By Jeannette Holland Austin
"This country was well known to the Indian traders many years before its settlement. They gave a description of it to Lewis Evans, who published his first map of it as early as 1752. In the year 1750, Dr. Thomas Walker, Colby Chew, Ambrose Powell and several others from the counties of Orange and Culpepper, in the state of Virginia, set out on an excursion to the Western Waters; they traveled down the Holstein river, and crossed over the Mountains into Powell's valley, thence across the Cumberland mountain at the gap where the road now crosses, proceeded on across what was formerly known by the name of the Wilderness until they arrived at the Hazlepath; here the company divided, Dr. Walker with a part continued north until they came to the Kentucky river which they named Louisa or Levisa river. After traveling down the excessive broken or hilly margin some distance they became dissatisfied and returned and continued up one of its branches to its head, and crossed over the mountains to New River at the place called Walker's Meadows." Concerning the 1750 explorations of Kentucky it is belive that the meadows were located in central Kentucky. The Loyal Land Company, organized in 1749, secured a land grant of some 800,000 acres to be located in what is now Kentucky. Walker set out from his home (Castle Hill) in Charlottesville, Virginia during 1750 and passed through Cumberland Gap in April. He called the steep cliff "Steep Ridge"
" In the year 1754 James McBride with some others, passed down the Ohio river in canoes, and landed at the mouth of the Kentucky river, where they marked on a tree the initials of their names, and the date of the year. These men passed through the country and were the first who gave a particular account of its beauty and richness of soil to the inhabitants of the British settlements in America. No further notice seems to have been taken of Kentucky until the year 1767, when John Finlay with others (whilst trading with the Indians) passed through a part of the rich lands of Kentucky. It was then called by the Indians in their language, the Dark and Bloody Grounds. Some difference took place between these traders and the Indians, and Finlay deemed it prudent to return to his residence in North Carolina, where he communicated his knowledge of the country to Colonel Daniel Boone and others. This seems to have been one of the most important events in the history of Kentucky, as it was the exciting cause which prompted Colonel Boone shortly afterwards to make his first visit to the Dark and Bloody Grounds." Sources: From the Kentucky Gazette (August 25, 1826); Kentucky's Last Frontier by Henry P. Scalf: History of Thomas Walker Explorations.
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