Boonesborough was First in Many Ways

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Boonesborough was First in Many Ways


Boonesborough was the first fortified station in Kentucky. Built in 1775, it survived Indian attacks in 1777 and 1778. At Boonesborough was convened the first legislature west of the Al-legheny mountains. At this first session, Daniel Boone introduced a measure to improve the breed of horses and another to preserve wild game. On May 28, 1775 Rev. John Lythe of the Church of England conducted the first (Christian) religious service in Kentucky. Being of that faith, he undoubtedly asked God's blessing on the King of England. Squire Boone was a Baptist preacher. In June of 1775, Daniel Boone went to Snody's Station, now Castlewood, Virginia on the Clinch River, where he gathered his family and took them to Boonesborough. They arrived in September, Rebecca Boone and their daughters being the first white women to arrive at the Kentucky River. (Some authorities use the name Chenoa for the river at that time.) Three weeks later Col. Richard Calloway arrived with his family, which included several daughters. On July 14, 1776 a small group of Indian braves captured Jemima Boone, Elizabeth (Betsy) Calloway and Frances (Fanny) Calloway who were out canoe riding on the river. A quick rescue took place. One of the rescue party was Samuel Henderson, a brother of Judge Richard Henderson. Romance blossomed and the first marriage in Kentucky took place between young Hen-derson and Elizabeth Calloway. Squire Boone officiated as the civil magistrate. The fort was attacked by Indians on April 15, 1777 and again on July 4. Daniel Boone and Richard Calloway led the defenses, but the residents of the fort continued to fear further attacks. The major items needed to survive in the wilderness which became Madison County were salt, gunpowder and lead. At first the ammunition was all brought by pack mule from Virginia and North Carolina. Salt could be produced in Kentucky by boiling. The most noted salt spring was the Lower Blue Lick Springs on the South Fork of Licking River. Readers may have visited this area in Northern Kentucky. Paint Lick was closer. Lick came into the name because wild animals came to these places and licked the salt, necessary for their diets as well as for humans. Kettles were set up at Blue Lick for use in boiling the water. Some of these kettles have survived in Robertson County. More about an exciting trip to Blue Licks for salt next time.


Dr. Fred Engle




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Dr. Fred Engle, “Boonesborough was First in Many Ways,” Madison's Heritage Online, accessed May 30, 2023,