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Question Of the Week

We are starting a new trend here on Piedmont Trails. Once in a while, we will present you with a question about history and genealogy. The query will most likely deal with current topics and research that we are currently working on. Choose to comment and join the conversation. We may insert voting polls to elaborate on the subject. Cast your vote and bring your friends. We hope this new movement will entice you to be more outspoken and not shy. Don’t worry; there are no wrong answers to these questions. Expanding our communication tools and hearing from you is the best. Throwing in history and genealogy, well, it doesn’t get any better, Right? We are calling this new trend, Question of the Week. The site’s archive will store these just like the articles. Any keywords you enter in the search box will retrieve the question segments too. Are you ready for our first question?

Do you think you have ancestors living in present-day Kentucky before 1790?

The keyword in the question is, think. Many of you may know for sure, and that’s great. Share your discoveries, don’t keep them hidden. Others may have a hunch or a clue that leads them to Kentucky. That’s the name of the game, understanding the clues. Submit your answers and comments to the question. Let’s get this conversation going.

Just a reminder, we have a podcast show airing soon on this subject. And, we are live streaming on December 19th about the early Kentucky roads. Check out the video below for details.

Below you will find a poll. Cast your vote. Include your thoughts about the early Kentucky settlements with your comments. We want to thank you for participating in our question of the week. Enjoy Your Journey To The Past.

19 replies »

  1. My direct ancestor lived in Rowan Co., N.C. Until about 1791 when he moved back to the Shenandoah Valley of Va. they made it to Lee Co., Va. about 1810…the far western county of Va. before the Cumberland Gap. So no didn’t quite make it to Kentucky before 1790.

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  2. My research has uncovered no direct ancestors in Kentucky in 1750. One of my maternal grandfather’s ancestors died in the Revolutionary War and his war service land grant in Kentucky went to my ancestor who sold the land grant and stayed in North Carolina. Obviously this occurred much later than 1750.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for responding cinj2014 !! You have ties to Kentucky by way of your grandfather’s service during the Revolutionary War. That’s fantastic to hear. Even though, he died before he could travel there, it makes one wonder if would’ve kept the land instead of selling it. Thanks so much for sharing this.


  3. My 6th GGF was Hans Michel Gutknecht (anglicized to Michael Goodnight). Grandpa Michael fled the Palatinate in 1752 arriving in Philadelphia that year. The family was in Bedford Co, VA, by 1755 where he served in the militia during the French & Indian War. He then moved on to Mecklenburg Co, NC, by 1764 and would have been there for the duration of the War of the Regulation although I have not found any sources suggesting his participation. He served as a Mecklenburg Co. constable in 1775…duty which qualifies him as a SAR/DAR Patriot Ancestor. Grandpa Michael would have crossed Cumberland Gap about four years after the Wilderness Trail was opened by Daniel Boone, where he preempted 400 acres of land near Harlan’s Station, KY, in 1779. In 1781, he (and probably an eldest son of his second marriage) had returned to NC to bring his wife and rest of the family back to KY when the group was attacked in the night by Indians about a half day’s journey from Harlan’s Station. Grandpa Michael was killed in the encounter and Uncle John was shot through with an arrow, but survived. I’ve traced and photographed Grandpa Michael’s footsteps down the Great Wagon Road as far as Roanoke, VA, then followed his footsteps across the Wilderness Trail through Cumberland Gap photographing the trail he would have trod. I’ve visited his farm near Perryville, KY, met my cousins who still have the land in the family, and compiled a sketch with photos of his life and journey from the Palatinate to Kentucky. “In the Footsteps of Our Ancestors” has been an amazing journey for me…it would be fun to know which young cousin will follow those footsteps even further!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Randy !! I loved your comment so much, I had to read it twice. I can never get enough of people sharing their adventures with me. It’s really the best part of my journey, connecting with others and their adventures. Don’t you worry about the next family historian in line, that cousin will surely be there. Great Job !!


  4. Yes, I have ancestors in KY before 1790. One came with D. Boone: his name is on the plaque.
    Three settled near each other and later children and grandchildren intermarried. John Finnell,
    James Preston Woods (son of Michael Woods) and Augustus Webber, all froom Virginia, settled in Clark County area, some later cut off into Estill Co. William Webb came from NC with Winbounes/WInborns – I’m not sure of the date so might have been after 1790.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My direct ancestor Jediah Ashcraft with wife Nancy Friend were in Kentucky before 1790. Their eight children were born in PA, VA, and the last child Jacob was born in KY in 1785.
    Also direct ancestor William Robertson with wife Violetty Lettice were both born in Adair Co., KY in 1767 and 1771, respectively. Their daughter Bethenia Robertson was also born in Adair Co. about 1793.
    Direct ancestor Nancy Kendrick was born in Kentucky about 1793 and married Major Townsend Webb in 1804 in Lincoln Co., KY. He was later sent to the Arkansas Territory frontier where they both died before 1826.
    Another direct ancestor Alexander Montgomery fought in the Revolutionary War from Kentucky and died on Raccoon Creek, Morgan Co., KY in 1831.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My original immigrant ancestor, Thomas Feland b. 1730 in Northern Ireland, emigrated @1750, perhaps into Talbot County, MD. He married Catherine Quinton in 1754, perhaps in Loudoun County, VA. Most of his 9 (?) children were born in Campbell County, VA, just SE of present day Lynchburg, VA. Migration to KY would probably been after 1775. Thomas eldest son, Samuel, was my direct ancestor and I have him documented purchasing land in Davidson county, TN in 1783. Other Thomas Feland children are documented at Hanging Fork of the Dix River in Danville, Lincoln County, KY and other KY counties/locales. It’s all so cloudy with long gaps in the migration narrative. In the absence of direct documentation, my long term objective is to build a narrative around the migrations and locales, associate families, individuals and groups that may have migrated together and circumstances of their existence.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As far as I know so far… mine were still in VA and the Carolinas. One line has shown up in briefly in TN en route to GA. Did they travel through KY to get there??? This is one of the reasons I follow along the trail. 🙂

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  8. I haven’t seen any evidence that my direct line (or close family members to direct line) spent any time in Kentucky. I’m guessing that some 2nd and third cousins may have traveled and settled there.

    So far I’ve followed my Donnell line from PA to NC to TN, and then to MO.
    My Ingram line from VA to TN to AL and then to MO.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love reading your articles Carol. Keep them coming. Some of my relatives (George Brown) probably passed through Kentucky on his way from NC to Union County, Illinois where he arrived between late 1820 and 1822. He was on the 1820 census in Rowan Co, NC.
    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. My 5X great grandparents, Hugh McGary and Mary Buntin Ray McGary were among the first four non-Indian families in Kentucky. The McGary family arrived in Kentucky in September 1775 with Daniel and Rebecca Boone, Mr. and Mrs. Richard Hogan, and Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Denton, along with about 20 men. They left the Yadkin Valley for Kentucky in September 1773, but were soon stalled in the area of Castle’s Woods, Virginia, by deadly Indian attacks. They then lived for a time in the Clinch and Powell River valleys.
    Meanwhile, Boone and McGary fought in Lord Dunmore’s War in 1774, and in spring of 1775 Boone led axmen to build the Wilderness Road, following the Warrior’s Path through Cumberland Gap. Now Boone was ready to retrieve the families and resume their move to Kentucky. About September 1, 1775, the traveling party split up when they reached the headwaters of the Dix River in today’s western Rockcastle County, Kentucky. The Boones went north to Boonesborough, and my ancestors went northwest to Harrods Town.
    One of Hugh’s sons, Daniel McGary, my 4X great grandfather, was the co-founder of my hometown, Madisonville, Kentucky, giving 20 acres of land for its creation in 1807.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. James ROBERTSON, my adopted son’s 6th great grandfather,did not reside in Kentucky, but led a group of men by land and took goods, horses, and other livestock. I have not been able to find an exact date of departure, but they left Fort Patrick Henry “in the fall of 1779” and traveled through the Cumberland Gap (recently marked by Daniel BOONE in 1775). They then traveled west across southern “Kentucky” as far as the Red River, then turned south toward the Lick. They arrived on the north side of the Cumberland River, across from the Lick on December 25, 1779. They crossed over into the Lick on January 1, 1780, and proceeded to build more cabins and forts, waiting for the DONELSON party to arrive. James ROBERTSON named this settlement Nashborough, although the name was changed about January 28, 1779 to Nashville. Therefore, James ROBERTSON was a founder of Nashville!
    Rick Springer

    Liked by 1 person

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