Fort Harrod. As far as we know, Kentucky was first explored by a British scouting party led by Dr. Thomas Walker and by Christopher Gist for the Ohio Company. This was a time when the terriroty was populated almost exclusively by Cherokee, Chickasaw, Shawnee, Yuchi, Mosopelea, and several other tribes of Native Americans. The French lost any claims to the territory after they were defeated by the British in the French and Indian War. It was during the year of 1774 that Harrod's Town became the first permanent white settlement in Kentucky. The town was named for James Harrod who led an expedition to survey boundaries of land promised by the British crown to soldiers who served in the French and Indian War. Harrod and his party left Fort Redstone and traveled down the Monongahela and Ohio Rivers to the mouth of the Kentucky River, eventually crossing Salt River into what is today Mercer County where they divided the land between themselves and established the first pioneer settlement. On July 8, 1774, Shawnee attacked a small party of Harrod's in the Fontainbleau area and killed two men. The others escaped to the camp, some three miles. Meanwhile, Dunmore dispatched Daniel Boone to call them back from the frontier and into military service against some bands of Shawnee and Mingo in Lord Dunmore's War. Harrod enlisted in the militia, but arrived too late to participate in the war's only major battle, the Battle of Point Pleasant.
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