Henderson County, Kentucky Community


There is little of the hurly-burly that usually characterizes the larger towns. Henderson gives the impression of being uncrowded and unhurried as though resting serenely on a bank high above the Ohio River, the pleasant town of Henderson has an alluring quality that results from a fusion of its historic atmosphere and a very modern present. The wide, shaded thoroughfares, the ancient city park with its staunch old trees, the fine old homes set well back from the street possess the mellowness of age. While the echo still rebounds with laughter of happy, hospitable people.

Outside Henderson, on softly rolling hills, are well kept country estates and spacious homes which suggest the quiet peace and serene beauty of a rural community with the charm and hospitality of the old South.

The original site, as shown on a map executed by Judge Samuel HOPKINS and Colonel Thomas ALLEN, is the center of the rapidly growing town which has one hundred foot wide streets and the long waterfront; the site of John James AUDUBON Saw & Grist Mill and a future Museum for preservation of history and background information for the next generation.

Racially, Henderson was made up of English and Scotch-Irish colonists who came by the way of Virginia and the Carolinas. In addition, there was a sprinkling of German families, some of whom, formed the first settlement of Henderson County. Settlers from North Carolina and Virginia brought with them the traditions of gracious living which they transplanted in the wilderness. Henderson, however, still belongs to a tradition essentially southern, a tradition of culture, hospitality, gracious living, and friendliness.

Daniel BOONE suggested that Richard HENDERSON settle Kentucky. It was decided to purchase the Cherokee title to Kentucky for the purpose of establishing a colony there; and with Nathaniel HART and other members of the company, Henderson immediately began negotiations for the land.

In the early spring of 1775, wagons heavily laden with “white man’s goods” intended for the Cherokees, made their laborious way over the mountains of North Carolina to the appointed place of meeting. On March 17, 1775, one year before the American Revolution, Richard HENERSON, Nathaniel HART, James LUTTRELL and Daniel BOONE met with the entire tribe of Cherokee Indians, twelve hundred, at Sycamore Shoals of the Watauga River in Tennessee. But be it said to the credit of Richard HENDERSON, no liquor was furnished the Indians until the contract was signed.

Judge HENDERSON’s conduct throughout was just and equitable, and he was most careful that the Indians should fully understand the nature of the treaty.

Almost immediately after the treaty was signed, HENDERSON purchased a trail – right to the track and commissioned Daniel BOONE with thirty picked frontiersman to blaze the way from the long island of Holston River, Tennessee to a chosen spot on Otter Creek in Kentucky. Reaching the Kentucky River, BOONE and his men began at once to cut down trees and build cabins. Meanwhile, HENDERSON with Nathaniel HART and John LUTTRELL and a party of settlers with a pack train, were following the trail blazers. Judge HENDERSON recorded in his diary under date of April 20, 1775: “Arrived at Fort Boone on the mouth of Otter Creek, Cantucky River, where we were saluted with a running fire of about twenty-five guns.”

Boonesboro was the first Kentucky fort worthy of the name.

Before the turn of the century, however, as a result of the efforts of this company Henderson County was formed.

“The History of Henderson County, Kentucky”, Pages 2 – 3, Editor-in-Chief, Frieda Jacobs Dannheiser, Co-Editor, Donald Hazelwood. A project of the Henderson County Genealogical and Historical Society 1980.

Contributed by Netta Mullin, HCH&GS
Copyright 2002 HCH&GS