AHGP Transcription Project


Kenton County



Kenton county is one of the newest and smallest in the state, the 90th in order of formation; and was organized in 1840, out of the west half of Campbell county, as divided by Licking River. It is only from 6 to 12 miles wide, and 25 miles long; the turnpike to Lexington making it easy of access along its western length, as does the Kentucky Central railroad along its eastern border. The southern border is at Grassy creek, a little north of DeMossville, and only a short distance north of Crittenden, Grant County. It is situated in the extreme northern part of the state, opposite Cincinnati, Ohio; is bounded north by the Ohio River, east by the Licking River which separates it from Campbell County, south by Pendleton and Grant counties, and west by Boone County. The bottom lands are rich and very productive; the uplands undulating or hilly, but grow fine wheat, corn, and tobacco. The county is dotted with fine gardens and has many excellent dairy farms, for the supply of the Covington and Cincinnati markets. The lands along the Lexington turnpike are of very superior quality.

Towns
Independence is the original county seat, 11 miles south of Covington; incorporated in 1842; population in 1870, 134. But the necessities and convenience of the people have gradually invested Covington, also, with nearly all the advantages of the county seat, it being the place of record of all conveyances of property in and near its limits; and the longest terms of all the courts, as well as terms of the U. S. District court for Kentucky, being held here.

Covington is situated on the Ohio River, immediately at and below the mouth of the Licking River (which separates it from Newport), and opposite the great city of Cincinnati, Ohio. It is built upon a beautiful plain, several miles in extent; and the principal streets running from the Ohio River were so laid off as to present the appearance of a prolongation or continuation of those of Cincinnati. Population in 1870, 24,505; in March, 1873, about 27,000. The public buildings are, a large court house and city hall, just rebuilt, greatly enlarged, and beautifully furnished (March, 1873); 24 churches (2 Baptist, 1 Methodist Episcopal South, 3 Methodist Episcopal, 2 Presbyterian, of which one in connection with the Northern General Assembly and the other with the Southern General Assembly, 1 Disciples of Christ, 1 Protestant Episcopal, 1 German Methodist Episcopal, 1 German Lutheran, 2 German Evangelical Reformed, 8 Roman Catholic, and 2 for colored people, 1 Methodist Episcopal, and 1 Baptist); 4 large and substantial (one of them elegant) public school buildings, and a beautiful High School building in course of erection; 8 Roman Catholic school buildings; 1 waterworks and 4 fire company buildings; gas works; 4 banks (Branch of the Northern Bank of Kentucky, 1st National, and Covington City National, each with $500,000, and German National, with $250,000 capital); and Odd-Fellows' Hall. Congress in Feb., 1873, appropriated $130,000 for a post office and IT. S. court building and public offices. There are 28 benevolent institutions (Masonic, Odd-Fellows, Good Templars, Knights of Pythias, Improved Order of Red Men, Ancient Order of Druids, and Ancient Order of Hibernians); 46 lawyers; 31 physicians; 24 dry goods, 49 boot and shoe, 12 drug, 6 book or stationery, 12 furniture, 12 wholesale and 137 retail grocery, 4 hardware, 4 queensware, 23 notion, 12 millinery, 5 saddle and harness, 19 merchant tailor, 10 clothing, 9 tinware, 8 jewelry, 9 sewing machine, and many other stores, besides small shops; 8 tobacco factories; 21 cigar factories; 12 carriage or wagon factories; 8 hotels; 12 confectioneries; 28 meat stores; 89 saloons for retail of beer and liquors; 15 bakeries; 1 rail mill; 1 iron rolling mill; 2 stove foundries; 4 planing mills; 4 flour mills; 10 coal yards; 10 cooper shops; 4 distilleries; 5 breweries; and many other branches of business and manufacturing industry. A wire suspension bridge (the longest single-span and one of the most beautiful in the world) connects Covington with Cincinnati; and a wire suspension bridge, also, with Newport.

West Covington, incorporated in 1858, adjoins Covington on the west (population in 1870, 993).

South Covington is 2 miles distant on the south, with about 200 inhabitants.

Ludlow, on the Ohio River, 1 mile west of Covington, is a growing town; population in 1870, 817.

Bromley, on the Ohio River 1 mile west of Ludlow; population in 1870, 121.

The other villages in the county, all very small, are:
Sandfordtown, 4 miles west of south of Covington,
Benton's Station or Kenton P. O.;
Mullins' Station or Morning View P. O.,
Canton or Visalia (the latter incorporated in 1869, was the old county seat of Campbell County),
Staffordsburg, 1½ miles south west of Canton, and
Fisksburg, 6 miles west of Mullins'.

Members of the Legislature from Kenton County

Senate
John Bennett, 1841-45;
John W. Leathers, 1849-51;
John A. Goodson, 1851-53;
John F. Fisk, 1857-65;
M. M. Benton, 1865-69, seat declared vacant 1866; succeeded by John G. Carlisle, 1866-69, '69-73, but resigned 1871 to run for Lieut. Governor; succeeded by Jas. B. Casey, 1871-73;
Robert Simmons, 1873-77.

House of Representatives
John A. Goodson, 1840;
Robert M. Carlisle, 1841, '47, '51-53, '71-73;
John S. Finley, 1842;
Herman J. Groesbeck, 1843, '44;
John W. Stevenson, 1845, '46, '48;
Daniel Mooar, 1849;
Hiram Klette, 1850;
Samuel M. Moore, 1851-53;
Robert Simmons, Samuel C. Sayers, 1853-55;
John W. Menzies, 1855-57;
Robert Richardson, 1855-59;
John Ellis, 1857-61;
John G. Carlisle, 1859-61;
John W. Finnell, 1861-63;
G. Clay Smith, 1861-63, resigned August 29th, '62, succeeded by J. Crockett Sayers, Jan. 1863-65;
M. M. Benton, 1863-65, resigned and succeeded by Andrew H. Herrod, 1865;
Geo. W. Carlisle and Harvey Myers, 1865-67, the latter resigned and was succeeded by John D. Shutt, Dec. 23, 1865-67;
John W. Leathers, 1867-69;
John Wolf, 1869-71, '73-75.

City of Covington (separate representation)
Robert Simmons, 1867-71;
Geo. G. Perkins, 1867-69;
John N. Furber, 1869-71;
Dr. Chas. D. Foote, 1871-73;
C. Columbus Scales, 1871-75;
Jos. Hermes, 1873-75.

The Ohio River, at Covington, is 1,800 feet, or about one-third of a mile wide, and its mean annual range from low to high water is about 50 feet The extreme range was, in 1832, 12 feet more. In the months of August, September, and October, the lowest stages of water are reached, October, 1838, being the lowest ever known; the greatest rises are usually in December, March, May, and June, that on February 19, 1832, being the highest of which we have definite knowledge.

The Mouth of the Licking River (or Creek, as it was called by some of the earliest visitors) was one of the prominent points in the navigation of the Ohio, and in the Indian incursions into Kentucky; and was the point of rendezvous of Kentucky troops on several expeditions against the Indians on the Miami River in Ohio.

Earliest White Visitors
Christopher Gist, in his tour as agent of the Ohio company, with his small company crossed the Licking River at or near its mouth, in March, 1751, the first white men ever upon its waters of whom we have any knowledge. James McBride and others, in a periogue, passed down the Ohio in 1754; but if they landed where Covington now is, they did not leave any record of it, either upon the trees, as they did at the mouth of the Kentucky, or elsewhere. The first white women ever upon the soil of Kenton County were Mrs. Mary Inglis and her Dutch companion, in 1756, when fleeing from Indian captivity (see detailed account of it under Boone County). May 29, 1765, Col. Geo. Croghan passed the mouth of Licking; and July 19, 1766, Capt. Harry Gordon, chief engineer in the Western Department in North America, probably landed at the point; at any rate, he was making some sort of measurement of distances on the Ohio, and in his report sets down the mouth of Licking creek as 500¼ miles below Pittsburgh, 179¼ below Big Sandy creek (or river), 134¼ below Scioto river, 60 miles above Big Bone creek, 104¼ above Kentucky River, and 181¾ above the Falls. His measurements were not very accurate; the corresponding distances as shown by the official U. S. survey in 1867 and 1868 being 466¼ miles from Pittsburgh, 151¾ from Big Sandy, 112¾ from Scioto River, 46¼ from Big Bone, 74¾ from the Kentucky River, and 132¾ from the Falls at Louisville. (See page 16, Vol. I.)

In 1769, Col. Richard Taylor, Hancock Taylor, and others from Virginia, descended the Ohio and Mississippi rivers to New Orleans, but did not land at the mouth of Licking. In the fall of 1771, Simon Kenton, John Strader, and George Yeager (who had been raised by the Indians, could talk several of their languages, and when young had hunted with them in the cane lands of Kentucky) passed down the Ohio to the mouth of the Kentucky in search of cane, but found none (because it did not grow within two or three miles of the river). On their return they examined Licking River for a short distance. In 1773, four parties from Virginia, led respectively by Captain Thos. Bullitt, the McAfee brothers, James Douglass, and Capt. James Harrod, passed the mouth of Licking on their way to the falls and points in the interior of Kentucky. The next year. May, 1774, Capt. James Harrod, Abram Hite, Jacob Sandusky, James Sandusky, and 38 others, in descending the Ohio on their way to Harrodsburg, encamped nearly opposite the mouth of Licking, at the mouth of Deer creek, where Cincinnati now is, and upon that ground cut the first tree ever cut by white men. But the first white men known to have navigated the Licking River for any distance were the John Hinkson and the John Miller companies of 14 men each, who passed in canoes up to the Lower Blue Licks on Main Licking, and thence went out into Bourbon and Harrison counties to build cabins and make improvements. (See under Harrison County.) Other companies followed in 1776.

Hydraulic Lime, in thin layers, alternating with slate and granular limestone, was discovered in 1838, by the engineers of the slack water improvement, at the mouth of the Licking River, and in the excavations for the lock-pits of Nos. 1 and 2, and in the banks of Three Mile and Bank Lick creeks. From the first locality, it was tested frequently in Cincinnati, and found to be as good as any ever before in the market.

In 1837-38, $5,383 were expended by the state in excavating a channel across the ledge of rocks at the mouth of the Licking into the Ohio, to the depth of 20 inches at the lowest stage of water over known in the Ohio River

Licking River Navigation
In 1837, under the comprehensive system of slack water navigation and macadamized roads upon which the state of Kentucky had entered, the survey of the Licking River was continued to West Liberty, 231 miles from its mouth, and giving a total ascent to be overcome of 310 feet. The lockage was arranged for 21 locks, the lifts varying from 9 to 18 feet. The following table exhibits the localities, cost, etc., of the locks and dams.

The Oldest Native of what is now Kenton County, still living (February, 1873,) within its borders, and who never lived out of it, is Isaac Martin, born May 4, 1798, on top of one of the hills immediately back of Covington, about a mile west of the railroad tunnel. Zaccheus Kyle, born in what is now Covington, June 13, 1798, is still living, in Clermont County, Ohio.

Among the First Settlers of Kenton County was Edmond Rittenhouse (a relative of the great American mathematician and astronomer, David Rittenhouse, of Pennsylvania) and family, who, in March, 1793, came down the Ohio in a flat-boat to the mouth of Licking, and up that stream to Bank Lick creek, on which he was about to settle, 1¼ miles from Licking; but the hostility of the Indians compelled him to remove immediately to Ruddle's station, between Cynthiana and Paris. He came back in 1795, and located on the west bank of Licking, a quarter of a mile below Three-Mile ripple. A quarter of a mile distant, John Martin settled, with his family, about the same time. He was born on the Atlantic Ocean, in 1723, three days after his parents (who were Quakers or Friends from Ireland) started on their voyage to America. He emigrated from Beesontown (afterwards called Uniontown), Pennsylvania, by water to Limestone (Maysville), in Feb., 1791, and thence proceeded with other families, guarded by a few soldiers, to Ruddle's station, and remained until 1795; then settled on the road from Cincinnati to Lexington, a short distance from the first toll-gate on the present Bank Lick turnpike. These two were the grandfathers of the Isaac Martin mentioned above. His parents, Wm. Martin and Margaret Rittenhouse, were married in 1797 probably the first couple married within the bounds of Kenton county. In the older-settled part, which is still Campbell County, several marriages and births took place earlier. (Major David) Leitch's station was on the opposite or eastern bank of Licking, about 5 miles above its mouth, and near where the above settlers located.

Residents in 1810, within the present corporate limits of Covington: Thos. Kennedy and his three sons, Samuel, Joseph, and Robert; of those, Joseph had three sons, Thos. D., Alfred, and Davis. Robert Kyle and five sons Samuel. John, Thomas, Robert, and Zaccheus (the latter still living in February, 1873). Jas. Riddle and his son John. Jas. Harris and two sons, Nathan and David (the latter still living in 1868). Duncan McVickar and son James. Jacob Fowler and two sons, Benj. and Edward. Jacob Hardin and son John. Samuel Swing and six sons, David, James, Jeremiah, Samuel, Wm., and another. Wm. Martin and nine sons, Isaac, John, Peter, Adam, Wm., Hiram, Enoch, Norton, and another. Joel Craig, Robert Fleming, Neal Johnson, Wm. Cummings, Peter Hardin, Judge Jos. Robertson. John Gamble and four sons, John, James, Andrew, and Joseph. Patrick Leonard and his wife Molly, always known as Capt. Molly, because of her taking the place and fighting bravely as an artilleryman in one of the battles of the Revolution of her first husband, who was killed in the battle.

And in the suburbs or county within a few miles of Covington were: Thos. Sandford and three sons, Alexander, Alfred, and Cassius B. (late mayor, and who died in 1872). Stephen Rich and five sons, Samuel, Stephen, Allen, Joseph, and John. Francis Kreilich and son Jacob. Krout and two sons, Jacob and Henry. Wm. Mackoy and three sons, John, Wm., and Robert John Martin and his sons, Wm. and John. Joseph Martin and seven sons Blakeston, John, Thomas, Wm, Jefferson, General, and Joseph. Enoch Rittenhouse, Eli Freeman Rittenhouse, Humphrey Frier, and son Alex, (drowned in Licking in 1809, and his father and mother drowned in Bank Lick in 1811). John Lucas and son Joel. Abraham Rockenfeld and two sons, John and Pizarro. Wm. Wilson and four sons, Wesley, Thomas, William, and another. Jas. Holman and son Wm. Andrew Wason and son Wm. Capt. Geo. Scott and four sons, Chasteen, Elmore, Wm., and Obadiah. Decourcey and son Joel. John Donovan. John Vanhook. Elliston E. Williams and five sons, Nathan, Isaac, Elliston, John, and Peter.

The Western Baptist Theological Institute was formed November 10, 1834, at Cincinnati, under the patronage of the Western Baptist Education Society. In May, 1835, after fruitless efforts to procure a site at moderate expense, a property was offered immediately south of the city of Covington, Kentucky. In the course of two or three weeks, several purchases were made, comprising about 356 acres of land, lying nearly the whole of it in one body, at an expense of $33,250. Sale was soon after made of a portion for $22,500; and further sales so as to pay for the whole purchase, and leave over 200 acres clear of incumberance for the purposes of the institution. After a prosperous career of over twenty years, the institute was removed to Georgetown, the seat of the Baptist college which has proved the greatest feeder of the theological school The large and substantial building (see engraving), was used as a Federal hospital during the civil war, and afterwards purchased by the Roman Catholics, in whose hands it is an admirably conducted institution, St. Elizabeth's Hospital.

Capt. John Cleves Symmes, a citizen of Newport, in 1824, and for six years previously, was quite persistently endeavoring to make converts to a New Theory of the Earth, called "The Theory of Concentric Spheres." This theory was stated as follows, by a scientific gentleman who lectured in opposition to it: He maintained that the globe which we inhabit is composed of a number of hollow spheres, having spaces between them occupied by atmospheres; that these shells are widely open at both poles, the northern opening of the outer shell being about 4,000 miles diameter, and the southern about 6,000 miles; that the planes of these openings are inclined to that of the ecliptic at an angle of 12° or 15°; that the axis of the earth being perpendicular to the equator, causes the two poles to approach the upper side of the verges of these openings; that the meridians or lines of longitude wind along the edges of either verge, and meet at the highest point of the ridge which he denominates the 90th degree or pole; and finally that the concave surface of the outer shell, and probably of them all, is inhabited by various kinds of inferior animals, and by intelligent beings resembling ourselves.


Reverend Wm. Orr’s Female Academy, Covington, Kentucky 1846
(In 1874 The Residence of Wm. G. Morris)



Baptist Theological Seminary, Covington, Kentucky, 1846
(In 1874 the St. Elizabeth Hospital

Captain Symmes' very amiable private character, his reputation as a brave and active army officer, and the almost exclusive devotion of all his time, talents, and property to the propagation of his new doctrines, excited great attention and sympathy, and on the part of many induced a belief in the truth of his theory. He contemplated publishing a newspaper, in which to detail the principles of his theory, in support of which he is said to have adduced many ingenious and plausible proofs. He traveled and lectured upon the subject. A public meeting at Hamilton, Ohio, resolved that the theory was deserving of serious examination, and worthy the attention of the American people. At Frankfort, Kentucky, at a public meeting, in December 1824, presided over by the lieutenant governor of the state, Colonel Robert B. McAfee, a resolution recommended congress to consider the propriety of fitting out an expedition to explore the northwest coast, the North Pacific ocean to the continent of Asia, and the unknown regions beyond the Arctic Circle, the principal command to be given to Captain Symmes. The Thespian Society of Newport crossed over to Cincinnati, and at the Cincinnati theatre performed the tragedy of The Revenge, to raise funds to enable Captain B. to proceed eastward and endeavor to obtain an outfit for his proposed polar expedition.

Colonel Bowman’s Expedition
In the latter part of April, 1779, Col. John Bowman, county lieutenant of Kentucky county, Va, (which then embraced the entire present state of Kentucky), as a means of repressing the Indian incursions, determined upon an expedition against the Shawnees and the Chillicothe town, on the Little Miami river (not far from Xenia, Ohio). He accordingly notified the people "to plant their corn, and be in readiness to rendezvous in May at the mouth of Licking" where Covington now is. "The men from the Falls (Louisville) were directed to meet us at the mouth of Licking, with boats to enable us to cross." "A certain Wm. Harrod who, this deponent conceives, commanded them at the Falls of the Ohio, harangued the people then there, showing the necessity of the expedition, and that the settlements from the other parts of Kentucky were desirous of having the expedition carried into effect"* Four companies of militia, Captain Benj. Logan's, from Logan's, Whitley's, and Clark's stations, Captain Josiah Harlan's, partly from Harrodsburg, Wilson's, and McAfee's stations, Captain Levi Todd's, from Harrodsburg, Lexington, and Bryan's stations, and Captain John Holder's, from Boonesborough, were joined at the mouth of Licking by about 40 men from Ruddle's and Martin's stations, under Lieutenant John Haggin (also under Captain Harlan), and by Captain Wm. Harrod's company, about 60 strong, from the Falls, with two batteaux. They "chiefly turned out as volunteers," but would have been drafted if necessary to obtain force enough. "We were only entitled to a peck of parched corn apiece," and received some "public beef" at Lexington. "We were all volunteers, and found ourselves.'' From Lexington they kept down the west side of Licking, and ' striking on the headwaters of Bank Lick creek, encamped one night on the same, and went down it to the mouth of Licking." Major Geo. Michael Bedinger was there appointed adjutant. "On the northwest side of the Ohio, the men were formed into three divisions, and placed in marching order, by an adjutant in the presence of Col. Bowman." The only deposition which speaks of the affair at Chillicothe says, "success in the attack was well known." [The depositions were taken in some land suits, to prove the locality of "Bowman's encampment, the second night from Lexington."] They returned down the Little Miami, and at its mouth crossed to a bottom opposite in Kentucky, and " after disposing of the Indian plunder among themselves by way of vendue, the men were discharged and dispersed in different directions, as their courses homeward made it expedient. '

The following brief account of the engagement has been sent us† copied from the papers of the late Samuel Frazee, who settled upon a farm in Mason county, Ky., 1½ miles north east of Germantown, and lived there for more than sixty years before his death, November 12, 1849. It differs materially from the account in McClung's Sketches of Western Adventure (see sketch of General Benj. Logan, under Logan County), and from every other published account. It gives the number of volunteers at 135, whereas the sworn statements of other soldiers make it from 240 to 300 men, and the official roll of Captain John Holder's company (see volume i,) gives 56; and that was but one of five companies. In same volume, are lists of Captain Benj. Logan's (99 men) and Captain Wm. Harrod's (96 men) companies, copied by us from the official rolls among Colonel John Bowman's papers; but it does not appear, as in Captain Holder's case, that these were the rolls of the companies actually in the expedition. The name of Samuel Frazee appears as a private in Captain Wm. Harrod's company. He went from the mouth of Licking to Harrodsburg to give the alarm of Indian depredations and expeditions, returning with the volunteers to that point. He says:

*. Depositions of Benj. Berry, James Guthrie, Col. Wm. Whitley, Col. Robert Patterson, James Sodowsky, Colonel Levi Todd, and 26 other soldiers in the expedition, taken in 1804.
†. By Wm. Doniphan Frazee, of Indianapolis, Ind., grandson of Samuel Frazee

Near what is now Cincinnati "we struck the trail of the red men, and followed it to Old Chillicothe [a Shawnee town, on the Little Miami River, 3 miles north of Xenia, Greene County, Ohio, and 67 miles north of Cincinnati], where we found about 500 Indians encamped. Our forces were divided into three companies. Colonel Bowman, Captain Logan, and myself took command of 45 men each. About midnight, we attempted to move on three sides of the Indian camp, and were to remain stationary within good gunshot of the Indians until daylight, when we were to make a simultaneous attack upon the camp. Just as we had gotten up within short range, an Indian dog gave the alarm. A tall Indian raised up from the center of their camp, and I shot him down, and immediately gave word to my men to fire. The Indians shot from the cracks of their huts, and after we had fired three rounds I gave word to retreat. I saw that we were fighting to a great disadvantage. We got into and behind a few of their poorest huts, while they retained possession of their best houses, from which I saw it was not possible to drive them without a great and reckless loss of life. Bowman has lately been condemned for ordering his men to fire too early and to retreat too soon. Now, if any one was to be censured, it was I, and not Bowman. We lost 8 men, while the Indians lost probably 20 or 30. When we retreated, we took shelter in a pond [or swamp]; the Indians passed on each side of us."

Lieutenant James Patton, of the company from Louisville, said that "in spite of the fairest promises, they only burned the town and captured 163 horses and some other spoil, with a loss of six or seven men."* General James Kay, of one company from Harrodsburg, thought differently from the current account (as to the inefficiency of Colonel Bowman), and believed the attack failed from the vigorous defense by the Indians, which prevented Bowman getting near enough to give Logan the signal agreed upon; he gave full credit to Bowman, on this retreat, as well as on other occasions."†

Another narrative of the expedition, which gives the number of men at 160, and was written when many of them were living, is from John Bradford's "Notes on Kentucky," as follows:
"The party, at the end of the second night from the mouth of Licking, got in sight of the town undiscovered. It was determined to wait until daylight, before they would make the attack; but by the imprudence of some of the men, whose curiosity exceeded their judgment, the party was discovered by the Indians before the officers and men had arrived at the several positions assigned them. As soon as the alarm was given, a fire commenced on both sides, and was kept up; while the women and children were seen running from cabin to cabin, in the greatest confusion, and collecting in the most central and strongest.”

"At clear daylight, it was discovered that Bowman's men were from 70 to 100 yards from the cabins in which the Indians had collected, and which they appeared determined to defend. Having no other arms than tomahawks and rifles, it was thought imprudent to attempt to storm strong cabins, well defended by expert warriors. The warriors having collected in a few cabins contiguous to each other, the remainder of the town was left unprotected; therefore while shooting was kept up at the port-holes, so as to engage the attention of those within, fire was set to 30 or 40 cabins, which consumed them. A considerable quantity of property, in kettles and blankets, was taken from the burning cabins; and in searching the woods near the town, 133 horses were collected.”

*. Butler's Ky., page 109.
†. Same, page 110.

“About 10 o'clock. Bowman and his party commenced their march homeward, after having 9 men killed. The loss of the Indians was never known, except that their principal chief, Blackfish, was wounded through the knee, and died of the wound. He proposed to surrender, hoping to find surgeons among the whites who could cure his wound and save his life.”

“The retreating party had not marched more than 8 or 10 miles, when the Indians began to press hard upon their rear. Colonel Bowman selected his ground, and formed his men in a square; but the Indiana declined a close engagement, and kept up a scattering fire, designing to retard the march until they could procure reinforcements from the neighboring villages. As soon as a strong position was taken by Col. Bowman, the Indians retired; but returned to the attack, whenever he resumed the line of march. He again formed for battle, and again they retired. This scene was acted over several times. At length, John Bulger, James Harrod,* and George Michael Bedinger, with about 100 more on horseback, rushed on the Indian ranks and dispersed them; after which the Indians abandoned the pursuit.”


Earliest Ownership and Surveys of Covington
The first survey of lands on the plat of Covington seems to have been one of 200 acres, in the name of Stephen Trigg, who came to Kentucky in the fall of 1779 as a member of the court of land commissioners, and was killed at the battle of the Blue Licks, Aug. 19, 1782. It embraced the Ohio River front from the mouth of Licking to near the foot of Philadelphia Street. A patent from the state of Virginia, by Beverly Randolph, lieutenant governor, issued for said land, Feb. 14, 1780—in consideration of military warrant No. 367, under the King of Great Britain's proclamation of 1763, to a soldier of His Majesty, George III., in the war with France, named George Muse. Not appreciating his land warrant very highly, like some drunken soldiers of a later date, Muse sold it for a keg of whisky to a man who, putting a like small valuation upon it, traded it to James Taylor, of Virginia, for a few pounds of buffalo beef. He assigned the warrant to Stephen Trigg, who located it at the mouth of Licking as above; then assigned to John Todd, jr., and he again to James Welch, whose patent bears date September 20, 1787.

The next entry south was of 400 acres, made December 12, 1782, in the name of Levi Todd, who assigned to Robert Todd, who, as deputy surveyor of Woodford county, surveyed it, Sept. 16, 1791. Its west line ran, " supposed with the lands of Colonel Peachy," [which covered the hills west of Covington,] S. 19° E., 220 poles, to a buckeye and two small sugar trees, about 40 poles west of the path leading from Elkhorn to the mouth of Licking [near the present turnpike to Lexington].

When Covington was first established it embraced only 150 acres, of which 100 acres were platted at once; now (March, 1873,) it includes over 1,350 acres. Then it was on part of the Welch patent; now, it embraces all of that patent of 200 acres, all of John and of Robert Todd's patents of 90 and 400 acres, and parts of John Todd's patent of 300 acres, Samuel Beall's patent of 1,000 acres, Rawleigh Colston's patent of 5,000 acres, and Prettyman Merry's patent of 2,000 acres.

The Census, in the winter of 1804-05, of that portion of what is now Kenton county, lying east and north of a line from the mouth of Pleasant Run on the Ohio river, southward to the foot of the Dry Ridge on the Independence turnpike, nine miles, thence eastward three miles to the Licking river, was thus singularly obtained: The small-pox was raging in Cincinnati to a fearful extent, crossed the Ohio and was spreading in Kentucky, where there were no physicians. The Cincinnati physicians wisely concluded to inoculate all who had not had the disease, and appointed to the charge a leading citizen, Captain Wm. Martin. For medicine he used pills, made for him by his father, of butternut bark. Within that district, seven persons only were found who had been inoculated or had had the small-pox; and these were required to assist in nursing the 69 patients inoculated by Captain Martin, all of whom recovered. Thus, on about 30 square miles binding on the Ohio and Licking; rivers, south and west, and including Covington, there was a total population, white and black, of 76.

*. Probably Capt. Wm. Harrod; it is not certain that Jas. Harrod was with the party.

Kennedy’s Ferry was the name by which was known, until 1815, the few farms in the locality now embraced in the city plat of Covington. The farm of Thomas Kennedy, sen., included the point. He and his sons, before 1815, and after his death' (in 1821) his son, Samuel, in 1822, purchased, and with his family, carried on the ferry; by skiffs for foot passengers, at 12½ cents each, and by flats (propelled by oars, worked by men) for wagons, horses, and stock, at $1 for a four-horse team, and others in proportion. In 1823, under a renting of the Cincinnati landing, a horse-ferry-boat was introduced by the late Pliny Bliss. From 1833 until the discontinuance of the Vine street ferry in 1868 because of the suspension bridge, steam ferry-boats were used. The Kennedys always claimed and used the ferry, ferry right, and the wharf; except for the seven years. 1815-22, the legal ownership of the right was in the proprietors of the new town. This was the principal crossing for the travel down the ridge-road, from Lexington and the interior of Kentucky westward.

Covington was established by an act of the legislature approved February 8, 1815, on 150 acres of Thomas Kennedy's farm, purchased of him in 1814 by Gen. John S. Gano, Richard M. Gano, and Thomas Davis Carneal, for the round sum of $50,000. By the act, the title was vested in Alfred Sandford John C. Buckner, Uriel Sebree, John Hudson, and Joseph Kennedy, as trustees, who were to make title to purchasers of lots upon the order of the proprietors. The first sale of lots was at public auction, March 20, 1815, at prices exceeding what the same lots sold for ten years afterwards; indeed, in 1828, some of the lots changed hands for less than half what had been paid for them in 1815.

The Plat of the original town of Covington was recorded August 31, 1815. The city was named in honor of General Covington, and the streets in honor of ex-governors Isaac Shelby, James Garrard, Christopher Greenup, and Charles Scott; of Thos. Kennedy, the late owner of the farm; and of Gen. Thomas Sandford, the first representative in congress from this part of the state. The street next west of Scott was left without a name, awaiting the ensuing election for governor, and then named after Gov. George Madison. The plat embraced the ground west only to the east line of what is now Washington street, and south only to the north line of what is now Sixth street. The Kennedy homestead, half-square from Front to Second, east of Garrard, was reserved. The four lots embracing the present court house square were never formally dedicated to the public, but only marked upon the plat "Public." Shelby Street extended along the bank of Licking River to Third only, and was 50 feet wide; most of it has been washed away by the current. Garrard, Greenup, Scott, and Madison streets were laid off 66 feet wide; Kennedy, Sandford, First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth streets only 50 feet wide. "Such part of the town as lies between the lots and the edge of the bank of the Ohio river shall remain for the use and benefit of said town for a common." The market space, from Greenup to Scott, was 100 feet, and the cross space 60 feet wide. The course of the streets running from the Ohio was S. 16½° E.; and of the cross streets at right angles. Onerias K. Powell surveyed the plat. "All the fence rails on the land were reserved." Some 20 acres of the plat were an apple orchard, and some of the trees were preserved for 30 years afterwards.

The City Charter of Covington was granted February 24, 1834, and at the first election thereunder, in April, Mortimer M. Benton was chosen the first mayor. On February 22, 1834, a company was incorporated to construct an "artificial" (turnpike") road from Covington, "opposite Cincinnati," through Williamstown and Georgetown to Lexington. Of the 30 original corporators, all were dead on February 22, 1873, 39 years after, except John B. Casey, of Covington, and town and Georgetown, and ex-Gov. Jas. F. Robinson, of Georgetown.

First Extensive Manufactures
The town of Covington hardly began to grow until 1828; when Robert Buchanan, of Cincinnati, Charles McCallister, jr., and Wm. Yorke, of Philadelphia, and Wm. Whitehead, of Covington, but recently from Philadelphia, began the erection of the Covington cotton factory, on the west half of the square bounded by Front, Second, Scott, and Greenup streets, adjoining on the west the present entrance to the Covington and Cincinnati suspension bridge. It was very successfully managed by Mr. Whitehead (who was killed by being thrown from the inclined railway which connected the factory with the river), and afterwards by his son-in-law, John T. Levis, until the manufacture of cotton became unprofitable. The McNickle rolling mill, on the opposite square, just across Scott street, was established about 1831; followed by other factories, and, of course, by a rapid increase of the population.

The First Bank in Covington was private and temporary, established in 1821, by Benjamin W. Leathers, in connection with his store. It was the reign of fractional currency, nearly fifty years before the exigencies of the civil war invented that handy designation. Instead of 3, 5, 10, 15, 25, and 50 cents currency, Mr. Leathers, like many others at the time, and a thousand imitators in 1837, issued his own ''promises to pay," or shin plasters, of the denominations of 6¼, 12½, 25, and 50 cents, and perhaps of $1 and $2. Having served to bridge over the hard times, the day of redemption came around, and Mr. Leathers took them in promptly like a true banker. It is said that a« he redeemed them at his counter, he aimed to clear away the rubbish by consigning them to the devouring flames in the broad fire-place in his store; but, unobserved by him, the powerful draft of the chimney carried many of them into the outer and upper air, and rained them in beautiful profusion upon the ground outside and upon the roof of the store. Before he discovered that he had established such a bank of re-issue, a sort of "fire in the rear "to consume his capital, he had redeemed many handfuls brought in by the growing stream of panic-stricken citizens, young and old. It was a "run" upon his bank not anticipated, and it worried him not a little when he discovered that he had been made the victim of his own want of caution. An old trunk was made the recipient of the after redeemed shin plasters; and the surviving residents of the " Beech Woods farm," four miles out on the old road to Lexington, well remember how patiently the ex-banker watched the actual destruction of his favorite notes as he committed them slowly but surely to the fire. He thus closed the doors of his bank against a second redemption. To redeem once was honorable, but twice was cruel. As long as he lived he was kept in lively remembrance of his balloon currency.

Semi-Centennial Celebration of 1832
The band of intrepid heroes under the command of General George Rogers Clark, stationed at the mouth of Licking (Covington), on the 4th day of November, 1782, resolved that all the survivors should on that day fifty years afterward, meet on the same ground. The 4th of November, 1832, was the day thus set for that half-centennial celebration. The day of meeting was ascertained by reference to an old letter of Maj. John Kenton's; and Simon Kenton, the most prominent of the survivors, at the suggestion of friends, issued from his home at Urbana, Ohio, an " Address to the citizens of the Western Country," inviting all the old soldiers of the Indian wars and of the War of 1812 to join in the celebration, at old Fort Washington, now Cincinnati; proposing "to meet at Covington on the 3rd; on the 4th, being Sabbath, to attend divine service; and on Monday, the 5th, meet our friends on the ground where the old fort stood; and then take a final adieu, to meet no more until we shall all meet in a world of spirits."

It was contemplated to erect, on the site of old Fort Washington, a monument to the settlement and settlers of the West, the corner-stone to be laid by the pioneers at that meeting. But the Asiatic cholera was prevailing with fearful virulence, and the general gloom only made more gloomy the meeting of the few pioneers who ventured to assemble. Simon Kenton was taken sick, at the house of Mr. Doniphan, in Clermont County, Ohio, while on the way to Covington, and prevented from attending. (See further notice of this meeting, in Kenton's biographical sketch under this county, page 449.

The First Newspaper Advertisement from what is now Kenton county we find in the Cincinnati Centinel of the North West, of date December 12, 1793; from a farmer on Bank Lick creek, named Obediah Scott, proposing to "take a number of horses or horned cattle to winter."

A Petrified Buffalo-head, full size, and perfectly natural in appearance, was discovered, in 1858, in the soft mud in the bottom of Licking river, about a hundred yards above Deadman ripple and a quarter of a mile below the long tunnel on the Kentucky Central railroad. The eyes, horns, teeth, mouth, ears, hair, and mane were well developed, only somewhat worn by the slow action of the current and what it carried down. The petrifaction was the wonder of the neighborhood for a few days; then taken to Cincinnati and sold, for the trifle of $1, to Frank's museum.

A Cat-Fish, it is recorded in Niles' Register, was taken on a trout line, in the Ohio River in front of Covington, in July, 1816, which, by actual measurement was 5½ feet in length, 4 feet girth, 12 inches between the eyes, 19 inches across the breast, and weighed 117 pounds. Such was its power, that the men were obliged to shoot it, in order to get it ashore.

The Public Schools of Covington, said to be among the best conducted in the country, embrace a high school and five district schools. During the school year ending July 5, 1872, there were 164 scholars in the former and 2,863 in the latter, under a corps of 47 teachers and a superintendent (since 1867, the venerable Rev. John W. Hall, D. D., for many years president of Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, but formerly of Tennessee). For the support of these schools, a special school tax of 25 cents on the $100 worth of property is assessed, in addition to the 20 cents collected by the state. The school buildings are the best, or among the best, in the state, if not in the United States. An elegant high school building is in course of erection on the corner of Twelfth and Russell streets.

A Licking River Bridge Company was incorporated February 22, 1834, to build a permanent bridge between Newport and Covington. Just 20 years after, in Jan., 1854, the first (a wire suspension) bridge was completed, but in two weeks after fell with a crash, and was not rebuilt for several months. (See under Campbell County.)

The Great Suspension Bridge between the cities of Covington and Cincinnati was ten years in building; was begun in September, 1856, and so far finished as to be opened to the public December 1, 1866; on that and the succeeding day, over 100,000 people crossed on foot. Vehicles were not allowed to cross until January 1, 1867, when the ferry-boats were laid up because of heavy floating ice. The total cost of the work, real estate, interest, taxes, and construction, was nearly $2,000,000, of which three-fourths properly belonged to the construction account. The towers (see engraving) rest on heavy oak timbers, hewed square, laid crossing each other, bolted together, and made solid by cement; above the surface, they are built of free-stone, from quarries on the Ohio river, opposite Lewis County, Kentucky. The foundations of the anchor piers are nearly 30 feet below the grade of Water Street, Cincinnati, and Front Street, Covington. These piers measure 60 by 90 or 100 feet on the ground. The cast-iron anchor plates underneath them, to which the ends of the cables are attached, are 14½ by 17½ feet in size, and 2 feet thick, and weigh 11 tons each. The piers are 86 by 52 feet at the base, 74 by 40 feet at the top, and 230 feet high, from the foundation to the top of the brick turrets, each of which is surmounted with a cross 12 feet high. The length of the main span of the bridge, from center of towers in a direct line, is 1,057 feet; and, following the curve of the floor, 1,079 feet. The full length overall, from Second street Covington, to Front street, Cincinnati, is 2,225, feet or over two-fifths of a mile (42-100ths). Each of the two cables is 1,400 feet long, 12½ inches diameter, is made of 5,180 wires twisted together, and weighs about 500,000 pounds. The width of the carriage-way is 20 feet, and of each sidewalk, 3½ feet; full width of floor 34 feet 600,000 feet of oak and pine flooring were used. The sustaining power of the bridge is estimated at 16,800 tons, or 33,600,000 pounds. 606 wire ropes, of 49 wires in each, are suspended from the cables, to stiffen the bridge.


Suspension Bridge between Covington and Cincinnati



First District School House, Covington, Kentucky

John Augustus Roebling, the most distinguished if not the first builder of wire suspension bridges in the world, spent several years in Kentucky; in 1851, in superintending the towers and preparing to erect a wire suspension bridge with a span of 1,224 feet over the Kentucky river, for the crossing of the Lexington and Danville railroad (never completed); in 1856-58, and again in 1863-67, in superintending the building of the great bridge between Covington and Cincinnati, whose dimensions are given above. Mr. R. was born in the city of Mulhausen, in Thuringia, Prussia, June 12, 1806, and died in Brooklyn, New York, July 22, 1869, aged 63 years. He received the degree of civil engineer at the Royal Polytechnic School at Berlin, and emigrated to this country in 1831. In 1851 he built the railroad suspension bridge over the Niagara River, 1½ miles below the Falls, and at the time of his death was engaged in the most remarkable engineering feat, in bridge-building, in the world, a wire suspension bridge over the East River, from New York to Brooklyn. While making measurements in connection with this, one of his feet was terribly crushed by a Fulton ferry-boat, inducing lockjaw, which terminated fatally. His son, Colonel Wm. A. Roebling, assisted his father in his public works in Kentucky, and succeeded him as the engineer of the East River Bridge, which is progressing steadily.

The Holly Water Works system was introduced into Covington, 1870-71, and proves the most efficient fire-engine system yet discovered. When the tunnel under the Ohio River for supplying soft water shall be completed, the only serious objection (March, 1873,) to the system will be removed, the water hitherto being hard, and on that account less adapted to some of the ordinary purposes of a water supply. By sinking a well, 18 feet in diameter and 71 feet deep, upon the bank of the Ohio River a permanent supply of water, filtered through the substratum of gravel underlying the river, was expected to be obtained, as in other cities; but the result was not favorable, the water proving hard, and evidently drawn from the springs of this limestone region. After two years constant use the supply began seriously to fail, necessitating a direct resort to the Ohio River. Over 16 miles of iron pipe were laid in the streets, of which one-fifth of a mile of 20-inch main, half a mile of 16-inch main, 1¼ miles of 10 and 12-inch main, 5 miles of 8-inch, 2 of 6-inch, and nearly 8 miles of 4-inch pipe. The total cost of the works, as per report on April 5, 1871, was $366,072, but somewhat increased afterwards, of which for the Holly pumping machinery $68,540, pumping-well $32,210, water works building on level ground $10,250, and foundation on the river bank $68,350, besides $9,000 for the lot, and for the reservoir for extra supply of water in case of too rapid exhaustion by fire $6,900. The funds were realized from the sale of $400,000 of 20-year city bonds, bearing interest at seven and three-tenths per cent, payable semi-annually; to pay which a special tax of 30 cents upon the $100 was authorized, which yielded $29,823 in 1871, and $28,417 in 1872. The river tunnel and connections are not yet completed; the cost is to be added to the above.

First Block-House at Cincinnati
In 1780, when Colonel George Rogers Clark's expedition against the Indian towns on the Little Miami and Mad rivers, rendezvoused opposite the mouth of Licking, it was found necessary to build a block-house on the spot where Cincinnati now is, for the purpose of leaving some stores and some wounded men of Captain Hugh McGary's company, wounded by Indians while venturing too much on the Indian (or Indiana) side of the Ohio river, on their way up from the Falls, now Louisville. The late John McCaddon,* of Newark, Ohio, claims that although he did not cut a tree or lift a log, yet he helped to build the first house ever built on that ground, for he was at his post in guarding the artificers who did the labor of building.

Thomas Vickroy,† a surveyor, and a soldier on the same expedition, says that on the 1st day of August, 1780, General Clark's troops crossed the Ohio River from what is now Covington, and built the two block-houses where Cincinnati now stands. He was at the building of the block-houses; and as commissary of the campaign, in charge of the military stores, was left to maintain that post for fourteen days, until the return of the troops. Captain Johnson, and 20 or 30 men who were sick and wounded, were left with him.

*. Am. Pioneer, i, 377.
†. Western Annals, 3rd edition, 324.

The Second Settlement near Covington was at what is now Cincinnati. Matthias Denman, of Springfield, New Jersey, purchased the fractional section of land on the bank of the Ohio, and also the entire section lying immediately north of it, which, when Judge John Cleves Symmes' purchase between the Miami rivers should be definitely surveyed according to the established government plan, should be found to be immediately opposite the mouth of Licking River; he regarding that river and its branches, which penetrated the richest region of Kentucky, as sure to pour unbounded business and wealth into the lap of a town located at its mouth. The price paid for about 800 acres of land was five shillings per acre (a shilling in New Jersey was 13½ cents, and five shillings 66 2/3 cents,) in continental certificates, which were then worth in specie five shillings on the pound, so that the specie price per acre was fifteen pence, or 16 2/3 cents, and the cost of the 800 acres only $133. 33⅛ (which is now worth, with its buildings and improvements not less than $200,000,000).

Mr. Denman came out to the land of promise in the summer of 1788, down the Ohio to Limestone (Maysville), and thence to Lexington. There he interested with him Colonel Robert Patterson, because of his enterprising spirit and general acquaintance, and John Filson, formerly a school teacher, now a surveyor, and already favorably known in the eastern states and in Europe by the publication, at Wilmington, Delaware, in 1784, and the translation into French and publication at Paris in 1785, of his History of Kentucky and wonderful Autobiography of Daniel Boone (written by Filson at the dictation of the sturdy old pioneer). This production of Filson was singularly well adapted to arouse and fix curiosity and inspire enthusiasm about this terra incognita of which all accounts hitherto were glowing and exciting but not always convincing. Denman saw his double power as a surveyor and writer, and enlisted him. The following advertisement, in the Kentucky Gazette of Sept. 6, 1788, announced the near maturity of the plan:
Notice - The subscribers, being proprietors of a tract of land opposite the mouth of Licking river, on the northwest side of the Ohio, have determined to lay off a town upon that excellent location. The local and natural advantages speak its future prosperity, being equal if not superior to any on the bank of the Ohio between the Miamis. The in-lots to be each half an acre, the out-lots four acres, thirty of each to be given to settlers, upon paying one dollar and fifty cents for the survey and deed of each lot. The 15th day of September is appointed for a large company to meet in Lexington, and mark a road from there to the mouth of Licking, provided Judge Symmes arrives, being daily expected. When the town is laid off, lots will be given to such as become residents before the first day of April next. Matthias Denman,
Robert Patterson,
John Filson
Lexington, Kentucky,
Sept. 6, 1788


By the contract between the proprietors, besides paying one-third of the purchase-money. Colonel Patterson was to exert his influence in obtaining settlers; while Filson, in the ensuing spring, 1789, was to survey the town, stake off the lots, and superintend the sale, besides "writing up" the remarkable advantages of the site. His fanciful name for the intended town was adopted, Losantiville, which he designed to mean "the village opposite the mouth," Le os ante ville, but which more nearly signifies "the mouth opposite the village." Who or what induced the change from such a pedagogical and un-musical name to the euphonious one of Cincinnati is unknown; but in the name of the millions of people who now live in or in reach of it, or visit it and do business with it, we thank the man and the opportunity. The invention of such a name was positively cruel in Mr. Filson; we hope it had no connection with his early death. Perhaps that is reason enough why no street in Cincinnati should be named after him; but it is no credit to the liberality or gratitude of the authorities and citizens that they should attempt to perpetuate the names of Denman and Patterson by attaching them to little insignificant short streets or pieces of streets, in the northwest part of the city, near the Brighton House. A great avenue around the city should be laid out and called Denman Avenue; and McMillan Street should be extended to East Walnut Hills and known as Patterson Avenue. Cincinnati should perpetuate the names of the founders and of the more recent benefactors of the city, rather than of her small-beer politicians and wire-workers.

Before the close of September, 1788, Messrs. Denman, Patterson, and Fil-Bon left Lexington for Limestone (Maysville); at which point they were joined by John Cleves Symmes, Israel Ludlow (who was expected to be Symmes' surveyor), Capt. Benjamin Stites, and a number of others. They first landed probably just below the mouth of the Little Miami, where Stites soon after made a settlement and station called Columbia; then visited the ground opposite the mouth of the Licking, where Losantiville was to be located, from which point, Patterson and Denman with several others went out exploring northward; while Symmes and the rest, including Filson, went on to what was afterwards called North Bend, and thence up the Great Miami, Filson surveying its meanders. While thus engaged, and several of the party having deserted and gone off, Filson became alarmed about the Indians, and himself started alone across the country to meet his partners at Losantiville. He was doubtless killed on the way by Indians, as no trace of him was ever obtained.* He had already made his plat of the place (which was changed after his death) in which two entire blocks were set aside for the use of the town; and besides there was given up as a common all the ground between Front street and the Ohio river, extending from Eastern Row (Broadway) to Western Row (Central Avenue) which were then the extreme boundaries of the town plat. Front Street was laid down nearer the river than on the present plat of Cincinnati. Several of the names of streets upon his plan were transferred to the second plan. Filson's death before he had stretched a chain upon the ground to survey it, thus preventing his personal services, terminated his connection with the town; he had paid no money on the contract. Mr. Denman having returned to Limestone, entered into another contract with Colonel Patterson and Israel Ludlow by which Ludlow was to perform Filson's part of the contract. On the 24th of December, 1788, a party of 26 persons, viz.: Colonel Robert Patterson and Israel Ludlow, two of the proprietors, and
Wm. McMillan,
Isaac Tuttle,
James Carpenter,
John Porter,
Robert Caldwell,
Captain _____ Henry,
Thomas Gissel,
Joseph Thornton,
Thaddeus Bruen,
Evan Shelby,
Luther Kitchell,
Scott Traverse,
Wm. Cunnell,
Noah Badgley,
Henry Lindsey,
John Vance,
Francis Hardesty,
Samuel Blackburn,
Elijah Martin,
Sylvester White,
Matthew Fowler,
Matthew Campbell,
Samuel Mooney,
Joel Williams,
of whom the larger portion had come with Colonel Patterson from the interior of the Kentucky district of Virginia (Kentucky did not become a state until June, 1792) left Limestone (Maysville) and "formed the settlement of Cincinnati on the 28th day of December, 1788."† December 26th has been commemorated as the day, but owing to the condition of the river, covered with drift ice from shore to shore, the party in their flat-boat proceeded cautiously and slowly, and did not reach there until Sunday, the 28th.

On the 7th of January, 1789, 30 in-lots and 30 out-lots, one of each, were drawn by lottery, at Losantiville, according to the contract with the proprietors, by the last 15 names above and the following 15:
Henry Bechtle,
James Dumont,
David McClever,
Jesse Stewart,
James Campbell,
Isaac Freeman,
James McConnell,
Richard Stewart,
_____ Davidson,
_____ Fulton,
James Monson,
Isaac Vanmetre.
Benjamin Dumont,
Ephraim Kibby,
Daniel Shoemaker.

The town was called Losantiville until January 2, 1790, when the name was changed to Cincinnati.‡ But according to Judge Burnet, the plat of Israel Ludlow was of Cincinnati, and not of Losantiville, the project to call it by the latter name having fallen through.* Judge Burnet was wrong, however, and Dr. Drake right. Judge John Cleves Symmes called it Losantiville as late as June 14, 1789.†


*. Ensign Joseph Buell's journal, kept at Fort Harmar, under date of October 21, 1789, says: 'Four canoes landed from Kentucky, loaded with ginseng; and report that the Indians had attacked a party of men with Judge Symmes, and killed one of his surveyors."
†. Deposition of Wm. McMillan, the first lawyer at Cincinnati, and first delegate in congress from the Territory of the Northwest.
‡. Letter of Dr. Dan'l Drake, Jan. 2, 1841.

The first cabin (three or four were put up as speedily as possible) was erected upon Front street, east of Main. Before the 7th of January, was completed the survey and laying off of the town, including all between the river and Northern Row (now Seventh street), and between Broadway and Central Avenue. The streets were laid out through the dense forest of sycamore and sugar trees on the first or lower table, and of beech and oak upon the second or upper table; the street corners were marked upon the trees. The first family that settled at Losantiville is unknown. Francis Kennedy, with his wife and seven children (one of them, Mrs. Rebecca Reeder, was still living at Pleasant Ridge, in 1859) reached Losantiville on February 8, 1789, and found there three women, Miss Dement, daughter of James Dement, Mrs. Constance Zenes (afterwards married to Wm. McMillan), and Mrs. Pesthal, a German woman, with some small children. There were but three little cabins there, all without floors; in these the surveyors and chain-carriers lived. By the 10th of April, Mr. McHenry had arrived, with two sons and two daughters, all grown; and a Mr. Ross with a small family.

About June 1, 1789, Major Doughty, with 140 U. S. soldiers, arrived at Losantiville from Fort Harmar (now Marietta), and built four block-houses nearly opposite the mouth of Licking. As soon as these were finished, they began the erection of Fort Washington, immediately on the line of Third Street in Cincinnati, about 100 feet east of Broadway.

When Cincinnati was First Settled
On the 26th of December 1833, about 166 persons, many of them invited guests, met and sat down to the table on the river bank, in Cincinnati, near where the first cabin was erected in 1788. Other celebrations, in other years, of that first settlement have taken place, on the 26th December. The inference that settlers who left Maysville on the 24th reached Cincinnati on the 26th, and began the settlement was reasonable, but was not the fact. They proceeded slowly and cautiously, on account of the ice and other difficulties, and did not reach there until Sunday, the 28th. At least, Wm. McMillan, the first lawyer, one of the first three judges of the court of common pleas, and the first delegate in congress, deposed that "he was one of those who formed the settlement of Cincinnati on the 28th day of December, 1788."

The First Settlement near Covington was on November 18, 1788, at Columbia, on the north side of the Ohio, not far below the mouth of the Little Miami River, where Captain Benj. Stites had made a purchase of 10,000 acres of land from John Cleves Symmes. The party left Maysville on November 17th, 26 in number, mostly emigrants who had just reached there from Redstone Old Fort, now Brownsville, Pennsylvania, on the Monongahela River. They were:
Captain Benj. Stites,
Elijah Stites,
Greenbright Bailey,
Albert Cook, Jacob Mills,
James Bailey,
Capt. James Flinn, and two brothers and their father,
Robert Hamson,
Joseph Cox, and about 18 others, some of whom had families with them.

Several of these were surveyors, sent down by John Cleves Symmes from Limestone (Maysville), where he then was, "to traverse the two Miami rivers as high as they could."‡ Their first act was the erection of a block-house. Shortly after, between the 16th and 20th of December, Mr. Symmes persuaded Captain Kearsey, of the U. S. army, who reached Limestone, December 12th, with 45 rank and file, to send a sergeant with 18 men to Columbia, "to the assistance of Captain Stites and the surveyors, in order to support the station." On the 15th of December, 1788, just 27 days after its first settlement, Captain Hugh Dunn (who, in March, 1793, settled Dunn's station, at the mouth of the Great Miami) and his wife, three brothers, and one sister (who afterwards married Isaac Mills), in their family boat, after being fired into by the Indians, and wrecked in a storm, landed at Columbia. A census taken after the arrival of this little company, and before the arrival of the 19 soldiers, showed a total population of 56, men, women, and children, being all the American white people then known to be in the now state of Ohio, west of Marietta.* The soldiers erected three other block-houses, at the angles of a square with the first one, with stockades between, forming a square stockade fort, which they named Fort Miami; the very site of which was washed away many years ago by the encroachments of the Ohio river.

*. Letter of Oct. 6. 1844.
†. Letter to Capt. Dayton.
‡. Letter to Capt. Dayton, in Cincinnati in 1841, pp. 193-9

Judge Wm. Goforth, the first appointed justice of the peace, one of the first three territorial judges commissioned by President Washington, and one of the first electors for president and vice president of the United States arrived a Miami (as his register or journal calls Columbia) on January 18, 1790. Prior to this, during 1789, the following persons, many of them with their families, settled there (it is probable some of them were original settlers and should be named above, in November, 1788):
Capt. John Stites Gano (one of the founders of Covington, in 1815),
Daniel Bates,
Zephu Ball,
Jonas Bowman,
Edmund Buxton,
Jas. Carpenter,
Benj. Davis,
David Davis and his son Samuel Davis,
Isaac Ferris,
John Ferris,
Gabriel Foster,
Luke Foster,
Daniel Griffin,
Jos. Grose,
John Hardin,
Cornelius Hurley,
David Jennings and his sons Henry Jennings and Levi Jennings,
Luther Kitchell,
Ezekiel Larned,
Ichabod B. Miller,
Elijah Mills,
Jas. Matthews,
John Manning,
John McCulloch,
Aaron Mercer,
Patrick Moore,
Wm. Moore,
John Morris,
____ Newell,
John Phillips,
Jonathan Pitman,
Benj. F. Randolph,
John Reynolds,
Jonathan Ross,
James Seward,
John Webb,
_____ Wickerham, and
_____ Wickerham.

Provisioning Fort Washington
In the fall of 1789, when the 70 soldiers stationed at Fort Washington, in Losantiville or Cincinnati, for the defense of the settlers, were about to abandon their post from a want of supplies, three settlers named John S. Wallace, James Dement, and _____ Drennon, went down in a canoe from six to ten miles into what are now Kenton and Boone counties in Kentucky, secreted their craft in the mouth of a small branch, and by great diligence killed buffalo, deer, and bear enough to provision the soldiers for six weeks, until supplies arrived from Pittsburgh.

Seed Corn and Bread Corn for the first settlers at Losantiville (Cincinnati), in the winter and spring of 1788-89, was brought in canoes down the Licking River, from the Kentucky settlements near Cynthiana and as far out as Lexington. Noah Badgley and three others of the original settlers started by that route for Paris, for corn. When they returned, with their supplies in a canoe. Licking River was high and the weather cold. In one of the rough and crooked chutes, their canoe was violently forced among drift-wood and trees, and upset, the men saving themselves by climbing a tree. One of them swam out and escaped. Badgley followed, but was carried down by the current and drowned. The other two continued on the tree three days and nights, before they were taken off by the people who were following them down the river to Losantiville.

Value of Covington Land
Major John Bush, residing on the Ohio River, opposite North Bend, Ohio, one of the pioneer settlers of Boone County, and who made his mark in the campaigns against the Indians, told Charles Cist that he could have taken up any quantity of farming land in and adjacent to Covington, at an early day, at £5 ($13½) per hundred acres. He was offered 200 acres, including the point at the intersection of the Licking and the Ohio, as an inducement to settle there.†

The First House in the present bounds of Covington was a log cabin, about 20 rods below the point, built in the fall of 1791, by the father of the late Elliston E. Williams.‡

The Oldest House now (March, 1873) standing in Covington, and probably the second ever built within its limits, still stands on the bank of the Licking river, a short distance above the foot of 13th street, and exactly one mile and 52 poles from the mouth of that river as shown by measurement in a law-suit in 1818. It is a log house, was built in 1792 by Pressly Peake, who sold it to West Miller, and he in 1804 to Capt. Wm. Martin.

*. Sketch of Judge Isaac Dunn, in Lawrenceburg (Indiana) Press, July, 1870.
†. Cist's Miscellany, i, 16.
‡. Same ii, 36.

Rendezvous
The mouth of Licking, where Covington now is, was the rendezvous of the Kentucky militia, commanded by Col. Hardin and Maj. Hall, which suffered so terribly in Harmar's defeat, in September, 1790.

Gen. Charles Scott's expedition against the Bel River Indians in 1792, rendezvoused at the mouth of the Kentucky River. The troops returned by way of Covington, and along the Dry Ridge road, to central Kentucky.

The expedition under the same officer, in the fall of 1793, rendezvoused at Newport, which had just been laid out as a town, above the mouth of Licking. After reaching Fort Greenville, Ohio, Gen. Wayne discharged these troops and abandoned the expedition because of the lateness of the season. But in July, 1794, 2,000 mounted Kentuckians under Gen. Scott rendezvoused at Georgetown and Newport, joined Gen. Wayne and participated in the celebrated battle of the Fallen Timbers. When their term expired, they were marched back and read out of service at Cincinnati, on what is now the public landing, but which was then the ferry opposite Licking.

The Price of Farms at an early day was almost as remarkable as that of town lots. Elisha Arnold, father of James Grimsley Arnold (who, in March, 1873. was probably the second oldest person living in Covington), removed in 1796 from Bourbon County to North Bend, in Boone County; in 1797 he sold his farm there, for a Negro woman and her child; and, for a horse, purchased the place now owned by John Tennis' heirs, 6 miles south of Covington, near the Lexington pike.

General Leonard Stephens (born in Orange County, Virginia, March 10, 1791, died in Boone County, Kentucky, March 8, 1873, aged 82,) was for 62 years, from 1807 until a few years before his death, a citizen of what is now Kenton County. He was the senior justice of the peace of Campbell County in 1840-41, at the time Kenton was organized, of which he became the first High Sheriff. He represented Campbell County in the lower house in 1823, '24, '25, and '26, and the two counties of Campbell and Boone in the senate from 1829 to 1833. When he first saw the site of Covington in the fall of 1807, he came from his residence near Bryan's Station, in Fayette County, over the Iron Works road as far as Henry's mill (probably on Elkhorn), then by the mouth of Raven creek in Harrison County, thence past where Arnold kept tavern (now Williamstown, a county seat). There was no town on that route between Bryan's Station and Cincinnati; and on the Dry Ridge route no town between Georgetown and Cincinnati, where now are the business villages of Williamstown, Walton, Crittenden, and Florence. Within the present boundaries of Covington were a few farm houses, the only prominent one of which is still standing, the then elegant stone residence of old Thos. Kennedy, with its paneled room in the style of that day. Besides the stone residence, he had a stone barn (on now the south west corner of Second and Garrard streets), stone ice house, stone smoke house, stone hen house, and stone spring house (the spring of which, in the war of the elements, has been transferred from the top of the river bank to the beach or shore in front.) Thos. Kennedy conducted the ferry on the Kentucky side in 1790-94, and Francis Kennedy on the Cincinnati side, transferring the soldiers of the Indian expeditions during those years.

Emigration of Squirrels
In Sept., 1801, an astonishing emigration of squirrels took place, from Kentucky across the Ohio River. As many as 500 per day were killed as they crossed the river. A mild winter was prophesied, from their moving northward.

A Hail-Storm, unprecedented in violence since the country was settled, occurred on May 27, 1800, extending from Covington to Lexington. Near Lexington, the hail fell the size of goose eggs. Near Covington, alter the heavy rain-storm was over, which had much reduced the size of the hail, many lumps of ice weighed over an ounce each.

The First Work of Art in Covington, on record, was the drawing and painting by Mr. Lucas, in May, 1823, of a View of Cincinnati, from the Covington side, as a drop curtain for the Globe Theatre, Cincinnati. It attracted great attention for its beauty and uniqueness.

No Station or Block-House was ever built in what is now Kenton County. A log cabin, with holes to shoot out of—on the land of John D. Park, 2 miles south of Covington, was called a block-house.

Biographical Sketches

Col. John Sanderson Morgan

Ex-Gov. James T. Morehead

General John W. Finnell

Ex-Gov. John W. Stevenson

Mortimer Murray Benton

Gen. Thomas Sandford

Lieut. Gov. John Griffin Carlisle

Jesse D. Bright


Major J. Galloway, Sen. (father of the late eloquent Samuel Galloway, of Columbus, Ohio) who spent eight months in Kentucky in 1775, and in 1780 removed with his family from Pennsylvania into the fort at the Falls of the Ohio, in a letter dated Green County, Ohio, December 23, 1833, says he was in General Clark's expedition against the Piqua and Loramie's towns; and was "within a few feet of the lamented Capt. Virgil McCracken, when he received the wound of which he died on the return, while descending the hill near where Cincinnati now stands, and was buried near a block-house opposite the mouth of Licking. He was a brave man and an accomplished officer. On the morning we left the Ohio River opposite the mouth of Licking, on our outward march, he related a remarkable dream he had, the night previous, which he interpreted as a warning that he would be killed before the army returned to that place; and made a request, which was generally agreed to, that all who should then be living would meet upon that ground, on that day fifty years, as a mark of respect to his memory, and to witness the changes which should have taken place there by that time. To myself and the few who have survived, it is a matter of deep regret that the cholera prevented our meeting on the 4th of November, 1832."

Maj. Elliston E. Williams, who died about 1859 at a very advanced age, on his farm near Covington, was one of the few pioneers of northern Kentucky living in 1845; and as such, one of the pall-bearers, at the re-interment of the remains of Daniel Boone and his wife, in the state cemetery at Frankfort. (See under Franklin and Harrison counties.)

The Lettonian Springs, a weak sulphur, is situated four miles from Covington, on the Bank Lick road. The springs are well kept, and being a pleasant ride from Covington, they have become a place of considerable resort in the watering season. Dry Creek, in this county, is remarkable for the fact, that, after a heavy rain, it is so flush and high, that it cannot be forded, but in a few hours it runs dry, or so nearly so, that hogs will be seen where it was deepest, turning up the rocks in search of crawfish.

Captain Cruise encamped with his company (belonging to Wayne's army) on the creek bearing his name, in 1784. He strayed from camp, and was found dead, the next day, in the creek, hearing marks of savage violence. He was buried by his company on this creek, which rises in Boone, and running across Kenton, empties into Licking, about twenty miles above its mouth. The old residents disagree about the spot "where they buried Cruise." The testimony, as to his grave, is so contradictory, that gentlemen land-jobbers have several times gone there in order to find it, but without success. Their patents called for Cruise's grave as a beginning. The old settlers, it is thought, may have had some design in making it uncertain "where they buried Cruise."


Kenton County takes its name from one of the most celebrated pioneers of the west. General Simon Kenton was born of obscure parents, in Fauquier County, Virginia, April 13, 1755. His father was an Irishman; his mother of Scotch descent. The poverty of his parents caused his education to be neglected, most unfortunately for his future prosperity. His life, until he was sixteen years of age, appears to have run smoothly enough, distinguished by no uncommon events from that of the neighboring boys. About that age, however, a calamity befell him, which, apart from its irreparable nature, in the opinion of all young gentlemen of sixteen, gave a direction to his whole future life. He lost his sweetheart; not by death, or anything of that kind—for that could have been endured, but by means of a more favored rival. The successful lover's name was William Veach. Kenton, in utter despair and recklessness, having gone uninvited to the wedding, and thrust himself between the happy pair (whom he found seated cozily on a bed), was pounced upon by Veach and his brothers, who gave him in the language of such affairs, "what he wanted." They, however, had mistaken his wants for, meeting with William Veach a short time afterwards, in a retired place, he informed him that he was not satisfied. A severe fight ensued, which, after varied success, terminated in the complete discomfiture of Veach. In the course of the contest, Kenton succeeded in entangling his antagonist's long hair in a bush, which put him entirely in his power. The desperate young man beat his rival with a severity altogether foreign to his subsequent amiable character. His violence appeared to be fatal; the unhappy man, bleeding at mouth and nose, attempted to rise, and fell back insensible. Kenton was alarmed; he raised him up, spoke kindly to him, and receiving no answer, believed him dead! He dropped his lifeless body and fled to the woods. Now, indeed, he thought himself ruined beyond redemption. He had lost the girl he loved, and had killed his former friend and companion, and therefore the society of civilized man must be not only repulsive, but dangerous. The Alleghanies, and the wilderness of the unexplored west offered him a secure asylum, and he plunged at once into the woods. Traveling by night, and lying concealed by day, after many sufferings he arrived at Ise's ford, on Cheat River, sometime in April 1771. Here he changed his name to "Simon Butler." Thus, at the age of sixteen, this man, who, in the hands of the Almighty, was so instrumental in redeeming the great west from the savage, and opening the way for the stream of civilization which has since poured over its fertile plains, desolate in heart, and burdened with crime, was thrown upon his own resources, to struggle with the dangers and privations of the wilderness.

After some months' stay on Cheat River, Kenton, having earned a good rifle by his labor, joined a party, with whom he proceeded to Fort Pitt. Here, while hunting in the employ of the small garrison at that place, he made the acquaintance and formed a friendship with Simon Girty, afterwards so infamous as a renegade. In the fall of 1771, he fell in with George Yeager and John Strader. Yeager it was who first mentioned to Kenton the "cane land," called by the Indians, Kain-tuck-ee, and fired his imagination with his descriptions of its soil and scenery, and the numbers and extent of the game.

In company with Yeager and Strader, Kenton proceeded down the Ohio River as far as the mouth of the Kentucky River, looking for the cane, which, according to Yeager, covered the country. It is a remarkable fact, that cane nowhere grew on the banks of the Ohio, above the mouth of the Kentucky River, although the interior was covered with it. The party, not finding land answering the description of Yeager, returned up the Ohio to the mouth of Big Kanawha; examining the creeks and rivers on the southern shore without success. Abandoning the search, in the winters of 1771-3, they built a camp on a branch of the great Kanawha, and hunted and trapped with considerable success. Here they lived a free and unrestrained life, and a very happy one, engaged in the pursuits of the hunter, until the spring of 1773. The troubles with the mother country beginning to thicken about this time, the Indians were excited against the colonists. One evening in March, while the three hunters were quietly reposing in their rude camp, they were fired upon by the Indians. Yeager was killed, and Kenton and Strader fled to the woods. Night setting in, they effected their escape, though barefooted and naked, having on nothing but their shirts, and without food; they suffered dreadfully, during the six days they wandered, famished, and torn by the briars through the wilderness. On the sixth day they often laid down to die, so completely were they exhausted. Their feet had become so sore that they were unable to perform but six miles during the day. At last they reached the Ohio, where they found a party of hunters, who fed and clothed them. With this party Kenton returned up to the mouth of Little Kanawha. Here he employed himself with Dr. Briscoe, until he had bought a rifle, and other necessaries. In the summer, he joined a party going down the Ohio in search of Captain Bullitt. The party, not finding Bullitt, and alarmed by the Indians, abandoned their canoes at the Three Islands, and under the guidance of Kenton proceeded by land through Kentucky to Virginia.

Kenton spent the winters of 1773-4, on the Big Sandy, with a hunting-party, and in the spring, when the war broke out with the Indians, he retreated into Fort Pitt, with the other settlers. When Lord Dunmore raised an army to punish the Indians, Kenton volunteered, and was actively employed as a spy, both under the expedition of Dunmore and that of Colonel Lewis. In the fall, he was discharged from the army, and returned, with Thomas Williams, to his old hunting-ground on Big Sandy River, where they passed the winter. In the spring of 1776, having disposed of their peltries to a French trader, whom they met on the Ohio, for such their mode of life required, they descended the Ohio in search, once more, of the "cane land." Although Yeager was now dead, the impressions left upon the mind of Kenton, by his glowing descriptions of Kain-tuck-ee, which Yeager had visited with the Indians, when a boy and a prisoner, were still fresh and strong; and he determined to make another effort to find the country. For this purpose, he and Williams were now descending the Ohio. Accident at last favored them. While gliding along down "la belle riviere" (as the French had christened it), night overtook the young adventurers, and they were compelled to land. They put in with their canoe, at the mouth of Cabin creek, situated in the present county of Mason, and about six miles above Maysville. Next morning, while hunting some miles back in the country, the ardently-sought "cane" burst upon Kenton's view, covering land richer than any he had ever seen before. Overjoyed at this piece of good fortune, he returned, in haste, to communicate the joyful intelligence to Williams. Sinking their canoe, the pioneers, par excellence, of north Kentucky, struck into their new domain. In the month of May, 1775, within a mile of the present town of Washington, in Mason County, having built their camp, and finished a small clearing, they planted about an acre of land, with the remains of the corn bought from the French trader. The spot chosen by them, for their agricultural attempt, was one of the most beautiful and fertile in the State of Kentucky. Here, in due season, they ate the first roasting ears, that ever grew by the care of a white man, on the north side of the Kentucky River.

Before this they had discovered the upper and lower Blue Licks, and the immense herds of buffalo, elk, &c., that frequented those places, covering the hills and valleys of the Licking. The land was a hunters* paradise, and our adventurers were completely happy in their new and undisputed home. They soon had cause, however, to apprehend that others would contend with them for the mastership of the soil. Happening one day at the lower Blue Licks, they discovered two white men. Approaching them with due caution, they found them friendly, and learned that they had wandered without guns and food thus far into the country, their canoe having been upset in a squall on the Ohio. Fitzpatrick and Hendricks (so these strangers were named) were invited by Kenton to join his station near Washington. Hendricks acceded to the proposal, but Fitzpatrick insisted upon returning to Virginia. Accordingly Kenton and Williams (having left Hendricks at the Licks) accompanied Fitzpatrick to the Ohio, gave him a gun, and took leave of him on the other side from where Maysville now stands. Returning quickly as possible, they were surprised and not a little alarmed to find the camp where they had left Hendricks abandoned and in disorder. Looking around they observed a smoke in a low ravine, and at once comprehended the whole affair. They were satisfied that a party of Indians had captured their friend, and they at once fled to the woods. Next morning cautiously approaching the still smoking fire, they discovered that the savages had departed, and with feelings that may be easily imagined, they found, what they did not doubt were the skull and bones of the unfortunate Hendricks. He had been burned to death, while they were so cowardly flying. Filled with shame and remorse that they had so basely abandoned him to his fate without an effort to rescue him, they went back to their camp near Washington. They had the good fortune themselves to escape the notice of the Indians who prowled through the country. In the fall, Kenton, leaving Williams at the camp, took a ramble through his rich domain. Everywhere he saw abundance of game, and the richest and most beautiful land. At the lower Blue Licks he met with Michael Stoner, who had come to Kentucky with Boone the year before. He now learned that himself and Williams were not the only whites inhabiting the cane land. Taking Stoner to his camp, and gathering up his property, he and Williams accompanied him to the settlements already formed in the interior. Kenton passed the winter of '75-6 at Hinkaon's station, in the present county of Bourbon, about forty miles from his corn patch. In 1776, the Indians enraged at the encroachments made upon their hunting grounds, and urged on by the British, made frequent incursions into Kentucky, and became so troublesome that the weaker stations were abandoned. The settlers at Hinkson's station look shelter in McClelland's fort situated where Georgetown now stands, Kenton accompanying them. Major George Rogers Clark having prevailed upon the Virginia legislature to afford the pioneers some assistance, arrived in company with a lawyer named Jones, at the Three Islands, late in the winter, with a considerable quantity of powder and lead. They concealed it on the lower island and proceeded to McClelland's station, in order to obtain a party to bring it off to the settlements. McClelland's station being too weak to furnish a sufficient escort, Clark, piloted by Kenton, set out for Harrodsburg. Unfortunately, during their absence, Jones prevailed on ten men to accompany him to the place where the ammunition was concealed. They set out, and on Christmas day, 1776, they were encountered by the Indian chief Pluggey and defeated. Jones and William Graydon were killed, and two of the party taken prisoners. The remainder escaped into the station, where Clark and Kenton soon arrived with some men from Harrodsburg, who immediately returned on the news of this disaster. On the morning of January 1st, 1777, Pluggey and his warriors appeared before the fort. McClelland and his men sallied out and were repulsed by the Indians. McClelland himself and two of his men being slain and four wounded. The Indians immediately withdrew, and in a few days the ammunition was safely brought away from its concealment. McClelland's was immediately afterwards abandoned, and the settlers in great gloom, and amidst the lamentations of the women and children, departed for Harrod's station. Here Kenton also took up his abode. In the spring. Major Clark, who now had command of the settlements, sent Kenton, John Haggin, and four others to Hinkson's to break out some flax and hemp. Haggin was in front, and observed a party of Indians encamped around Hinkson's. He rode back and informed the party of the fact. Kenton, who was as prudent as he was brave, counseled a retreat. Haggin swore that nobody but a coward would run without one fire. Kenton immediately dismounted from his horse, and all the party followed his example but a young Dutchman, who appeared to have more sense than any of his companions. In the meantime the Indians, always wide awake, had seen Haggin, and following him, now opened a fire on the whites, who quickly took to their heels, Haggin valiantly leading the van and abandoned their horses to the Indians, all but the sensible Dutchman, who having kept his seat, cantered off much at his ease. Kenton directed his party to retreat into Harrodsburg, while he put the garrison at Boone's station on their guard. Arriving before the fort, he determined not to attempt to enter it before dark, knowing the custom of the wily savage to ambush the stations, and thus shoot whoever might attempt to enter or depart. Accident befriends many a man, but the due exercise of one's five wits, is a much more safe reliance. When he did enter the fort, he found the men carrying in the bodies of two of their friends, who had been killed two or three hours before, on the very same path by which he entered. His caution had saved his life. The red man was now furious at the occupation of his beloved Kain-tuck-ee by the long knife. The incursions into the country by the exasperated foe were frequent and bloody, and every station was hotly besieged, Boonesborough sustaining three. To watch the Indians and give timely notice of their approach, six spies were appointed, for the payment of whom Major Clark pledged the faith of Virginia. Boone appointed Kenton, and Thos. Brooks; Harrod, Samuel Moore and Bates Collier; and Logan, John Conrad and John Martin. These spies performed good service. It was the custom for two each week, by turns, to range up and down the Ohio, and about the deserted stations, looking for Indian signs, &c. By this means the settlers had timely notice during the year of the approach of the enemy, but once. On this occasion, Kenton and two others, early one morning, having loaded their guns for a hunt, were standing in the gate of Boonesborough, when two men in the fields were fired on by the Indians. They immediately fled, not being hurt. The Indians pursued them, and a warrior overtook and tomahawked one of the men within seventy yards of the fort, and proceeded leisurely to scalp him. Kenton shot the daring savage dead and immediately with his hunting companions gave chase to the others. Boone, hearing the noise, with ten men hastened out to the assistance of his spies. Kenton turned and observed an Indian taking aim at the party of Boone, quick as though he brought his rifle to his shoulder, pulled the trigger first, and the red man bit the dust. Boone, having advanced some distance, now discovered that his small party, consisting of fourteen men, was cut off from the fort by a large body of the foe, which had got between him and the gate. There was no time to be lost; Boone gave the word, "right-about—fire-charge!" and the intrepid hunters dashed in among their adversaries, in a desperate endeavor to reach the fort. At the first fire from the Indians, seven of the fourteen whites were wounded, among the number the gallant Boone, whose leg was broken, which stretched him on the ground. An Indian sprang on him with uplifted tomahawk, but before the blow descended, Kenton, everywhere present, rushed on the warrior, discharged his gun into his breast, and bore his leader into the fort. When the gate was closed and all things secure, Boone sent for Kenton: "Well, Simon," said the old pioneer, "you have behaved yourself like a man today, indeed you are a fine fellow." This was great praise from Boone, who was a silent man, little given to compliment. Kenton had deserved the eulogium: he had saved the life of his captain and killed three Indians, without having lime to scalp any one of them. There was little time to spare, we may well believe, when Kenton could not stop to take a scalp.

The enemy, after keeping up the siege for three days, retired. Boonesborough sustained two other sieges this year, (1777), in all of which the youthful Kenton bore a gallant and conspicuous part.

Kenton continued to range the country as a spy until June, 1778, when Major Clark came down the Ohio from Virginia with a small force, and landed at the Falls. Clark was organizing an expedition against Okaw or Kaskaskia, and invited as many of the settlers at Boonesborough and Harrodsburg as desired, to join him. The times were so dangerous that the women, especially, in the stations objected to the men going on such a distant expedition. Consequently, to the great mortification of Clark, only Kenton and Haggin left the stations to accompany him. This expedition, so honorable to the enterprise of Virginia and the great captain and soldiers composing it, and so successful and happy in its results, is elsewhere fully described (see Clark County, life of General Clark). After the fall of Kaskaskia, Kenton returned to Harrodsburg, by way of Vincennes, an accurate description of which, obtained by three days' secret observation, he sent to Clark, who subsequently took that post.

Kenton, finding Boone about to undertake an expedition against a small town on Paint creek, readily joined him. Inaction was irksome to the hardy youth in such stirring times; besides, he had some melancholy reflections that he could only escape from in the excitement of danger and adventure. The party, consisting of nineteen men, and commanded by Boone, arrived in the neighborhood of the Indian village. Kenton, who, as usual, was in advance, was startled by hearing loud peals of laughter from a cane brake just before him. He scarcely had lime to tree, before two Indians, mounted upon a small pony, one facing the animal's tail and the other his head, totally unsuspicious of danger and in excellent spirits, made their appearance. He pulled trigger, and both Indians fell, one killed and the other severely wounded. He hastened up to scalp his adversaries, and was immediately surrounded by about forty Indians. His situation, dodging from tree to tree, was uncomfortable enough, until Boone and his party coming up, furiously attacked and defeated the savages. Boone immediately returned to the succor of his fort, having ascertained that a large war party had gone against it. Kenton and Montgomery, however, resolved to proceed to the village to get 'a shot' and steal horses. They lay within good rifle distance of the village for two days and a night without seeing a single warrior; on the second night, they each mounted a fine horse and put off to Kentucky, and the day after the Indians raised the siege of Boonesborough, they cantered into the fort on their stolen property.

This little speculation, unfortunately, appears to have whetted the appetite of Kenton and Montgomery for horse flesh. Accordingly, in September of the same year, (1778), in company with George Clark, they proceeded to Chillicothe on a similar expedition. Arriving in the night, they found a pound of horses, and succeeded in haltering seven, not without much noise. They mounted in haste, hotly pursued by the enraged savages. Riding all night and next day, they struck the Ohio at the mouth of Eagle creek, a few miles below Maysville. The wind was high and the river exceedingly rough, so that the frightened horses refused to cross, after several ineffectual efforts to compel them. Here they rashly waited until the next day, hoping that the wind would abate; but, although the next day the wind did subside, the horses could by no means be forced into the river, owing to the fright they had received the day before. Satisfied that longer delay would be dangerous, they each mounted a horse, abandoning the remaining four. But after turning them loose, with an indecision unworthy of the leader at least, it was determined that they would have all or none. They now separated to hunt up the horses they had just un-haltered. Kenton had not ridden far before he heard a whoop behind him. Instead of putting spurs to his horse and galloping off like a sensible man, he deliberately dismounted from his horse, tied him, and crept back in the direction of the noise. At the top of the bank he saw two Indians and a white man, all mounted. It was too late to retreat, he raised his rifle, took aim, and it flashed! Now, at last, he took to his heels, the Indians dashing after him with a yell. He gained some fallen limber, and thus was in a fair way to elude his mounted pursuers, when, upon emerging into the open woods, he beheld an Indian galloping around the brush within a few rods of him. The game was up, and for the first time he was a prisoner in the hands of the savages, furious at the attempt to steal their property.

While the Indians were yet beating and upbraiding him as a "boss steal," Montgomery very foolishly came to his assistance, fired without effect, and fled. Two of the Indians gave chase, and in a few moments returned with his bleeding scalp. Clark, the only one of the three having his five wits in a healthy condition, laid whip and escaped.

Bitterly now did Kenton expiate his horse stealing offences. It was a crime not easily to be pardoned by the very virtuous tribe into whose hands he had fallen. After beating him until their arms were too tired to indulge that gratifying recreation any longer, they secured him for the night. This was done by first placing him upon his back on the ground. They next drew his legs apart, and lashed each foot firmly to two saplings or stakes driven in the earth. A pole was then laid across his breast, and his hands tied to each end, and his arm lashed with thongs around it, the thongs passing under his body so as to keep the pole stationary. After all this, another thong was tied around his neck, and the end of it secured to a stake in the ground, his head being stretched back so as not entirely to choke him. In this original manner he passed the night, unable to sleep, and filled with the most gloomy forebodings of the future. In the morning he was driven forward to the village.

The plan of this work forbids a particular account of Kenton's adventures during his long captivity, running through a period of more than eight months. The cruelties he suffered at the hands of the Indians, his narrow escapes from death in an hundred forms, his alternate good and bad fortune, and his final successful flight, from one of the most romantic adventures anywhere furnished by the incidents of real life, seeming more like an invention of the novelist, than a veracious narrative. He was eight times compelled to run the gauntlet, three times tied to the stake, once brought to the brink of the grave by a blow from an axe; and throughout the whole time, with brief intervals, subjected to great hardship and privations. Once his old friend, Simon Girty, the infamous hater of his race, interposed and saved him for a short space from the flames. Being again condemned to the stake in spite of the influence of Girty, Logan the celebrated Mingo, (whose wrongs had not obliterated the nobility of his nature,) exerted his influence in his behalf, and prevailed upon a Canadian trader, named Druyer to purchase him from his owners. Druyer succeeded in obtaining him as a prisoner of war, upon a promise of returning him, which he of course never intended to fulfil. Kenton was now taken by his new friend and delivered over to the British commander at Detroit.' Here he remained working for the garrison, on half pay, until the summer of 1779, when he effected his escape, by the assistance of Mrs. Harvey, the wife of an Indian trader. Kenton, at this time but twenty-four years of age, according to one who served with him, "was fine looking, with a dignified and manly deportment, and a soft, pleasing voice, and was wherever he went a favorite among the ladies." This lady had become interested in him, and upon his solicitation, promised to assist him and two other Kentuckians, prisoners with him, to procure rifles, ammunition, &c., without which a journey through the wilderness could not be performed. Engaging in their cause with all the enthusiasm of her sex, she only awaited an opportunity to perform her promise. She had not long to wait. On the 3rd of June, 1779, a large concourse of Indians assembled at Detroit to take "a spree." Preparatory to getting drunk, they stacked their guns near Mrs. Harvey's house, who as soon as it was dark stole silently out to the guns, selected three of the best looking, and quickly hid them in her garden in a patch of peas. Avoiding all observation, she hastened to Kenton's lodgings and informed him of her success. She told him, at midnight to come to the back of her garden, where he would find a ladder, by means of which he could climb over and get the guns. She had previously collected such articles of food, clothing, ammunition, &c., as would be necessary in their adventure. These she had hid in a hollow tree well known to Kenton, some distance out of town. No time was now to be lost, and the prisoners at once set about getting things in order for their flight. At the appointed hour Kenton with his companions appeared at the designated spot, discovered the ladder and climbed into the garden, where he found Mrs. Harvey sitting by the guns awaiting his arrival. To the eyes of the grateful young hunter, no woman ever looked so beautiful. There was little time however for compliments, for all around could be heard the yells of the drunken savages, the night was far advanced, and in the morning both guns and prisoners would be missed. Taking an affectionate leave of him, with many tender wishes for his safety, she now urged him to be gone. Heaping thanks and blessings on her, he left her and re-joined his companions. Kenton never saw her afterwards, but he never forgot her; for, more than half a century afterwards, when the wilderness and the savages who peopled it, were alike exterminated before the civilizing march of the Anglo Saxon, the old pioneer, in words that glowed with gratitude and admiration, delighted to dwell on the kindness, and expatiate on the courage and virtue of his benefactress, the fair trader's wife. In his reveries, ho said he had seen her "a thousand times silting by the guns in the garden."

After leaving Detroit the fugitives, departing from the usual line of travel, struck out in a western direction towards the prairies of the Wabash. At the end of thirty-three days, having suffered incredible hardships, the three adventurers, Kenton, Bullitt and Cofer, safely arrived at Louisville sometime in July '79. Here he stayed but a short time to recruit his strength. He had been long a prisoner and thirsted for action and adventure. Shouldering his rifle he set out through the unbroken wilderness to visit his old companion in arms, Major Clark, then at Vincennes. This post he found entirely quiet, too much so for him. He had been treading the wilderness and fighting the savages since his sixteenth year, and was yet too young and strong to be contented with a life of inaction. He had no family or connection to bind him to a particular spot here in the west, and by a deed utterly repugnant to his generous nature, he was exiled as he yet believed, from his home and friends in the east; it was therefore his destiny, as it was his wish, to rove. Striking again into the pathless wilderness then lying between Vincennes and the falls of the Ohio, he soon reached the latter place, whence he immediately proceeded to Harrod's station, where he was joyfully welcomed by his old companions.

The winter of 1779-80 was a peaceful one to the Kentuckians, but in the spring the Indians and British invaded the country, having with them two pieces of cannon, by means of which two stations, Martin's and Ruddle's, fell into their hands; whereupon the allied savages immediately retreated.

When General Clark heard of the disaster, he hastened from Vincennes to concert measures for present retaliation and the future safety of the settlements. Clark was no doubt one of the greatest men ever furnished by the west, of no ordinary military capacity. He believed the best way to prevent the depredations of the Indians, was to carry the war into their own country, burning down their villages and destroying their corn, and thus give them sufficient employment to prevent their incursions among the settlements on the south side of the river. Accordingly an expedition consisting of 1100 of the hardiest and most courageous men that the most adventurous age of our history could furnish, inured to hardships and accustomed to the Indian mode of fighting, assembled at the mouth of the Licking. Kenton commanded a company of volunteers from Harrod's station, and shared in all the dangers and success of this little army. Commanded by Clark, and piloted by one of the most expert woodsmen and the greatest spy of the west, Simon Kenton, the Kentuckians assailed the savages in their dens with complete success. Chillicothe, Pickaway and many other towns were burnt, and the crops around them destroyed. At Pickaway, the Indians were brought to a stand. Here where he had run the gauntlet and afforded the Indian squaws and warriors so much fun, two years before, Kenton now at the head of his gallant company, had the satisfaction of dashing into the thickest of the fight and repaying with usury the blows he had received at their hands. After an obstinate resistance the savages were defeated and fled in all directions, leaving their killed and wounded on the field. (See life of Clark.)

This was the first invasion of Ohio by the Kentuckians in any force, and the red man long remembered it. For two years the stations enjoyed comparative peace, and Kenton passed away his time as a hunter, or spy, or with surveying parties, heavily enough until the fall of 1783. Then for the first time he heard that his old father yet lived, and learned the joyful intelligence that he had not killed his old playmate and friend William Veach. It is impossible to describe his feelings upon hearing this news. For eleven years he wandered in the wilderness filled with remorse for his rash, though unpremeditated crime, the brand of murder upon his heart if not upon his brow, isolated from his home and friends, about whom he dare not even inquire, and his very name forbidden to him. At length after expiating his crime by these long sufferings, unexpectedly the weight of murder is removed from his mind, his banishment from home and family revoked, and his long abandoned name restored. Kenton was Simon Butler now no longer, and he felt like a new man.

In the fall of 1782 General Clark, to revenge the disaster of the Blue Licks, led another army 1500 strong against the Indian towns, which spread destruction far and wide through their country. (See life of Clark.) Kenton again commanded a company on this occasion, and was again the pilot for the army, as his knowledge of the country was unsurpassed, and his skill in woodcraft unequalled. It was upon the return of this expedition opposite the mouth of the Licking, Nov. 4th, 1782, that the pioneers composing it, entered into the romantic engagement, that fifty years thereafter, the survivors "should meet and talk over the affairs of the campaign," and the dangers and hardships of the past. It was first suggested by Captain V. M'Cracken of the Kentucky light horse, who was then dying* from the mortification of a slight wound received in the arm while fighting, immediately by the side of Kenton in the attack on Piqua town. To carry out the request of the dying soldier, Colonel Floyd, from the Falls of the Ohio, brought forward a resolution, and the semi-centennial meeting was determined upon. All around was the unbroken wilderness; but as they bore the dying M'Cracken down the hill above Cincinnati, the future stood revealed to his fast closing eyes, the cities and villas peopled with tens of thousands, crowning the valley and the hill tops, the noise of abounding commerce in the streets and on the rivers, building rising upon building, palace and temple and all the magnificent panorama of fifty years, passed in review before him. The desire to link one's name with all this greatness was pardonable in him who had shed his blood in the struggle to achieve it. The interesting day that was to witness the reunion of the surviving heroes of '82, fell upon the 4th of November, 1833. At that time many were still surviving, among the rest General Simon Kenton. As the day drew near, the old hero was deeply affected at the prospect of meeting his old brothers in arms, as well as solicitous to keep the solemn appointment. To encourage a large attendance he published an interesting and feeling "address to the citizens of the western country." It is a fair type of his kind heart, dictated to a friend who wrote it for him, and signed with his own hand. The following is the only extract the limits of this work will permit us to make.

"Fellow citizens! Being one of the first, after Colonel Daniel Boone, who aided in the conquest of Kentucky, and the west, I am called upon to address you. My heart melts on such an occasion; I look forward to the contemplated meeting with melancholy pleasure; it has caused tears to flow in copious showers. I wish to see once more before I die, my few surviving friends. My solemn promise, made fifty years ago, binds me to meet them. I ask not for myself; but you may find in our assembly some who have never received any pay or pension, who have sustained the cause of their country, equal to any other service; who in the decline of life are poor. Then, you prosperous sons of the west, forget not those old and gray-headed veterans on this occasion; let them return to their families with some

*. He died as the troops descended the hill where Cincinnati now stands, and was buried near the block-house at the mouth of the Licking, on the Kentucky side. little manifestation of your kindness to cheer their hearts. I add my prayer, Any kind heaven grant us a clear sky, fair and pleasant weather, a safe journey and a happy meeting, and smile upon us and our families, and bless us and our nation on the approaching occasion
Urbana, Ohio, 1832.

The day at last came so long looked for by our "old fathers of the west," and the terrible cholera, more barbarous than the savages, who fifty years before battled the pioneers, spread death far and wide over the west, sparing neither age nor sex. Cincinnati was wrapt in gloom, yet many of the veteran patriots assembled, and the corporation voted them a dinner. General Kenton, in spite of his ardent desire, was unable from sickness and old age, to attend. He met his beloved companions no more until he met them in the spirit land.

After the volunteers disbanded at the mouth of Licking, Kenton returned to Harrod's station. He had acquired many valuable tracts of land, now becoming of importance, as population began to flow into the country with a rapid increase, as the sounds of savage warfare grew fainter in the distance. He settled on his lands on Salt River, and being joined by a few families in 1782-3, he built some rude block-houses, cleared land, and planted corn. His settlement thrived wonderfully. In the fall, having gathered his corn, he determined to visit his father, ascertain his circumstances, and bring him to Kentucky. He had not seen his family for thirteen years, a period to him full of dangers, sufferings and triumphs. Who can paint the joy of the returning adventurer, young in years, but old in deeds and reputation, on reaching home, to find that his aged father "yet lived." The reunion was joyful to all, especially so to his friends, who had long considered him dead. He visited with delight the friends and the scenes of his early childhood, so different from his boisterous manhood, and the gauntlet, the stake, and the fierce foray, and the wild war-whoop were to him as the confused image of some uneasy dream. Veach and the ungracious fair one, his first love, were still living; he saw them, and each forgot the old feud.

He gathered up his father and family and proceeded as far as Redstone Fort, journeying to Kain-tuck-ee, where his old father died, and was buried on the winding banks of the Monongahela, without marble or inscription to mark the last resting place of the father of the great pioneer. Kenton, with the remainder of his father's family, reached his settlement in safety in the winter of 1784.

Kentucky was now a flourishing territory, and emigrants came flocking in to appropriate her fertile lands. Kenton determined to occupy his lands, around his old camp, near Maysville, remarkable for their beauty and fertility. This part of Kentucky was still uninhabited, and infested by the Indians. In July, 1784, collecting a small party of adventurers, he went to his old camp, one mile from Washington, in Mason county. The Indians being too troublesome, the party returned to Salt River. In the fall of the same year Kenton returned, built some block-houses, and was speedily joined by a few families. In the spring of '85, many new settlements were made around Kenton's station, and that part of the country soon assumed a thriving appearance, in spite of the incursions of the savages. In 1786, Kenton sold (or according to M'Donald), gave Arthur Fox and William Wood one thousand acres of land, on which they laid out the town of Washington; "Old Ned Waller" had settled at Limestone (Maysville) the year before.

The Indians were too badly crippled, by Clark's last expedition, to offer any considerable opposition to the settlers; nevertheless, they were exceedingly troublesome, during their many small predatory incursions, and plied the fashionable trade of horse-stealing with praiseworthy activity. To put a stop to such proceedings, on the part of their red neighbors, an expedition, seven hundred strong, composed of volunteers from all the surrounding stations, assembled at Washington under the command of Colonel Logan. Fighting, in those days, cost our affectionate "Uncle Sam" very little, as every man paid his own war expenses Kenton commanded a company from his settlement, and, as usual, piloted the way into the enemy's country. The expedition fell upon Mackacheek and Pickaway very suddenly, defeated the Indians with considerable loss, burnt four other towns, without resistance, and returned to Washington with only ten men killed and wounded.

Notwithstanding this successful blow, the Indians, all next year, kept the inhabitants around Kenton's station in perpetual alarm. Kenton (1787) called on the stations to rendezvous at Washington, for the purpose of punishing the Indians, by "carrying the war into Africa;" a trick he had learned from his old commander, General Clark. It was essentially to the interest of the interior stations to see Kenton's well sustained, as thereby the savages were kept at a distance from them. They were, consequently, always ready to render their more exposed brethren any assistance required. Several hundred hardy hunters, under Colonel Todd, assembled again at Washington. Kenton again commanded his company, a gallant set of young men, trained by himself, and piloted the expedition. Near Chillicothe a detachment, led by majors Hinkson and Kenton, fell upon a large body of Indians, about day-break, and defeated them before Todd came up. Chilicothe was burned down, and the expedition returned without losing a man.

The pioneers had now become formidable to the Indians, and kept them at bay. Kenton's station was a frontier for the interior settlements, and manfully beat back the foe, in his incursions into the State. The country around Washington was fast filling up, and bid fair soon to be in a condition to set the Indian at defiance. Kenton, universally esteemed and beloved, was acknowledged to be the chief man in the community. His great experience and reputation as a frontier man; his superior courage and skill in the fight, as well as the extent of his possessions, rendered him conspicuous. In all the incursions made into the country of the enemy, and the many local contests that took place with the Indi ans. Captain Kenton was invariably the leader selected by the settlers.

From 1788 to 1793, many small but bloody conflicts came off around the settlements in Mason County, in which the Indians were severely punished by Captain Kenton and his volunteers. In 1793 the Indians made the last incursion into this, or perhaps any other part of Kentucky. On that occasion (see Mason county) Kenton ambushed them at the place where they crossed the Ohio, killed six of the party, and dispersed the remainder. They never afterwards invaded the long contested shore of their beloved hunting ground. After a desperate and sanguinary struggle of more than twenty years, Kain-tuck-ee, "the dark and bloody ground," was lost to the red man forever. The Saxon, in his insatiable thirst for land, had felled her forests, driven out her ell and buffalo, ploughed up her virgin sod, polluted her soil with the unfamiliar city and village, and in the blood of the red man written his title to the country, which he held with a grasp of iron. Cornstalk, Blackfish, Logan, Little Turtle, Elinipsico, Meshawah, the young Tecumseh, and the thousand north-western braves, bled in vain. Equal courage, superior intellect, and the destiny of the Saxon, overthrew the heroism, the perseverance, and the despair of the sons' of the forest.

In 1793, General Wayne came down the Ohio to prepare for his successful expedition. Kenton, at that time a major, joined Wayne with his battalion, and proceeded to Greenville, where he was conspicuous among the hardy hunters composing the army, on account of his superior reputation, courage, skill, and activity. He was not in the battle of the Fallen Timber, having been discharged with his battalion the winter previous. The Indians, being defeated by Wayne, and their power completely broken, sued for peace, which was granted, and the war was over.

Kentucky and the west, after the peace of Greenville, rushed forward with rapid strides in the career of population and wealth. Emigrants came pouring over the Alleghanies into the fertile valley of the Ohio, to occupy the beautiful "land of the cane." These lands rose rapidly in price and importance, and Kenton was now thought to be one of the wealthiest men in his State, and deserved to be so, for he had purchased his wealth by many a bloody conflict, and by many incredible hardships. But behold the gratitude of his countrymen! The crafty off springs of peace, who slept in the lap of eastern ease and security, while this noble pioneer was enduring the hardships of the wilderness, and braving the gauntlet, and stake, and tomahawk of the Indian to redeem the soil of the west, creep in when the fight, and toil, and danger are past, and by dishonorable trick, miserable technicality, and cunning procedure, wrest the possessions bought at such a terrible price from the gallant, unlettered, simple hearted man, unversed in the rascality of civilization. He lost his lands acre after acre, the superior skill of the speculator prevailing over the simplicity and ignorance of the hunter. What a burning, deep disgrace to the west, that the hero who had suffered so much and fought so well to win the soil of his glorious "cane land" from the savage, should, when the contest was ended, be compelled to leave it to those who never struck a blow in its defense! Together with Boone and numerous other brave old frontier men, who bore "the heat and burden of the day," Kenton, like an old shoe, was kicked aside when he was no longer of any use, or had become too antiquated for the fashion of the times. Kentucky treated her earliest and staunchest defenders scarcely so well as they treated their dogs, after running down the game, she denied them the very offal.

The fate of General Simon Kenton was still more hard than that of the other simple hearted fathers of the west. His body was taken for debt upon the covenants in deeds to lands, which he had, in effect, given away, and for twelve months he was imprisoned, upon the very spot where he first built his cabin in '75, where he planted the first corn ever planted on the north of the Kentucky river by the hand of any white man, where he ranged the pathless forest in freedom and safety, where he subsequently erected his foremost station house, and battled the Indians in an hundred encounters, and, nearly alone, endured the hardships of the wilderness, while those who then reaped the fruits of his former sufferings were yet unborn, or dwelt afar in the lap of peace and plenty.

In 1799, beggared by law-suits and losses, he moved into Ohio, and settled in Urbana. He was no longer young, and the prospect of spending his old age in independence, surrounded by plenty and comfort, which lightened the toils and sufferings of his youth, was now succeeded by cheerless anticipations of poverty and neglect. Thus, after thirty years of the prime of his life, spent faithfully in the cause of Kentucky and the west, all that remained to him was the recollection of his services, and a cabin in the wilderness of Ohio. He himself never repined, and such was his exalted patriotism, that he would not suffer others to upbraid his country in his presence, without expressing a degree of anger altogether foreign from his usual mild and amiable manner. It never occurred to his ingenuous mind that his country could treat anybody, much less him, with neglect, and his devotion and patriotism continued to the last unimpaired.

In 1805, he was elected a brigadier general in the Ohio militia, and in 1810 he joined the Methodist Episcopal Church. It is a consoling fact, that nearly all the "old fathers of the west" devoted the evening of their stormy lives to the service of their Maker, and died in the triumphs of the Christian faith. In 1813, the gallant old man joined the Kentucky troops under Governor Shelby, into whose family he was admitted as a privileged member, and was in the battle of the Thames. This was his last battle, and from it the old hero returned to obscurity and poverty in his humble cabin in the woods. He remained in Urbana till 1820, when he moved to the head of Mad river, Logan county, Ohio, in sight of Wapatomika, where he had been tied to the stake by the Indians when a prisoner in their hands. Here he was harassed by judgments and executions from Kentucky, and to prevent being driven from his cabin by his white brethren, (as formerly by the savages) to the forest for a shelter, he was compelled to have some land entered in the name of his wife and children. He still had many tracts of mountain land in Kentucky of little value, which, however, were forfeited to the State for taxes. In 1824, then seventy years of age, he undertook a journey to Frankfort, in tattered garments and on a sorry horse, to endeavor to get the legislature, then in session, to release the claim of the State on his mountain lands.

Here, where he had roved in an unbroken wilderness in the early day, now stood a flourishing city, but he walked up and down its streets, an object of curiosity to the boys, a stranger, recognized by no one. A new generation had arisen to people and possess the land which he had defended, and his old friends and companions were gone. At length General Thomas Fletcher, from Bath County, saw and knew him, and by his means the old pioneer was clothed in a decent suit, and entertained in a kind and becoming manner. When it became known that Simon Kenton was in the town, numbers speedily assembled to see the celebrated warrior and hunter, and testify their regard for him. He was taken to the capitol and placed in the speaker's chair, "and then was introduced the second great adventurer of the west, to a crowded assembly of legislators, judges, officers of the government, and citizens generally." This the simple hearted old man was wont to call "the proudest day" of his life. His lands were at once released, and shortly afterwards, by the exertions of Judge Burnet and General Vance of Congress, a pension of two hundred and forty dollars a year was obtained for him, securing his old age from absolute want.

Without any further reward from his government, or particular notice from his fellow-citizens and contemporaries. General Kenton lived in his quiet and obscure home to the age of eighty-one, beloved and respected by all who knew him; 29th April, 1836, in sight of the place where the Indians, fifty-eight years before, proposed to torture him to death, he breathed his last, surrounded by his family and neighbors, and supported by the consolations of the gospel.

The following is a description of the appearance and character of this remarkable man, by one who often shared with him in the dangers of the forest and the fight:

"General Kenton was of fair complexion, six feet one inch in height. He stood and walked very erect; and, in the prime of life, weighed about one hundred and ninety pounds. He never was inclined to be corpulent, although of sufficient fullness to form a graceful person. He had a soft, tremulous voice, very pleasing to the hearer. He had laughing, gray eyes, which appeared to fascinate the beholder, and dark auburn hair. He was a pleasant, good-humored, and obliging companion. When excited, or provoked to anger, (which was seldom the case), the fiery glance of his eye would almost curdle the blood of those with whom he came in contact. His rage, when roused, was a tornado. In his dealing, he was perfectly honest; his confidence in man, and his credulity, were such, that the same man might cheat him twenty times; and if he professed friendship, he might cheat him still."

The thing which strikes us most forcibly, in contemplating the lives of the great leading men, who pioneered the march of civilization to the west, is their complete simplicity of character. Some have not hesitated to pronounce this stupidity, hut we cannot agree with them. The pioneers of the west, in addition to a plentiful lack of education and mental discipline, were certainly children in their knowledge of the great book of human nature. Still the courage, skill, sagacity, perseverance and endurance exhibited in their life of privation and danger, prove them to have been men of no ordinary mould, and the same intellectual and physical- forces called into action in any other sphere of life, expressed with the same energy, would have rendered their possessors distinguished.

We can easily see how unfit for civilized life, were Boone and Kenton, suddenly transposed from an almost primitive and savage state of society, unsophisticated and simple-minded as they were. The great questions of property, regulated by law, and liberty, regulated by policy, in their profound mysteries, were to them as sealed books: they had not studied them; but for more than twenty years, battling with the savages, and enduring bitter privations with constant and necessary activity, they lived in the free wilderness, where action was unfettered by law, and where property was not controlled by form and technicality, but rested on the natural and broader foundation of justice and convenience. They knew how to beat back the invader of their soil, or repel the aggression of the private wrong-doer, they knew how to bear down a foe in the open field, or circumvent him by stratagem, or destroy him by ambush. But they knew not how to swindle a neighbor out of his acres, by declaration, demurrer, plea and replication, and all the scientific pomp of chicanery, they knew not how damages could salve a private injury or personal wrong, or how the verdict of a jury could remove the poison from the tongue of the slanderer, or medicine the incurable wounds inflicted by the seducer. Hence, in the broad and glorious light of civilization, they were stupid. Their confidence in men, their simplicity, their stupidity, by whatever name proper to call it, rendered them an easy prey to selfish and unprincipled speculators. Certain it is, that hundreds arose to prey upon the simple Fathers of the West; and they were driven out in their old age yet farther into the wilderness. Instead of seeing their children possess and people the beautiful land won by their fathers, after so long and terrible a conflict, we see them like their sires, on the borders of civilization, beating back the savage, themselves ever driven back by that wave of population which follows on their steps, by a strange decree, the exterminators of the red man, soon thereafter, themselves to be exterminated.

It is now perhaps too late, to repair the injustice done to these old heroes by the west; yet one act remains to Kentucky, demanded alike by gratitude and a just sense of honor. It is to gather up the sacred remains of Simon Kenton, from their last, obscure resting place, and placing them in the cemetery of her capital, in the bosom of that beloved soil which he was among the first and stoutest to defend; to erect a monument over his grave, commemorating throughout all succeeding years the services and virtues of her Great Pioneer. Will it ever be done!

Bank Lick is a beautiful stream, emptying into the Licking River, five miles from its confluence with the Ohio, in Kenton County. This stream received its name from the early settlers, and its banks have, doubtless, been trodden by Boone and Kenton. The engraving represents a scene on this stream, about 2 mile above its junction with the Licking. The picture is by Frankenstein, a young artist of Cincinnati.


View of Bank Lick, Kenton County, Kentucky



Source: History of Kentucky, Volume II, by Lewis Collins, Published by Collins & Company,
Covington, Kentucky, 1874



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