From the writings of early travelers we now know much about the buffalo trace as it was when white man first came to Indiana. The Frenchman Andre Michaux traveled the Trace in 1795 and wrote about the difficult passage he encountered on the route, It took Michaux three days to travel the Trace which he wrote “The distance is considered to be one hundred and twenty five Miles. On the day of our arrival we crossed a River about 20 miles before reaching Post Vincennes and although the Waters were then very low we were on the point of making a Raft for the Country is not inhabited along this Road. Of all the Journeys I have made in America in the past 10 years this is one of the most difficult owing to the quantity of Trees overturned by storms, to the thick brushwood through which one is obliged to pass; to the numbers of Flies by which one is devoured…”

Michaux then wrote that on August 14th, 15th and Sunday the 16th of August, “I was obliged to rest having arrived almost ill. My horse, while trying to jump over the trunk of a large fallen tree, fell and threw me a great distance and I suffered for several days from an injury to the lower part of the Chest on the left side because the trigger of my gun had struck there.”

The following tabs include many writings from early travelers and others who used the Trace. In 1802, Governor William Harrison recommended that the Buffalo Trace from New Albany to Vincennes be improved into a wagon road with inns built every 30-40 miles for the convenience of travelers. Jared Mansfield, in 1804 boasted that these improvements, “would invite immigration, and raise the value of these lands, as well as those of the interior in its vicinity.” By that time, the trace had been a post road for four years, with, theoretically,  a rider carrying the mail from Louisville to Vincennes and back every four weeks. This led Elihu Stout to establish a newspaper in Vincennes called the Western Sun. When Stout had no news to print in his newspaper he was quick to blame the failure of the postal system to bring him news.

In 1807 the General Assembly discussed legislating requiring all men between 21 and 50 years of age who had lived in the county for more than 30 days to devote up to 12 days per year to opening and repairing local roads including the Trace, and bridging streams