The Exploration of Kentucky
My Old Kentucky Home
The Revolutionary War was the defining point of settlement for Kentucky. Previous to this, the territory was claimed by the Iroquois Indians. In 1768, the British succeeded in making a treaty to purchase (Kentucky), known as the Treaty of Fort Stanwix. Thus, the Iroquois took the side of the loyalists during the war and were scattered throughout Kentucky, Ohio and New York. The pension records of patriots reveal that they were formiable foes during the Northern Campaign. The settlements crowding into Kentucky before the war caused the Shawnees north of the Ohio River to become allies with the British. The stream of settlers crossing Appalachian Mountains from Virginia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania continued after the war until all of the various Indian tribes were driven out. Genealogists follow the trail from those States as well as West Virginia as a place to research, because that portion was first part of the State of Virginia.
Beargrass Creek in Cherokee Park near Louisville, Kentucky
Kentucky Tales of the Revolutionary War
During the Revolutionary War (1780) Colonel George Slaughter, accompanied by 150 State troops, descended to the falls of the Ohio River where he established his quarters. As it turns out, instead of protecting the sparse settlements, the site was actually more advantageous to the Indians (fighting for the British) as they could approach the banks upon their own ground and shoot the soldiers near the fort or in the settlements of Beargrass. Prisoners were taken and horses stolen. The station where Shelbyville now stands was a weak and inefficient one, and becoming alarmed by the presence of Indians in their vicinity, its inhabitants determined to remove to Beargrass, however, were attacked near Floyds Fork, defeated and scattered. Colonel John Floyd, hearing of this, immediately started to their relief. In his party was Capt. Samuel Wells who had been on very unfriendly and even inimical terms with his superior officer. Upon his arrival near the point, Colonel Floyd separated his men and cautiously approached the enemy. But despite his skill and caution, he fell into an ambuscade and was defeated with great loss. Floyd dismounted and was exhausted from the pursuit. It was at this moment that Colonel Wells rode up and dismounting, helped his old enemy into the saddle and running by his side, supported and protected him till out of the reach of danger. This noble and generous action resulted in the fast and lasting friendship of the two men.
Revolutionary War Pensions Available to Members of Kentucky Pioneers
War of 1812 Pensions Available to Members of Kentucky Pioneers
- Aarons, Abraham, S31813, KY of Adair County
- Brank, Robert, S30893, KY of Garrard County
- Campbell, John, VA of Muskingum County, Ohio
- Childress, Thomas, 2 GA Battalion, GA, res. Lincoln County, TN
- Childress, Davis, #S39298, TN
- Daniel, William, 83263, KY of Campbell County
- Deadrick, David, VA, TN. #W3521
- DeRussy, Thomas, VA, #W20975
- Dixon, Tilman, #BLW611-300, NC
- Dixon, William, Sarah, #W3522, NC
- Dixon, Wynne, #S46000, NC
- Franklin, John, #R3756, SC, NC
- Heth (or Heath), Henry, Capt., VA Artillery County
- Howe, David, Sr., S13422, KY of Fleming County
- Jordan, George, 831176, KY of Anderson County
- Jordan, Peter, W9091, KY of Fayette County
- Jordan, Marshall, W9090, KY of Clarke County
- Lamkin, John, #W8018, VA
- McKenzie, John, Martha, W1049, TN
- Shields, Rachel, wid. of James, #W7414, VA Line
- Smith, Henry, W9300, KY of Harlan County
- Stokes, John, Sarah, W8754, of North Carolina
- Stokes, Richard, #S42026, of North Carolina
- Stokes, Sylvanus, #S38397, of Virginia
- Wade, John, #S14801, VA
- Wade, Joseph, #57826, NC
- Wade, Robert, #S6323, VA
- Wade, Robert, #R10979, VA
- Wade, Thomas, Mary, #R1084 of Virginia
- Wade, Thomas, #R10904, VA
The Very Patriotic Bardstown Plantation
- Barnes, James, Bartow County, Georgia
- Burch, Jarrett, SC Militia. Milly Burch, widow, Towns County,
- Coney, John, #WC10492, Georgia
- Hill, William B., Georgia
The Bardstown Plantation house was built in Nelson County, Kentucky around 1818 by Judge John Rowan upon the inspiration of the ballard of Stephen Foster, My Old Kentucky Home. Foster later visited his cousins in 1852. Judge Rowan created patriotic displays just about everywhere inside the house during the construction of it. He built ceiling thirteen feet high and used Flemish bond brick walls thirteen inches thick. There are thirteen windows on the front of the structure, thirteen steps in each flight and thirteen railins at each stair landing. The house is located off of the Blue Grass Parkway and is available to public tours.
1900 Whiskey Distillery in Bardstown
Bardtown, incorporated in 1778, was the home of John Fitch, one of the several inventors of the steamboat, who died there in 1798. Also, the Old Talbott Tavern located at 107 West Stephen Foster Avenue, was built about 1800 as a stagecoach stop. General George Rogers Clark stored provisions in the cellar during the Revolutionary War and guests included Daniel Boone, Jesse James, Abraham Lincoln, John James Audubon and Stephen Foster.
The villages of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Shawnee, Yuchi and Mosopelea Indians occupied the territory which would later be called Kentucky until 1750 when a scouting party led by Dr. Thomas Walker (and in 1751 by Christopher Gist for the Ohio Company) entered the territory. The French also claimed the land but were defeated by the British in the French and Indian War of 1763. Afterwards, the British purchased land from the Iroquois and signed the Treay of Fort Stanwix on November 5, 1768. By 1774, the town was established as the first white permanent settlement in Kentucky. This treaty prompted James Harrod to lead an expedition to survey the bounds of land promised by the British crown to soldiers who served in the French and Indian War into the territory. Harro departed from Fort Redstone with 37 men and traveled down the Monongahela and Ohio Rivers to the mouth of the Kentucky River, eventually crossing Salt River into what is today is known as Mercer County. The men divied the land amongst themselves, thus creating the site of the first pioneer settlement in Kentucky. When the Shawnee attacked a small party of the Harrod men on July 8, 1774 in the Fontainbleau area, they killed two men. The others escaped back to camp, located about three miles away. Daniel Boone was then sent to remove the groupfrom the frontier and enlist them into military service to fight certain bands of Shawnee and Mingo in the war of Lord Dunmore. Although the men enlisted in the militia, they arrived too late to participate in the only major battle of the war, viz: the Battle of Point Pleasant. They arrived at the battle site at midnight on October 10th, the day upon which the fighting ended. The Treaty of Camp Charlotte, signed by Shawnee Chief Cornstalk, which concluded the war of Lord Dunmore, ceded to Royal Virginia the Shawnee claims to all lands south of the Ohio River (Kentucky and West Virginia). The Shawnee were also obligated to return all white captives and stop attacking barges of immigrants traveling on the Ohio River. On March 8, 1775, Harrod led his group of settlers back to their homes in Harrodstown.
Daniel Boone, frontiersman
The famous explorer, Daniel Boone (1734-1820) was an American pioneer, woodsman and frontiersman who explored the unsettled regions of the Virginia territory which is know Kentucky. He went into Shawnee territory in 1775 along what is known as "Wilderness Roa" through the Cumberland Gap into the Appalachian Mountains spanning through North Carolina and Tennessee. He founded the village of Boonesborough, Kentucky, probably the first settlement west of the Appalachian mountains, marking a trail for settlers into the 18th century. During the Revolutionary War he served as a militia officer for the Americans an British-aided warriors. Boone was captured by Shawnee warriors in 1778, but escaped and alerted Boonesborough that the Shawnees were planning an attack. Although heavily outnumbered, Americans repulsed the Shawnee warriors in the Siege of Boonesborough. Afterwards, Daniel Boone was elected to the first of his three terms in the Virginia General Assembly during the Revolutionary War, and fought in the Battle of Blue Licks in 1782, one of the last battles of the war, however, a Shawnee victory over the Patriots. Following the war, Boone worked as a surveyor and merchant, but his failed speculations in Kentucky land ventures caused him to fell deeply into debt and to remove to eastern Missouri where he remained for twenty years or so.
Battle of Blue Licks
This last battle of the Revolutionary War was fought on August 19, 1782 and occurred ten months after Lord Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, Virginia and ended the war in the eastern portion of the country. It occurred on a hill which adjoined Licking River (Robertson County, Kentucky) between a force of 50 American and Canadian Loyalists accompanie by 300 Shawnee Indians who ambused and routed 182 Kentucky militiamen. It was the last known victory for the Loyalists and Indians during the frontier war.
Liberty Hall in Frankfort
The famous Liberty Hall house was built by John Brown, a Kentucky lawyer, during the 1790s. Brown commenced construction in 1790 after he purchased four acres of land along a bend in the Kentucky River. The bricks were made and fired on the property and the nails were forged by a local blacksmith. John Brown served as a Congressman from 1787 to 1792 and a Member of the Virginia delegation. He was very much in favor of Kentucky splitting off from Virginia and becoming its own State. Brown moved from Liberty Hall in 1801.
Kentucky State Capitol
The Kentucky State Capitol was begun in Frankfort in 1905 and completed in 1909. The exterior of the three-story structure is of Bedford liimestone on a Vermont granite base.