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As early as 1733, French traders were using maps based on a series of hunter's paths that stretched from Mississippi into Tennessee. By 1810, the trail evolved into a clearly marked road of commerce, the Natchez Trace, but there was always an element of danger: the Trace was host to robbers preying on unsuspecting travelers. In 1812 steamboats began providing a safer and faster method of transportation from the Ohio Valley to New Orleans, and travel on the Trace eventually began to decline. Today the Natchez Trace provides a near-continuous greenway from the southern Appalachian foothills of Tennessee to the bluffs of the lower Mississippi River. Along the way are sites like Emerald Mound, a national historic landmark and one of the largest American Indian mounds in the United States; and Mount Locust, one of only two surviving stands.
The Tennessee River is the largest tributary of the Ohio River. It is approximately 652 miles long and is located in the southeastern United States in the Tennessee Valley, flowing through a corner of Wayne County.
The citizens of Wayne County earn their livelihood from the lumber industry and several manufacturing concerns. Migration into the county has included retirees and families seeking a more rural setting.