From 1826 to 1829, John Bradford, founder of Kentucky's first newspaper, theKentucky Gazette, reprinted in its pages sixty-six excerpts that he considered important documents on the settlement of the West. Now for the first time all of Bradford'sNotes on Kentucky-- the primary historical source for Kentucky's early years -- are made available in a single volume, edited by the state's most distinguished historian.
TheKentucky Gazettewas established in 1787 to support Kentucky's separation from Virginia and the formation of a new state. Bradford'sNotesdeal at length with that protracted debate and the other major issues confronting Bradford and his pioneering neighbors. The early white settlers were obsessed with Indian raids, which continued for more than a decade and caused profound anxiety. A second vexing concern was overlapping land claims, as swarms of settlers flowed into the region. And as quickly as the land was settled, newly opened fields began to yield mountains of produce in need of outside markets. Spanish control of the lower Mississippi and rumors of Spain's plan to close the river for twenty-five years were far more threatening to the new economy than the continuing Indian raids.
Equally disturbing was the British occupation of the northwest posts from which it was believed the northern Indianraids emanated. Not until Anthony Wayne's sweeping campaign against the Miami villages and the signing of the Treaty of Greenville in 1794 was tension from that quarter relieved. Finally, the Jay Treaty with Britain and the Pinckney Treaty with Spain diplomatically cleared the Kentucky frontier for free expansion of the white populace.
John Bradford'sNotes on Kentucky, now published together for the first time, deal with all of these pertinent issues. No other source portrays so intimately or so graphically the travail of western settlement.
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