Coffee Road as it became known, was a supply trail cut through the southern Georgia frontier in the early 1820s by General John E. Coffee, with the help of Thomas Swain. After establishing the counties of Early, Irwin, and Appling in 1819, the Georgia General Assembly approved construction of the road December 23, 1822, with funds of $1,500. The trail was built in the early 1820s and ran from Jacksonville, Georgia, through Metcalf and across the Florida border to Tallahassee. The trail was approximately three feet wide (0.91 m), cleared, dug and leveled by enslaved African-American laborers.
This became the first vehicular path through the region. The trail was initially built to carry munitions of war to Florida Territory to fight the Indians during the Creek Wars. It was later used by settlers moving into the Georgia frontier. There were no bridges or ditches and only private ferry crossings. Many pioneer families including Hall, Folsom, Roundtree, Parrish, and Knight migrated to claim land for farms and plantations. They brought enslaved African Americans or bought them through the domestic slave trade to work the cotton plantations.
Later improved to modern paved standards, much of the road remains in daily use.
Media related to Old Coffee Road at Wikimedia Commons
- Cadle, Farris W. (1991). Georgia Land Surveying History and Law. University of Georgia Press. p. 201. ISBN 978-0-8203-1257-6.
- Florida State University Studies. Florida State University Research Council. Florida State University. 1963. pp. 43, 45.
- Baptist, Edward E. (2002). Creating an Old South: Middle Florida's Plantation Frontier Before the Civil War. UNC Press. p. 45. ISBN 978-0-8078-5353-5.
- "Coffee County, Georgia". Retrieved 2008-12-13.
- Georgia (1858). Acts Passed by the General Assembly of Georgia. J. Johnston. pp. 230–.
- Edward E. Baptist (2002). Creating an Old South: Middle Florida's Plantation Frontier Before the Civil War. Univ of North Carolina Press. pp. 45–. ISBN 978-0-8078-6003-8.
- Old Coffee Road historical marker