Friday, May 22, 2009

friday's almost forgotten frontier fact

I must confess that I've been so buried in the 18th-century that I nearly forgot it was a Friday in May, 2009. But Paul just came in wearing a coonskin cap he'd found for 25 cents at a church sale and I was catapulted back into the present. So here's my fiddle-playin', coonskin cap-wearin' 9 year old son reminding me of our Kentucky kin of long ago.

Back then, my mother's family (paternal side) resided in Virginia. The oldest records we have of them are around 1730 when the head of the clan was a magistrate and lived in a stone house known as 'the Blanton house'. At some point they moved to Botetourt County on Virginia's western frontier, a very dangerous place at that time period. We're not sure when they crossed the mountains into Kentucky, or more interestingly, why they moved, but they appear on the tax rolls there in 1790. Even at this late date "the woods were alive with Indians," as one settler said. Yet they and many other Virginians moved west. They settled an area known as 'Blanton Flats' which still exists. Shortly before she passed away, my almost century-old granny visited there with her son and my mom, who live in nearby Berea and Lexington.

Kentucky was known as a daughter of Virginia until Kentucky achieved statehood in 1792. Interestingly, West Virginia didn't separate from Virginia until 1863.

Happy Friday. Have a sunny Memorial Day!


  1. My Dad has traced our ancestry back to Ireland in the early 1700's. It's fun to think about what life was like for them back then.
    He recently came across a story about a confrontation with some Indians (Shawnees)in 1757. It is my Great x6 Grandfather. Maybe I'll post it on my blog soon.

  2. Hi Lisa, please post about that!! That's just the sort of history I love:) My next book deals with the Shawnee (but then so does The Frontiersman's Daughter). Like yours, my father's family are Feagans from Ireland. Maybe our ancestors knew each other back then. Quite a stretch, I know, but truth is stranger than fiction! Bless you this long weekend!