Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 127

Wow, what a day. Anne and I drove to Boonesborough, going to the original fort site on the Kentucky River and then touring the reconstructed fort. We saw the plaque for John Kennedy, one of Daniel Boone's "30 guns" who widened the Wilderness Road for the Transylvania Land Company and opened KY for settlement in 1775. John's father and brothers joined him by 1776, moving their families to the wilderness. We watched wood working, candle making, weaving, and "white" smithing exhibitions. The whitesmith worked with tin, brass, and copper making everyday implements. The metal working process required solder but not a hot forge like blacksmithing.

During the morning we noticed that the wind had picked up and by the time we stopped for lunch it was pouring rain. Only then did we access the weather channel to find out that the worst storm in 70 years had hit Chicago and we were feeling the fringes of that disturbance. I hope Pam, Jay, Lois, and Jan G. are all surviving safely.

After lunch we headed south towards Garrard County and its capital, Lancaster. 45 minutes of windy driving got us to - Paint Lick -what a surprise - exactly where Mom, Liz and I visited a couple of weeks ago and the second home to Thomas Kennedy (after his Stroud's Fort location near Boonesborough). We couldn't see much of the countryside in the rain but enjoyed the back route to Lancaster.

The Lancaster Historical Society was womanned by 80 year old Margaret Simpson. A southern dynamo, she welcomed us in out of the weather and talked nonstop about the Kennedys. Evidently, nearly everyone in Garrard County and many in neighboring Madison County are related to the Kennedys - except her. She showed us a picture painted of Thomas Kennedy's old home (c. 1800- red house) with the slave's cabin out back that belonged to the individual on which Uncle Tom (Harriet Beecher Stowe) was based. The Historical Society also has a piece of wallpaper from the original Kennedy home (demolished in 1930).

From the historical society we moved to the public library. The library has as much material as the historical society or more and we delved into Kennedy surname files. However, the great finds were in the Letcher surname files. We found letters, genealogies written 100 years ago, and much more. Even information on the elusive Robertson family. We also found the home of Nancy Kennedy and James Hughes Letcher. It is quite near the library and is where the young couple lived for 10 years ~1850. Robert P. Letcher had lived there prior to his election as Kentucky's governor in 1840 and must have let Nancy and James live there or purchase it. (white house above)

We are overwhelmed with the amount of data but intend to go back tomorrow for more. We also found that Benjamin Letcher (a general in the War of 1812 and father of James Hughes Letcher) and his wife Margaret (Peggy) Robertson Letcher are buried in Lancasteer. This means a cemetery run in Lancaster and out at Thomas Kennedy's grave in Paint Lick.

We ended our day at a country dinner in Lancaster - $4.95 for Anne's liver and onions. $5.95 for my lasagna. The price also included sides and a salad. Can't beat it.

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