Family Stories

First Marriage and Births According to Collin’s History of Kentucky

You haven’t had a blog in almost a week.  Life is still crazy here.  School, cooking, laundry, cleaning, reading, and other things are continuous.  And I have added crafting to the mix.  I’ve enjoyed counted cross-stitch and needlepoint for years, just haven’t had time to make anything lately.  Before Christmas I started making counted cross-stitch ornaments – cupcakes and cocoa cups.  It was nice to have something new for the tree.  Afterwards I continued with making needlepoint tissue box covers.  So many started adding up I decided to open an Etsy shop.  Hence the birth of Ky Kindred Handmade.  There must be a new project ever so often – don’t want to get bored!  Kentucky Kindred Genealogy will be ten years old in April.  I feel that I am Kentucky Kindred, that is why I thus named my Etsy shop.  If you would like to visit click here.

While perusing Collin’s History of Kentucky I found a section on some of the firsts for our state.  I thought it quite interesting and felt you would enjoy it, too.  The work was started by Lewis Collins, and finished by his son, Richard H. Collins in1924.  It is to be found in two volumes and gives extensive information about the state and its early people.

From History of Kentucky –

The first marriage in Kentucky was at Fort Boonesborough, August 7, 1776.  Samuel Henderson married Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Callaway.  You probably remember her name – she, her sister Frances Callaway and Jemima Boone were in a canoe on the Kentucky River, near the fort, when an Indian raiding part captured them – just a few weeks earlier, July 14th.  Jemima was, of course, the daughter of Colonel Daniel Boone; the Callaway girls the daughters of Colonel Richard Callaway.  A party left almost immediately and the girls were rescued in thirty hours.  Their fathers, along with Samuel Henderson, Flanders Callaway, John Holder (lovers of the girls) and others caught up with them near the Upper Blue Licks.  The girls were unharmed.

The ceremony was performed without any legal license, since at that time Kentucky was still a part of Virginia, located in Fincastle County, Virginia.  It was quite a trip to back through the wilderness to obtain legal information.  Many marriages were performed without a license at this time.  Elizabeth and Samuel were married by Squire Boone, a younger brother of Daniel, who was an occasional preacher in the Baptist church.

The first white child born in Kentucky, of parents who were married in Kentucky, was Fanny Henderson, of the marriage noted above, on May 29, 1777.

The first white child born in Kentucky is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible to ascertain at this late day.  The following are possible candidates for this honor according to Judge Collins.

  1. Elizabeth Thomas, daughter of William Poague, who, when she was 11 years old, brought his family to Boonesborough, in company with that of Colonel Richard Calloway, on September 25, 1775 (the 5th and 6th families to enter Kentucky), and who removed in March, 1776, to Harrodsburg, always said the first white child born in Kentucky was Harrod Wilson, at Harrodsburg, Date of birth not known.
  2. Another source claims that the first child was William Hinton, who was born at Harrodsburg, and died about 1833, on Fox Run, in Shelby County, Kentucky. Date of birth not known.
  3. Others claim that the first child was Chenoe Hart (so called after the Indian name for Kentucky), daughter of Colonel Nathaniel Hart, born probably at White Oak Spring, or Hart’s Station, one mile above Boonesborough, where her father lived (or at Boonesborough) from 1775 to 1782. Miss Hart married Colonel John Smith, three of whose sisters married James Blair, attorney-general of Kentucky from 1796 to 1816 or later, George Madison, who died while governor of Kentucky, in 1816, and Dr. Lewis Marshall, eminent as a college president and educator.  Date of birth not known.
  4. A daughter of Daniel Boone, whose family reached Boonesborough on September 8, 1775, was born there at an early day – claimed by some, as early as 1797, to have been the first white child born in Kentucky. Name and date of birth unknown.
  5. Several person living, aged 75 to 85 years, assure the author that the first child born in Kentucky was Mrs. Levisa McKinney, daughter of Colonel William Whitley, who fell as one of the ‘forlorn hope’ at the battle of the Thames. His widow always claimed that she was the third white woman who crossed the Cumberland mountains – believing Mrs. Daniel Boone and her daughter to be the first two – and that her child (named Levisa after one of the names of the new country) was born in a short time after they came. The original Whitley family Bible is lost; but from partial copies kept by several of her daughters, we believe that Levisa Whitley was born February 25, 1776 – possibly a year later; she removed to Missouri in 1819, and died February 14, 1853.  The late Colonel Daniel Garrard, himself one of the early born of the state, claimed that Levisa Whitley was the third child born in Kentucky.
  6. Rhoda Vaughn, a daughter of Capt. John Holder, of Boonesborough, is claimed in Ranck’s History of Lexington as the first white child born in Kentucky. She was the mother of the gallant adjutant Edward M. Vaughn, who fell at the battle of Buena Vista, Mexico, in February 1847; she died at Lexington, in June, 1863.  It is probable that she was born early in 1777, but not probable that she was the first native child.
  7. Judge William Logan, eldest son of General Benjamin Logan, born in the fort at Harrodsburg, on December 8, 1776, was a most gifted and eminent of the early born sons of Kentucky; was twice a judge of the court of appeals, U. S. senator, and when he died, at 45, was looked forward to as the next governor. He is claimed by many as the first white male native; but we have the printed evidence of the late General Robert B. McAfee, lieutenant governor of the state in 1824-28, that Mrs. Elizabeth Poague Thomas, above mentioned, who was then, and for more than nine months previous, a resident of that small fort, repeatedly told him that Harrod Wilson was the first child born in Kentucky.  It must be remembered that Boonesborough and Harrodsburg were, until the summer or fall of 1776, the only two stations containing families; that Mrs. Thomas came to Boonesborough only seventeen days after Daniel Boone’s family (which was the only family that preceded hers,) and lived there for six months, until the last days of February, 1776; that she then removed to Harrodsburg, and continued to live there until 1785, and of course knew all the dwellers there in 1776 and 1777.  The birth of a child in the forts, in those earliest days, was a remarkable event, and not easily forgotten by the residents; and the communication between the forts so frequent and intimate that every matter of interest in one was soon known and discussed in the other.
  8. Ann Poague, daughter of William Poague, and sister of Mrs. Elizabeth Thomas above mentioned, was born in the fort at Harrodsburg, April 20, 1777 – so says the family Bible record which we have examined. She married her relative, General John Poague, and died at his residence in Greenup County, Kentucky, in 1847.  It was for many years understood that she was the fourth child born in Kentucky.
  9. Fanny Henderson, already mentioned above as the first child born in Kentucky of parents married in Kentucky, was the daughter of Samuel Henderson and Betsy Calloway, and born in the fort at Boonesborough May 29, 1777. Two of her sisters and a brother were still living in February 1873 – one of them, Mrs. Sallie Rivers, with her son, Rev. R. H. Rivers, D. D., a distinguished minister of the Methodist E. Church South, in Louisville.
  10. Enoch Boone, son of Squire Boone and nephew of Daniel Boone, was born in a canebrake near Boonesborough, November 16, 1777; he died February 8, 1862, aged 84, on the bank of the Ohio River in Meade County, Kentucky, at the residence of his son-in-law, Judge Collins Fitch. Many persons believed him to be the first child born in Kentucky, and yet it is not improbable that fifteen were born earlier.

When the first census was taken in Kentucky on May 7, 1777, and another on September 2, 1777, at Harrodsburg, it gave 65 children under ten years, 24 women and 198 in all.  Boonesborough was then nearly as large, and there were families at McClelland’s (Georgetown), Logan’s (near Stanford), and several other stations.

1 reply »

  1. I thought one of my ancestors, Lydia Harper, daughter of John Harper at Boonesborough was the first child born there. She later grew up and married Fielding Hanks, son of Abraham Hanks.

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