The Mohawk River travels east through central New York into the Hudson River at Albany. The Hudson River flows south into the Atlantic Ocean at New York City. Wood Creek, one mile to the west of a bend in the Mohawk River, is the entry into a continuous water connection westward to Lake Ontario via Oneida Lake and the Oswego River.
A major break in a continuous water route from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes in colonial times was the gap between the Mohawk River and Wood Creek. This break ranged between one and six miles depending on the season and the amount of water in the river and creek. Eighteenth-century travelers could portage, or carry, their small water craft over this piece of level ground located in the territory of the Oneida Nation.
1. Examine Map 1. What features blocked travel and trade from the Atlantic at New York City to the Great Lakes? What features made travel and trade between the Atlantic and the Great Lakes easier?
2. Beginning at New York City, trace the Hudson River to Albany and the Mohawk River until it turns north. Then, beginning at Lake Ontario, trace the Oswego River east to Oneida Lake, and then north to Wood Creek. Why do you think the gap between the Mohawk River and Wood Creek is labeled "Great Carry"?
3. What kinds of travel and trade could have been conducted on this water and land route between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Lakes?
4. If possible, locate a current New York State road map. How do the modern automobile routes compare to the 18th-century water routes?
* The map on this screen has a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi), and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a high quality version of Map 1, but be aware that the file may take as much as 55 seconds to load with a 28.8K modem.