The earliest roads in Ninety Six were Indian trails, used for travel by foot and horse and for hunting. White settlers followed these trails to explore the countryside, trade, and eventually, to settle. As the stream of settlers into the region increased, better roads were required to transport supplies safely and easily. The historic roadbed before you, the Island Ford Road, was an important travelers route from places east and north of Ninety Six. Years of heavy use and erosion caused the road's sunken appearance.
A ferry was established at Island Ford, a shallow crossing of the Saluda River, as early as 1775. Travelers would cross there and take the Island Ford Road about 10 miles southwest directly to Ninety Six. Revolutionary War Loyalist and Patriot troops used this route to transport supplies to Ninety Six.
Imagine how this road would have appeared to colonial inhabitants. Wagons and carts pulled by horses or ozen were piled high with sacks of flour, bolts of cloth, and kegs of gunpowder. They clattered by on the unpaved surface. The uneven road was probably mired in mind or swirling in dust, depending on the season. It was often perilous, as cart wheels could give way or become stuck, causing passengers to fall and valuable loads to spill.