Dr. Thomas Walker
|Born||January 25, 1715|
|Died||November 9, 1794 (age 79)|
Thomas Walker (January 25, 1715 – November 9, 1794) was a distinguished physician and explorer from Virginia.
In the mid-18th century, he was part of an expedition to the region beyond the Allegheny Mountains and the unsettled area of British North America. Walker and fellow Virginian, Indian agent, explorer for Patrick Henry, legislator of three states, surveyor of KY/VA & TN/NC borders, and later Revolutionary war general, Joseph Martin, were some of the first colonialists to travel in this area. Martin's son, Revolutionary War officer Col. William Martin, describes the naming of the area and river in a letter to historian Lyman Draper,
A treaty with the Cherokees was held at Fort Chiswell on New River, then a frontier. On the return of the chiefs home, Dr. [Thomas] Walker, a gentleman of distinction, and my father, [General] Joseph Martin, accompanied them. The Indians being guides, they passed through the place now called Cumberland Gap, where they discovered a fine spring. They still had a little rum remaining, and they drank to the health of the Duke of Cumberland. This gave rise to the name of Cumberland Mountain and Cumberland River.[ citation needed ]
Prince William Augustus, the Duke of Cumberland, was a hero of the time. Walker explored Kentucky in 1750, 19 years before the arrival of Daniel Boone.
Two of Walker's sons, John and Francis Walker, became Congressmen in the new United States.
Thomas Walker was born at "Rye Field", Walkerton, King and Queen County, Virginia. He was raised as an Englishman in the Tidewater region of Virginia. Walker's first profession was that of a physician; he had attended the College of William and Mary and studied under his brother-in-law Dr. George Gilmer.
Walker became a man of status in the county when he married Mildred Thornton (widow of Nicholas Meriwether) in 1741, and acquired a large portion of land from her late husband's estate. The new couple built a home known as Castle Hill there and had 12 children. They in turn became prominent Albemarle County citizens in their own rights.
"Fox hunting had been taking place over the Keswick, Virginia landscape since 1742 when Dr. Thomas Walker of Castle Hill imported six or eight couple of English Foxhounds."
In April 1744, Walker was elected as vestryman at his church, a position he held for more than forty years, until 1785. He served Virginia as a delegate to the House of Burgesses from Albemarle County, and was a trustee of the newly formed town of Charlottesville.
On July 12, 1749, the Loyal Land Company was founded with Walker as a leading member. After receiving a royal grant of 800,000 acres (320,000 ha) in what is now southeastern Kentucky (which was occupied by Native Americans), the company appointed Walker to lead an expedition to explore and survey the region in 1750. Walker was named head of the Loyal Land Company in 1752.
During the expedition, Walker gave names to many topographical features, including the Cumberland Gap.His party built the first non-Indian house (a cabin) in Kentucky. Walker kept a daily journal of the trip.
At the age of 64, Walker traveled to the western areas of Kentucky and Tennessee again; he had been commissioned to survey the border between westward of the Virginia and North Carolina. (At that time each state claimed the land to the west of their boundaries for ultimate settlement by the right of discovery.) Because the border was mapped and surveyed, rather than created along the natural boundary of a river, it was considered controversial. It was called the "Walker Line",and still constitutes the border between Kentucky and Tennessee from east to west terminating at the Tennessee River.
Walker was influential in dealing with Indian affairs. He was appointed to represent Virginia at the Treaty of Fort Stanwix and Treaty of Lochaber (1770), and dealt with the peace negotiations after the Battle of Point Pleasant. In 1775, Walker served as a Virginia commissioner in negotiations with representatives of the Iroquois Six Nations in Pittsburgh, as the colonies tried to engage them as allies against the British.
He is credited as the first American to discover and use soggy bottom.
Due to his broad knowledge of the areas and their resources, Walker served as an adviser to Thomas Jefferson from 1780 to 1783 on what became his book, Notes on the State of Virginia (1785).
After the death of his first wife, in 1781 Walker married Elizabeth Thornton (official marriage contract). Thomas Walker died on November 9, 1794 at his home of Castle Hill.[ citation needed ]
Lee County is the westernmost county in the U.S. Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2018 census estimate, the population was 23,541. Its county seat is Jonesville.
Albemarle County is a county located in the Piedmont region of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Its county seat is Charlottesville, which is an independent city and enclave entirely surrounded by the county. Albemarle County is part of the Charlottesville Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population was 98,970, in 2018, it was estimated at 108,718.
The Transylvania Colony, also referred to as the Transylvania Purchase, was a short-lived, extra-legal colony founded during 1775 by land speculator Richard Henderson, who controlled the North Carolina-based Transylvania Company. Henderson and his investors had reached an agreement to purchase a vast tract of Cherokee lands west of the southern and central Appalachian Mountains through the acceptance of the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals with most leading Cherokee chieftains then controlling these lands. In exchange for the land the tribes received goods worth, according to the estimates of some scholars, about 10,000 British pounds. To further complicate matters, this early American frontier land was also claimed at the same time by both the Province of Virginia and the North Carolina colony.
The Cumberland River is a major waterway of the Southern United States. The 688-mile-long (1,107 km) river drains almost 18,000 square miles (47,000 km2) of southern Kentucky and north-central Tennessee. The river flows generally west from a source in the Appalachian Mountains to its confluence with the Ohio River near Paducah, Kentucky, and the mouth of the Tennessee River. Major tributaries include the Obey, Caney Fork, Stones, and Red rivers.
James Robertson was an American explorer, soldier and Indian agent, and one of the founding fathers of what became the State of Tennessee. An early companion of explorer Daniel Boone, Robertson helped establish the Watauga Association in the early 1770s, and to defend Fort Watauga from an attack by Cherokee in 1776. In 1779, he co-founded what is now Nashville, and was instrumental in the settlement of Middle Tennessee. He served as a brigadier general in the Southwest Territory militia in the early 1790s, and as an Indian Commissioner in later life.
The Wilderness Road was one of two principal routes used by colonial and early national era settlers to reach Kentucky from the East. Although this road goes through the Cumberland Gap into southern Kentucky and northern Tennessee, the other is sometimes called the "Cumberland Road" because it started in Fort Cumberland in Maryland. Despite Kentucky Senator Henry Clay's advocacy of this route, early in the 19th century, the northern route was selected for the National Road, connecting near Washington, Pennsylvania into the Ohio Valley of northern Kentucky and Ohio.
The Cumberland Gap is a pass through the long ridge of the Cumberland Mountains, within the Appalachian Mountains, near the junction of the U.S. states of Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee. It is famous in American colonial history for its role as a key passageway through the lower central Appalachians.
Joseph Martin, Jr. (1740–1808) was a brigadier general in the Virginia militia during the American Revolutionary War, in which Martin's frontier diplomacy with the Cherokee people is credited with not only averting Indian attacks on the Scotch-Irish American and English American settlers who helped win the battles of Kings Mountain and Cowpens, but with also helping to keep the Indians' position neutral and from siding with the British troops during those crucial battles. Historians agree that the settlers' success at these two battles signaled the turning of the tide of the Revolutionary War—in favor of the Americans.
Campbell Slemp was a farmer and Confederate officer in southwest Virginia who became a Readjuster Democrat after Congressional Reconstruction and served in the Virginia House of Delegates. He eventually joined Republican Party and won election to the United States House of Representatives from Virginia's 9th congressional district and controlled federal patronage in the Commonwealth from 1903 to 1907. Slemp died unexpectedly at home while in office, after which his son C. Bascom Slemp succeeded to the seat for more than a decade, until ousted during the rise of the Byrd Organization.
Richard Henderson was an American pioneer and merchant who attempted to create a colony called Transylvania just as the American Revolutionary War was starting. After the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the organization of the state government in North Carolina, he was re-elected judge, but was prevented from accepting that position by his participation in a scheme organized under the name of the Transylvania Compact.
Timeline of Kentucky history
A longhunter was an 18th-century explorer and hunter who made expeditions into the American frontier wilderness for as much as six months at a time. Historian Emory Hamilton asserts that "The Long Hunter was peculiar to Southwest Virginia only, and nowhere else on any frontier did such hunts ever originate" although the term has been used loosely to describe any unofficial American explorer of the period. Most long hunts started in the Holston River Valley near Chilhowie, Virginia. The hunters came from there and the adjacent valley of the Clinch River, where they were land owners or residents. The parties of two or three men usually started their hunts in October and ended toward the end of March or early in April.
Colonel Joshua Fry (1699–1754) was a surveyor, adventurer, mapmaker, soldier, and member of the House of Burgesses, the legislature of the colony of Virginia. He is best known for collaborating with Peter Jefferson, the father of future U.S. president Thomas Jefferson, on an influential map of Virginia in 1752, and being the immediate predecessor of George Washington as commanding officer of the Virginia Regiment, a key unit in the military developments that led to the outbreak of the French and Indian War.
The Royal Colonial Boundary of 1665 marked the border between the Colony of Virginia and the Province of Carolina from the Atlantic Ocean westward across North America. The line follows the parallel 36°30′ north latitude that later became a boundary for several U.S. states as far west as the Oklahoma Panhandle, and also came to be associated with the Missouri Compromise of 1820.
Henry Skaggs was an American longhunter, explorer and pioneer, active primarily on the frontiers of Tennessee and Kentucky during the latter half of the 18th century. His career as an explorer began as early as 1761 as one of the so-called long hunters— men who undertook lengthy hunting expeditions into the Trans-Allegheny wilderness. In subsequent years, working as a land agent with Richard Henderson and Daniel Boone, he explored large parts of Middle Tennessee and Central Kentucky. Skaggs was credited with the rescue of noted kidnap victim, Jenny Wiley in 1790, and with a frontier, vigilante posse, led a pursuit and failed attempt to apprehend America's first known serial killers, the Harpe Brothers in 1799.
Kennessee is a term coined to denote land along the Kentucky - Tennessee state border that historically lay between the Walker Line surveyed by Dr. Thomas Walker and Daniel Smith in 1779-1780 and the true parallel 36 degrees and 30 minutes surveyed by Thomas J. Matthews in July–September 1826. The 6-to-12-mile-wide strip of land below the present southern border of Kentucky between the Cumberland Gap and the point where the Tennessee River enters Kentucky was claimed both by Kentucky and Tennessee at the same time. Even after the decision was made in 1820 that the land in the strip east of the Tennessee River belonged to Tennessee, Kentucky was given the right to grant the remaining open land to settlers. If a person was born in the disputed strip after 1796, when Tennessee's claim to the Walker line as its northern boundary was recognized, and before 1826, when the dispute was settled, they could have been uncertain as to just which state to say they were born in, especially if they owned or squatted on land right on the border, leading some residents to say they lived in "Kennessee."
The Battle of Camp Wildcat was one of the early engagements of the American Civil War. It occurred October 21, 1861, in northern Laurel County, Kentucky during the campaign known as the Kentucky Confederate Offensive or Operations in Eastern Kentucky (1861). The battle is considered one of the first Union victories of the Civil War, and marked the second engagement of troops in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
The Great Grant Deed, also known as The Great Grant, was a transaction for the sale of property by the Cherokee Nation to Richard Henderson and Company. The grant is also known as the Lousia purchase or the Transylvania purchase. The transaction occurred at Sycamore Shoals on the Watauga River on March 17, 1775. The Great Grant was for lands forming Henderson's new Transylvania Colony comprising much of what is now the state of Kentucky.
The North Carolina–Tennessee–Virginia Corners is a tripoint where the states of North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia meet. Located in the Iron Mountains, the landmark is roughly equidistant between Snake Mountain to the south, and Mount Rogers,, to the northeast.