Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Frontier Kentucky

Frontier Kentucky

Copyright Date: 1993
Pages: 152
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Frontier Kentucky
    Book Description:

    Otis Rice tells the dramatic story of how the first state beyond the mountains came into being. Kentucky dates its settled history from the founding of Harrodsburg in 1774 and of Boonesborough in 1775. But the drama of frontier Kentucky had its beginnings a full century before the arrival of James Harrod and Daniel Boone. The early history of the Bluegrass state is a colorful and significant chapter in the expansion of the American frontier.

    Rice traces the development of Kentucky through the end of the Revolutionary War. He deals with four major themes: the great imperial rivalry between England and France in the mid-eighteenth century for control of the Ohio Valley; the struggle of white settlers to possess lands claimed by the Indians and the liquidation of Indian rights through treaties and bloody conflicts; the importance of the land, the role of the speculator, and the progress of settlement; the conquest of a wilderness bountiful in its riches but exacting in its demands and the planting of political, social, and cultural institutions. Included are maps that show the changing boundaries of Kentucky as it moved toward statehood.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-5944-7
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. 1 A Pawn on the International Chessboard
    (pp. 1-18)

    For thousands of Americans George Caleb Bingham’s famous painting of Daniel Boone leading an immigrant party through Cumberland Gap in the spring of 1775 has symbolized the opening of Kentucky and even of the trans-Appalachian West. Although Bingham’s portrayal captures something of the glamor that always surrounds a daring adventurer, as well as of the optimism and buoyancy of the American frontier, no one work of art can explain the complex forces and circumstances behind such exciting moments of history.

    The drama of frontier Kentucky had its beginnings a full century before the arrival of Boone, his predecessor James Harrod,...

  5. 2 The Realm of the Indian and the Hunter
    (pp. 19-36)

    Kentucky in the mid-eighteenth century was a land of fabled beauty and indeterminate dimensions. In earliest usage the name was applied to a somewhat vague region extending westward from the Appalachian Mountains perhaps to the Mississippi River and southward from the Ohio to the homeland of the Cherokees in Tennessee. In its pristine state this vast domain was covered with great forests of oak, hickory, walnut, ash, poplar, beech, cucumber, and maples, among which were mingled stately evergreens. These forests were broken by clear-flowing streams and traversed by numerous ancient Indian trails.

    The first visitors to Kentucky beheld in its...

  6. 3 The Advance into Kentucky
    (pp. 37-56)

    The treaties of Hard Labor and Fort Stanwix signaled the end of a golden era for Long Hunters and fur traders in the trans-Appalachian region and the triumph of powerful combinations of speculators and of thousands of settlers determined to be the architects of their own fortunes and to mold the territory to their own interests and desires. An immediate effect of the treaties was the resuscitation of older speculative organizations, including the Greenbrier and Loyal companies and the Ohio Company of Virginia. The Suffering Traders, who, as the Illinois Company, had earlier sought a grant on the lower Ohio...

  7. 4 A Year of Crisis
    (pp. 57-69)

    For the Shawnees and other tribes northwest of the Ohio River the year 1773 had a more ominous cast than had any since 1763, when the British won undisputed control of the Ohio Valley. The ever-increasing numbers of Long Hunters in Kentucky and other areas south of the Ohio in the 1760s had by then raised the specter of a land depleted of game and the probability of real want among the tribes. Worse still, in the wake of the treaties of Hard Labor and Fort Stanwix, both of which had ignored the claims of the Shawnees to parts of...

  8. 5 Corporate Enterprise and Individual Initiative
    (pp. 70-85)

    The defeat of the Shawnees at Point Pleasant heralded both a wave of settlement and a surge of corporate activity in Kentucky. One of the first organizations to take advantage of the new conditions was the Ohio Company of Virginia, which had succumbed to the Kentucky craze in 1773. In the summer of 1775 its surveyor, Hancock Lee, and several assistants laid off a 200,000-acre tract in the Bluegrass region and established Leestown near the site of Frankfort. Most of the Ohio Company tract lay on the South Fork of the Licking River and on the North Fork of Elkhorn...

  9. 6 The Revolutionary War Years
    (pp. 86-110)

    Pioneers who took the trails and watercourses westward to Kentucky and other transmontane regions in the spring and summer of 1775 were keenly aware of the momentous events taking place in faraway Massachusetts. The arduous work of carving homes from a wilderness and the exigencies of pioneer life, nevertheless, tempered their excitement over the political upheaval then loosening the very foundations of the British Empire. For Kentuckians, the simple, human urge to possess land was as overpowering as the will of nations, either established or in the making. At the same time they were mindful of the increasing danger from...

  10. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  11. 7 The Seeds of a Commonwealth
    (pp. 111-122)

    The hardships of frontier life never stood in the path of the American pioneer in search of a new beginning, and, unless the odds were truly overwhelming, danger from the Indians seldom proved a deterrent to the inexorable march of population westward. Lands as rich and attractive as those of central Kentucky, moreover, cast a spell of their own. The advance into Kentucky, which had been spurred by the defeat of the Indians at Point Pleasant and the Treaty of Pittsburgh of 1775, developed into a substantial stream with the enactment of the land law of 1779 by the Virginia...

  12. Bibliographical Note
    (pp. 123-132)
  13. Index
    (pp. 133-140)