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.

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