Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Documentation

Records from the pages of history are part of the story.  Documentation is the role.  The following pages are copies of  the documents used to write the story of Danville.  They are given for those who might want to research the primary documents for their own understand. 

Microfilm "REEL NO. 1" is the source for much of the documentation regarding the early days of Danville. [Part of Virginia at this time.]  The reels are stored in Frankfort at the Kentucky History Society Museum.  They were filmed by the Kentucky Historical Society July 18, 1969.

The reel contains the first 528 pages of the supreme court records of Kentucky District beginning 11-4-1783.  The above page is from the index of this record showing the listing "Danville Plan of Town" on page 67.  This record is the first story of our town Danville.  Check it out.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Town Spring

The precise location of the earliest landmark defining the town lands of Danville goes by the name "The Town Spring".  There has been general agreement that this spring is near First Avenue, and a variety of specific areas have been suggested.  This spring can be located on a city map of 1876.  The following is shown:

First Avenue is clearly marked.  It extends south along the square and crosses Main Street.  [This was originally called "Broad Street" because it was 90' wide and" broader" then any other street of the original town surveys.  A stream is shown beginning at the middle of First Street behind a house labeled "J. Meuir" as best as I can tell.

An enlargement of this area is shown above giving more of an outline of its flow. [I have traced the stream as it flows SW to Main Street, continuing SW to what was originally called "Second Street".  It then flows almost due south.]

Now using the survey recorded in the very first patent, place the town lands of Danville as drawn.

"A" is the beginning at a "Sugar Tree" near spring known by the name of "Town Spring".

Monday, October 13, 2014

Copyright Notice

This blog "Historic Danville KY" is written for those who have an interest in the history of Danville, KY.

You may not use the contents of this site (blog and post) for commercial purposes without explicit written permission from the author and  blog owner.  Commercial purposes includes blogs with ads and income generation features, and/or blogs or sites using feed content as a replacement for original content.  Full content usage is not permitted.

Jerry E. Jones, MD, MS, The Jones Genealogist, Library of Congress No. 6192-01064476.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

76 Acres

The town lands of Danville began as 76 acres purchased the18th day of June 1784.  This "Indenture" was entered into by John Crow of the County of Lincoln (VA) and Walker Daniel of the same county.  The figure below is my attempt to sketch the survey of this land as recorded from the deed book which can be found in Lincoln Co., Deeds A & B, 1781 - 1795, pp. 12-13.

The sketch is as follows:

The survey reads:

"....all that tract or parcel of land included within the following boundaries to wit..."

A. as shown on drawing above..."Beginning at a Sugar Tree near the spring known by the name of the Town Spring & North Eastward by the same running thence..."

The "Town Spring" begins the survey.  North eastward from the spring begins the plot.

B. "...West Thirty seven poles to a Huckberry..."

Going directly west 37 poles to a distinctive tree.  A pole is one square rod, and a rod is 16.5 feet.
Thus from the Sugar Tree near the spring due west 610.5 feet.

C. "...thence South six poles to pointers..."

Turning due south six poles (99 feet) to "pointers".  This must have been some kind of recognized landmark, often a stack of stone place in a distinct way.

D. "...thence West seventy one poles near to a large Cherry tree stump to pointers..."

Again, due west 71 poles (1171.5 feet) to a large Cherry tree stump.  Remember that there are 5,280 feet in one mile.  Thus this would be west from the spring approximately .2 of a mile.

E. "...thence South eighty eight poles to an elm & Water Beech in Jas Browns settlement line..."

From point D, we go due south 88 poles (roughly 1/4 of a mile) to another tree [Water Beech] which is located in the settlement line of James Brown.

F. "...thence East along his Line one hundred & sixty poles to the spring Branch..."

Thus, the southern boundary of the town lands of Danville followed the settlement line of James Brown.  It was 2640 feet along this line until it ran again into the flow of the town springs.  This would be a southern boundary of around 1/2 mile in length.

G. "...thence up the Branch on the East side thereof to the Beginning containing 76 acres & is part of the said Johns settlement whereon he now lives & is commonly known by the name of the Town Lands of Danville...".

Other documents show that Thomas Harrods land was west of this survey which was "lying on sinking springs". [Still located on the campus of Centre College.]  The flow of the town branch is now covered over but can be followed after it runs under ground past the present Post Office.

The deed also list that John Crow was to maintain access to half of the water below the Tannery where it then stood to the lower line.

Other landmarks and individuals that had land surveys around these 76 acres are also shown on the drawing.

Well here it is...the first 76 acres of Danville!

Documentation can be found in my book "KEN-TAH-THE" The Life and Times of Walker Daniel, Founder of the Town Lands of Danville, Kentucky, 18th Day of June 1784, published 2009.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Some Safe Place

At the first "Supreme Court" meeting (1783) of this new District of Kentucky, the court instructed the Attorney General (Walker Daniel) and the Clerk (John May) to fix on some safe place near Crow's station for holding the court.  They were likewise authorized to contract for building a jail of hewed or sawed logs, at least nine inches thick.   This arrangement ultimately gave rise to the town of Danville.

In case the said Daniel and May at their own expense to be built a log house large enough for a courtroom in one end, and two jury rooms in the other on the same floor, together with a jail, "...they would adjourn to the place so to be fixed on, and promised a conditional re-imbursement, in case they removed to any other place, either out of the funds allowed for the support of the court, if sufficient, if not, by using their influence with the legislature to have them paid."

What a deal.  You built it and they will come.

Abstracted from : Valley of the Ohio, by Mann Butler, Published by Kentucky Historical Society, 1971, p. 191.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The District of Kentucky

In March 1783, an improvement of the judiciary in this distant (western) part of Virginia was directed by the  legislature (of Virginia).  This legislature united the three counties (Jefferson, Fayette, and Lincoln) into one judicial district.  This was to be called the District of Kentucky.  This new judiciary was to contain a court of common law and chancery jurisdiction coextensive with its limits.  It was also to have criminal jurisdiction.  The court first meet at Harrodsburg, March 3, 1783 as the new, improved court. (A county court had been meeting for Lincoln county at Harrodsburg since January, 16, 1781.)  Apparently there was no house at Harrodsburg that could conveniently accommodate the court; and it was adjourned to a meeting house near the Dutch station, six miles from its initial place of meeting.  John May was was appointed the first clerk, and Walker Daniel was appointed by the Governor of Virginia Attorney General for the District of Kentucky.

Friday, August 1, 2014

A Talk To Be Given

The Boyle Co. Library will host a me!  This display is on their doors.  August 7, 6 pm is the date.  The Community Room at the library is the place.  The naming of Danville is the subject.  Come and join the fun.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Danville 1784

The first representation of the city of Danville can be found on the map printed in Philadelphia 1784 for John Filson.  An enlargement of this area is shown below.

In the explanation section on the map it explains the symbols which have been drawn to show "Danville".  There are six "Dwelling-houfes & Mills" forming a c-shaped area around a "Stations or Forts". [Would be Crow's Station, but not listed so on this map.]  One single road is shown coming from "Clark's" station.   The road then heads NW to "Low Dutch" station which has six roads radiating out of center.

A little wider view is shown next.

Clark's Run is the dark line running just below the town.

Hum...six dwelling houses and a station in 1784 is shown on this map.  There was much more to come.

Thursday, June 26, 2014


It was the summer of 1779 that the "Illinois Campaign" had help neutralize the British forces north of the Ohio River.  A fellow who had been involved in this campaign was named Walker Daniel.  Along with his younger brother Thomas, he explored and surveyed land on the south side of the Ohio.  On May 20, 1780 he files a land entry for 960 acres on "Holders Creek", and for an additional 960 acres on May 25, 1780 on "Holders Creek". [To become Jefferson Co.]   His younger brother explored further south recording 400 acres on "Stoners Fork" and 2000 acres on "Green River".  This was the beginning of the Walker's family involvement in this new land that was to contain the city of Danville.

The records can be found in "Land Entry Book No. A", Cook, M.I., Cook, B.A., Fincastle & Kentucky County VA - KY, Records and History, Vol. I, p. 141, Cook Publications, EvansvilIe, IN, 1987.

The whole story can be found in the book (cover shown below):

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Three New Counties

The years between 1776 and 1780 were very difficult for those gathered in the three forts outlined in the last post.  George Rogers Clark had made things a little more stable after his military activity into the  "North West Territory", and by 1780 the legislature of the "Commonwealth of Virginia" past a law creating three new counties in this part of Virginia called "Kentucky County".

On June 30, 1780;  Jefferson, Fayette, and Lincoln counties were formed.  Jefferson County was named after Thomas Jefferson, who happened to write the Declaration of Independence.  Fayette County was named after a 23 year old Frenchman who was helping the cause of American independence.  Lincoln County was named after General Benjamin Lincoln who was one George Washington's chief lieutenants. 

Louisville became the county seat of Jefferson.  Lexington became the center of the new Fayette County.  St. Asaph (Stanford) was the county seat of Lincoln.  It was out of the county of Lincoln that the city of Danville would be formed.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Events 1776 - 1777

Events that were happening in this newly formed "Kentucky County" during December 1776 and early 1777, lead to the folks joining together within three forts.  A general geographic relatioship of these forts are shown in the figure below.  It is traced from John Filson's map of 1784, but only the three forts are drawn.

What was to become the town lands of Danville was roughly ten miles NNW above Fort Logan and along the trail to Fort Harrod.  According to Ann Bolton Bevins, the Indian attack on McClelland's fort Dec. 29, 1776, resulted in  "...the Kentuckians' decision to hover together in three forts rather than four."  She states that there were forty men at Boonesborough, twenty men at St. Asaph's (Fort Logan), and seventy or eighty at Harrodsburg.   Poor Boonesborough was not an easy trip between these forts.  Henderson's Transylvania Company was centered here, and these folks were from NC.   Folks from PA and VA had moved into the area south of the Dick's River.  Interesting that the lands halfway between the PA and VA groups would be later selected as the Town lands of Danville.

Reference is: The Royal Spring of Georgetown, Kentucky by Ann Bolton Bevins, Scott County Historical Society, Georgetown, KY, 1970.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Long, Long History

As noted in the last post, before Kentucky was a "state", it was a "county" of Virginia.  From 1776 to 1780, it was called "Kentucky County".   It certainly has a long, long history.

"Chickacoan" was the "Indian District" which it belonged prior to 1648.  It became "Northumberland" (VA) in 1648 having received many folks from the English Civil War.   In 1651 it became "Lancaster Co."... then "(Old) Rappahannock Co." in 1656... then "Essex Co." in 1692... then "Spotsylvania Co." in 1720... then "Orange Co." in 1734...then "Betetourt Co." in 1770...leading to "Fincastle Co." in 1772.  It was out of Fincastle Co. that Kentucky County was formed 1776, lasting until 1780.  The years between 1776 to 1780 were a difficult time for the folks in this new county of Virginia. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Kentucky Co. VA 1776

The humble petition of Junes 1776 (see previous eight posts!) was acted upon fairly quickly by those folks in Virginia.  The Bill that created Kentucky Co. [also Washington and Montgomery Co.s] was introduced into the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia by a fellow named Thomas Jefferson.  The date was October 26, 1776, and it would have been only four months after the folks from Harrodsburg had put their pen to the petition.   The Bill was approved on December 7, and was signed into law by the then governor of Virginia, Patrick Henry. [Another fellow not very well known!]

The Bill was to become effective on December 31, 1776.   Fincastle County was no longer after this date. [Fincastle Co. was in existence from December 1, 1772 until December 31, 1776.]  For the genealogist, this is the earliest records of what was to become the State of Kentucky...this new county of Virginia called "Kentucky County".

Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Humble Petition 1776 (part 8)

The petition from 1776 continues form (part 7)...

"Upon the whole we Cheerfully submit to the Authorities and Jurisdiction of this House, not doubting but you will take us under your protection, and give us such direction by our Representatives, as you in your great Wisdom may think Best, and your petitioners as in Bound &c.

     Herrodsburg, June 7 - 15th. 1776
     Signed by order of the Inhabitants
                                                                                           Abraham Hite, Jr.

A note in Robertson's text p. 38 reads: This was sent first to the committee of Fincastle County and by them to the Convention.

It is important to notice that the Hite family plays an important role in the early settlement of Kentucky.  Isaac Hite is involved in the future settlement of what was to become Danville.

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Humble Petition 1776 (part 7)

The petition of 1776 continues from (part 7)...

"And as we sincerely concur in the measures established by the Continental Congress and Colony of Virginia, And willing to the utmost of our abilities to support the present laudable cause, by raising our Quoto of men and bear a proportionable share of Expense that will necessarily accrue in the support of our common Liberty.  And that good order may be observed we proceeded to Elect a Committee consisting of Twenty one members, already some in West Augusta and which precedent we rely upon to justify our Procedings to the world, for without Law or authority, Vice here could take its full scope having no Laws to Restrain or Power to Controul."

The Continental Congress and Colony of Virginia appear to be the focus of authority being sought by the folks in these parts of Fincastle County during the year of 1776.  It would seem that they were in agreement to the "present laudable cause" and in "in the support of our common Liberty".

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Humble Petition 1776 (Part 6)

The petition of 1776 continues from (part 5)...

"And therefore willing to acquit our conscience and not entail Slavery upon our posterity by submitting to the pretensions and impositions of the pretended proprietors, We the Inhabitants of the North and South Sides of Kentucke River having assembled togather after preparatory notice on the Eight day of June 1776 and continued to poll till the 15th of said Instantin....[illegible] a majority has chosen Captain John Gabriel Jones and Captain George Rodgers Clark, and hope ye Honorable the Convention will receive them as our Delegates from this the Western parts of Fincastle County."

In June 1776 these folks were faced with the issue of slavery.   As a group, they would "not entail Slavery".  They identified themselves as "inhabitants" of the "North and South Sides of Kentucke River", being the western part of Fincastle County, Virginia.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Humble Petition 1776 (Part 5)

The petition continues from (Part 4)...

"But should our Infant Settlement become the object of your deliberations, and be taken under your protection and Direction unto whom we justly conceive to Belong, Every Obstacle would be Removed, Population increase and of consequence a Barrier to the interior parts of Virginia from the Indians.  A new source of wealth would then be opened, as Trade and Navigation under the auspices of Virginia would Flourish, in the Western world.  And therefore willing to acquit our conscience and not entail Slavery upon our posterity by submitting to the pretensions and impositions of the pretended proprietors,..."

The basic argument of this "Infant Settlement" was that if Virginia would officially claim this new settlement area; 1) every obstacle would be removed, 2) the population would increase, 3) provide a "Barrier" to the most western parts of Virginia against the Indians, 4) a new source of wealth would be opened, and 5) trade and navigation would flourish "in the Western world".  Wow, who could refuse such an opportunity. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Humble Petition 1776 (Part 4)

The petition from 1776 (Part 3) continues...

"Virginia, we conceive, can claim this country with the greatest justice and propriety, its within the Limits of their Charter, They Fought and bled for it.  And had it not been for the memorable Battle at the Great Kanaway, these vast Regions had yet continued inaccessable. Nor can we conceive how it is practicable for those men who stile themselves Absolute proprietors, to settle this Country at so great a Distance from all the Colonies and in a Neighborhood of some Enemy Indians."

The battle at the "Great Kanaway" was at the junction of the Kanawha and the Ohio known as "Point Pleasant".  Many of those signing this petition fought in this battle.  [See previous post of Saturday, Sept. 21, 2013 titled: "Point Pleasant 1774".]

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Humble Petition 1776 (Part 3)

The petition of 1776 continues from (part 2)...

"But your Petitioners have the greatest Reason to question the Validity of those mens purchase being well informed that the Cherokees never extended their claims north of the Cumberland River, nor would warrant any Lands on the other side.  Besides its well known, that the Indians of the Six Nations Claimed and ceded those very Lands to the Crown of Great Britain at a Treaty held at Fort Stanwix in November 1768.  We therefore are not willing to obey those men, or the Authority they have assumed or indeed to acknowledge any power or prerogative, which is not derived from the Convention of Virginia whose subjects we desire to be considered."

Greatest reason to question the validity of the Transylvania company's authority.  Under which treaty do they operate their land claims...Fort Stanwix (Six Nations) or Sycamore Shoals on the Watauga (Cherokess)?  [The Shawnees who had dealt mostly with folks from Pennsylvania were not included although many of these petitioners were from PA.] 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

A Humble Petition 1776 (Part 2)

The petition from "Herrodsburg, June 7 - 15th. 1776" continues...

"And in the meantime a Company of men from North Carolina purchased or pretended to Purchase from the Cherokee Indians all that track of Land from the southernmost waters of the Cumberland River to the Banks of the Louisa or Kentucke River including also the Lands on the which inhabitants live in Powells Valley, By Virtue of which Purchase they stile themselves the true and absolute Proprietors of the new Independent Province, (as they call Transylvania) they are indeavoring to Erect and in consequence of their their Usurped authority officers both Civil and Military are appointed, Writs of Election issued Assemblys convened, a Land Office opened, Conveyances made, Lands sold at an Exorbitant Price and a System of Policy introduced which does not at all Harmonize with that Lately adopted by the United Colonies, But on the Contrary for ought yet appears this Fertile Country will afford a safe Asylum to those whose principles are Inimical to American Freedom."

Richard Henderson and company had independently negotiated a treaty with the Cherokee Indians. [ a great council at Sycamore Shoals on the Watauga, March 19, 1775 ]   As the Louisa Company, they had advertised in Virginia and North Carolina newspapers in December 1774 that land could be purchased. [So certain were these folks from North Carolina.]  In January 1775 they were reorganized as the Transylvania Company.  All this activity was occurring under the laws of England.  The petitioners above [from Harrodsburg] identify this activity "which does not all Harmonize with that Lately adopted by the United Colonies".  In 1776, how could you refuse such reasoning. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Humble Petition 1776 (Part 1)

Folks residing in "Kentucke" during 1776 faced a great deal of uncertainty.  What was to happen to all the land claims that had been made just prior to this great period of confusion?  June 1776 found a bunch of fellows writing a "Humble Petition" to the Virginia council of government from the settlement recorded as "Herrodsburg".  It reads:

"To The Honorable The Convention of  Virginia"

"The Humble Petition of the Inhabitants of Kentucke (or Louisa) River on the Western parts of Fincastle County.  Humbly Sheweth that many of your Petitioners became Adventurers in this part of the Colony in the year 1774, in order to provide a subsistance for themselves and their Posterity; but were soon obliged by our Savage Enemy to abandon their Enterprise and in the year Following, after the Country had been discovered and explored, many more became Adventurers, some of whom claimed Land by Virtue of Warrant by Lord Dunmore agreeable to the Royal Proclamation in the year 1763 and other by Preoccupancy, agreeable to the Entry Laws of Virginia."

This sets the stage for the basic understanding of what was the underlying assumptions of these folks.  First, they believed that the year 1774 was the beginning of settlement.  Their primary goal was to provide "a subsistance for themselves and their Posterity".   [Of course, the ethic groups who already claimed and occupied the lands had something to say.]  Lord Dunmore's Proclamation was one acceptable way to seek land, along with the Entry Laws of Virginia. [see previous post]  Their view was that the "Country had been discovered and explored", and many more folks had become interested in the lands.

This and the other petitions from early Kentucky can be found in Petitions of The Early Inhabitants of Kentucky To The General Assembly of Virginia 1769 to 1792, by James Robertson, 1914.  It is published by John P. Morton & Company, Louisville, KY. [Printer to the Filson Club]

The next several posts will give this petition.