and, informally, the Alleghenies, is part of the vast Appalachian Mountain Range
Appalachian Mountains
The Appalachian Mountains #Whether the stressed vowel is or ,#Whether the "ch" is pronounced as a fricative or an affricate , and#Whether the final vowel is the monophthong or the diphthong .), often called the Appalachians, are a system of mountains in eastern North America. The Appalachians...

 of the eastern United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 and Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. It has a northeast-southwest orientation and runs for about 400 miles (640 km) from north-central Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, through western Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

 and eastern West Virginia
West Virginia
West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

, to southwestern Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

.

The Alleghenies comprise the rugged western-central portion of the Appalachians. They rise to approximately 4,862 feet (1,483 m) in northeastern West Virginia. In the east, they are dominated by a high, steep escarpment known as the Allegheny Front
Allegheny Front
The Allegheny Front is the major southeast- or east-facing escarpment in the Allegheny Mountains in southern Pennsylvania, western Maryland, and eastern West Virginia, USA. The Allegheny Front delineates the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians to its east from the Appalachian Plateau to its west...

. In the west, they grade down into the closely associated Allegheny Plateau
Allegheny Plateau
The Allegheny Plateau is a large dissected plateau area in western and central New York, northern and western Pennsylvania, northern and western West Virginia, and eastern Ohio...

 which extends into Ohio
Ohio
Ohio is a Midwestern state in the United States. The 34th largest state by area in the U.S.,it is the 7th‑most populous with over 11.5 million residents, containing several major American cities and seven metropolitan areas with populations of 500,000 or more.The state's capital is Columbus...

 and Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

.

Name


The name derives from the Allegheny River
Allegheny River
The Allegheny River is a principal tributary of the Ohio River; it is located in the Eastern United States. The Allegheny River joins with the Monongahela River to form the Ohio River at the "Point" of Point State Park in Downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania...

, which drains only a small portion of the Alleghenies in west-central Pennsylvania. The meaning of the word, which comes from the Lenape
Lenape
The Lenape are an Algonquian group of Native Americans of the Northeastern Woodlands. They are also called Delaware Indians. As a result of the American Revolutionary War and later Indian removals from the eastern United States, today the main groups live in Canada, where they are enrolled in the...

 (Delaware) Indians, is not definitively known but is usually translated as "fine river". A Lenape legend tells of an ancient tribe called the "Allegewi" who lived on the river and were defeated by the Lenape. Allegheny is the early French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

 spelling (as in Allegheny River, which was once part of New France
New France
New France was the area colonized by France in North America during a period beginning with the exploration of the Saint Lawrence River by Jacques Cartier in 1534 and ending with the cession of New France to Spain and Great Britain in 1763...

), and Allegany is the early English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 spelling (as in Allegany County, Maryland
Allegany County, Maryland
Allegany County is a county located in the northwestern part of the US state of Maryland. It is part of the Cumberland, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of 2010, the population was 75,087. Its county seat is Cumberland...

, a former British Colony).

The word "Allegheny" was once commonly used to refer to the whole of what are now called the Appalachian Mountains. John Norton
John Norton (Mohawk chief)
The Mohawk Major John Norton played a prominent role in the War of 1812, leading Iroquois warriors from Grand River into battle against American invaders at Queenston Heights, Stoney Creek, and Chippawa.-Early life:...

 used it (spelled variously) around 1810 to refer to the mountains in Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

 and Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

. Around the same time, Washington Irving
Washington Irving
Washington Irving was an American author, essayist, biographer and historian of the early 19th century. He was best known for his short stories "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "Rip Van Winkle", both of which appear in his book The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. His historical works...

 proposed renaming the United States either "Appalachia" or "Alleghania". In 1861, Arnold Henry Guyot
Arnold Henry Guyot
Arnold Henry Guyot was a Swiss-American geologist and geographer.-Biography:...

 published the first systematic geologic study of the whole mountain range. His map labeled the range as the "Alleghanies", but his book was titled On the Appalachian Mountain System. As late as 1867, John Muir
John Muir
John Muir was a Scottish-born American naturalist, author, and early advocate of preservation of wilderness in the United States. His letters, essays, and books telling of his adventures in nature, especially in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, have been read by millions...

 — in his book A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf — used the word "Alleghanies" in referring to the southern Appalachians.

There was no general agreement about the "Appalachians" versus the "Alleghanies" until the late 19th century.

Extent


From northeast to southwest, the Allegheny Mountains run about 400 miles (640 km). From west to east, at their widest, they are about 100 miles (160 km).

Although there are no official boundaries to the Allegheny Mountains region, it may be generally defined to the east by the Great Valley
Great Valley (Chester County, Pennsylvania)
Great Valley is a west-to-east valley through the center of Chester County, Pennsylvania, USA. It is also sometimes referred to as Chester Valley, and both names are in use throughout the region. The valley stretches from the Schuylkill River in Montgomery County in the east, southwesterly...

 (locally called the Cumberland Valley
Cumberland Valley
The Cumberland Valley is a constituent valley of the Great Appalachian Valley and a North American agricultural region within the Atlantic Seaboard watershed in Pennsylvania and Maryland....

 in Pennsylvania and the Shenandoah Valley
Shenandoah Valley
The Shenandoah Valley is both a geographic valley and cultural region of western Virginia and West Virginia in the United States. The valley is bounded to the east by the Blue Ridge Mountains, to the west by the eastern front of the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians , to the north by the Potomac River...

 in Virginia); to the north by the Susquehanna River
Susquehanna River
The Susquehanna River is a river located in the northeastern United States. At long, it is the longest river on the American east coast that drains into the Atlantic Ocean, and with its watershed it is the 16th largest river in the United States, and the longest river in the continental United...

 valley; and to the south by the New River valley. To the west, the Alleghenies grade down into the dissected Allegheny Plateau
Allegheny Plateau
The Allegheny Plateau is a large dissected plateau area in western and central New York, northern and western Pennsylvania, northern and western West Virginia, and eastern Ohio...

 (of which they are sometimes considered to be a part). The westernmost ridges are considered to be the Laurel and Chestnut Ridges
Laurel Highlands
The Laurel Highlands is a region in southwestern Pennsylvania made up of Fayette County, Somerset County and Westmoreland County. It has a population of about 600,000 people....

 in Pennsylvania and Laurel
Laurel Mountain (West Virginia)
For other "Laurel Mountains", see Laurel Mountain .Laurel Mountain, also called Laurel Hill, is a long ridge in north-central West Virginia, USA...

 and Rich Mountains in West Virginia.

The mountains to the south of the Alleghenies — the Appalachians in westernmost Virginia, eastern Kentucky, and eastern Tennessee — are the Cumberlands
Cumberland Mountains
The Cumberland Mountains are a mountain range in the southeastern section of the Appalachian Mountains. They are located in southern West Virginia, western Virginia, eastern edges of Kentucky, and eastern middle Tennessee, including the Crab Orchard Mountains...

. The Alleghenies and the Cumberlands both constitute part of the Ridge and Valley Province
Ridge-and-valley Appalachians
The Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians, also called the Ridge and Valley Province or the Valley and Ridge Appalachians, are a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian division and are also a belt within the Appalachian Mountains extending from southeastern New York through northwestern New...

 of the Appalachians.

Allegheny Front and Allegheny Highlands



The eastern edge of the Alleghenies is marked by the Allegheny Front
Allegheny Front
The Allegheny Front is the major southeast- or east-facing escarpment in the Allegheny Mountains in southern Pennsylvania, western Maryland, and eastern West Virginia, USA. The Allegheny Front delineates the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians to its east from the Appalachian Plateau to its west...

, which is also sometimes considered the eastern terminus of the Allegheny Plateau
Allegheny Plateau
The Allegheny Plateau is a large dissected plateau area in western and central New York, northern and western Pennsylvania, northern and western West Virginia, and eastern Ohio...

. This great escarpment
Escarpment
An escarpment is a steep slope or long cliff that occurs from erosion or faulting and separates two relatively level areas of differing elevations.-Description and variants:...

 roughly follows a portion of the Eastern Continental Divide
Eastern Continental Divide
The Eastern Continental Divide, in conjunction with other continental divides of North America, demarcates two watersheds of the Atlantic Ocean: the Gulf of Mexico watershed and the Atlantic Seaboard watershed. Prior to 1760, the divide represented the boundary between British and French colonial...

 in this area. A number of impressive gorges and valleys drain the Alleghenies: to the east, Smoke Hole Canyon
Smoke Hole Canyon
Smoke Hole Canyon — often called simply the Smoke Hole — is a rugged long gorge carved by the South Branch Potomac River in the Allegheny Mountains of eastern West Virginia, USA...

 (South Branch Potomac River) and the Shenandoah Valley
Shenandoah Valley
The Shenandoah Valley is both a geographic valley and cultural region of western Virginia and West Virginia in the United States. The valley is bounded to the east by the Blue Ridge Mountains, to the west by the eastern front of the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians , to the north by the Potomac River...

, and to the west the New River Gorge and the Blackwater
Blackwater Canyon
Blackwater Canyon is a rugged, heavily-wooded, eight-mile long gorge carved by the Blackwater River in the Allegheny Mountains of eastern West Virginia, USA...

 and Cheat Canyon
Cheat Canyon
Cheat Canyon — also called Cheat River Canyon or Cheat River Gorge — is a 10-mile long, forested canyon of the Cheat River at the western edge of the Allegheny Mountains in northeastern West Virginia, USA...

s. Thus, about half the precipitation falling on the Alleghenies makes its way west to the Mississippi
Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is the largest river system in North America. Flowing entirely in the United States, this river rises in western Minnesota and meanders slowly southwards for to the Mississippi River Delta at the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains...

 and half goes east to Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay
The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. It lies off the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by Maryland and Virginia. The Chesapeake Bay's drainage basin covers in the District of Columbia and parts of six states: New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West...

 and the Atlantic seaboard.

The highest ridges of the Alleghenies are just west of the Front, which has an east/west elevational change of up to 3000 feet (914.4 m). Absolute elevations of the Allegheny Highlands reach nearly 5000 feet (1,524 m), with the highest elevations in the southern part of the range. The highest point in the Allegheny Mountains is Spruce Knob
Spruce Knob
Spruce Knob, at , is the highest point in the state of West Virginia and the summit of Spruce Mountain, the tallest mountain in the Alleghenies.-Overview:...

 (4,863 ft/1,482 m), on Spruce Mountain
Spruce Mountain (West Virginia)
Spruce Mountain, in eastern West Virginia, USA, is the highest ridge of the Allegheny Mountains. The "whale-backed" ridge extends for only about , from northeast to southwest, but several of its peaks exceed in elevation...

 in West Virginia
West Virginia
West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

. Other notable Allegheny highpoints include Thorny Flat on Cheat Mountain
Cheat Mountain
Cheat Mountain is an exceptionally high and rugged ridge situated in the Allegheny Mountains of eastern West Virginia, USA. It is about long and more than five miles wide at its widest. Its highest point is at its southernmost end at Thorny Flat, which has an elevation of...

 (4,848 ft/1478 m), Bald Knob
Bald Knob
Bald Knob is the highest summit of Back Allegheny Mountain in Pocahontas County, West Virginia and is part of Cass Scenic Railroad State Park...

 on Back Allegheny Mountain
Back Allegheny Mountain
Back Allegheny Mountain is a long mountain ridge in eastern West Virginia. It is part of the Shavers Fork Mountain Complex in the Allegheny Range of the Appalachians.- Geography :...

 (4,842 ft/1476 m), and Mount Porte Crayon
Mount Porte Crayon
Mount Porte Crayon is a mountain in the Roaring Plains Wilderness of the Monongahela National Forest. It is situated in the extreme northeastern corner of Randolph County, West Virginia, USA, and rises to an elevation of , the elevational climax of the Allegheny Front...

 (4,770 ft/1,454 m), all in West Virginia; Dans Mountain
Dans Mountain
Dans Mountain is located in Allegany County, Maryland, USA between Georges Creek and the North Branch Potomac River. The highest point on Dans Mountain is called Dan's Rock which has an elevation of . The mountain rises above the town of LaVale and the summit is the highest point in Allegany County...

 (2,898 ft/883m) in Maryland, Backbone Mountain
Backbone Mountain
Backbone Mountain is a ridge of the Allegheny Mountains of the central Appalachian Mountain Range. It is situated in the U.S. states of West Virginia and Maryland and forms a portion of the Eastern Continental Divide...

 (3360 ft/1024 m), the highest point in Maryland; Mount Davis
Mount Davis (Pennsylvania)
Mount Davis is the highest point in Pennsylvania. Located in the 5,685 acre Forbes State Forest in Elk Lick Township, Somerset County, it rises to 3,213 ft...

 (3,213 ft/979 m), the highest point in Pennsylvania, and the second highest, Blue Knob (3,146 ft/959 m).

Development


There are very few sizable cities in the Alleghenies. The four largest are (in descending order of population): Altoona
Altoona, Pennsylvania
-History:A major railroad town, Altoona was founded by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1849 as the site for a shop complex. Altoona was incorporated as a borough on February 6, 1854, and as a city under legislation approved on April 3, 1867, and February 8, 1868...

, State College
State College, Pennsylvania
State College is the largest borough in Centre County in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. It is the principal city of the State College, Pennsylvania Metropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses all of Centre County. As of the 2010 census, the borough population was 42,034, and roughly double...

, Johnstown
Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Johnstown is a city in Cambria County, Pennsylvania, United States, west-southwest of Altoona, Pennsylvania and east of Pittsburgh. The population was 20,978 at the 2010 census. It is the principal city of the Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Cambria County...

 (all in Pennsylvania) and Cumberland
Cumberland, Maryland
Cumberland is a city in the far western, Appalachian portion of Maryland, United States. It is the county seat of Allegany County, and the primary city of the Cumberland, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. At the 2010 census, the city had a population of 20,859, and the metropolitan area had a...

 (in Maryland). In the 1970s and '80s, the Interstate Highway System
Interstate Highway System
The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, , is a network of limited-access roads including freeways, highways, and expressways forming part of the National Highway System of the United States of America...

 was extended into the northern portion of the Alleghenies and this region is now serviced by a network of federal expressways — Interstates 80
Interstate 80
Interstate 80 is the second-longest Interstate Highway in the United States, following Interstate 90. It is a transcontinental artery running from downtown San Francisco, California to Teaneck, New Jersey in the New York City Metropolitan Area...

, 70
Interstate 70
Interstate 70 is an Interstate Highway in the United States that runs from Interstate 15 near Cove Fort, Utah, to a Park and Ride near Baltimore, Maryland. It was the first Interstate Highway project in the United States. I-70 approximately traces the path of U.S. Route 40 east of the Rocky...

/76
Interstate 76 (east)
Interstate 76 is an Interstate Highway in the United States, running 435 miles from an interchange with Interstate 71 west of Akron, Ohio, east to Interstate 295 near Camden, New Jersey....

 and 68
Interstate 68
Interstate 68 is a Interstate highway in the U.S. states of West Virginia and Maryland, connecting in Morgantown to in Hancock. is also Corridor E of the Appalachian Development Highway System. From 1965 until the freeway's construction was completed in 1991, it was designated as...

. Interstate 64
Interstate 64
Interstate 64 is an Interstate Highway in the Midwestern and Southeastern United States. Its western terminus is at I-70, U.S. 40, and U.S. 61 in Wentzville, Missouri. Its eastern terminus is at an interchange with I-264 and I-664 at Bowers Hill in Chesapeake, Virginia. As I-64 is concurrent with...

 also traverses the southern extremity of the range, but the Central Alleghenies (the "High Alleghenies" of eastern West Virginia) have posed special problems for highway planners owing to the region's very rugged terrain and environmental sensitivities (see Corridor H.) This region is still serviced by a rather sparse secondary highway system and remains considerably lower in population density than surrounding regions.

Protected areas


Much of the Monongahela
Monongahela National Forest
The Monongahela National Forest is a national forest located in the Allegheny Mountains of eastern West Virginia, USA. It protects over of federally-owned land within a proclamation boundary that includes much of the Potomac Highlands Region and portions of 10 counties.The MNF includes some...

 (West Virginia), George Washington (West Virginia, Virginia) and Jefferson (Virginia) National Forest
United States National Forest
National Forest is a classification of federal lands in the United States.National Forests are largely forest and woodland areas owned by the federal government and managed by the United States Forest Service, part of the United States Department of Agriculture. Land management of these areas...

s lie within the Allegheny Mountains. The Alleghenies also include a number of federally-designated wilderness areas, such as the Dolly Sods Wilderness
Dolly Sods Wilderness
The Dolly Sods Wilderness — originally simply Dolly Sods — is a U.S. Wilderness Area in the Allegheny Mountains of eastern West Virginia, USA, and is part of the Monongahela National Forest of the U.S. Forest Service ....

, Laurel Fork Wilderness
Laurel Fork North Wilderness
Laurel Fork North Wilderness is a U.S. Wilderness Area located in the Greenbrier Ranger District of Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. The Wilderness protects high-elevation lands along Laurel Fork and is bordered by Middle Mountain to the west. It is a companion to Laurel Fork South...

, and Cranberry Wilderness
Cranberry Wilderness
The Cranberry Wilderness is a U.S. Wilderness area in the Monongahela National Forest of southeast West Virginia, USA. Its name derives from the nearby Cranberry Glades as well as from the Cranberry River and Cranberry Mountain...

 in West Virginia.

The mostly completed Allegheny Trail
Allegheny Trail
The Allegheny Trail is a hiking trail that passes through the Allegheny Mountains of eastern West Virginia, USA. It is the longest named trail in the state ....

, a project of the West Virginia Scenic Trails Association since 1975, runs the length of the range within West Virginia. The northern terminus is at the Mason-Dixon Line
Mason-Dixon line
The Mason–Dixon Line was surveyed between 1763 and 1767 by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon in the resolution of a border dispute between British colonies in Colonial America. It forms a demarcation line among four U.S. states, forming part of the borders of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and...

 and the southern is at the West Virginia-Virginia border on Peters Mountain
Peters Mountain
Peters Mountain is a mountain in the Allegheny ridge, which makes it the longest mountain in the Appalachian Mountain Chain. It is located on the border between Alleghany County, VA, Monroe County, WV, Giles Co.,VA, and Craig Co.,VA. Its elevation ranges from on the mountaintop to a low of...

.

Geology


The bedrock of the Alleghenies is mostly sandstone
Sandstone
Sandstone is a sedimentary rock composed mainly of sand-sized minerals or rock grains.Most sandstone is composed of quartz and/or feldspar because these are the most common minerals in the Earth's crust. Like sand, sandstone may be any colour, but the most common colours are tan, brown, yellow,...

 and metamorphosed sandstone, quartzite
Quartzite
Quartzite is a hard metamorphic rock which was originally sandstone. Sandstone is converted into quartzite through heating and pressure usually related to tectonic compression within orogenic belts. Pure quartzite is usually white to gray, though quartzites often occur in various shades of pink...

, which is extremely resistant to weathering. Prominent beds of resistant conglomerate
Conglomerate (geology)
A conglomerate is a rock consisting of individual clasts within a finer-grained matrix that have become cemented together. Conglomerates are sedimentary rocks consisting of rounded fragments and are thus differentiated from breccias, which consist of angular clasts...

 can be found in some areas, such as the Dolly Sods. When it weathers, it leaves behind a pure white quartzite gravel. The rock layers of the Alleghenies were formed during the Appalachian orogeny.

Because of intense freeze-thaw cycles in the higher Alleghenies, there is little native bedrock exposed in most areas. The ground surface usually rests on a massive jumble of sandstone rocks, with air space between them, that are gradually moving down-slope. The crest of the Allegheny Front is an exception, where high bluffs are often exposed.

Flora


The High Alleghenies are noted for their forests of red spruce
Red Spruce
Picea rubens is a species of spruce native to eastern North America, ranging from eastern Quebec to Nova Scotia, and from New England south in the Adirondack Mountains and Appalachians to western North Carolina.-Physical description:...

, balsam fir
Balsam Fir
The balsam fir is a North American fir, native to most of eastern and central Canada and the northeastern United States .-Growth:It is a small to medium-size evergreen tree typically tall, rarely to tall, with a narrow conic crown...

, and mountain ash
Sorbus
Sorbus is a genus of about 100–200 species of trees and shrubs in the subfamily Maloideae of the Rose family Rosaceae. Species of Sorbus are commonly known as whitebeam, rowan, service tree, and mountain ash...

, trees typically found much farther north. Hardwood forests also include yellow birch
Yellow Birch
Betula alleghaniensis , is a species of birch native to eastern North America, from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, southern Quebec and Ontario, and the southeast corner of Manitoba in Canada, west to Minnesota, and south in the Appalachian Mountains to northern Georgia.It is a...

, sugar
Sugar Maple
Acer saccharum is a species of maple native to the hardwood forests of northeastern North America, from Nova Scotia west to southern Ontario, and south to Georgia and Texas...

 and red maple
Red Maple
Acer rubrum , is one of the most common and widespread deciduous trees of eastern North America. It ranges from the Lake of the Woods on the border between Ontario and Minnesota, east to Newfoundland, south to near Miami, Florida, and southwest to east Texas...

, eastern hemlock
Eastern Hemlock
Tsuga canadensis, also known as eastern or Canadian hemlock, and in the French-speaking regions of Canada as pruche du Canada, is a coniferous tree native to eastern North America. It ranges from northeastern Minnesota eastward through southern Quebec to Nova Scotia, and south in the Appalachian...

, and black cherry
Black Cherry
Prunus serotina, commonly called black cherry, wild black cherry, rum cherry, or mountain black cherry, is a woody plant species belonging to the genus Prunus...

. American beech
American Beech
Fagus grandifolia, also known as American Beech or North american beech, is a species of beech native to eastern North America, from Nova Scotia west to southern Ontario in southeastern Canada, west to Wisconsin and south to eastern Texas and northern Florida in the United States. Trees in the...

, pine and hickory can also be found. The forests of the entire region are now almost all second- or third-growth forests
Secondary forest
A secondary forest is a forest or woodland area which has re-grown after a major disturbance such as fire, insect infestation, timber harvest or windthrow, until a long enough period has passed so that the effects of the disturbance are no longer evident...

, the original trees having been removed in the late 19th and (in West Virginia) early 20th centuries. The wild onion
Wild onion
Wild onion can refer to* any uncultivated species in the genus Allium, especially:**Allium bisceptrum** Allium canadense** Allium validum** Allium vineale* Cyperus bulbosus* Bulbine semibarbata...

 known as the ramp (Allium tricoccum) is also present in the deeper forests.

Certain isolated areas in the High Alleghenies are well known for their open expanses of sphagnum bogs and heath shrubs (e.g., Dolly Sods, Cranberry Glades). Many plant communities are indeed similar to those of sea-level eastern Canada. But the ecosystem
Ecosystem
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving , physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight....

s within the Alleghenies are remarkably varied. In recent decades, the many stages of ecologic succession throughout the area have made the region one of enduring interest to botanists.

Fauna


The larger megafauna
Megafauna
In terrestrial zoology, megafauna are "giant", "very large" or "large" animals. The most common thresholds used are or...

 which once inhabited the High Alleghenies — elk
Elk
The Elk is the large deer, also called Cervus canadensis or wapiti, of North America and eastern Asia.Elk may also refer to:Other antlered mammals:...

, bison
Bison
Members of the genus Bison are large, even-toed ungulates within the subfamily Bovinae. Two extant and four extinct species are recognized...

, mountain lion — were all exterminated during the 19th century. They survived longer in this area, however, than in other parts of the eastern United States. Naturalist John James Audubon
John James Audubon
John James Audubon was a French-American ornithologist, naturalist, and painter. He was notable for his expansive studies to document all types of American birds and for his detailed illustrations that depicted the birds in their natural habitats...

 reported that by 1851 a few eastern elk (Cervus canadensis canadiensis) could still be found in the Alleghany Mountains but that by then they were virtually gone from the remainder of their range. Mammals in the Allegheny region today include whitetail deer, chipmunk
Chipmunk
Chipmunks are small striped squirrels native to North America and Asia. They are usually classed either as a single genus with three subgenera, or as three genera.-Etymology and taxonomy:...

, raccoon
Raccoon
Procyon is a genus of nocturnal mammals, comprising three species commonly known as raccoons, in the family Procyonidae. The most familiar species, the common raccoon , is often known simply as "the" raccoon, as the two other raccoon species in the genus are native only to the tropics and are...

, skunk
Skunk
Skunks are mammals best known for their ability to secrete a liquid with a strong, foul odor. General appearance varies from species to species, from black-and-white to brown or cream colored. Skunks belong to the family Mephitidae and to the order Carnivora...

, groundhog
Groundhog
The groundhog , also known as a woodchuck, whistle-pig, or in some areas as a land-beaver, is a rodent of the family Sciuridae, belonging to the group of large ground squirrels known as marmots. Other marmots, such as the yellow-bellied and hoary marmots, live in rocky and mountainous areas, but...

, opossum, weasel
Weasel
Weasels are mammals forming the genus Mustela of the Mustelidae family. They are small, active predators, long and slender with short legs....

, field mouse
Field mouse
Field mouse may refer to:*in Europe, Asia and north Africa, one of several species of mice in genus Apodemus*in North America, a small vole such as the Meadow Vole*in South America, one of several species of mice in genus Akodon...

, flying squirrel
Flying squirrel
Flying squirrels, scientifically known as Pteromyini or Petauristini, are a tribe of 44 species of squirrels .- Description :...

, cottontail rabbit
Cottontail rabbit
The cottontail rabbits are among the 16 lagomorph species in the genus Sylvilagus, found in the Americas.In appearance, most cottontail rabbits closely resemble the wild European Rabbit...

, gray foxes, red foxes, gray squirrels, red squirrels and a cave bat
Bat
Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera "hand" and pteron "wing") whose forelimbs form webbed wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight. By contrast, other mammals said to fly, such as flying squirrels, gliding possums, and colugos, glide rather than fly,...

. Bobcat
Bobcat
The bobcat is a North American mammal of the cat family Felidae, appearing during the Irvingtonian stage of around 1.8 million years ago . With twelve recognized subspecies, it ranges from southern Canada to northern Mexico, including most of the continental United States...

, snowshoe hare
Snowshoe Hare
The Snowshoe Hare , also called the Varying Hare, or Snowshoe Rabbit, is a species of hare found in North America. It has the name "snowshoe" because of the large size of its hind feet and the marks its tail leaves. The animal's feet prevent it from sinking into the snow when it hops and walks...

, wild boar and black bear
American black bear
The American black bear is a medium-sized bear native to North America. It is the continent's smallest and most common bear species. Black bears are omnivores, with their diets varying greatly depending on season and location. They typically live in largely forested areas, but do leave forests in...

 are also found in the forests and parks of the Alleghenies. Mink
Mink
There are two living species referred to as "mink": the European Mink and the American Mink. The extinct Sea Mink is related to the American Mink, but was much larger. All three species are dark-colored, semi-aquatic, carnivorous mammals of the family Mustelidae, which also includes the weasels and...

 and beaver
Beaver
The beaver is a primarily nocturnal, large, semi-aquatic rodent. Castor includes two extant species, North American Beaver and Eurasian Beaver . Beavers are known for building dams, canals, and lodges . They are the second-largest rodent in the world...

 are much less often seen.

These mountains and plateau have over 20 species of reptiles represented as lizard, skink, turtle and snake. Some of the Icterid
Icterid
The Icterids are a group of small to medium-sized, often colorful passerine birds restricted to the New World. Most species have black as a predominant plumage color, often enlivened by yellow, orange or red. The family is extremely varied in size, shape, behavior and coloration...

 birds visit the mountains as well as the hermit thrush
Hermit Thrush
The Hermit Thrush is a medium-sized North American thrush. It is not very closely related to the other North American migrant species of Catharus, but rather to the Mexican Russet Nightingale-thrush.-Description:...

 and wood thrush
Wood Thrush
The Wood Thrush, Hylocichla mustelina, is a North American passerine bird. It is closely related to other thrushes such as the American Robin and is widely distributed across North America, wintering in Central America and southern Mexico...

. North American migrant birds live throughout the mountains during the warmer seasons. Occasionally, osprey
Osprey
The Osprey , sometimes known as the sea hawk or fish eagle, is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey. It is a large raptor, reaching more than in length and across the wings...

 and eagle
Golden Eagle
The Golden Eagle is one of the best known birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. Once widespread across the Holarctic, it has disappeared from many of the more heavily populated areas...

s can be found nesting along the streams. The hawk
Hawk
The term hawk can be used in several ways:* In strict usage in Australia and Africa, to mean any of the species in the subfamily Accipitrinae, which comprises the genera Accipiter, Micronisus, Melierax, Urotriorchis and Megatriorchis. The large and widespread Accipiter genus includes goshawks,...

s and owl
Owl
Owls are a group of birds that belong to the order Strigiformes, constituting 200 bird of prey species. Most are solitary and nocturnal, with some exceptions . Owls hunt mostly small mammals, insects, and other birds, although a few species specialize in hunting fish...

s are the most common birds of prey.

The water habitat of the Alleghenies holds 24 families of fish. Amphibian species number about twenty one. Among them are hellbenders, salamanders, toads and frogs. The Alleghenies provide habitat for about 54 species of common invertebrate
Invertebrate
An invertebrate is an animal without a backbone. The group includes 97% of all animal species – all animals except those in the chordate subphylum Vertebrata .Invertebrates form a paraphyletic group...

. These include Gastropoda
Gastropoda
The Gastropoda or gastropods, more commonly known as snails and slugs, are a large taxonomic class within the phylum Mollusca. The class Gastropoda includes snails and slugs of all kinds and all sizes from microscopic to quite large...

, slugs, leech
Leech
Leeches are segmented worms that belong to the phylum Annelida and comprise the subclass Hirudinea. Like other oligochaetes such as earthworms, leeches share a clitellum and are hermaphrodites. Nevertheless, they differ from other oligochaetes in significant ways...

, earthworms and grub worm. Cave
Cave
A cave or cavern is a natural underground space large enough for a human to enter. The term applies to natural cavities some part of which is in total darkness. The word cave also includes smaller spaces like rock shelters, sea caves, and grottos.Speleology is the science of exploration and study...

 crayfish
Crayfish
Crayfish, crawfish, or crawdads – members of the superfamilies Astacoidea and Parastacoidea – are freshwater crustaceans resembling small lobsters, to which they are related...

 (Cambarus nerterius
Cambarus nerterius
Cambarus nerterius is a species of crayfish in the family Cambaridae. It is endemic to the state of West Virginia in the United States. It is found only in or immediately adjacent to caves in Greenbrier and Pocahontas counties, and is included on the IUCN Red List as a Near Threatened species....

) live alongside a little over seven dozen cave invertebrate
Invertebrate
An invertebrate is an animal without a backbone. The group includes 97% of all animal species – all animals except those in the chordate subphylum Vertebrata .Invertebrates form a paraphyletic group...

s.

Pre-contact Native Americans


The prehistoric people inhabiting the Allegheny Mountains emerged from the greater region's archaic and mound building cultures
West Virginia Prehistory
The Prehistory of West Virginia spans ancient times until the arrival of Europeans in early 17th century. Hunters ventured into West Virginia's mountain valleys making temporary camp villages since the Archaic period in the Americas. Many ancient human-made earthen mounds from various mound builder...

, particularly the Adena
Adena
Adena can mean:*Adena, Ohio, USA*Adena, Colorado, USA*The Adena culture, a Mound-building Native American culture.*The Adena Mansion, Thomas Worthington's home and estate in Chillicothe, Ohio...

 and Eastern Woodland peoples with a later Hopewellian
Hopewell culture
The Hopewell tradition is the term used to describe common aspects of the Native American culture that flourished along rivers in the northeastern and midwestern United States from 200 BCE to 500 CE. The Hopewell tradition was not a single culture or society, but a widely dispersed set of related...

 influence. These Late Middle Woodland culture people have been called the Montaine (ca. A.D. 500 to 1000) culture. Their neighbors, the woodland Buck Garden culture, lived in the western valleys of the central Allegheny range. The Montaine sites extend from the tributaries of the upper Potomac River
Potomac River
The Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay, located along the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. The river is approximately long, with a drainage area of about 14,700 square miles...

 region south to the New River tributaries. These also were influenced by the earlier Armstrong culture
Armstrong culture
The Armstrong culture were a Hopewell group in the Big Sandy River Valley of Northeastern Kentucky and Western West Virginia from 1 to 500 CE.-Origins:...

 of the more southwestern portions northern sub-range of the Ouasioto (Cumberland) Mountains
Cumberland Mountains
The Cumberland Mountains are a mountain range in the southeastern section of the Appalachian Mountains. They are located in southern West Virginia, western Virginia, eastern edges of Kentucky, and eastern middle Tennessee, including the Crab Orchard Mountains...

 and by the more easterly Virginia Woodland people. The Late Woodland Montaine were less influenced by Hopewellian trade from Ohio, although similarly polished stone tools have been found among the Montaine sites in the Tygart Valley
Tygart Valley River
The Tygart Valley River — also known as the Tygart River — is a principal tributary of the Monongahela River, approximately long, in east-central West Virginia, USA...

. Small groups of Montaine people appear to have lingered much beyond their classically defined period in parts of the most mountainous valleys.

The watershed of the Monongahela River
Monongahela River
The Monongahela River is a river on the Allegheny Plateau in north-central West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania in the United States...

 is within the northwestern Alleghenies, and it is from it that the Monongahela
Monongahela tribe
The Monongahela culture were a Native American cultural manifestation of Late Woodland peoples in present-day western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and West Virginia from AD 1050 to 1635...

 culture takes its name. The Godwin-Portman site (36AL39) located in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
Allegheny County is a county in the southwestern part of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 1,223,348; making it the second most populous county in Pennsylvania, following Philadelphia County. The county seat is Pittsburgh...

, had a possible Fort Ancient
Fort Ancient
Fort Ancient is a name for a Native American culture that flourished from 1000-1750 CE among a people who predominantly inhabited land along the Ohio River in areas of modern-day Southern Ohio, Northern Kentucky, Southeastern Indiana and Western West Virginia. They were a maize based agricultural...

 (ca. AD 850 to 1680) presence during the 15th century. Washington Boro ceramics have been found on the Barton (18AG3) and Llewellyn (18AG26) sites in Maryland on the northeastern slopes of the late Susquehannock sequence. The early Monongahela (ca. AD 900 to 1630) are called the Drew Tradition in Pennsylvania. According to Richard L. George: "I believe that some of the Monongahela were of Algonquin origin.... Other scholars have suggested that Iroquoian speakers were interacting with Late Monongahela people, and additional evidence is presented to confirm this. I conclude that the archaeologically conceived term, Monongahela, likely encompasses speakers of several languages, including Siouan." According to Dr Maslowski of West Virginia in 2009: "The New River Drainage and upper Potomac represents the range of the Huffman Phase (Page) hunting and gathering area or when it is found in small amounts on village sites, trade ware or Page women being assimulated into another village (tribe)." Finally, according to Prof Potter of Virginia, they [the people represented by the Huffman Phase of Page pottery] had occupied the eastern slopes of the Alleghenies on the upper Potomac to the northern, lower Shenandoah Valley
Shenandoah Valley
The Shenandoah Valley is both a geographic valley and cultural region of western Virginia and West Virginia in the United States. The valley is bounded to the east by the Blue Ridge Mountains, to the west by the eastern front of the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians , to the north by the Potomac River...

 region before the A.D. 1300 Luray Phase (Algonquian
Algonquian peoples
The Algonquian are one of the most populous and widespread North American native language groups, with tribes originally numbering in the hundreds. Today hundreds of thousands of individuals identify with various Algonquian peoples...

) peoples' "invasion". It is thought that these ancient Alleghenians were pushed from the classic Huffman Phase of the eastern slopes of the Alleghenies to the Blue Ridge Mountains
Blue Ridge Mountains
The Blue Ridge Mountains are a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian Mountains range. This province consists of northern and southern physiographic regions, which divide near the Roanoke River gap. The mountain range is located in the eastern United States, starting at its southern-most...

 in western Virginia
Virginia
The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

, which was eastern Siouan territory.

In 1669, John Lederer
John Lederer
John Lederer was a 17th-century German physician and an explorer of the Appalachian Mountains. He and the members of his party became the first Europeans to crest the Blue Ridge Mountains and the first to see the Shenandoah Valley and the Allegheny Mountains beyond...

 and members of his party became the first Europeans to crest the Blue Ridge Mountains
Blue Ridge Mountains
The Blue Ridge Mountains are a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian Mountains range. This province consists of northern and southern physiographic regions, which divide near the Roanoke River gap. The mountain range is located in the eastern United States, starting at its southern-most...

 and the first to see the Shenandoah Valley
Shenandoah Valley
The Shenandoah Valley is both a geographic valley and cultural region of western Virginia and West Virginia in the United States. The valley is bounded to the east by the Blue Ridge Mountains, to the west by the eastern front of the Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians , to the north by the Potomac River...

 and the Allegheny Mountains beyond.

Native Americans in the 17th century


The proto-historic Alleghenies can be exampled by the earliest journals of the colonists. According to Batts and Fallows' September, 1671 Expedition, they found Mehetan Indians of Mountain "Cherokee-Iroquois" mix on the New River tributaries. This journal does not identify the "Salt Village", but, that the "Mehetan" were associated with these and today thought to be "Monetons
Monetons
The Moneton people were a historical Native American tribe from West Virginia'. In the late 17th century, they lived in the Kanawha Valley, near the Kanawha and New Rivers.-Name:...

", Siouans. However, this journal does not identify the "Salt Village" below the Kanawha Falls
Glen Ferris, West Virginia
Glen Ferris is an unincorporated census-designated place on the western bank of the Kanawha River in Fayette County, West Virginia. It is situated approximately one mile south of the town of Gauley Bridge. The sole highway linking Glen Ferris to the area is U.S. Route 60, known also as the Midland...

, but, that simply the "Mehetan" were associated with these. He explained, below the "Salt Villages", a mass of hostile Indians had, implied, arrived and some believe these to be "Shanwans" of Vielles Expedition of 1692~94, ancient Shawnee. In 1669, John Lederer of Maryland for the Virginia Colony and the Tennessee Cherokee had visited the mouth of the Kanawha and reported no hostilities on the lower streams of the Alleghenies. The Mohetan representative through a Siouan translator explained to Mr Batts and Mr Fallon, Colonel Abraham Wood
Abraham Wood
Abraham Wood , sometimes referred to as "General" or "Colonel" Wood, was an English fur trader and explorer of 17th century colonial Virginia...

s exploriers 1671-2, the he (Moheton Native American) could not say much about the people below the "Salt Village" because they (Mountain Cherokee) were not associated with them. The Mohetan was armed by this time of 1671 for the Mohetan Representative was given several pouches of ammunition for his and the other's weapons as a token of friendship. Somebody had already been trading within the central Alleghenies before the Virginians historical record begins in the Allegheny Mountains. Some earlier scholars found evidence these Proto-historics were either Cistercians of Spanish Ajacan
Ajacan
Ajacán in the province of Axacan, variants include Xacan, Jacan, Iacan, Axaca, Axacam; was located on the Chesapeake Bay, in present day Virginia, United States...

 Occuquan outpost on the Potomac River
Potomac River
The Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay, located along the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. The river is approximately long, with a drainage area of about 14,700 square miles...

 or Jesuits and their Kahnawake Praying Indians (Mohawk
Mohawk nation
Mohawk are the most easterly tribe of the Iroquois confederation. They call themselves Kanien'gehaga, people of the place of the flint...

) on the Riviere de la Ronceverte
Greenbrier River
The Greenbrier River is a tributary of the New River, long, in southeastern West Virginia, USA. Via the New, Kanawha and Ohio Rivers, it is part of the watershed of the Mississippi River, draining an area of...

. The "Kanawha Madonna
Kanawha Madonna
The Kanawha Madonna is a wood carving of a person holding a four-legged animal. The carving is currently part of the collection of the West Virginia State Museum and displayed in the Cultural Center as an example of prehistoric Native American wood carving. The statue is nearly tall with a in...

" may date from this period or earlier. Where the New River breaks through Peters’ Mountain, near Pearisburg Virginia the 1671 journal mentions the "Moketans had formerly lived."

According to a number of early 17th century maps, the Messawomeake or "Mincquas" (Dutch) occupied the northern Allegheny Mountains. The "Shatteras" (an ancient Tutelo) occupied the Ouasioto Mountains and the earliest term Canaraguy (Kanawhans otherwise Canawest) on the 1671 French map occupied the southerly Alleghenies. They were associated with the Allegheny "Cherokee" and Eastern Siouan as trade-movers and canoe transporters. The Calicuas, an ancient most northern Cherokee, migrated or was pushed from the Central Ohio Valley onto the north eastern slopes of the Alleghenies of the ancient Messawomeake, Iroquois tradesmen to 1630s Kent Island, by 1710 maps. Sometime before 1712, the Canawest ("Kanawhans"-"Canallaway"-"Canaragay") had moved to the upper Potomac and made a Treaty with the newly established trading post of Fort Conolloway which would become a part of western Maryland during the 1740s.

White trading posts and other settlements


Prior to European exploration and settlement, trails through the Alleghenies
Great Indian Warpath
The Great Indian Warpath — also known as the Great Indian War and Trading Path, or the Seneca Trail — was that part of the network of trails in eastern North America developed and used by Native Americans which ran through the Great Appalachian Valley...

 had been transited for many generations by American Indian tribes such as the Iroquois
Iroquois
The Iroquois , also known as the Haudenosaunee or the "People of the Longhouse", are an association of several tribes of indigenous people of North America...

, Shawnee
Shawnee
The Shawnee, Shaawanwaki, Shaawanooki and Shaawanowi lenaweeki, are an Algonquian-speaking people native to North America. Historically they inhabited the areas of Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Western Maryland, Kentucky, Indiana, and Pennsylvania...

, Delaware
Lenape
The Lenape are an Algonquian group of Native Americans of the Northeastern Woodlands. They are also called Delaware Indians. As a result of the American Revolutionary War and later Indian removals from the eastern United States, today the main groups live in Canada, where they are enrolled in the...

, Catawba
Catawba (tribe)
The Catawba are a federally recognized tribe of Native Americans, known as the Catawba Indian Nation. They live in the Southeast United States, along the border between North and South Carolina near the city of Rock Hill...

 and others, for purposes of trade
Trade
Trade is the transfer of ownership of goods and services from one person or entity to another. Trade is sometimes loosely called commerce or financial transaction or barter. A network that allows trade is called a market. The original form of trade was barter, the direct exchange of goods and...

, hunting
Hunting
Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

 and, especially, warfare
Endemic warfare
Endemic warfare is the state of continual, low-threshold warfare in a tribal warrior society. Endemic warfare is often highly ritualized and plays an important function in assisting the formation of a social structure among the tribes' men by proving themselves in battle.Ritual fighting permits...

. Western Virginia "Cherokee
Cherokee
The Cherokee are a Native American people historically settled in the Southeastern United States . Linguistically, they are part of the Iroquoian language family...

" were reported at Cherokee Falls
Valley Falls State Park
Valley Falls State Park is a 1,145 acre day use facility sited along both banks of the Tygart Valley River. The park is located about 7 miles south of exit 137 of I-79, near Fairmont, West Virginia....

, today's Valley Falls
Valley Falls State Park
Valley Falls State Park is a 1,145 acre day use facility sited along both banks of the Tygart Valley River. The park is located about 7 miles south of exit 137 of I-79, near Fairmont, West Virginia....

 of the Tygart Valley
Tygart Valley River
The Tygart Valley River — also known as the Tygart River — is a principal tributary of the Monongahela River, approximately long, in east-central West Virginia, USA...

. Indian trader Charles Poke's trading post dates from 1731 with the Calicuas of Cherokee Falls still in the region from the previous century.

The "London Scribes" (The Crown's taxation records) vaguely mentions the colonial Alleghenian location of only a few other early colonial trading locations. A general knowledge of these few outposts are more of traditional telling of some local people. However, an example is the "Van Metre" trading house mentioned in an earlier edition of the "Wonderful West Virginia Magazine" being on the South Branches of the upper reaches of the Potomac. Another very early trading house appears on a lower Greenbrier Valley map during the earlier decades of the 18th century.

As early as 1719, new arrivals from Europe began to cross the lower Susquehanna River and settle illegally in defiance of the Board of Property in Pennsylvania, on un-warranted land of the northeastern drainage rivers of the Allegheny Mountains. Several Indian Nations requested the removal of "Maryland Intruders". Some of these moved onward as territory opened up beyond the Alleghenies.

First surveys



Among the first whites to penetrate into the Allegheny Mountains were surveyors attempting to settle a dispute over the extent of lands belonging to either Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron
Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron
Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron was the son of Thomas Fairfax, 5th Lord Fairfax of Cameron and of Catherine, daughter of Thomas Culpeper, 2nd Baron Culpeper of Thoresway....

 or to the English Privy Council
Privy council
A privy council is a body that advises the head of state of a nation, typically, but not always, in the context of a monarchic government. The word "privy" means "private" or "secret"; thus, a privy council was originally a committee of the monarch's closest advisors to give confidential advice on...

. An expedition of 1736 by John Savage
John Savage (surveyor)
John Savage was an 18th century surveyor of colonial Virginia. He surveyed as part of a 1736 expedition to settle a boundary dispute between Lord Fairfax and the English Privy Council concerning the extent of the vast Northern Neck land grant....

 established the location of the source of the North Branch Potomac River. An expedition ten years later by Peter Jefferson
Peter Jefferson
Peter Jefferson was the father of American President Thomas Jefferson . A surveyor and cartographer, his Fry-Jefferson Map of 1751 accurately depicted the Allegheny Mountains for the first time and showed the route of "The Great Road from the Yadkin River thro Virginia to Philadelphia distant 455...

 and Thomas Lewis
Thomas Lewis (Virginia)
Thomas Lewis was an Irish-American surveyor, lawyer, and a pioneer of early Virginia. He was a signatory to the Fairfax Resolves preceding the American War for Independence, and after the conflict, contributed to the settlement of western Virginia in an area that would one day become part of West...

 emplaced the “Fairfax Stone
Fairfax Stone
Fairfax Stone Historical Monument State Park is a West Virginia state park commemorating the Fairfax Stone, a surveyor's marker and boundary stone at the source of the North Branch of the Potomac River in West Virginia...

” at the source and established a line of demarcation (the “Fairfax Line
Fairfax Line
The Fairfax Line was a surveyor's line run in 1746 to establish the limits of the "Northern Neck land grant" in colonial Virginia....

”) extending from the stone south-east to the headwaters of the Rappahannock River
Rappahannock River
The Rappahannock River is a river in eastern Virginia, in the United States, approximately in length. It traverses the entire northern part of the state, from the Blue Ridge Mountains in the west, across the Piedmont, to the Chesapeake Bay, south of the Potomac River.An important river in American...

. Lewis' journal of that expedition provides a valuable view of the Allegheny country before its settlement. Jefferson and Joshua Fry
Joshua Fry
Colonel Joshua Fry was a surveyor, adventurer, mapmaker, soldier, and member of the House of Burgesses, the legislature of the colony of Virginia...

's "Fry-Jefferson Map" of 1751 accurately depicted the Alleghenies for the first time.

In the following decades, pioneer settlers arrived in the Alleghenies, especially during Colonial Virginia's Robert Dinwiddie
Robert Dinwiddie
Robert Dinwiddie was a British colonial administrator who served as lieutenant governor of colonial Virginia from 1751 to 1758, first under Governor Willem Anne van Keppel, 2nd Earl of Albemarle, and then, from July 1756 to January 1758, as deputy for John Campbell, 4th Earl of Loudoun...

 era (1751–58). These included squatters by the Quit-rent
Quit-rent
Quit rent , Quit-rent, or quitrent, in practically all cases, is now effectively but not formally a tax or land tax imposed on freehold or leased land by a higher landowning authority, usually a government or its assigns....

 Law. Some had preceded the official surveyors using a "hack on the tree and field of corn" marking land ownership approved by the Virginia Colonial Governor who had to be replaced with Governor John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore
John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore
John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore was a British peer and colonial governor. He was the son of William Murray, 3rd Earl of Dunmore, and his wife Catherine . He is best remembered as the last royal governor of the Colony of Virginia.John was the eldest son of William and Catherine Murray, and nephew...

.

First roads


Trans-Allegheny travel had been facilitated when a military trail — Braddock Road
Braddock Road (Route 40)
The Braddock Road was a military road built in 1755 in what was then British America and is now the United States. It was the first improved road to cross the barrier of the successive ridgelines of the Appalachian Mountains...

 — was blazed and opened by the Ohio Company
Ohio Company
The Ohio Company, formally known as the Ohio Company of Virginia, was a land speculation company organized for the settlement by Virginians of the Ohio Country and to trade with the Indians there...

 in 1751. (It followed an earlier Indian and pioneer trail known as Nemacolin's Path
Nemacolin's Path
thumb|450px|[[Braddock's Road|General Braddock's March]] follows or parallel's Chief Nemacolin's Trail from the Potomac River to the Monogahela. The wagon negotiable route from the summit to [[Redstone Creek]] was bypassed by Braddock...

.) Braddock Road connected Cumberland, Maryland
Cumberland, Maryland
Cumberland is a city in the far western, Appalachian portion of Maryland, United States. It is the county seat of Allegany County, and the primary city of the Cumberland, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. At the 2010 census, the city had a population of 20,859, and the metropolitan area had a...

 (the upper limit of navigation on the Potomac River
Potomac River
The Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay, located along the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States. The river is approximately long, with a drainage area of about 14,700 square miles...

) and the forks of the Ohio River
Ohio River
The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

 (the future Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh is the second-largest city in the US Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Allegheny County. Regionally, it anchors the largest urban area of Appalachia and the Ohio River Valley, and nationally, it is the 22nd-largest urban area in the United States...

). It received its name from the British leader of the French and Indian War
French and Indian War
The French and Indian War is the common American name for the war between Great Britain and France in North America from 1754 to 1763. In 1756, the war erupted into the world-wide conflict known as the Seven Years' War and thus came to be regarded as the North American theater of that war...

, General Edward Braddock
Edward Braddock
General Edward Braddock was a British soldier and commander-in-chief for the 13 colonies during the actions at the start of the French and Indian War...

, who led the ill-fated Braddock expedition
Braddock expedition
The Braddock expedition, also called Braddock's campaign or, more commonly, Braddock's Defeat, was a failed British military expedition which attempted to capture the French Fort Duquesne in the summer of 1755 during the French and Indian War. It was defeated at the Battle of the Monongahela on...

 four years later.

In addition to the war, hunting and trading with Indians were primary motivations for white movement across the mountains. Permanent white settlement of the northern Alleghenies was facilitated by the explorations and stories of such noted Marylanders as the Indian fighter and trader Thomas Cresap
Thomas Cresap
Colonel Thomas Cresap was an English-born pioneer settler in the state of Maryland, and an agent of Lord Baltimore in the Maryland-Pennsylvania boundary dispute. During the dispute, Cresap became a notorious figure in the Conejohela Flats areathe Susquehanna Valley in the area south of Wright's...

 (1702–90) and the backwoodsman and hunter Meshach Browning
Meshach Browning
Meshach Browning was an early backwoodsman, hunter and explorer of the watersheds of the North Branch Potomac and Youghiogheny Rivers. His memoir is Forty-Four Years of the Life of a Hunter...

 (1781–1859).

The Braddock Road was superseded by the Cumberland Road (also called the National Road), one of the first major improved highways in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 to be built by the federal government
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

. Construction began in 1811 at Cumberland and the road reached Wheeling, Virginia (now West Virginia
West Virginia
West Virginia is a state in the Appalachian and Southeastern regions of the United States, bordered by Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, Ohio to the northwest, Pennsylvania to the northeast and Maryland to the east...

) on the Ohio River
Ohio River
The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

 in 1818.

First railroads


Construction on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad
The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad was one of the oldest railroads in the United States and the first common carrier railroad. It came into being mostly because the city of Baltimore wanted to compete with the newly constructed Erie Canal and another canal being proposed by Pennsylvania, which...

 began at Baltimore
Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

 in 1828; the B&O traversed the Alleghenies, changing the economy and society of the Mountains forever. The B&O had reached Martinsburg, (West) Virginia
Martinsburg, West Virginia
Martinsburg is a city in the Eastern Panhandle region of West Virginia, United States. The city's population was 14,972 at the 2000 census; according to a 2009 Census Bureau estimate, Martinsburg's population was 17,117, making it the largest city in the Eastern Panhandle and the eighth largest...

 by May 1842, Hancock, (West) Virginia
Hancock, West Virginia
Hancock is an unincorporated hamlet in Morgan County in the U.S. state of West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle. It is located off of Hancock Road on River Road along the Potomac River north of Berkeley Springs...

, by June, Cumberland, Maryland
Cumberland, Maryland
Cumberland is a city in the far western, Appalachian portion of Maryland, United States. It is the county seat of Allegany County, and the primary city of the Cumberland, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. At the 2010 census, the city had a population of 20,859, and the metropolitan area had a...

, on November 5, 1842, Piedmont, (West) Virginia
Piedmont, West Virginia
Piedmont is a town in Mineral County, West Virginia, United States. It is part of the 'Cumberland, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area'. The population was 1,014 at the 2000 census. Piedmont was chartered in 1856...

 on July 21, 1851 and Fairmont, Virginia
Fairmont, West Virginia
Fairmont is a city in Marion County, West Virginia, United States. Nicknamed "The Friendly City". The population was 18,704 at the 2010 census...

 on June 22, 1852. (It finally reached its Ohio River
Ohio River
The Ohio River is the largest tributary, by volume, of the Mississippi River. At the confluence, the Ohio is even bigger than the Mississippi and, thus, is hydrologically the main stream of the whole river system, including the Allegheny River further upstream...

 terminus at Wheeling, (West) Virginia
Wheeling, West Virginia
Wheeling is a city in Ohio and Marshall counties in the U.S. state of West Virginia; it is the county seat of Ohio County. Wheeling is the principal city of the Wheeling Metropolitan Statistical Area...

 on January 1, 1853.)

Civil War


Lying astride the Mason-Dixon Line
Mason-Dixon line
The Mason–Dixon Line was surveyed between 1763 and 1767 by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon in the resolution of a border dispute between British colonies in Colonial America. It forms a demarcation line among four U.S. states, forming part of the borders of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and...

 — traditional dividing line between "North" and "South" in the eastern United States — the Alleghenies were among the areas most directly affected by the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

 (1861–1865). The very rugged terrain, however, was not amenable to a large-scale maneuver war and so the actions that the area witnessed were generally guerrilla in nature.

The 20th century



Dr. Martin Luther King referenced the Allegheny Mountains in his famous "I Have a Dream
I Have a Dream
"I Have a Dream" is a 17-minute public speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered on August 28, 1963, in which he called for racial equality and an end to discrimination...

" speech (1963), when he said "Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!"

External links