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Kentucky Frontier

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            CHAPTER

                 VIII

   The Kentucky Frontier

To give the reader a background knowledge of early Kentucky, the following has been condensed from "History of Pioneer Kentucky," as written by Cotterill:

The French had extended their claims and partially their control over a large territory. There were French towns on the St. Lawrence, the Mississippi and the Gulf by the middle of the 18th Century. There was a vast region between the Alleghanies and the Mississippi claimed by both England and France and occupied by no white men. The Ohio river flowed through this land. Although not inhabited by any tribe, the wilderness south of the Ohio was often visited by warriors of the Ohio Indians on war parties or on hunting trips. Kentucky's eastern limits in those days were the borders of Virginia, the Ohio river on the north, and the Mississippi on the west. Kentucky's southern limits were vague and indefinite but stopped short of the land occupied by the Cherokees. The traders carried many stories to their homes of the beauty of Indian Kentucky. It was a veritable paradise for the hunter.

All this territory was covered by forest. There was little underbrush and no swamps. The oaks, hickory, ash and walnut trees grew in the valleys. Along the water courses the sycamores grew white and tall. The foothills were covered by the beech and poplar. The maple, then known as the sugar tree, grew everywhere. In the mountains the pine, cedar and hazel predominated. The pawpaw, mulberry, sugar tree, hickory and the walnut provided a considerable amount of food. Irregular Indian and buffalo trails

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wound through the forests from north to south and from east to west.

One section of Kentucky had no forests. This section covered an area of six thousand square miles lying immediately south of the Falls of the Ohio (presently Louisville). This section was destitute of trees, though over abundant with grass, and given the name of "Barrens." This region was a vast pasture surrounded by woodland. The lack of forests was not due to poor soil, but to the cunning of the Indian hunters. The Indians had cleared trees from the land so that the growing grass might tempt the buffalo that roamed the prairies of Illinois and the west. Whether persuaded by the grass or by other causes, the buffalo came in numbers large enough to excite the wonder and some-times the fear of the settler.

It was not alone as a woodland that Kentucky excited the curiosity or the desire of the hunter. The Indians said the earth there was carpeted with cane as the land of Virginia was with the grass. The northern region of Kentucky, lying along the Ohio, was covered by cane growing wild and rank. It reached twelve feet at its greatest height and never grew less than three feet tall. At times the stalk attained a diameter of two inches. The Indians fought their fiercest battles and prepared their deadliest ambushes in the canebreaks. When the settlement of Kentucky began, the settlers were most often ambushed in the cane-breakes. As Kentucky was divided into barrens and woodlands, so was it sharply divided into hill and plain. The entire eastern region, one-third of the present state, was a line of mountains running from the northeast to the southwest, fifty miles across. The Indian name, "Ouasiotos", has long been replaced by the present name, Cumberland. The mountains were not high at any place, nor difficult of passage, but from their eastern slope they presented an appearance so gloomy that many hunters did not have the courage to attempt to travel over them. Once safely over their ranges, a traveler felt well repaid for his past privations by the prospect of central Kentucky before him. This was a region of rolling plain, covered by the now famous bluegrass and dotted with stately trees. Herein then, as now, lay the heart of Kentucky. The Indians regarded it as their favorite hunting ground and the eastern hunters sought it as their heart's desire. The first and

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firmest settlements were planted on its rivers. Along the Ohio and the Mississippi, the plains fell slowly away to the prairie. A broken chain of hills ran at the north from east to west, and although of considerable elevation in some places, never approached the height of the mountains.

The most useful of the resources of Kentucky were the rivers. They remain the same in appearance and use today as in the days of the earliest settlers. The Cumberland river, rising in the eastern mountains, flows into the Ohio near its mouth. The Indians called this river the Shawnee, but Dr. Walker, an early explorer, named it the Cumberland. Twin sister of the Cumberland is the Tennessee. Somewhat to the east of these were the Green and Salt rivers. The Licking was known to the Indians as the Nepernine, and to the early settlers as the Great Salt Creek. It owes its present name to the multitude of salt "licks" along its banks. The Big Sandy river of today was known to the Indians as the Chatteraway. The largest, most beautiful and the best known was the river now named the Kentucky. Among the Indians it was a favorite stream. The fertile plains thru which it flowed were the favorite hunting ground of the Indians. A map of Kentucky seemed a network of rivers. All rose in the Cumberland mountains and all flowed into the Ohio. The rivers were all distinguished by winding courses and multiple shoals.

The bluegrass of Kentucky grew from a soil that rested lightly upon deep strata of limestone. Many rivers had cut deep beds and some had sunk from view, existing for much of their courses as underground streams producing caverns and caves in almost endless variety. One of the most noted is Mammoth Cave on Green river. Since its discovery by the white man, it has ranked as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Many Indians used caves as their dwelling place. It was, in fact, from their living in the caves of Kentucky that the Cherokees gained their distinctive name among their Indian neighbors.

More tempting to the buffalo than the long grass of the barrens were the numerous salt "licks" scattered over the land. These were springs of salt water which derive their name from the fact that the game thronged there to lick the salty ground. The salt licks were the great congregating places of all the wild animals. One observer reported that he saw approximately ten thousand buffalo at the Lower Blue

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Licks at one time. Undoubtedly it was true that the wild animals thronged to the licks in enormous numbers and actually trampled each other underfoot in their eagerness to reach the salt. All paths led to the licks. Beasts of prey found it more profitable to wait at the salt licks for their intended victims than to hunt them down in the forest. Neither did the settlers neglect the methods of the beasts, as the licks provided them with meat and the means of preserving it. The licks were scattered over all of the land but were more numerous along the rivers, one of which owes its name to their proximity. The two best known were the Upper and Lower Blue Licks on the Licking river, both now extinct. Boone's Lick on the Kentucky, and Bullitt's on the Salt river, were springs of great power. Big Bone Lick, in northern Kentucky, was known to the Indians as the place of the big bones. When the first pioneers reached this lick they found gigantic mastedon bones from a vanished race lying around it in great quantities. These animals must have exceeded the size of elephants and no doubt flourished many centuries ago.

The game to be found in Kentucky was of such quality and quantity as to make the land the favorite hunting ground of both northern and southern Indians. Buffalo abounded at licks and on the plain. They fed and moved in large herds at fixed periods. As they traveled the forests year after year, from one lick to another, they made deeply marked roads. Because of their huge size and the delicious flavor of their cooked meat, they were preferred above all other game by the Indians. The deer were no less numerous than the buffalo and were hunted by both red and white men for the meat and the skins. Bears, panthers, wildcats and wolves were frequently encountered at the licks or in the mountains. Wild duck and geese were abundant on the rivers and were very numerous on the Ohio. Turkey, pheasant and partridge were common. Catfish weighing over fifty pounds and large trout were often found in the rivers. There were beaver and otter in the streams.

The Iroquois Indians, living among the lakes of New York, conquered wisely and ruthlessly all the other Indian tribes living within the limits of Kentucky. By 1750 there was not a tribe east of the Mississippi failing to acknowledge their importance, and only a few that failed to bow to their power. They tolerated no rivals. The other tribes could

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initiate nothing of importance either at home or in the field except by permission of the Iroquois.

When the human tide of settlers finally poured over the Alleghanies into Kentucky, it was into a country almost devoid of men. Kentucky was the hunting ground of the dreaded Six Nations. Their savage mandate had been issued that no one should live therein. The fear of the Iroquois and the dread of their wrath had kept the land inviolate. Short hunting parties stole in and out of the state but there was no permanent habitation. Therefore, the earliest Kentuckians had no Indian tribes to subdue.

There were but three places in Kentucky in 1750 where Indians lived. These were: in the extreme west of Kentucky where the Chickasaws lived in savage independence on the cliffs of the Mississippi; a small section of ground opposite the mouth of the Scioto (Ohio) river, occupied by a Shawnese town; and an isolated town in central Kentucky called Eskippakithiki, the ruins of which are presently called Indian Old Fields. Kentucky was named by the Iroquois who called it Kentakee, meaning meadow land.

The various tribes that had claimed or possessed Kentucky remained on the borders of the country, constantly striking at each other across its length and breadth, but prepared to unite against any prospective occupant. Therefore, when the first settlers came into Kentucky, their entrance was opposed, their settlements endangered, and their progress delayed by Indians who were no more occupants of the land than they. Kentucky was considered a land to defend by both northern and southern Indian tribes. The Cherokees, from their homes in Georgia and Tennessee had an easy, though long, entrance to the land over the Cuttawa war road. The northern Indians from their greater proximity were even more to be feared. The northern Indians usually acted together in a loose confederation under the leadership of the Shawnese. These fierce and unforgiving Indians had their homes principally along the valleys of the Scioto (Ohio) river. They had two towns, Piqua and Chillicothe, which attained considerable size. The Shawnese were not a nomadic people . They were more advanced than most of the Indian tribes. They grew corn crops and lived in houses. The Shawnese fell under the influence of the conquering Iroquois in 1682, and remained so until the downfall of the latter. The Shawnese

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were a warlike and enterprising people. Ninety percent of the battles and outrages of early Kentucky could be blamed on them. The warriors, though bloodthirsty in battle, did not often avenge themselves on captives or prisoners.

The French and Indian war which began in 1754, absorbed the interest and resources of the English. For nine years it was furiously waged over a wide expanse from Quebec to Georgia. The French carried with them into the war their Indian neighbors of the northwest. While the war was in progress and the Indians were involved, there was little prospect of white settlers or explorers going into Kentucky. The exploration of Kentucky, which had ended during the war, was slow to be renewed when the war ended. Immediately after the war was ended, a proclamation was issued by the King of England forbidding his subjects from settling, or even possessing, the lands west of the mountains. His proclaimed object was to keep the territory for the use of the Indians perpetually, but the colonists had far different views. The commissioners, chosen to draw the line that would separate the Indians from the whites, deliberately disregarded their instructions and induced the Iroquois to approve a line running down the Ohio and terminating at the Tennessee river. This line opened up Kentucky to the colonists, or at least gave them access to it, as far as governmental permission was able to affect it.

The Alleghany mountains were an impediment to the westward movement. What lay beyond the blue haze of their ranges was a matter of much mystery and pleasing speculation. From time to time hunters or traders wandered into the eastern settlements and related wonderous stories of their adventures beyond the mountains. Kentucky was the chief subject of conversation at harvest times, on hunting trips, or around the huge fireplaces in the dead of winter. When game became scarce around their homes, the farmer-hunters could but cast longing glances towards Kentucky, where there was reported to be an abundance of game of all kinds, from the wild turkey to the buffalo. The probability of an encounter with Indians detracted little from the charm of the western country. Their opinion of all Indians is suggested by the name which they applied to them, for in their eyes all Indians were "savages". The most constant feeling toward the Indian was one of unmitigated loathing. Indian

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fighting was a great attraction to some men.

The way into Kentucky was not easy by any means. There were only two practicable routes from the east. One was the Ohio river at the north, the other was the Cumberland Gap at the southeast. The Ohio river, which skirts the entire northern boundary of Kentucky, is formed in western Pennsylvania by the junction of the Alleghany and Monongahelia rivers, uniting at Pittsburgh. That town became the chief point of departure for those entering Kentucky from the north. The distance from Pittsburg to Maysville, Kentucky, is about four hundred miles and required several weeks to make the trip. Cumberland Gap is in the extreme southeast corner of Kentucky. Here Kentucky forms a corner with Virginia on the boundary of Tennessee; and here the Cumberland mountains have narrowed to a single range between two valleys. In the eastern valley rises the Powell branch of the Tennessee river, and in the western valley is the beginning of the Cumberland river. The two rivers are parallel for a considerable distance and are separated only by the single ridge of the Cumberland mountains. This ridge is continuous and difficult to cross except at one place where there is a pass or gap. Passing through this gap, one had only to follow the windings of the Cumberland river, when he found himself well within the interior of Kentucky. This was the route taken by the earlier immigrants who were drawn almost exclusively from the Shenandoah and Yadkin river regions. [This was the route taken by Michael O'Hair and his family when they entered Kentucky in 1788.] There was a third route which was little used. This route followed the Greenbrier river through the mountains until it reached the Ohio river. The rough and wild country through which it passed practically prohibited its use.

Nearly twenty years after Walker's exploration of Kentucky, Daniel Boone was visited by an old friend, John Finley, in the Spring of 1769. Finley was a frontier trader, trading back and forth with the Ohio Indians. He had been captured by the Shawnese in 1752 and taken into central Kentucky. He was held captive at the Indian town, Eskippakithiki, for several months before he made his escape. Finley and Boone had been together on the Braddock expedition. Boone had penetrated far into the interior of the Cumberlands in 1767, but had failed to find the level land which Finley

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had described seeing while he was a prisoner of the Indians. The two men decided to venture into Kentucky on a hunting expedition. They were accompanied by Boone's brother-in-law, John Stuart or Stewart, and three other men. Finley had heard Indians tell of the gap in the mountains and Boone was familiar with the trail leading to the pass in southwest Virginia, so the men determined to enter Kentucky from that route.

The men continued on into central Kentucky before they set up a semi-permanent camp. The hunting was beyond their highest hopes. The group hunted for several months. Boone and Stuart finally ran into trouble and were captured by Indians. After they made their escape, they returned to the camp only to find that Finley and the other three had broken camp and started homeward. Boone and Stuart finally overtook Finley and the others after several days. They were joined by Boone's brother, Squire, and his companion, Alexander Neely. The two Boone brothers, Stuart and Neely returned to Kentucky for more hunting. Stuart was again captured by Indians, and Neely was either lost or captured. The Boone brothers hunted together until winter when Squire Boone made a three-month trip back to the settlements before rejoining his brother, Daniel. Boone spent those months exploring as far away as the Falls of the Ohio. The two brothers remained in Kentucky, exploring and hunting until the fall of 1771 before returning to the settlements. The stories told by the early hunters and explorers did much to induce the occupation of Kentucky.

After a few hunters and traders had been in Kentucky, surveyors were sent from the State of Virginia to survey the country before its settlement. They traveled all over Kentucky, surveying lands for the record and laying out imaginary towns in almost every valley. The beautiful forests, the wide plains and the abundance of game meant little to them. They were interested only in the fertility of the soil and in their job of surveying. They were a veritable advance squad of the real settlers that went into Kentucky from 1775 and afterwards.

The colonials who had fought the French and Indians had been promised bounty lands. They wanted to have their bounty lands located in the western wilderness. Long practice had made the colonists adept at disregarding royal

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regulations. They decided that the King's decree to keep the territory for the perpetual use of the Indians was properly to be interpreted merely as a document to soothe the Indians. They decided that the decree was not to be taken seriously as a guide for the conduct of the colonists. They turned west with a promptness, regardless of the King's proclamation. Washington sent agents at once to survey for him the best lands they could find. Governor Dunmore dispatched official surveyors to strengthen Virginia's shadowy claim to the land. In open disobedience to the King, the King's own commissioner induced the Iroquois first to claim, and then to cede to the King, the entire region between the Ohio and the Tennessee rivers. The King sullenly acquiesced to this arrangement.

In May, 1773, a party of surveyors including James Harrod, was sent out by Governor Dunmore to survey the bounty lands in Kentucky for the Virginia soldiers. Colonel William Preston, of Fincastle County which claimed all of Kentucky, was an official surveyor in 1774. Preston sent John Floyd and two other surveyors to Kentucky to continue locating bounty lands. Floyd made his first surveys in eastern Kentucky, and extended his work over the central and northern parts as far west as the Falls of the Ohio.

Inasmuch as the aspirations and movements of a people are for the most part a direct result of their economic environment, it becomes necessary to consider the economic conditions of those places from which the population of Kentucky was drawn. The land in Virginia was monopolized by the aristocracy for the most part. This caused a sharp division of classes and little opportunity for the common man to acquire land. This condition produced either great wealth or extreme poverty. The labor on the plantations was done by slaves or indentured servants. The most important migration into Virginia came from Pennsylvania. Those people migrated southward into the valley between the Blue Ridge and the Alleghanies. The Blue Ridge had formed an almost impenetrable barrier to the people of the Tidewater Virginia, so that at the time of the Pennsylvanian migration into Virginia, the valley was practically uninhabited. Into this Virginia valley poured a wave of immigration from the north. They were largely of Scotch-Irish descent having originally immigrated from Northern Ireland. They took little part in the social and

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political life of Virginia. A large percentage of the Kentucky population was drawn from this section of Virginia and not from the aristocratic Tidewater section of Virginia. Kentucky was then a part of the Colony of Virginia.

When the tide of immigration began to flow into Kentucky, it came from the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, the backwoods of Pennsylvania, and the frontiers of South Carolina. The settlers were of the most rugged nature. There was hard work to be done, hardships to endure, and no weaklings could survive. Had the settlement of Kentucky depended upon the Tidewater Virginians, it probably would have continued to be the home of the red man and a pasture for wild game. Like Daniel Boone, the settlers were described as people ordained to settle the wilderness.

In the settlement of a new land there generally are three motives that impel the immigrant. These motives are a desire for land, a need to escape persecution at home, and a love of adventure. The very earliest settlement of Kentucky was for the most part caused by the love of adventure. The abundance of free land in Kentucky, and the prospect of acquiring a new home at little or no cost must have been a deciding influence in attracting immigrants to Kentucky. This influence became stronger when the country became more settled and better known. [Surely this must have been the reason Michael O'Hair was influenced to leave Virginia several years after the Revolutionary War and migrate to Kentucky. He was then married and had at least two children which made it difficult to make such a move. He had progressed in Virginia, but still was but a tenant farmer with no immediate prospect of buying land in that locality.]

In May, 1774, a year after James Harrod had surveyed lands in Kentucky, he returned with thirty-one men and proceeded to build the town of Harrodstown. Lots were laid off, ground was cleared and some corn planted. The name of the town was later changed to Harrodsburg. It is the oldest town in the state.

From the beginning Virginia did not recognize or respect the inherent rights of the Indians. The Virginians were filled with a lust for new land. They were constantly and always encroaching. Virginia siezed Fort Pitt early in the Spring of 1774, and asserted claim to the surrounding country. The Indians were quick to take alarm. They could

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expect no justice from Virginia. Several men, and probably Governor Dunmore, were speculating heavily in Kentucky land. One man owned large tracts around the Falls of the Ohio and left no stone unturned to provoke the Shawnee to war. He sent a circular letter in April, 1774, to all the settlers along the Ohio that the Shawnee were not trustworthy. The frontiersmen took this as a declaration of war. Hostilities were at once begun when a group of frontiersmen, headed by a captain, attacked and defeated several canoes of Indians on the Ohio. A more savage deed was performed by another man in ambushing and murdering a band of friendly Indians. Among the slain were members of the family of Logan, the great Mingo chief. Logan promptly took the warpath and took thirteen scalps. He carried the entire Mingo tribe into the war with him and the entire northern region gradually united for the inevitable war. The Shawnee Indian chief, Cornstalk, was their leader. Loudly censuring the conduct of the Indians, Governor Dunmore sent two large forces against the enemy, one commanded by himself. Colonel Preston sent Boone and a companion from the Clinch Valley to warn the Kentucky settlers of the impending war. Boone warned the men at Harrodstown, and then went on to the Falls of the Ohio to warn those men. They returned back to the Clinch Valley sixty-eight days after they had left it, and had journeyed over eight hundred miles.

The surveyors and settlers abandoned Kentucky. The Indians, led by Cornstalk, were defeated in battle. Dunmore dictated the terms of peace by which the Indians pledged not to cross south of the Ohio. The war is named in history as Lord Dunmore's War because he was the chief provoker. The Kentucky country had been drained of its men by the conflict. The state was devoid of inhabitants. All that remained at Harrodstown, the first settlement, were a few desolate cabins. The land was once more returned to solitude and quiet.

The Transylvania Company came into being in February, 1775. It was an organization of nine men headed by ex-judge Richard Henderson. The Transylvania Company purchased the greater part of Kentucky from the Cherokee Indians. In consideration of the title to Kentucky, five different claimants must be included: the Virginians, the English, the Shawnese, the Iroquois and the Cherokees. If there

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was any power to give a legal title to Kentucky, it was necessarily one of these.

Henderson announced the terms on which he would sell land to settlers in the proposed Transylvania colony. To those whose daring induced them to accompany Boone or himself as initial settlers, he would grant six hundred forty acres at twenty shillings per hundred acres. He said he would grant three hundred twenty additional acres to anyone bringing in a taxable settler. He also announced that this price would be given only to the first settlers, and there would be an increase after the first settlement had been made. The journey to Kentucky was started with that clear understanding.

Boone, along with thirty picked and mounted companions, was appointed to start first and mark out a trace (road) to the new settlement. The destination was the mouth of Otter Creek on the south bank of the Kentucky river. Boone had frequented this place on previous trips and selected the location as an ideal spot for a town. Many came afterward by foot with their scanty possessions on packhorses. Boone crossed into Kentucky by Cumberland Gap and followed the well beaten war road of the Shawnee and Cherokee northward for fifty miles. Then, leaving the war road, he traveled over a buffalo road and a trackless wilderness of forest and canebrakes until he reached the Rockcastle river. The road-making consisted of blazing the trees along the way with hatchets until they reached the plains. When they were within fifteen miles of their destination on March 25th, the Indians struck. One man was killed and two wounded. After this incident some of the party started back home, leaving about twenty-five men in Boone's group. The men went on to the Kentucky river. Boone built a cabin on the west bank of a little stream that flows into the Kentucky river, about half a mile below Otter Creek. Henderson and forty men arrived and decided to build a fort about three hundred yards from Boone's cabin. By the twenty-second of April, the fort was under way and lots had been laid off. The men drew for lots, houses were built, a magazine was erected and seed planted. Henderson named the settlement Boonesborough. There is no reason to believe that Henderson ever intended to claim or assert any right of government over the territory he had purchased. The right of eminent domain and of government

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legally belonged to England. Captain John Floyd put in his appearance, and because he was deputy-surveyor of Fincastle county, gave Henderson considerable anxiety.

By the time Boonesborough was settled in the Spring of 1775, Harrodstown had been resettled. Boiling Springs had also been settled, by Harrod and his companions, but was a smaller place than Harrodstown and was not fortified. Saint Asaph had been founded by Benjamin Logan and was generally known as Logan's Fort. Logan was a Virginian and had a disagreement with Henderson, so he started his own town near the present site of Stanford. Quarrels developed regarding land purchases in the area of Harrodstown. Henderson proposed that the different settlements in Kentucky send delegates to Boonesborough for the purpose of forming a representative government. The delegates from the four settlements of Harrodstown, Logan's Fort and Boiling Springs arrived at Boonesborough on May 23rd. They asserted their right to form local laws without giving notice to, or requesting authority from Great Britain or any of the colonies. They remained in session four days and passed nine laws which established courts, militia, punishment of criminals, Sabbath breaking, against profanity, writs of attachment, fees, and preserving the range and game. The last law was necessary because the abundant game already was disappearing quickly. On the last day of the meeting, Henderson entered into a solemn and written covenant with the people, which merits the name of a constitution. The meeting adjourned after four days. The delegates returned to their homes well pleased with the Transylvania Company and the treatment they had received.

Boonesborough settled down to the quiet life of a provincial capital after the departure of the delegates. The center and nucleus of the town was the fort. There were sixty men, but no women or children living in Boonesborough. The men were occupied with hunting and raising Indian corn. There were some three hundred men in all of Kentucky in that summer of 1775. Henderson had opened a land office in Boonesborough and was rapidly selling land to settlers. Virginia and North Carolina both denounced Henderson and his treaty in no uncertain terms. Dissatisfaction began to appear at Harrodstown where Captain Harrod's influence was paramount. Harrodstown had been settled long before Boones-

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borough, and was not pleased to have a younger settlement enjoy the honor of being the capital, so it was natural that a revolt should start at Harrodstown. Land was cheaper under Virginia laws than under Transylvania. George Rogers Clark came to Harrodstown in the Spring of 1775 and at once cast himself into the fight against Henderson. Clark had been a surveyor previous to 1775. Clark worked against Henderson all summer and returned to Virginia in the fall of the year. Boone started home in June, l775 and brought his family and several other families to Boonesborough in September. George Rogers Clark reappeared at Harrodstown in the Spring of 1776. He called for a meeting at Harrodstown to be held June 6th. The meeting appointing Clark and Gabriel Jones as delegates to the Virginia Assembly to appeal to Virginia to overthrow the Transylvania Company. As he had previously stated would be done, Henderson raised the price of his Transylvania land from twenty to fifty shillings per hundred acres. The Virginia Assembly met in Williamsburg in the Autumn of 1776. Clark and Jones presented the petition requesting Virginia to overthrow Transylvania and incorporate the territory into a county. An act was passed incorporating Kentucky into a county as far west as the Tennessee river. The new county was named Kentucky County and Harrodstown was designated as its seat of government. Two years later the Virginia Assembly compensated Henderson by giving him two hundred thousand acres of land at the mouth of Green river in Kentucky. North Carolina took a similar action allowing him two hundred thousand acres around Nashville. Henderson's purchase had extended far down the Tennessee, and the territory now granted him was a part of the original Transylvania tract.

After a year of conflict, the colonies declared their independence on July 4, 1776 and the conflict widened into a revolution. England had alliances with most of the Indian tribes who were to cause so much trouble for the Kentucky settlers. England's Lieutenant Governor and Superintendant of Detroit, Henry Hamilton, had lived in Detroit since late 1775. He managed the Indian forays into Kentucky from his headquarters in Detroit, until he was captured by George Rogers Clark in 1778 at Vincennes.

Indian assults and rumors of war had almost depopulated Kentucky in the beginning of 1777. Approximately three hundred people had left, and seven stations had been aban-

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doned. Boonesborough and Harrodstown survived, and an estimated one hundred fifty men elsewhere in Kentucky. The enemity between those two towns had increased because of Virginia's action in making Harrodstown the capital of the new county. Clark had been commissioned a Major and was in command at Harrodstown. Capt. Boone was in command at Boonesborough and Capt. Logan commanded at Saint Asaph. Clark tried to improve the military condition of the county.

Hamilton met with the Indians at Detroit in the Spring of 1777. He sent them out on the warpath after giving them presents. More than a thousand Indians, officered by Englishmen, were creating havoc around the little Kentucky forts before the end of the year. The settlements were at their weakest at the time of their greatest need.

The Indians struck first at Harrodstown and were repulsed. However, roving bands continued to molest the fort throughout the year. The same Indians who had attacked Harrodstown, struck Boonesborough on April 15, 1777 with greater fury. There were only thirty-two guns at the fort against a hundred in the hands of the Indians. The Indians gave up the seige after two days only to return two weeks later for a three day beseige. Seven men, including Boone, were wounded. A month later a third attack was made which lasted for two days. Following the Boonesborough seiges, large numbers of Indians unsuccessfully attacked Logan's Fort at Saint Asaph.

The year 1777 found Kentucky continually infected by Hamilton's Indians. They prowled thru the forests in the hope of ambushing white men and were successful in preventing communication between the forts. They attacked Harrodstown again that year, but were defeated by Clark and his men. No further Indian conflicts occured in Kentucky until August, 1778.

The act creating Kentucky County out of part of Fincastle County had established Harrodstown as the capital of Kentucky County. The first court of the new county assembled there September 2, 1777. While the court was in session, a census was taken of the town disclosing:

  81  Arms bearing men, including 4 unfit for service,

  28  Women,

  70  Children, including 12 under the age of 10,

  19  Slaves, including 7 under the age of 10,

198  Total population of Harrodstown.

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Census figures of the other forts were not preserved, but combined they probably did not equal that of Harrodstown.

Clark left Harrodstown in October, 1777 and arrived at Williamsburg, Virginia in December. His mission was to confer with Patrick Henry, the Governor, concerning his plans for invading the Northwest and capturing the English posts in the Illinois country. The British were then in possession of Kaskaskia on the Mississippi, Vincennes on the Wabash, .and Cahokia, north of Kaskaskia. Since the plan depended upon secrecy, two sets of instructions were delivered to Clark from the Governor on January 2, 1778. Both instructions authorized Clark to enlist seven companies of fifty men each, totaling 350 men. The set of instructions for public consumption implied that the force was for the defense of Kentucky County. The second set of secret instructions authorized Clark to march against the British at Kaskaskia. Not even Clark's officers engaged in the recruiting knew of the secret plans. Clark and his officers failed to obtain as many recruits as had been authorized. Clark started back for the Falls of the Ohio the middle of May, 1778 with the hundred and fifty men he had recruited, and a few immigrant families bound for Kentucky. Very few of the Kentucky settlers joined his forces when they learned of the real mission. The settlers were of the opinion that it was the height of folly to invade another country while leaving Kentucky defenseless against Indian attack. 1

Clark left the twenty families of immigrants he had brought from Virginia at the Falls of the Ohio, at Corn Island. He took his forces on to Kaskaskia, on the Mississippi. Kaskaskia was taken on July 5, 1778. Cahokia, about sixty miles to the north, was taken the same week. Vincennes, on the Wabash, was taken two weeks later. The three towns had been taken without casualty. When Hamilton, in Detroit, learned of the surrender of the three towns, he promptly started action to reverse Clark's gain. Hamilton started marching from Detroit with many of his Indian allies on October 7, 1778. He retook Vincennes and held it until he was forced to surrender to Clark on February 25, 1779. Captain John Rogers was assigned to take Hamilton from Vincennes to the prison in Williamsburg, Virginia.

The twenty families Clark had left at the Falls of the Ohio, on Corn Island, were moved to the Kentucky side of the

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Ohio during the winter of 1778 - 1779 and a new fort built at the Falls of the Ohio. The new fort was named Fort Nelson and grew into the City of Louisville.

The year of 1778 was a quiet year in Kentucky. Boone had been captured early in January by Indians while he and others were at the salt licks. A number of the settlers, including Boone's wife and family, left Kentucky when they learned Boone had been captured for they feared him dead. However, the Indians had no intention of harming such a valuable captive. The going rate offered by the British was $100 for a prisoner and $50 for a scalp. Even though the British offered far more than the customary price for Boone, the Indians wouldn't give up their prize. Boone didn't make his escape for six months, during which time the forts were relatively free from Indian invasion. Boonesborough withstood a nine day invasion in August, 1778. Casualties were light, although the Indians destroyed all the property outside of the fort.

Harrodstown, Logan's Fort, Boonesborough and Fort Nelson at the Falls of the Ohio, remained the largest of the towns, although many new towns and stations were established as the settlers flocked to the new county of Kentucky. The settlers turned the tide of Indian warfare when they marched against an Indian town on the Little Miami in 1779. Although they failed to drive the Indians out, they were successful in destroying much Indian property. The disabled Indians were unable to send any organized forces into Kentucky for the rest of 1779.

Several acts were passed by the Virginia Assembly in May, 1779 which were of benefit to the county of Kentucky. A ferry over the Kentucky River at Boonesborough was authorized. The old trace road Boone had marked out over the Cumberland Gap route was made into a packhorse road to facilitate entry into Kentucky from the southeast. A Court of Land Commissioners was appointed to judge land claims. Most of the settlers were given a chance to buy other tracts on credit.