Tag Archives: James McAfee

Memorial Acre at Fort Harrod


Isn’t it amazing when you find something in your own back yard that you never knew existed?  I had been to the Pioneer Cemetery at Fort Harrod in my hometown of Harrodsburg several times, but didn’t realize there was an addition at the back!

It’s known as Memorial Acre, dedicated on June 16, 1930, by The Kentucky Society Daughter’s of the American Revolution.  The plaque reads ‘A sacred spot of ground adjoining the first cemetery of Kentucky, for pioneers whose graves are being destroyed by the effects of time.  Immortals of the wilderness whose moccasin feet have impressed themselves on the destiny of America.  The Love of Liberty, With Life Is Given.’

Let me share with you the stones that were erected here:


Garrett Terhune, New Jersey, Sergeant, Seely’s Regiment, New Jersey Militia, Revolutionary War.  July 25, 1756 – February 8, 1821.


George Buchanan, born 1744 in Augusta County, Virginia, died May 5, 1813, Mercer County, Kentucky.

George Buchanan was a son of James Buchanan and his second wife, Mary Reside.  He married Margaret McAfee, daughter of James and Jane McMichael McAfee, about 1765 in Washington County, Virginia.  George moved his family to Mercer County, Kentucky, in 1780.  He was an elder at New Providence Church and was a veteran of the Revolutionary War.


James Ray, Captain, Virginia Militia, Revolutionary War, 1758-1810


Three members of the McGohon family – the stones have not weathered well.


Mark McGohon, Jr.  Revolutionary War soldier, Kentucky pioneer, Christian patriot.  Born in Ireland in 1750, died in Kentucky, 1848.  first to be buried in Memorial Acre in 1930.  When a lad he emigrated to America and fought in the Battles of Paoli, Boundbrook, Brandywine and Germantown.  Served under General George Rogers Clark and General Josiah Harmer; also in other campaigns against the Indians.  A defender of Fort Harrod in the westward seep of advancing civilization.


Elizabeth Dunn McGohon.  Sacred to the memory of the wife of Mark McGohon, Jr.  born in Pennsylvania, emigrated to Kentucky with her husband following the Revolutionary War.  Pioneer woman who heroically met the toil and danger of the frontier, and nobly did her part in maintaining domestic life within For Harrod, when surrounded by peril and attacks from Indians.  Her efforts aided in establishing the Presbyterian Church at Harrodsburg.


Nancy McGohon, daughter of Mark McGohon, Jr., and Elizabeth Dunn McGohon.  Born in Fort Harrod.  Buried in Memorial Acre in 1930.


These three stones for the Rose family are much easier to read.


Captain Lewis Rose, born October 11, 1749, in Bingen, Germany, died February 20, 1829, Harrodsburg, Kentucky.  Buried on Old Rose Farm, three miles east of Harrodsburg,  Came to America in 1764.  Christian patriot, devout elder of the Presbyterian Church, donated five hundred dollars to Centre College in Danville, Kentucky.  War Record – Soldier in Revolutionary War, 4th Virginia, 1777.  In Indian Wars, famous Battle of Blue Lick, taken prisoner, August 9, 1782.  Run gauntlets, exchanged and returned July, 1783.  Fought Shawnees, 1786.  Wea Indians on Wabash. Erected July 16, 1937, by Leslie M. Rose, Yakima, Washington, sponsored by Jane McAfee Chapter, D.A.R.


Mary McMurtry Rose, wife of lewis Rose, born February 4, 1779, in Mercer County, Kentucky; died November 24, 1865, in Mercer County, Kentucky.  A true pioneer mother.  Lived where Shakertown, Kentucky, now is, defending self and children against Indians while her husband held war captive.  Erected by Leslie M. Rose.


Charlie S. Rose, son of Lewis Rose, born October 6, 1778, died February 28, 1845.  Was prominent in civic work, an elder in the Presbyterian Church.


To Honor and Commemorate the Men Who Fought in the American Revolution and Sleep in Mercer County, Kentucky.

  • General James Ray
  • General John P. Van Nuyce
  • Colonel John Bowman
  • Colonel Thomas P. Moore
  • Lt. Colonel James Robinson
  • Major Thomas Allin
  • Major William Ver Bryck
  • Captain William Alexander
  • Captain John Armstrong
  • Captain Abram Chapline
  • Captain Michael Humble
  • Captain John Lillard
  • Captain Lewis Rose
  • Captain John Smock
  • Captain James Stagg
  • Lt. James McAfee
  • J. P. Board
  • John Bohon
  • William Bowles
  • Daniel Brewer
  • Nathaniel Burrus
  • James Cardwell
  • Robert Coleman
  • General Coovert
  • Henry Comingore, Sr.
  • John Comingore
  • Joseph Debaun
  • Lawrence Demott
  • Peter Demott
  • William Deshazer
  • Thomas Graham
  • Peyton Graham
  • Thomas Green
  • Edward Houchins
  • Peter Huff
  • Dominic Thomas Kyle
  • Peter Leyster
  • George McAfee
  • Samuel McAfee
  • James McCowan, Sr.
  • James McCowan, Jr.
  • John McGee
  • Mark McGohon
  • John Meaux
  • William Nourse
  • Augustine Passmore
  • James Sandifer
  • Abraham Sharp
  • John Sharp
  • Abraham Tharp
  • Cornelius Vannice
  • Cornelius A. Van Arsdale
  • Cornelius O. Van Arsdale
  • Peter Van Arsdall
  • Tobias Wilhoite

How fortunate to live in a county that appreciates and applauds the actions of our forebears.  And to live in one that has such a long history!


To the wilderness dead, those without graves, unknell’d, uncoffin’d, and unknown.  This cenotaph here placed by a not forgetful commonwealth.

Mercer County Marriages 1798-1799

Scan091A Certificate of Marriage


William H. Taylor and Susanna Parson were married February 15

John Davis and Catherine Bell were married March 15

James McAfee and Nancy McAmy were married April the 6th

Jacob Cozat and Peggy Comingore were married August the 10th

John Vanarsdall and Jane Voorhies were married September 28

William Harland and Hannah Titfort were married November 22nd

Daniel Threlkeld and Nancy Ransdall were married December the 19


Philip Nagley and Catherine Marrs married January the 17th

James George and Elizabeth Letcher were married January 29

John Varbrike and Charly Legrave were married January 30th

The above named were married by me – John Sutton

For Mr. Thomas Allin

Mercer County, Kentucky

Fort Harrod and Its Pioneer Graveyard


Reproduction of Fort Harrod

I feel very fortunate to live in a small Kentucky town known as the “Birthplace of the West”.  Harrodsburg was the only colonial city, and first permanent settlement, west of the Allegheny and Appalachian Mountains.  Broadway Street has the distinction of being the oldest street west of those mountains.  It was settled in 1774 by James Harrod of Pennsylvania.  The fort was originally to be built much closer to what is now the small town of Burgin, but the huge number of bison that consistently ran through that area, made it impossible.

Harrodsburg was first the county seat of Fincastle County, Virginia, then Kentucky County, Virginia.  When Kentucky County was divided in three counties, Fayette, Jefferson and Lincoln, Harrodsburg continued to the be county seat of Lincoln.  In 1785 Mercer County was formed and retained Harrodsburg as the county seat.  Stanford became the new county seat for Lincoln.


Osage Orange Tree

Fort Harrod is now a reproduction that draws many visitors each year.  It has been a popular field trip for students from the far reaches of the state – and out of state – and even our own children make their way there at least once during their years of education.  And most take their pictures lined on the huge, sprawling limbs of the Osage Orange Tree.

My mother was a reenactor one year at the fort, sitting in one of the cabins weaving baskets, in her colonial costume, and sometimes making lye soap over an open fire!  She could certainly tell some stories!  In fact, the gift shop sold out of lye soap the days mom was there!


Pioneer Graveyard at Fort Harrod


The McAfee Memorial Stile, honoring The McAfee Pioneers, James McAfee, Jr., 1736-1811; George McAfee, 1740-1803; Robert McAfee, 1745-1795; Samuel McAfee, 1748-1801; William McAfee, 1750-1780, sons of James McAfee, Sr., and Jane McMichael McAfee.  The McAfee brothers came to Kentucky in 1773 and were the original founders of the Salt River settlement.  Several of the brothers were with George Rogers Clark on memorable expeditions.  They were in the vanguard of those civilizing agencies, which were to redeem the wilderness and make it a fruitful field and the home of a Christian people.  They brought with them not only the axe, the hunting knife and the rifle, but the implements of peaceful and beneficent industry and above the bible respect for law and order and reverence for the Sabbath Day.  They established a community in 1779 where the town of McAfee stands.  A posterity rises up and calls them blessed.  June 16, 1929.


Pioneer Graveyard – This graveyard was just south of Fort Harrod.  The original fort was located on the hill where our present day parking lot is.  Over 480 grave stones still remain in this pioneer graveyard.


This historic cemetery was used from 1775 when the fort was built, until about 1833.  Most of the graves up to 1800 are only marked by rough unlettered stones.  The different grave markings clearly define the progress of civilization at the date of burial, and the materials to be had at the time.


Ann McGinty

Noted pioneer woman Ann McGinty lies buried here.  She brought the first spinning wheel to Kentucky.  She died in 1815.  A Revolutionary Patriot symbol was placed on here stone by the Ann Poage Chapter of the D. A. R.


This is said to be the grave of Thomas Jefferson Head, a son of Jesse Head, the pioneer preacher who united the parents of Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Hanks, in 1806.  Thomas Jefferson Head died in 1823.


An Unknown Grave


Jane, born August 14, 1810

James Harrod, who lead the first pioneers to Harrodsburg, is not buried in this cemetery.  He failed to return from one of his frequent hunting expeditions and his fate was never known.


Thank you for visiting Harrodsburg with me today!  Hopefully one day you can see it in person!




John Edwards Land Office Treasury Warrant

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I was drawn to this deed originally because it mentions a John Edwards receiving 3002 acres of land as part of a treasury warrnat in what was at that time Lincoln County, Virginia, later to be Lincoln County, Kentucky.  My Edwards moved to Kentucky in the early days of the nineteenth century.  Could this be part of their land?  The deed mentions ‘on the water of Salt River and Chaplain Fork’ which is actually now in Mercer County, but close to the Washington County border.  Upon further reading I come upon our good friend James McAfee, one of the earliest settler’s of Mercer County, along with his brother Robert McAfee.  Thomas Lillard, Edward Dickenson and a Mr. Slaughter are also mentioned – early Mercer County names!  This is not my Edwards’ family, but what a find otherwise!  To do your own search for early Virginia – and some Kentucky – records visit the Library of Virginia online catalog!

Edmund Randolph, Esquire, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, to all to whom these presents shall come. Greetings. Know ye that by virtue and in consideration of part of a Land Office Treasury Warrant, Number twelve thousand seven hundred and four, issued the twenty-ninth day of June, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-two, there is granted by

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the said Commonwealth unto John Edwards a certain tract or parcel of land containing three thousand and two acres, by survey bearing date the twenty-fifty day of July, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-six, lying and being in the County of Lincoln, on the water of Salt River and Chaplain Fork, and bounded as followeth. To wit, beginning at the south west corner of James McAfee’s survey of three hundred and thirty eight acres, three white oaks and extending thence west with Edward Dickenson’s line one hundred and seventy five poles to a hickory and two sugar trees, then south two hundred and sixty five poles to a white oak on the side of a ridge in Slaughter’s line, thence with the same west two hundred and fifty poles to his corner on Robert McAfee’s line an elm and two sugar trees, then north twenty five degrees wet twenty five poles to a corner, three white oaks, it being said McAfee’s and with his line south sixty five degrees west one hundred and thirty six poles to a white oak and sugar tree, thence with his line north twenty five degrees west thirty poles being his most northwardly corner, three white oaks, south sixty five degrees, west one hundred poles to a white oak and hickory trees, corner to Thomas Lillard on McAfee’s line, then with said Lillard’s line north fifty poles to his north east corner a ? and two elm trees, thence west one hundred and thirty poles to a white oak and sugar tree on George James’ line of his three thousand eight hundred acre survey, thence with the same north and passing his corner six hundred and seventy one poles to two white oaks, thence east seven hundred and twenty poles to a white oak and dogwood on Reading’s line and with the same south twenty eight degrees east one hundred and fourteen poles to a white oak. Thence with his line north sixty two degrees east, twenty pole to three black oaks corner to James McAfee’s line, thence with a line of the same south three hundred and ten poles to the beginning with its appurtenances. To have and to hold the said tract or parcel of land with its appurtenances to the said John Edwards and his heirs forever. In witness where of the said Edmund Randolph, Esquire, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, hath hereunto set his hand and caused the lessor seal of the said Commonwealth to be affixed at Richmond on the twenty fifty day of August in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty eight and of the Commonwealth the thirteenth.                                     Edmund Randolph

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James McAfee Will

James McAfee, an Irish immigrant, was an early settler in Mercer County, Kentucky (at that time Lincoln County, Virginia!) arriving from Botetourt County, Virginia, in 1784, along with two of his brothers and his mother.  Agnes Clark, his wife, was also born in Ireland.  She died in Mercer County, Kentucky, May 2, 1814.  Notice Thomas Allin is Court Clerk, the same Thomas Allin who was also an early settler and died in the 1833 cholera epidemic.

Mercer Co. Will Book 4, p.198

I, James McAfee, of Mercer County and State of Kentucky, calling to mind the mortality of all living, being weak in body but of perfect mind and memory do ordain and establish these present to be my last will and testament. In the first place I commend my soul into the hands of Almighty God who gave it and my body to be decently buried by my Executors to be hereafter named. Secondly I leave to my wife Agnes the little room and fireplace in my house it being her present bedroom and her stand of drawers and her bed and all its furniture to be under her absolute control during her life to live in and enjoy free from the power of any person. Thirdly It is my will and desire that all my household & kitchen furniture of every kind as well as all my negroes and their increase be under the power and control of my son Clarke during the life of my wife, subject to the following conditions. My son Clarke is to support my wife in all the necessaries of life, and my two grandchildren, Sally Woods & Woodford Woods, shall have liberty to live in my house and receive a reasonable support, they working as one of the family, and a common English Education. The said Sally until she is twenty one or married, but if she chooses to move away, my son Clarke is to be free from any charge & the said Woodford until he arrives at an age sufficient to be put to a trade or some other employment and at the death of my wife all the household and kitchen furniture as well as the property I leave my wife by this will shall be my said son Clarke’s & his heirs forever. And at my said wife’s death Clarke is to have his choice of any two of my negroes he pleases to him and his heirs and then the remainder of them to be sold and the money to be equally divided between my son John, Betsy Davenport & Nancy Buchanan my daughters. Fourthly it is my will that my son Clarke shall have all my stock of horses, cattle and hogs & sheep as well as all my farming utensils and crop, to him and his heirs and to pay all my just debts and if ever the money Lyndsey owes me is got Clarke is to have it. Fifthly my wife is to have her choice of one of my horses during her life and then at her death Clarke is to have it. Sixthly my son John is to have the part of my Land of my home tract which lies on the west side of Salt River containing three hundred acres more or less to him and his heirs forever. Seventhly my farm and about five hundred acres more or less bounded on the East by the stone quarry branch already surveyed and cornering on John Armstrong’s line shall be son Clarke’s & his heirs forever. Eighthly, about five hundred acres more or less which lies on the East of the above part left to Clarke, it being the balance of my home tract is to be sold or divided equally between my Daughter Betsy & Nancy and the four children of my Daughter Peggy, one share to them and their heirs forever except Nancy’s share which Shall go to her and her present children only. Ninthly it is my will that my son John & Clarke be the Executors of this will. Witness my hand & seal this 24th day of January 1809.

James McAfee Seal

Signed in presents of Robert B. McAfee, Samuel Bunton, Hannah McAfee

Mercer County, Kentucky

July County Court 1811

The foregoing last will and testament of James McAfee, deceased, was produced into Court and proved by the oaths of Robert B. McAfee and Samuel Bunton two subscribing witnesses thereto & ordered to be recorded. Tho. Allin Clerk