Historical Markers

Burkhalter Road & Old Indian Trail

Location: Langston Chapel Road (Burkhalter Road) at Harville Road, Statesboro, Georgia

County: Bulloch

Coordinates: 32.394910, -81.759657

Dedicated: January 29, 2017

Marker Type: Bulloch County Historical Society

MARKER TEXT (FRONT)

BURKHALTER ROAD & OLD INDIAN TRAIL

 

    Burkhalter Road is named for the Burkhalter family (formerly spelled Burgholser), a Salzburger family that immigrated to the American colonies. In 1768, Rudolph Burkhalter was granted 400 acres of land on the south bank of the Ogeechee River where it intersected an important Indian trading path.

    This Indian path was part of a network of ancient transportation routes stretching from modern day North Carolina to the Gulf of Mexico. These footpaths often developed along natural animal trails, connected Indian villages to each other, and were used for trade, war, and access to resources such as rivers,  game, and minerals like salt and flint.

    In addition, Indians tended to avoid travel through rough or difficult terrain. Thus, the trails followed ridges and drainage divides to avoid crossing rivers and marshes wherever possible. When a river had to be crossed, the trail led to rocky shoals or shallow  points where fording would be easiest.

    This trail was unique in the region because, unlike most other Indian trails that ran in an east-west direction and connected inland communities to the coast, this trail cut across the interior, thereby crossing a number of rivers. The earliest reference to a

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MARKER TEXT (BACK)

BURKHALTER ROAD & OLD INDIAN TRAIL

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section of this trail appeared on Oglethorpe’s first map of Georgia marking the path the Creeks took to go to war against the Florida Indians.

    Like many settlers, the Burkhalters utilized the established trail and it became an integral part of local transportation networks. The Indian trail crossed the Ogeechee where the river was shallowest, which happened to be on the Burkhalter property. The family operated a ferry service, then built a toll bridge. This crossing quickly became a thoroughfare for local traffic.

    With the development of public roads, the bridge fell into disrepair and was condemned circa 1919. Today, Burkhalter Road dead-ends into the Ogeechee River a few miles north of the State Highway 24 bridge. In the nineteenth century, Burkhalter Road was used by stagecoach services. Tradition holds that a way station was located at the intersection of Burkhalter and Old Register roads, Statesboro.

    The name Burkhalter initially applied to a large section of the original Indian trail that ran through modern-day Screven, Bulloch, Evans, and Tattnall Counties. However, only in Bulloch County has the road retained the Burkhalter name.

Supported by the Jack N & Addie D. Averitt Foundation

The Bulloch County Historical Society’s historical markers are funded by the
Jack N. & Addie D. Averitt Foundation.

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