on Stream Crossings
In pre-modern times ground transportation in the southeaster piedmont experienced three technological transformations. In earliest times cargo traveled on the backs of porters. Pack horses replace porters starting no later than the third quarter of the 17th century. Wagons replaced packhorses starting in the second quarter of the 18th century. Knowing how each of these technologies crossed streams is essential to understanding southeastern settlement patterns.
Travel on land in the southeastern piedmont generally requires dealing with water barriers and precious few water channels. Between Bermuda Hundred and Occaneechi Island there are about 236 named watercourses none of which unmodified was usefully navigable. Between the James River and the Savannah River at Augusta, GA there are 38 large, barrier streams cutting one's path. The least creek could, in spate, after a rain storm, stop a…