Old Kentucky Pathways

Dublin Core


Old Kentucky Pathways


The county governments of Madison, Fayette and Jessamine counties have a contract according to which they are to contribute to the cost of operating the Valley View Ferry. Recently, Fayette County officials indicated they may drop out of the agreement. They later found the funds for this activity, at least in the short term. The potential closing of the ferry would do harm to numerous drivers who travel KY 169 to and from Richmond, Lexington and Nicholasville daily. The ferry makes for a much shorter trip.

The village of Valley View is in Madison County on the banks of the Kentucky River. It once was a booming logging town with a bank and a railroad depot. The piers to the old railroad bridge are still standing. The railroad was the Riney-B — Richmond, Irvine, Nicholasville and Beattyville. The rail bed still is clearly visible at sections alongside Tates Creek Pike. The rail station in Richmond was located on North Third Street.

The ferry is Kentucky’s oldest recorded ongoing commercial venture, harking back to 1785, when John Craig was granted a franchise by the Virginia legislature to operate a ferry at this location. Once pulled by horses, guiding cables were later added and power is now provided by a gasoline motor.

Accounts of early pioneer trails in Kentucky can be confusing. I always thought the main Wilderness Road connected Cumberland Gap with Fort Boonesborough. But a map in endpapers of the Kentucky Encyclopedia shows it going through Lexington, west of the fort. An article in this same book says the road goes to Crab Orchard. It states that in order to follow this famous road, one needs to follow U.S. 25E, KY 229 and U.S. 25 to Mount Vernon and U.S. 150 to Crab Orchard.

The Warrior’s Path is also discussed in the encyclopedia. It runs east of the Wilderness Road. It led from Cherokee land in Tennessee to Shawnee lands in Ohio. It is said to pass close to the Indian Village in Clark County.

In neither of these articles is Fort Boonesborough listed as the primary destination of either the Wilderness Road or the Warrior’s Path. If I don’t want to get to Crab Orchard or Ohio, how do I get to Fort Boonesborough?


Dr. Fred Engle




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Dr. Fred Engle, “Old Kentucky Pathways,” Madison's Heritage Online, accessed January 20, 2022, https://madisonsheritage.eku.edu/items/show/1847.