History Of Jessamine County
In 1767 John Finley, a woodsman and
hunter, from North Carolina, moved by a spirit of adventure and a love
for hunting, entered the country known as the Bluegrass region. He was
the first white man, history asserts, that ever penetrated the
wilderness and forests of Kentucky sufficiently to see the central part
of the state. Who came with him. whither they went and how long the
party remained, neither traveler, legend, non written story tells. It
most likely that they passed through Jessamine county and were the
first of their race to look upon its pristine beauty and glory. Two
years later, Finley returned with Daniel Boone to that wonderful land
he had described to his neighbors and associates in North Carolina,
with such eloquence and enthusiasm as to arouse within them an
inextinguishable desire to visit a land which then was looked upon as
"God's own country." What became of him after this second visit is
unknown, but it is a reasonable conclusion that somewhere in the
stillness and sublime silence of the great forests to which he had led
the white man, the red man took his life and left him as his shroud the
leaves of the forest and his monument the mighty trees which stood
sentinel for ages over the fertile and genial soil of Kentucky.
Dr. Thomas Walker, from Virginia, had in 1750 explored a portion of Kentucky, but he only skirted the Bluegrass and rode over the mountains of Southeastern Kentucky, and what he saw and reported, created no spirit of exploration and no desire of emigration. Finley was the man who saw the huntsman's paradise, and whose soul was fired for its possession, and into whose mind was burned memories which made life miserable away from the glories of the new land into which he had by accident come.
Some months after his return, while wandering along the Yadkin river in North Carolina, Finley met a kindred spirit, one of the master woodsmen of his age. In the solitude of the wilderness of North Carolina, far out beyond the advance of civilization and settlement, he found a rude cabin, in which dwelt a young man, not much beyond his majority. By his side was a brave woman, who, amid the dangers and hardships of the wild, wild frontier, shared his life and hopes and brightened the solitude and dreariness of his isolated home. By the humble, but hospitable fireside of the young hunter, Finley was welcomed as a guest, and again and again he told the story of his journey toward the north, of the magnificent region where there would be an eternal feast for the hunter, where game was so abundant that the droves of buffalo could be counted like herds of cattle, where deer licked the hand of the intruder; and coons, 'possums, turkeys and pheasants, were so plentiful as to obstruct the path along which men would tread.
Finley had found a heart which would respond in fullest harmony to his words, a harp which answered his touch, and each day gave back not only sweetest note, but varied and sympathetic chords: a man whose brave soul was devoid of all fear and who wanted nothing better for time or eternity than that glorious and distant region of which the new found friend spoke. A compact, offensive and defensive, was then and there signed. Boone had at last heard of a land for which his soul sighed, a land which filed his ideal of a paradise and to see it, to tread its traces and to enjoy its pleasure, he resolved to give up his home, his wife, his children, and if need be to surrender his life. To once see such a land as Finley described, he felt would be compensation for all that earth could bestow.
Sparse settlements along the Holston. 200 miles away, and the forts on the Ohio at Pittsburgh and the few houses strung along the line of the wilderness now were the closest neighbors to Kentucky.
Boone came in 1769, and brought his family in 1775.
The founding of the Transylvania colony by Henderson, in 1775. gave an armed and trained force to meet Indian attack, and Harrodsburg and St. Asaphs, or Logan's Fort, formed the military triangle about which and in which the new settlers made their homes.
The Transylvania land scheme of 1775 did not include Jessamine county. Its lines followed the south or western side of the Kentucky river, and left the eastern boundary always in Virginia.
When by act of the Virginia House of Burgesses, in 1780, Kentucky was divided into three counties, Fayette, Jefferson and Lincoln; Jessamine was comprised within the limits of Fayette, and so remained until, December 17, 1798, when it was separated from the parent county, and became the thirty-sixth county of the state.
The initial lines of pioneer travel did not traverse Jessamine. The wilderness road, entering the state at Cumberland Gap, divided at Rockcastle river, one branch going to Boonesboro, and the other by Crab Orchard, Danville and Bardstown, to Louisville.
The persistent assaults of the Indians on the settlers in Kentucky in 1782, caused the abandonment of all the forts in the state east of the Kentucky, except five, Lexington, Bryants, McConnells, McClellans (Georgetown) and Boones.
The county of Kentucky was established in 1775, and divided into three counties in 1780; and prior to 1792 six more were added, making, at the inception of its statehood, nine in all.
Added: Bourbon, 1785; Madison, 1785; Mason, 1789: Mercer, 1785; Nelson, 1781 ; Woodford, 1788.
The first fort and only fort in Jessamine county was established by Levi Todd in 1779. This was one year before Lexington was built. The line of travel between Harrodsburg and the Fayette county stations, passed through the northern and western parts of the county, and on this trace, near Keene, Todd's station was built.
The isolation of the forts and the constant and destructive marauds of the Indians, now officered by Englishmen and provided with improved arms, terrified the settlers east of the Kentucky river. They were nearest to the homes of the Indians from the northwest, who had now become the most dreadful of all the savages who invaded the state, and 1780-81-82. they drove in the outposts, and with great difficulty the white men were able to maintain their stations at all in and around Lexington. It was then that personal safety compelled Todd to abandon his Jessamine holdings and take such help and protection as the four stations around Lexington offered to the almost hopeless men and women who occupied the limited territory in Fayette. which remained after the terrible fatality of Ruddell's and Martin's stations in June, 1780.
The land law enacted by the Virginia Legislature, in the settling of land made location easy and popular. The wonderful accounts of the fertility, beauty and salubrity of Kentucky turned an immense tide of immigration to the state. In 1782, the population did not exceed 1500; in 1790, it had grown to 61,133 white people ; 114 colored free people, and 12,340 slaves : a total of 73,- 677, while ten years later, in 1800, it had 179,873 white, 739 free colored, and 40,343 slaves; a total of 220,995, an increase in ten years of 224 1-2 per cent.
Of this extraordinary improvement, Jessamine county received a full share. In 1782. it had not a single settler, and yet in 1800, eighteen years thereafter, it had 5,461 inhabitants. This was the first decade in which a census could be taken. Fayette, from which Jessamine was entirely taken, had, in 1800, 18,410 inhabitants, or one-fourth of the entire population of the state. As a part of Clark was included in this enumeration, and assuming that Jessamine had grown in proportion as other parts of Fayette, the county in 1790 had about 2,000 inhabitants.
A great proportion of Jessamine immigration, came from Virginia. The Revolutionary soldiers were pouring into all parts of the state, and Jessamine received her full share, and more than one hundred of these brave and sturdy settlers found homes within her borders.
No state could secure nobler treasure than were these Revolutionary soldiers. Their splendid courage, exalted patriotism. hardy natures, and noble characters, made them a worthy addition to any community. The self-reliance, tact and enterprise engendered by Revolutionary service, rendered them citizens of great and unusual worth. Of the rich store given by Virginia, Pennsylvania, North and South Carolina. Jessamine received an extraordinary proportion.
The most distinguished men of Revolutionary fame who came to Jessamine, were George Walker, Joseph Crockett, Benjamin Netherland. William Price. Percival Butler, William McKinney and John Price.
These were not more patriotic or more loyal to the American cause than the others, but they had in the war obtained positions which made them more prominent than their associates in the early history of the county. A brief sketch of each is properly a part of the history of Jessamine county.
One of the most unique and extraordinary characters in the history of Jessamine county in its early days was Maj. Benjamin Netherlander. He was born in Powhattan county, Virginia, in 1755. He went to Cuba as the agent of his father, to dispose of his tobacco crop. There learning that Sir Peter Parker was to make an attack on Charleston, he left his cargo and ran the blockade into Charleston and helped to defend Fort Moultrie against British assault. He accompanied La Fayette on his journey from Charleston in 1777 as far as Mecklenburg county, North Carolina, when the distinguished Frenchman was on his way to Philadelphia, to tender his services to Washington in behalf of American liberty. He remained at Charlotte, North Carolina until 1781, took part in the battle of Guilford Courthouse, and shortly after this he drifted into Kentucky. In -May, 1782, he was at Estill station, and was with the Kentucky troops in the Estill defeat. He took part in nearly all the Indian battles from 1781 to 1784. He went with George Rogers Clark on his expedition in 1782 to punish the Indians for the wrongs of Blue Licks.
He was with General Harmar in his defeat, and with General Wayne in his victory at Fallen Timbers in 1794 and was instrumental in punishing the men who had perpetrated the slaughter at Blue Licks. After seven years' absence in Kentucky, he returned to North Carolina in 1788 and married his boyish sweetheart. Miss Theodosia Bramlette, who was a daughter of the distinguished Revolutionary fighter Col. Bramlette. He had lived in Fayette and Madison counties prior to his coming to Jessamine. After his marriage he settled on a farm five miles east of Nicholasville, arid in 1793 he removed to where Nickolasville now stands, and built a hotel and called it Mingo Tavern, this house he kept until his death in 1838. The house was torn down in 1864. The author has often seen it when a boy, and the picture of it in this history is from a drawing made in 1820. He was chairman of the Board of Trustees of Nicholasville, and was prominent in its early history, and his children were the first white people born within its limits. He was the real hero of the battle of Blue Licks. Robert Wickliffe, of Lexington, whose second wife was the only daughter of Col. Todd, who was in command at the battle at Blue Licks, in a political speech in 1848 in Nicholasville said that the majority of men who escaped at Blue Licks owed their preservation to Benjamin Netherland and that Netherland was a fearless man, fruitful in resources and of magnificent courage.
Col. Robert Patterson, writing to Netherland in 1836, says, "I can not forget the part you acted in the battle of Blue Licks." At the time of this battle Netherland was only twenty-seven years old, and he went from Lexington as a member of Cap*. Robert Patterson's company. In the disastrous conflict he remained mounted, and gained the ford over Licking in safety and crossed the stream unhurt. As he reached the west bank he looked back over his shoulder, and his soul was stirred with deepest emotion, and his heart filled with grandest courage as he saw his comrades struggling, swimming and plunging in the river, or rushing down the bank pursued by the savage enemy with unsheathed knives and uplifted tomahawks. Me was a man of towering form, six feet two inches in height. He dismounted from his horse, and throwing the rein over his arm, in stentorian tone ordered his fleeing comrades to halt and fire upon the Indians and save those who were still in the stream. His bravery and his splendid presence restored the spirits of his fear-stricken comrades. More than a dozen men instantly obeyed his call, and facing about with Netherland and standing in line they opened a fatal and deadly fire upon the foremost of the pursuing savages. The counter attack was so sudden and unexpected that it checked the fierce pursuit of the Indians and they instantly fell back from the opposite bank. Netherland and his men maintained their position and drove the Indians to cover, while the wearied and almost -despairing footmen were enabled to ford and swim the river in safety, only a few minutes were necessary for those who could reach the stream or who were in it to pass over. The footmen as they left the bank quickly fled from the buffalo trace and disappeared in the thickets and started by circuitous routes to reach some friendly station. So soon as these distressed and exhausted or wounded footmen were enabled to secrete themselves in the dense forests, large numbers of the Indians were seen crossing both above and below, and Netherland and his comrades mounting their horses galloped along the well-worn trace, and reached Bryan Station that evening, without further loss.
Major Netherland always retained his old-time dress. He wore a cut-a-way coat, short breeches with knee buckles, and low shoes with silk lacers and silver buckles. His pants were always fastened with red bands, and his long queue was tied with a red ribbon. From his entrance into Nicholasville early in 1791 for forty years he was prominent as a leader in all its affairs. He was postmaster for about twenty-three years and always dispensed the village hospitality with a lavish hand. Every man who had fought in the Revolutionary war or in the Indian wars either in Kentucky or in the Northwest, was his friend, and none ever went from his door hungry or uncared for.
He was passionately fond of horse-racing, and owned some of the great race-horses of Kentucky in the early part of the century. He was a fair and just man in his dealings with his fellow-men. He was not averse to a "good time," as people call it, and was always, even toward the end of his life, considered "one of the boys." He opened a race track on the Willoughby place near Sulphur Well, and maintained it for many years.
In 1802 there was a quarter race on the track, and in the hearing of the crowd. Major Netherland announced that on a certain day (naming it) there would be another race for a purse of $50, one mile heats, which was "free for anything with four legs and hair on." At that time there was working on a farm a young man named Michael Arnspiger who had broken a bull to the saddle, which he rode to mill. He immediately put the bull in training and for several days gave him turns around the race track. He used spurs on the bull and when these were dug into his sides, he was accustomed to bellow. On the day of the race Arnspiger appeared on the ground with his bull. He had placed a dried hide of an ox on the bull's rump, and he carried a tin horn in his hands. He demanded of the judges the right to enter his animal, to which the owners of the horses vehemently objected. but Arnspiger answered by appealing to Major Netherland if he had not said that the race was free to "anything with four legs and hair on." Maj. Netherland admitted that he had, and explained that the hull had a right to enter. When the drum was tapped, Arnspiger blew his horn, planted his spurs in the sides of the bull, which bounded off with a dreadful bellow, with the ox-hide flapping on his sides and presenting a spectacle, combined with the noise, that had never been seen on the race track before. The horses immediately flew the track, and Arnspiger .galloped home a winner. The losers contended that they were swindled out of their money; that Arnspiger should not have been allowed to blow the tin horn, or use the ox-hide, and that but for this he could not have won the race. Thereupon Arnspiger offered to take the ox-hide off and leave his tin horn at the stand and run them from end to end. Mr. Willoughby and Mr. Netherland were judges at the next start. Arnspiger again planted his spurs into the sides of the bull with redoubled fury. The loud bellow that followed drove the horses from the track despite the exertions of the riders, and Arnspiger pulled in the second $50 purse. With the money thus obtained he purchased a black-smithing outfit, working for many years at his trade near Wil- more, and died there in the sixties, in the 85th year of his age.
Major Netherland had a great fondness for race horses and not only ran his own horses but went to see everybody else's horses who ran in the neighborhood. The race track in those early days was on the Willoughby farm in the new field now owned by Col. N. D. Miles. Major Netherland owned a very fast horse for those days, which he called by the name of Fearnought, He had secured this horse in Virginia and brought him across the mountains. The horse had been trained in Virginia and made his first race at Fredericksburg, in 1805, beating General Tracy's horse. Indian, in three heats. In those times four mile races were run. The time given by Major Netherland was as follows:
First, 8 minutes, 29 seconds. Second, 8 minutes, 45 seconds. Third. 8 minutes, 50 seconds.
Then people believed in bottom and horses had to run long distances. This time was not up to that made by the great race horse, Lexington, at New Orleans, where he beat the world's record in 7 minutes, 193-4 seconds, but it was good running.
Fearnought was the special pride of Major Netherland. He ran against a horse called Bald Eagle, who was owned by Daniel Bradford, a son of John Bradford, the founder of the Kentucky Gazette, and who was for long time editor of that paper. The Alexander Willoughby referred to was a Revolutionary soldier. He came early to Kentucky and settled in Jessamine county on the Sulphur Well road. He was the father of Mrs.. Catherine Shelby and died in 1837, in his eighty-fifth year.
General Samuel Hopkins was a Revolutionary soldier, a native of Albemarle county, Va. He was a distinguished officer in the Revolutionary army, and none performed more active service or enjoyed in a greater degree the confidence of Washington. He came to Kentucky in 1797 and settled on Green river, in Green county. He was a member of Congress in 1813 and '15 and was engaged in the Indian wars in the west. He and Major Netherland were great friends and General Hopkins himself had a weakness for a good horse. The following letter describing the race, is both interesting and unique :
Jessamine County, Ky., June 5, 1806. Gen. Sam'l Hopkins,
Dear Friend: I take my seat to inform you that Fearnought is again winner of a purse of $100. In all the races which have previously been run on this track, it has been a matter of much inconvenience to the judges to make a fair decision without a fuss, which often creates unnecessary excitement throughout the day. But it did not in any manner affect the nerve of Mr. Willoughby, who was one of the judges who started the horses. He seemed to have a proper and just idea of the necessity of an even start, and nothing else but an even start would suit him. and that he gave. I wish all the other judges were as honest as he is. At the tap of the drum Fearnought and Bald Eagle darted like thunderbolts, each determined to win or die. Around the track they sped like hell cats, not a shade between them. Up the back stretch they Hew like doves escaping from a hawk. At the half mile in 40 seconds, they locked around the turn. They tried it again, a slight pull before reaching the home stretch, and with renewed vigor, Fearnought in the lead. Bald Eagle renews his extraordinary power, but Fearnought comes out with unfaltering step and the race is decided in his favor. The question of championship, you will see at once, gives Fearnought the palm.
DESCRIPTION OF FEARNOUGHT
Fearnought is five years old last grass; is a dark blood bay, 16 hands high, of superior bone and muscle, with fine limbs, lofty carriage and elastic tread: a star in his forehead, vividly lighting up a countenance expressive of great superiority; game head, curved neck; unusual depth of chest; fine, broad shoulder; beautifully inclining back, which gives him the appearance of a horse of most wonderful strength and endurance. I expect to enter him this fall for a purse of $1,000 at Fredericksburg, and the city of Baltimore and Washington. Bald Eagle is now the property of Daniel Bradford, and was trained in Maryland, and won many races there, but, I think, his career upon the turf is over.
In another letter, written to General Hopkins in 1802, Major Netherland recites a most interesting incident. During that year a party of Cherokee Indians from North Carolina stopped all night at the Mingo Tavern, kept by Major Netherland. In the morning one of them was very sick and unable to travel and in a few days died at the hotel. He received the kindest possible treatment from Major Netherland and his family. In describing this incident Major Netherland says:
"A few days ago four Cherokee Indians from Iredell county, N. C, called at my home and remained over night. Next morning one of them was too sick to travel. All day his sufferings were severe and painful. I sent for Drs. Gale and Peter Trisler, who at once pronounced his case hopeless. After intense suffering for four days the poor Indian died. His poor, disconsolate friends were painfully grieved at the death of one of their number, who was a man of some notoriety among his people, particularly as an expert hunter, having himself killed seventy-odd deer while on the last October hunt in the Cumberland mountains. The dead body of the poor Indian was taken to the Kentucky river cliffs, eight miles south of Nicholasville, and interred in the earth after the Indian custom, but instead of filling the vault with earth, as is used with us, these poor Indians made a small frame work of wood, like a steep roof, which they put round the mouth, and reared up a heavy pile of earth, giving it the appearance of a potatoe heap. The three Indians who buried their comrade appeared bowed with grief. One seated himself on the ground, directing his face toward sunset, and extending his voice, made a great and sore lamentation. As much as I hate these wild children from the forest, I could not refrain from shedding tears when looking on them in this honest grief at the loss of one who was regarded as a good and true man. In four or five weeks after the death of their comrade, the same party, with a brother of the Indian, who died, came back and took his body in a small wagon to North Carolina, a distance of more than 300 miles, and reinterred his remains in the land of his birth among his own people. I have been much among the Cherokees of North Carolina. I consider them among the best of our Indian friends. They have strange customs. I wish I had time to give you more correct idea of their general character as compared with the other Indian tribes of our country.
"Your old crony,
" B. Netherland."
Major Netherland died October 10, 1838, and was buried in his garden, which is now the lot on which the county jail is built. Mr. Jos. Wallace, a remote kinsman, has, with most commendable love and liberality and true spirit of kinship, erected a headstone over the grave of Major Netherland and that of his wife, who, in 1851, was laid beside her husband. At his death Major Netherland was accorded a magnificent military funeral. The funeral sermon was preached by Bishop Kavanaugh, who was then the Presiding Elder of the district. Gen. Leslie Combs, Maj. D. B. Price, Gen. John McCalla and Robert Wickliffe were his pall-bearers, and all the leading military companies of the county turned out to do his memory honor.
Major Netherland's experience in the battle of the Blue Licks, justified him in his subsequent love of horses.
He bred a great many fine race horses in his day, and in a letter written by him to Gen. John McCalla, in 1830, now in my possession, he begs him to come to Nicholasville on the following Sunday to dine with him and promises to show him "the damndest best three colts in the world."
Among the large train of Revolutionary soldiers who followed the track of empire westwardly. was Col. Joseph Crockett, of Albemarle county, Virginia. He was born in Albemarle county in 1742. He received fairly good educational advantages for that period. His father, John Crockett, came to Virginia in the first half of the century. He followed teaching as his profession and taught a high school near Charlottesville. Joseph Crockett was his oldest son.
In 1774 Joseph Crockett went as a private soldier with Gen. Andrew Lewis and was engaged in the battle of Point Pleasant. This was one of the most important of all the battles in the West. It was there that General Lewis met the Indians under the celebrated chief Cornstalk, and after a fight of nearly a whole day the Indians were put to flight.
In 1775 the county authorities of Albemarle directed that two companies be raised for the defense of the western section of the state. One company was to be stationed at Point Pleasant, where the Kanawha and Ohio rivers unite. Gen. William Russell was appointed captain of one of these companies and Joseph Crockett lieutenant. In the winter of '75 they were discharged and they were ordered to raise two new companies for the Continental army. Joseph Crockett was appointed captain of one of these companies and on the 5th of May, 1/76, served in Virginia. In 1776 the regiment was marched to Philadelphia. That year he was appointed major and raised two companies for Gen. Daniel Morgan's rifle regiment. He took part in the battle of Mon- mouth, fought June 20, 1778. and after this battle was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-colonel, and so remained until October, 1780. when, by resolution of congress the army was reorganized and Colonel Crockett was reduced to the rank of captain. He was with Gates at the surrender of Burgoyne in '77. He was engaged in the battles of Brandywine, Princeton and Trenton, and was with Washington at Valley Forge, where there sprung up between Colonel Crockett and General Washington a warm friendship, which lasted until the end of their lives. He was wounded in the arm at the siege of Yorktown in 1782.
In 1779 Colonel Crockett was directed by the state of Virginia to raise a regiment, of which he became lieutenant-colonel, to proceed down the Ohio river to Kentucky and Illinois to assist George Rogers Clark. He raised the regiment, which was known as the Illinois or Crockett Regiment, and served for eighteen months with General Clark. He was in many of the battles with the Northwestern Indians on the Miami river, and helped to destroy Chillicothe and other towns in the northwestern territory on the Wabash. In one of the battles in which he fought he had two horses shot under him by the sharpshooters, and it was admitted that he had been in as many fights and skirmishes as any officer in the Revolutionary army.
In 1784 he moved to. Kentucky and settled first between Cumberland Gap and Crab Orchard. He remained there only a short time, and moved to Jessamine county and settled on lands near the Union Mills. His son, Robert Crockett, built the Union Mills and Col. Joseph Crockett built the old stone house on the banks of Hickman creek, which is now standing and was lately occupied by Dr. Jasper, a descendant of Sergeant Jasper, who was put to death at Savannah by the British.
Colonel Crockett was appointed by Mr. Jefferson as United States Marshal for the district of Kentucky. He held this office for two terms. When the applications were read to Mr. Jefferson for this office, his eye dropped upon that of Joseph Crockett. He said, "Joseph Crockett; honest Joseph Crockett; you need go no further, he shall have the appointment." Immediately after his removal to Kentucky he at once assumed a prominent place in the development and in the government of the new state. In 1786-1790 he represented Fayette in the Virginia Legislature. He was also appointed magistrate of Fayette county in 1792, along with Percival Butler. He was a member of the first legislature from Fayette county, in 1792, '93, '94, and '95. Under the Constitution of 1792 he was elected one of the senators. These senators were chosen by electors elected for that purpose.
In 1792 a project was organized for the clearing and improvement of the Wilderness Road, under Col. John Logan and James Knox. The subscriptions for that purpose at that time would probably be the highest evidence of public spirit. Among them are the names of Isaac Shelby, for 3 pounds: Robert Breckinridge, 2 pounds 8 shillings; George Nicholas, 2 pounds 8 shillings; John Brown, 2 pounds 8 shillings; Joseph Crockett, 1 pound 18 shillings; Robert Patterson, 1 pound 10 shillings; G. M. Bedinger, 18 shillings ; Samuel McDowell, I pound 4 shillings, and a large number of other prominent names.
He represented Fayette county in the convention called in 1788 at Danville, to consider separation from Virginia. Although at first opposed to separation. Colonel Crockett was convinced by the arguments of John Marshall of the propriety of this separation.
The question in this convention was, whether there should be a violent separation from Virginia, or whether the separation should be legal and on constitutional grounds. It was in this convention that Colonel Crockett became alarmed at the speeches of John Brown and General Wilkinson. He left his seat in the convention, hurried to Lexington and on Saturday, Sunday and Monday secured the signatures of several hundred citizens of Fayette county remonstrating against separation from Virginia without her consent, when he returned and presented this petition to the convention. After it was read General Wilkinson saw that he was in opposition to the wishes of the people and yielded to what was the inevitable.
Colonel Crockett, being then United States Marshal, arrested Aaron Burr in 1806, under proceedings by Joseph "Hamilton Daveiss against Aaron Burr. Colonel Crockett's commission bore the signature of General Washington and was handed to him by La Fayette, and when La Fayette visited Kentucky in 1825 he threw his arms around Colonel Crockett at Frankfort and they wept with each other like children. Col. Joseph Crockett, Col. Anthony Crockett and Gen. Peter Dudley rode in a carriage with La Fayette from Frankfort to Lexington. Colonel Crockett introduced a large number of old Revolutionary soldiers to General La Fayette at the reception given him by Mr. Wickliffe.
As General La Fayette passed by a hotel in the parade, Maria Henderson, a little girl twelve years of age, a granddaughter of Colonel Crockett, and from Jessamine county, from the window of the hotel sang, "Hail to the Chief Who in Triumph Advances." The fresh, young voice of the little girl had a wonderful attraction for General La Fayette. He requested that the carriage should be stopped and as he listened to the song from the lips of the child, tears streamed down his cheeks. He said that it was the sweetest act of homage ever paid him.
Colonel Crockett was pensioned by the United States Government. In company with other soldiers in the Revolutionary war, he received several thousand acres of land from the government and shortly before his death his pension was increased to $600 a year. He enjoyed it only for twelve months. When visiting his daughter, Mrs. Augustine Bower, at Georgetown, he was seized with a fatal illness and died there.
The following letter written by a Revolutionary soldier to Maj. Daniel B. Price, will be interesting as it refers to many characters prominent in Jessamine county at that time.
Near Georgetown, Scott county, Ky.,
Nov. 20, 1829.
Dear Friend : I was pained that I had not the pleasure of seeing you at the burial of Col. Joseph Crockett, six weeks ago in Jessamine county. I have learned from your letter that you were very sick at the time of his burial and unable to get out of bed. He died at the home of Dr. Bower, his son-in-law. For three weeks, or more, previous to his death, he repeatedly informed his friends that he viewed himself as a dying man ; that he was not afraid to meet death at any moment. A few days after he was taken with his last illness, and while he was able to walk about the room, his eye sight failed him. He took the Rev. Isaac Reed to be you and ordered him to bring your son, Joseph, to see him, as he had not seen him for some months. On my telling him that you were detained in Jessamine, but would probably be up Friday, he quietly fell into a sleep. He slept about an hour, and waked and had a severe coughing spell. It was at this time that he drew his breath with great difficulty, and the agony he was in was so great that in two hours after he had awakened from sleep he died. Capt. William Christy, Maj. John T. Pratt, Maj. William Johnson, Capt. William Smith, of Bourbon, and the Rev. John Hudson and Mr. Reed, were present in the room when he died.
When he was dying I noticed him put his head a little back, closed his eyes as if going to sleep and expired, at the ripe age of \
83. His remains were taken to his home in Jessamine and buried with the honor suitable to the memory of a brave and patriotic man, who served his country bravely in the Revolutionary war. The order of procession to the grave was as follows:
The hearse with the military escort, attended by music, on each flank. The relatives, the ladies, the citizens, the fine volunteer company from Georgetown, commanded by Maj. William Johnson, with Capt. Thomas Cogar's company from Nicholas- ville, the whole conducted by Col. John T. Pratt, marshal of the day. At the grave the usual ceremonies took place by the firing of thirteen founds by Captains Graves and Leslie Combs, of Lexington, who, at the head of the gun squad, fired at intervals during the services at the grave. There were present more than a thousand persons with carriages and horses. Such was the good order and decorum preserved that not the slightest accident occurred. At the close of the ceremonies the Rev. John Hudson delivered a brief address touching the high character of Col. Crockett as a citizen, neighbor and friend, a model of virtue and morality, cherished in the affections of all who knew him. Though his manly form lies low in death, his many virtues, his patriotic example, shall continue to abide in the memory of the living. Such, my dear friend, is a brief account of the burial of your father-in-law. Col. Joseph Crockett.
Very truly your friend,
B. S. Chambers. Daniel B. Price, Nicholasville, Ky.
Colonel Crockett was a man of splendid physique, six feet three inches in height, spare but muscular, dark hair, sallow complexion, with keen, piercing, black eyes ; roman nose and thin, expressive lips. The many offices to which he was elected in Fayette and Jessamine counties evince in what high esteem he was held by those who knew him. He always wore a long, blue cut-a-way coat with brass buttons, with knee breeches and black silk stockings and heavy silver shoe buckles. As was the custom among the gentlemen at that early period, he wore a cue falling down his back between his shoulders, tied with a blue ribbon.
Colonel Crockett was buried on his old home place, where had preceded him to the tomb his wife and children. The brick house which he built in the early part of the century still stands near the grave-yard, and is the property of Mr. John Baker, formerly owned by Otho Roberts. A few years since, his grandson, Col. Bennett H. Young, had erected around it an iron fence.
The following letter, written by Maj. Benjamin Netherland, who was then a resident of Nicholasville, will be both amusing and interesting:
Nicholasville, Ky., October 7, 1826.
My Dear Friend: I was very much pained on hearing that your cut on the leg has not improved since I was to see you in April last. I was sorry that your wounded leg prevented you from being in Lexington last year, when the Marquis de la Fayette was given one of the greatest and grandest receptions I ever witnessed. More than ten thousand people marched in line to receive on the big road leading from Frankfort to Lexington. I rode in a fine four-horse carriage accompanied by Governor Desha, Col. Anthony Crockett, Col. Joseph Crockett, Genl. Peter Dudley, and many other gentlemen who rode on horseback and acted as a guard of honor in the rear of the carriage. More than forty-six years ago I was in Charleston when he landed there in 1777. a young man from France on his way to offer his services to General Washington to fight for the liberties of the people of our country. In Charleston he was received with becoming respect and honor, the people everywhere were loud in their praise of the young French soldier, but his reception was nothing in comparison to the reception given him by the patriotic people of Lexington last May. When General La Fayette got into Lexington the rush of many of the old soldiers was truly exciting. Everywhere his carriage was stopped by the surviving veterans who had served with him and Washington at Monmouth, Trenton, Brandywine and Little York. Everyone was anxious to see La Fayette. It just seemed that there was no other actor in the great revolutionary drama who had been so near to the heart of Washington as General La Fayette. When the great dinner given to the general in the city limits was over, I went to Mr. Wickliff s house with Cols. Joseph and Anthony Crockett to pay my respects to the young man, forty-seven years ago. I introduced to Col. William Moultry who was putting Charleston in fighting trim to resist the British fleet which I learned while in Cuba was to sail from Jamaca under Admiral Parker and bombard Charleston. I brought this intelligence which I hastened to give Colonel Moultrie, who immediately commenced putting the town in a proper state for defending every place along the harbor. On arriving at Mr. Wickliffs house Joe Crockett first introduced me to George Washington La Fayette, the son of the general. His son looked like a man who had seen much mental trouble; he seemed to be pleased at the reception given to his father, but was not a man to talk, was stiff and I thought not an intelligent man whatever, but a proud, weak man. When Colonel Crockett brought me into the parlor of Mr. Wickliffs house. General La Fayette, he introduced me as the young man "Netherland" who forty-seven years before had made him known to Colonel Moultry who in 17/6 and 1777 had command at Charleston. He remembered me introducing him to Moultry and my going as far as Charlotte with him, as he went through Richmond to Philadelphia, he received me very warmly, shedding tears as he did when meeting with Anthony and Joe Crockett. He asked my age. I told him I was just in my seventieth year; he then informed me he was 69 years of age and felt that his health had greatly improved since he had revisited America, When I bid him farewell I, in company with the two Crocketts and Robert R. McAfee, lieutenant-governor, all went and bid the general a long farewell. The general shed tears and in fact every one who was present cried. Dosia, my wife, kissed the general and we separated, never to see General La Fayette again on earth. Hundreds of the people of Lexington in talking of La Fayette cried out aloud. The ladies especially shed tears when taking leave of the great friend of Washington.
Very truly your friend,
B. Netherland. Capt. Thomas W. Ashford.
Col. John Price early settled in Jessamine county in what is known as the Marble creek district. He came to Kentucky in 1788 and was one of the best educated of the Revolutionary soldiers who made the county their home. His letters show that he was man of fine mind and good scholarship and he influenced a great many of his Revolutionary friends to settle in Jessamine, Fayette and Woodford counties. He was one of the first men to respond to the call to arms in the Revolutionary war.
While born in Maryland he was descended from a distinguished Virginia family. He was severely wounded at the battle of Brandywine, September 11, 1777. He was also at Mon- mouth and Princeton and at the surrender of Cornwallis, at York- town. He died at his residence in Jessamine county on the 10th of August, 1822.
He started the agitation for the creation of a new county. He and his neighbors had been subjected to what they termed petty persecution, on the part of the constables and sheriffs., or their appointees, and as these all resided at Lexington and were not elected by the people, the inhabitants of that part of Jessamine became aggrieved at the conduct of these officers and this dissatisfaction produced the movement which finally ended in the organization of a county.
He was the first man to represent the county in the legislature and was elected late in 1798. It must have been a special election called for the purpose of choosing a representative. As the county was created on December 19th. 1798, and as the elections for 1798 under the constitution, were in May of that year, he must either have been appointed or elected as the first member from the county. A letter which he wrote to Col. Joseph Hamilton Daveiss on the 28th of August, 1799, explains much, about which there have been different statements in the county, and shows that Col. Joseph Hamilton Daveiss and others assisted Colonel Price in securing the creation of the new county.
Colonel Price affiliated with the Baptist church. He was a man of great kindness of heart and liberality. He was a friend of all who needed his help and especially of the old Revolutionary soldiers. Buried upon the old homestead, his grave was not. marked. The place is now owned by a Mr. Hinds and while it is known in what enclosure he was buried, there is no stone to designate his grave.
Many of his descendants now reside in Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and in the West, and the distinguished publisher John P. Morton, of Louisville, was a grandson of Colonel Price.
Col. William Price.who was not related to Col. John Price, was born in Fredericksburg, Va., in 1755, and came with his family to Jessamine county in 1787. Capt. James C. Price, who commanded the Jessamine Blues, at the battle of Raisin, on the 23d of February, 1813, was his oldest son. and was born while his father was absent in the American army.
Col. William Price was descended from Baptist ancestry, who emigrated from Wales to Virginia, in 1720. When a mere lad, only fourteen years of age, he had seen Revds.. John Waller and Louis Craig lodged in the Fredericksburg jail for preaching the Baptist doctrine. This was before the passage of the Statute of Virginia, granting religious liberty, in the passage of which. Thos. Jefferson considered that he had achieved one of the greatest triumphs of his long career. This produced a profound impression upon his mind, and he was never able to eradicate his prejudice against the Church of England, which had been instrumental in the arrest of these preachers, and he became an inveterate enemy of that church, and never brought himself to look with complacency upon those who were connected with it. He came to Kentucky with Louis Craig and his traveling church, in 1781, and remained for three years. He then returned to Virginia, and in 1787 came back to Kentucky, settled in Jessamine county and made it his permanent home.
Colonel Price was in the Revolutionary war, from its very commencement until the end. He was a first Lieutenant in the battle of Stony Point, July 16. 1799, and at the battles of Brandy- wine, Germantown, Monmouth, and Princeton, he was acting as Captain. He rose to the rank of Major, and was at Yorktown when Cornwallis surrendered October 19, 1781. He married Mary Cunningham, in 1777, and three months after left his home and young wife to fight the battles of freedom. His first engagement was in the battle of Brandy wine, September 11, 1777, and he did not return to his family until the close of the war. The part which most of the Episcopal clergy in Virginia took against the revolution, still further embittered Colonel Price against that denomination. The following letter of his to Capt. Edward Payne, dated December 20th, shows both his feelings to the church, as well as to the character of the entertainments which were given in those days. A similar invitation was written to Col. Luke Allen, in which a like prejudice crops out:
Price's Hall, Stafford county, Va.
December 20, 1787. Capt. Edward Payne,
Overseer at Gunston Hall:
My Dear Sir,This note is to apprise you that I invite you and all your Baptist friends to my house on Christmas day to partake of a big dinner of turkey and oysters, and to conclude with a dance at grandmother's in the evening.' No Episcopalian has been invited. Such people are too aristocratic and overbearing. The people who are communicants of that church try to imitate their aristocratic brethren of England in almost every act that they perform. I have no patience with such harpies as the clergy of this establishment. Their titles, dignities and livings are too much like our late oppressors in the great war just closed. They must now consider that the people of the country now look chiefly to the practical and useful and not to mere empty titles which serve no good purpose in a free country. What we want in the church as well as in the state is plain, practical men, devoted men, who know and mingle with the people as one of themselves. We want no more English airs, no arrogance of demeanor among neighbors. Tell Robert Craig to bring his fiddle, as we expect a good time generally. Tell Black Tom to come by all means.
Colonel Price must have borne a distinguished part in the battle of Stony Point. The following letter, which he wrote to Maj. James Cluke, the day after this battle, will show that in that battle he acted with great courage and his conduct was commended by General Wayne himself:
Fort Stony Point, July 17, 1779. To. Maj. James Cluke:
Dear Major, I wish that God would heal your wound and I could once more see you among your brave comrades. On yesterday evening. July 16th, after marching over the roughest country I ever saw, through deep swamps and narrow roads, we got within a mile of this fort, which is on the west bank of the Hudson river. It was of vast importance to our enemies and had been strengthened by every means of art that lay in their power. At night our heroic commander, Brigadier Wayne, came among us and told us that everything depended on secrecy, and, says he, "I want you men who belong to the regiments of Colonel Butler and Colonel Fleury to march with unloaded muskets and fixed bayonets; I will lead you myself," said he. The river had flooded the swamps waist deep, but when we saw our beloved General go forward, we sprang forward, and our advance of twenty men at once attacked the double palisade. When one of the red-coated sons of bitches shouted in great alarm. "Here comes the damned rebels, shoot them.'' He was soon knocked on the head, but a terrible fire was opened on us as we advanced through the swamps. The guns from the fort spattered mud on us as well as dirty water. Their grape and canister did not damage more than to spatter mud and water on our clothes. About this time our brave General was knocked on the head in the right temple by a spent ball. I instantly raised him up. "March on, Lieutenant Price; carry me to the fort; I will die at the head of my men." We bore him forward until we got near the center of the fort and both commands met, when the shout of victory rent the air. Our victory was complete; we carried everything so rapidly that our enemies were surprised. We lost about sixty men. Joseph Campbell, of Fredericksburg, was killed; also Private Clow and Richard Climer was killed. He was from Philadelphia, was a brave Dutchman, deeply religious. I hope he is safe in heaven. Hoping that you will soon recover from your wound, I am, your friend,
He died at his residence, where he had settled when coming to Jessamine county, on the 10th of October, 1808, at the age of 53 years. He failed to reach that longevity which marked the lives of most of the Revolutionary soldiers who were transplanted to Kentucky, and especially Jessamine county.
He was a patriot of the greatest intensity and earnestness. He early introduced in Jessamine county, celebrations of the Fourth of July. He had such a celebration at his house on the Fourth of July, 1794- He invited a large number of his friends. On the fifth of July, 1794, he wrote a letter to Governor Shelby, and Revolutionary soldiers must have been abundant in those days, for he said that he had forty at his table on that occasion. The following is the communication which he made to Governor
Fayette county, Ky., July 5, 1794.
To His Excellency, Isaac Shelby,
Governor of Kentucky:
My Esteemed Friend, I was greatly disappointed by your not coming to my house on yesterday (July 4). We had a glorious time and a big dinner. Forty men sat down at my tables, who had served in the late struggle for our freedom and independence. It was a glorious sight to behold, and I wish King George III and Lord North could have witnessed the scene in the wilds of America. On the return of this glorious birthday of our freedom from British despotism, the heart of every patriot in the late struggle may rightfully pour its highest tribute to God and the great sages and soldiers who resolved to stake their lives and sacred honor in maintaining the Declaration of Independence. Throughout the limits of our country, from Massachusetts to- Georgia, the hearts of a free and happy people have been dedicated on yesterday to the contemplation of the great blessings achieved and bequeathed to us by such heroic leaders as George Washington, Israel Putnam and Nathaniel Greene. Such brave leaders took their lives in their hands, and liberty or death was inscribed on their hearts. God, in the plenitude of His beneficence, has generally chosen men qualified to resist kings and tyrants in their attacks on the rights of the people. The history of our mother country furnished full proof of this fact and our own glorious country in the late war for independence is a more brilliant illustration of the great truth that God hates all tyrants and despotic rulers, and sooner or later overthrows all such rascals in causing the people to rise up and cut their heads off. Truly thy old friend,
William Price. P. S. I will be at Frankfort next Monday.
The house in which he lived has been changed so as to bear no similarity to what it was when he resided in it, but the graveyard on the place is still maintained in fairly good order, and a substantial stone wall surrounds the spot where he and his loved ones rest. He had quite a number of children and some of his descendants reside in Jessamine and Fayette counties now.
Gen. George Walker was one of the most distinguished gifts of Virginia to Jessamine county. He was the second man to open a lay office in the town of Nicholasville, which he did in 1799, Samuel H. Woodson having been the first man to open such an office. George Walker owned the land upon which Mr. Melanchthon Young now resides, and was buried in the orchard about one hundred yards from the residence.
He was a man of great learning and great enterprise, as well as great courage. Born in Culpeper county, Va., in 1763, he settled in Jessamine county, in 1794. He married Miss Rachel Coffee, of Nashville. Tenn., who was a daughter of .Gen. John Coffee, who bore a distinguished part with Gen. Andrew Jackson in the Indian wars in the South and West, as well as the war of 1812. He was a mere lad when he entered the ranks of the Revolutionary army under Generals Green and Morgan, in the campaigns of 1780-81, and was at the battle of Cowpens, January 17, 1781, and Guilford Court House. He was also at the siege of Yorktown.
He was a man of noble physique and his appearance indicated his intelligence as well as his high character. His devotion to his country and its cause knew no bounds. He was appointed to a seat in the United States Senate by Gov. Isaac Shelby, to fill a vacancy.
David Meade was an uncle of Colonel Walker, his father having married Colonel Meade's sister. He was in the battle of New Orleans with the Kentucky troops, where he attracted the attention of General Jackson by his superb bravery and his splendid heroism. He was also in the battles of the Northwest and was aide to Governor Shelby at the battle of the Thames.
He died in Nicholasville in 1819, at the house now owned by Lewis C. Drake. Two of his sons emigrated to Texas and held distinguished positions. One of his sons, Andrew Walker, was a great friend of Quantrell, the celebrated Missouri soldier.
The exact location of the grave of Colonel Walker is now unknown, but in his day he was one of the most prominent and respected citizens. His youngest son, Courtney Meade Walker, removed to Oregon, where he led the life of a hunter. He died in 1886. at an advanced age.
The first public service rendered by George Walker was as one of the commissioners to run the lines between Kentucky and Tennessee, and the boundary was known as Walker's Line. Some extracts from Courtney Meade Walker's letters will be interesting as showing the condition of affairs in olden times. He says: "I was in Nicholasville in August. 1826. Harrison Daniels was a candidate for the legislature at that time. It was on the last day of the election. There were some five or six fist fights in the streets, but no one was injured or seriously hurt. I had come up from Louisville, where I had been at school. I was at the burial of Samuel H. Woodson, in 1827, at the residence near David Meade's."
Gen'l Percival Butler
Gen. Percival Butler, was born in Carlisle, Pa., April 4, 1760. In 1778, he entered the American army as a lieutenant. He was at Valley Forge with Washington, at the battle of Mon- mouth, and at the surrender at Yorktown. LaFayette was such an admirer of the young man that he presented him with a sword as a token of his friendship and esteem. He married a Miss Hawkins, of Virginia. Col. John Todd, who fell at Blue Licks, married another sister. It was probably through this connection that General Butler settled in Kentucky. He came to Jessamine county in 1784, and settled at the mouth of Hickman creek and engaged in merchandise. This point was then one of great importance. The Kentucky river was the outlet for a large pan of Central Kentucky, and flatboats plied up and down the stream, carrying the commerce of the country tributary to it. The rich lands lying in proximity were already producing large treasure which found markets in the East and at New Orleans. Gen. James Wilkinson had opened a large dry goods store at Lexington in 1784. Salt was carried out of the Salt river from Mann and Bullitt Licks in 1796 to Nashville, and the Kentucky river was also sending its tide of wealth to the outside world.
In 1785 a ferry had been established at the mouth of Hickman creek by the Virginia legislature, and in 1787 Wilkinson had pushed his trade down the Mississippi to New Orleans, and the mouth of Hickman at once became a center of trade.
By this date roads were cut through from Lexington to Danville, Stanford and Lancaster, and the chartering of the ferry as early as 1785 shows that a large trade crossed at this point. Prior to this date no other ferry had been established by Virginia except the one across the Kentucky river at Boonesboro (1779). The next were those at the mouth of Hickman, the mouth of Jack's creek, Madison county, at Long Lick, and two at Louisville, to the mouths of Silver creek and Mill Run.
Gen. Percival Butler remained at the mouth of Hickman until 1796, when he removed to the mouth of the Kentucky river, at Carrollton. He was made adjutant-general of Kentucky in 1792 and took part in the war of 1812, and died in Carroll county, in 1821.
His eldest son, Thomas L. Butler, was born at the mouth of Hickman, in 1789. He was an aide to General Jackson at the battle of New Orleans in 1815, being then only twenty-six years of acre, and was left by General Jackson in command of the city, to protect it against outbreaks. He represented Gallatin (then comprising Carroll) county in the legislature, in 1826, and Carroll in 1848, and died at Carrollton in 1877. aged 88 years.
Gen. Wm.. Orlando Butler, second son of Gen. Percival Butler, was born at the mouth of Hickman, April 19, 1791, and remained there until he was five years of age; then went with his father to Carrollton. He graduated at Transylvania University at twenty-one years of age, and at once volunteered as a private in the war of 1812, then in progress. He entered the service as a private, in Captain Nathaniel G. Hart's company, the "Lexington light infantry." Young Butler. was made a corporal. This company was in the battle of Raisin, fought January 22, 1813. Captain Hart was wounded in the leg in the fight. A British officer named Elliott, who had been nursed by Hart's family during a severe spell of illness, in Lexington, offered to protect Captain Hart, who was a brother-in-law of Henry Clay, but he basely failed to redeem his promise, and Hart was massacred. In both battles at Raisin, January 18th and 22d, Butler's conduct commanded the highest praise. His courage, gallantry, and self-denial elicited universal praise. He was wounded and taken prisoner.
His heroic conduct at Raisin shows that he has had no superior in courage and chivalry in the world's history, and one event is thus told by F. P. Blair. Sr.:
"After the rout and massacre of the right wing, belonging to the Wells command, the whole force of the British and Indians was concentrated against the small body of troops under Maj. Geo. Madison, that maintained their ground within the picketed gardens, a double barn commanding the plat of ground on which the Kentuckians stood on one side the Indians, under the cover of an orchard and fence, the British on the other side, being so posted as to command the space between it and the pickets. A party in the rear of the barn were discovered advancing to take possession of it. All saw the fatal consequences of the secure lodgment of the enemy at a place which would present every man within the pickets at close rifle shot, to the aim of their marksmen. Major Madison inquired if there was no one who would volunteer to run .the gauntlet of the fire of the British and Indian lines, and put a torch to the combustibles within the barn, to save the remnant of the little army from sacrifice. The heroic Butler, without a moment's delay, took some blazing sticks from a fire at hand, leaped the pickets, and running at his utmost speed, thrust the fire into the straw within the barn. One who was an anxious spectator of the event says that, although volley upon volley was fired at him, Butler, after making some steps on his way back, turned to see if the fire had taken, and, not being satisfied, returned to the barn and set it in a blaze. As the conflagration grew, the enemy was seen retreating from the rear of the building, which they had entered in one end, as the flames ascended in the other. Soon after reaching the pickets in safety amid the shouts of his friends, he was struck by a musket ball in his breast. Believing, from the pain he felt, that it had penetrated his chest, he turned to John M. McCalla, one of his Lexington comrades, and, pressing his hand on the spot, said: 'I fear this shot is mortal, but while I am able to move I will do my duty. To the anxious inquiries of his friends, who met him soon afterward, he opened his vest, with a smile, and showed them that the ball had spent itself on the thick wadding of his coat and on his breastbone. He suffered, however, for many weeks."
He was a captain in the battle of New Orleans, December 14, 1814, and on January 8, 1815, was brevetted Major for his gallantry, and General Jackson commended his conduct in the highest terms. He was an aide on the staff of General Jackson, in 1816 and 1817, but resigned to study law. He married a daughter of General Robert Todd. He represented Gallatin county in the legislature in 1817, was elected to Congress in 1839, and served four years, refusing a re-election. In 1844 he was the Democratic candidate for Governor and reduced the Whig majority to 4,000.
On June 29, 1846, President Polk appointed General Butler a major general of volunteers, and on the same date Zachary Taylor, major general in the regular army.
On the 23d of February, 1847, the Kentucky legislature presented him a sword for his gallantry in Mexico. He bore a distinguished part in many of the battles of that war. He was wounded in the battle of Monterey in September, 1846. On February 18, 1848, he succeeded General Scott in the chief command of the American army in Mexico, and remained in such position until the declaration of peace, May 29. 1848. In that year he was nominated for Vice-President of the United States on the ticket with Gen. Cass; but they were defeated by Taylor and Fillmore. He received the full vote of his party for United States Senator in 1851, but failed of election. He was one of the six Peace Commissioners from Kentucky in January, 1861, and thereafter he remained in the quiet seclusion of his home, at Carrollton, and died August 6, 1880, in his 8o,th year. He rests in a sepulcher overlooking the splendid scenery where the waters of the Kentucky and the Ohio unite, a fit resting-place for him who did so much to wrest Ohio and the Northwest from the savage and 'o make still greater, the renown of the great commonwealth which had given him birth.
He was a man of the highest courage, truest patriotism, noblest public spirit, thorough culture and splendid talent. His poem, "The Boatman's Horn," induced by the associations and memories of his childhood on the Ohio, when listening to the large and sonorous horns the boatmen were accustomed to blow to announce their coming to the landing places on the river, is a real poetic gem :
The Boat Horn.
O boatman, wind that horn again,
For never did the list'ning air
Upon its lambent bosom bear
So wild, so soft, so sweet a strain.
What though thy notes are sad and few,
By every simple boatman blown,
Yet is each pulse to nature true
And melody in every tone.
How oft in boyhood's joyous day.
Unmindful of the lapsing hours.
I've loitered on my homeward way
Bv wild ( H1io's brink of flowers.
While some lone boatman from the deck
Poured his soft numbers to that tide.
As if to charm from storm and wreck
The boat where all his fortunes ride!
Delighted nature drank the sound,
Enchanted echo bore it round
In whispers soft, and softer still,
From hill to plain and plain to hill,
Till e'en the thoughtless, frolicking boy,
Elate with hope and wild with joy,
Who gamboled by the river side
And sported with the fretting tide,
Feels something new pervade his breast,
Chain his light step, repress his jest.
Bends o'er the flood his eager ear
To catch the sounds, far off, yet near
Drinks the sweet draught, but knows not why
The tear of rapture fills his eye;
And can he now, to manhood grown,
Tell why those notes, simple and lone,
As on the ravished ear they fell,
Rind every sense in magic spell
There is a tide of feeling given
To all on earth, its fountain. Heaven,
Beginning with the dewy flower
Just ope'd in Flora's vernal bower,
Rising creation's orders through
With louder murmur, brighter hue.
That tide is sympathy: its ebb and flow-
Gives life its hues of joy and woe;
Music, the master spirit that can move
Its waves to war, or lull them into love ;
Can cheer the sinking sailor 'mid the wave
And bid the soldier on . nor fear the grave ;
Inspire the fainting pilgrim on his road,
And elevate his soul to claim his God.
Then, boatman, wind that horn again !
Though much of sorrow mark its strain.
Yet are its notes to sorrow dear.
What though they wake fond memory's tear?
Tears are sad memory's sacred feast,
And rapture oft her chosen guest.