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Kentucky Land Grants Before 1782

When someone mentions the state of Kentucky, what is the first thing that pops into your mind? Daniel Boone and the early fort settlements? Or could it be the Shawnee tribes living in the Indian Old Field area? Maybe it’s the buffalo roaming the bluegrass or traveling one of their paths to visit the natural salt licks. For Piedmont Trails, it’s all of these treasures and much more. See if these names sound familiar to you. James Harrod, Fort Redstone, John Finley, or Eskippakithiki. These are prevalent people and locations dating to the 1750 decade. We can go back to the 1740s and name Charles Sinclair, John Howard, and John Salling. Salling’s skillful notes were prevalent on the famous Jefferson & Frye map a decade later. We could travel all the way back to the 17th century, but let’s time travel to the 1770 decade and look more closely at land records.

Before Kentucky became a county in December 1776, it was part of Fincastle County, Virginia. This fact will be interesting as we share several early land records. Many changes were in store for Kentucky, and becoming a county was the first step. Transitions occur as with any new county. Court proceedings, militia leaders, land records, and much more quickly adapt according to the colonial standards. Below are vital details on early land records dating before 1782. Fincastle and Kentucky counties are included in the list, as some of these records date before 1776. Land records noted after June 30th, 1780, include Lincoln, Fayette, and Jefferson counties. Kentucky County thrived for four years before ending to become a new state name by 1792. Understanding the timelines play a critical role in locating the records. After 1782, the growth and population of Kentucky grew at an alarming rate. Historians proclaim over 180% growth between 1782 and statehood, spanning ten years. Families were migrating west just as their ancestors migrated south a generation before.

For this first segment of early Kentucky land records, the references mentioned for specific dates are for surveys only. Military land records, including grantees, and their heirs, are listed if available. If acreage does not appear, the tract consists of less than 1,000 acres. Several names with more than one tract have additional notes stating that and how many. Locations specified in the surveys include various waterways. This first segment introduces all surnames ending with A, B, and C. Remember, the reference dates are for surveys only.

Photo by Matt Barnard on Pexels.com

Surnames beg. with A

  • Adams, David-Town Fork & Salt River-4/14/1781-3 tracts noted before 1782
  • Adams, William-Town Fork & Salt River-3/9/1781-3 tracts noted before 1782
  • Allen, Hugh-1,000 acres, Beargrass Creek-6/7/1774
  • Allen, James-2,000 acres, Salt River-6/22/1776
  • Allen, John-1,000 acres, Clear Creek-6/25/1776
  • Allen, William-Scott Creek & Smith Branch-10/30/1781
  • Armstrong, John-Licking Creek-7/10/1776-2 tracts noted before 1782
  • Arnold, James-Cane Run-1/26/1781

Surnames beg. with B

  • Baker, John-Beech Ford-5/11/1781
  • Ball, Edward-Dicks River & Hanging Ford-9/4/1781
  • Barnett, James-Green River-12/17/1781-military grant-heirs-William Calimus Smith
  • Barnett, Robert-Dicks River & Hanging Fork-4/10/1781-2 tracts noted before 1782
  • Bell, David-Elkhorn Creek-7/12/1775-military grant-heirs-John & James Bell
  • Bell, Samuel-Sinking Creek-3/10/1780
  • Berry, Richard-South Fork-5/5/1781
  • Bickley, Joseph-2,000 acres-Elkhorn Creek-7/16/1774
  • Boggs, Robert-Boggs Fork-9/16/1780-military grant-Robert Boggs-grantee
  • Boone, George-Kentucky River & Tates Creek-5/13/1781-4 tracts noted before 1782
  • Boone, Sarah-Fox Run & Brashears Creek-3/31/1781
  • Boone, Squire-1,000 acres-Clear Creek-3/8/1781-4 tracts noted before 1782
  • Boughman, Henry-1,000 acres-Dicks River-2/17/1781-2 tracts noted before 1782
  • Bowman, Joseph-Cane Run-1/22/1781
  • Bowyer, Thomas-1,000 acres-Falls of Ohio-6/2/1774
  • Boyd, Andrew-2,000 acres-Elkhorn Creek-7/14/1774
  • Boyd, John-1,000 acres-Elkhorn Creek-7/21/1774
  • Bradford, John-1,000 acres-Elkhorn Creek-8/24/1780
  • Braxdel, John-1,000 acres-Harrod’s Creek & Salt River-12/17/1781
  • Briggs, Samuel-Dicks River-5/3/1781-2 tracts noted before 1782
  • Brisco, John-Town Fork & Salt River-2/2/1781
  • Brisco, John Jr.-Dry Run & Salt River-4/30/1781-2 tracts noted before 1782
  • Briscoe, Girard-Stewart Creek & Salt River-7/23/1781
  • Briscoe, Parmenas-Town Fork & Salt River-3/1/1781-3 tracts noted before 1782
  • Brown, James-Clarks Run-4/10/1781
  • Bruice, John-Paint Lick Creek-6/18/1780-2 tracts noted before 1782
  • Bryan, William-Cain Run-11/2/1781-2 tracts noted before 1782
  • Buckhannan, George-Salt River-6/27/1780-2 tracts noted before 1782
  • Buckner, Henry-Gilbert Creek-4/4/1781
  • Buckner, Phillip-Gilbert Creek-4/4/1781
  • Bulger, Daniel-1,000 acres-Hanging Fork & Dicks River-8/1/1781
  • Bulger, Edward-Kentucky River-6/28/1780-2 tracts noted before 1782
  • Byrd, William-1,000 acres-Ohio River-6/3/1774-Grantees-John Carter Littlepage-5 tracts noted before 1782, 1 military granted to Thomas Taylor Byrd

Surnames beg. with C

  • Caldwell, George-Town Fork & Salt River-4/20/1781-4 tracts noted before 1782
  • Caldwell, John-Dicks River-3/31/1781
  • Caldwell, Robert-Town Fork & Salt River-4/27/1781-3 tracts noted before 1782
  • Calloway, Flanders-Otter & Tates Creek-6/27/1781
  • Cameron, Charles-Dicks River-8/8/1781-3 tracts noted before 1782
  • Campbell, Arthur-1,000 acres-Beargrass Creek-6/3/1774
  • Carpenter, Conrad-1,000 acres-Hanging Fork & Dicks River-6/21/1781-2 tracts noted before 1782
  • Carpenter, John-Green River-6/15/1781-3 tracts noted before 1782
  • Carter, John-2,000 acres-Elkhorn Creek-5/27/1774-2 tracts noted before 1782
  • Carter, Shadrock-Beech Fork & Cedar Creek-10/24/1780
  • Casey, William-Haning Fork-5/12/1781
  • Cave, Richard-1,000 acres-Shawnee Run-4/28/1780
  • Charlton, Richard-6,000 acres-Beargrass Creek & Ohio River-6/1/1774
  • Christian, Israel-1,000 acres-Elkhorn Creek-7/20/1774
  • Christian, William-1,000 acres-Elkhorn Creek-7/17/1774-6 tracts noted before 1782
  • Cline, John-Tick Creek-3/8/1781
  • Cline, Peter-Tick Creek-3/8/1781
  • Coller, Joseph-Beech Fork-1/13/1781-Grantee-Joseph Collard
  • Collier, Alexander-Middle Fork & Sugar Creek-5/10/1781
  • Collier, John-Sugar Creek-12/6/1781-3 tracts noted before 1782
  • Collins, Thomas-Dicks River-7/10/1781
  • Cook, David-Dicks River-3/6/1781
  • Coombs, William-Stewart Creek-10/21/1780
  • Copher, Jesse-Tates Creek-6/22/1781-Grantee-Higgarson Grubbs
  • Cowan, John-1,000 acres-Head of Harrods Run-10/16/1780
  • Cox, David-1,000 acres-Cox Creek-3/28/1781
  • Cox, Isaac-1,000 acres-Cox Creek-3/28/1781-2 tracts noted before 1782-1 being a military for rank of Colonel
  • Craig, Alexander-1,000 acres-Jessamine Creek-6/13/1774-3 tracts noted before 1782
  • Craig, Elijah-Salt River-5/26/1780-3 tracts noted before 1782
  • Craig, James-Dicks River-4/21/1781-2 tracts noted before 1782
  • Craig, John- Elkhorn Creek-5/27/1780-Grantee-Benjamin Craig-7 tracts noted before 1782
  • Craig, John-1,000 acres-Hanging Fork-6/29/1781
  • Craig, John Sr.-Hanging Fork-7/21/1781
  • Craig, Lewis-Gilbert Creek-4/5/1781-6 tracts noted before 1782
  • Craig, Robert-Dicks River-4/21/1781
  • Craig, Samuel-Dicks River-8/7/1781
  • Craig, William-Dicks River-7/19/1781-2 tracts noted before 1782
  • Crawford, William-Whitley Creek-6/12/1781
  • Crews, David-1,000 acres-Muddy Creek-6/26/1781-2 tracts noted before 1782
  • Crittenden, Captain John-Sinking Creek-10/30/1780-2 tracts noted before 1782
  • Crow, John-Clark Run-10/23/1780-2 tracts noted before 1782
  • Crow, William-Clark Run-5/26/1781-3 tracts noted before 1782
  • Cunningham, Lt. Walter-1,000 acres-Clear Creek-11/12/1775
  • Curd, John-Dicks River-3/28/1781-2 tracts noted before 1782
  • Curry, James-Salt River-11/23/1779
  • Curry, John-Chaplan Fork-10/31/1780

Many family historians will research the land deeds and stop any further research on the property in question. Piedmont Trails goes in the opposite direction. We look for the earliest documented date for a particular individual or family. In most cases, the earliest document will be a land warrant claim or a land survey. We have found materials within store ledgers, diaries, journals, and church records as the earliest date. But land records are an excellent place to start. Land surveys can offer critical data to aid your research. How many of you have used land surveys to pinpoint the exact location of your ancestor’s property? With a colonial land survey, you have the layout with measurements, waterways, roads, adjacent properties, and more. Consider them as pieces to a puzzle that can help you unravel the past.


  • Certificate Book of the Virginia Land Commission, 1779-1780 by Virginia Land Commission. Southern Historical Press Easley, South Carolina 1981
  • Deed Books 1780-1909 Kentucky Historical Society published 1966 13 microfilm reels courtesy of Family Search
  • Early Kentucky Land Records by Neal O Hammon. Filson Club Louisville, Kentucky 1992
  • Fincastle & Kentucky County, VA-Ky by Michael L Cook and Bettie A Cook. Cook Publications Evansville, Indiana 1987
  • Index for old Kentucky Surveys & Grants by Joan Brookes-Smith. Kentucky Historical Society published 1975. 1 microfilm reel courtesy of Family Search
  • Photography-Land Grants-Isaac Shelby(1750-1826), John Harvie(1742-1807), and Elijah Diboard-courtesy of the Library of Congress.

5 replies »

  1. Hi Carol, Thank you so much for the expert reporting! I always learn something from you. I have been looking at 1810 census in Jessamine , KY for a particular group of Hughes people. So your information is very timely to my research in understanding Kentucky land grants. I did not realize Kentucky was a county before becoming a state!
    Thanks again for great work in helping us discover the past. Kim

    Sent from my iPad

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Carol, Big – Thanks to you and the whole crew. You are doing great work. Keep it up. Also thanks for allowing comment back on the email. I tried to reach out in the past via WordPress. Was an unpleasant experience, don’t know if my question got through, and never heard back. If replying by email is okay, I will try my question again (re: Muddy Creek NC). Keep up your good work. Your examples like Kentucky are exactly what we need.

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Carol, wanted to let you know I found my Isaac Johnson b. 1774 Orange Co. NC and d. 1841 in Ohio Township, Warrick Co, IN. He married in 1803 to Patsey Blalock in Wake Co.NC. Their first child, Thomas was born in 1807 and second child, Isaac Jr. b. 1808. I am not sure of other children at this point. I found them in Henderson, Ky in the 1810 Census. They then traveled to IN before 1823. I really enjoy your work with Piedmont Trails. I look forward to the next issue. Debbie Dunn

    Liked by 1 person

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