27 August 2010

Happy Trails To You.

compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber August 2010

I admit that I am a complete and total fan of Leonard Sly aka Roy Rogers. And I must confess I am borrowing and humming the song, Happy Trails To You. But since Roy was from Ohio and lived in Scioto County it has little to do with Eastern Kentucky trails.

In genealogy we have paper trails and migration trails. And in the past few weeks I have been busy following both types of trails. Both trails I have been working on have led into the Bluegrass section of the state and show just how easy it was for entire waves of migration to just pass us by here in Eastern Kentucky.

Carrie Eldridge has written several different publications in Atlas style showing migration routes that lead into Kentucky that are invaluable to researchers. She has been a frequent researcher at the Boyd County library for many years. Her atlas publications are also in the stacks and are showing the wear of much use. One quickly sees that the Pound and the rivers were the main routes into Eastern Kentucky.

Those that traveled through our beautiful Cumberland Gap entered the Cumberland Plateau in Eastern Kentucky through what is now Knox County and veered west along Boone's Trace and the Wilderness Road into the heart of Kentucky to the stations near Lexington and Scott County.

I discovered that George Marshall and his wife Nancy Ann Roszell Marshall, along with her father Dr. Nehemiah Roszell, were involved with land transactions, circa 1795. The land lay just north of the Cumberland River just above the Trace. The land appears to lay in what is Knox County today. George Marshall testified that he later sold his 1000 acre moiety to Cary Clark. The transactions are in the Old Kentucky Entries at the Kentucky Land Office. Patent OK5566 gives the most revealing information on this family. At the time of the transactions [there are a total of 3 patents] the entire area was a portion of Lincoln County. Had this family migrated just a few miles to the east their lives and the terrain would have been entirely different.

The Roszell's and Marshall's followed the trail and settled in Scott County on Miller's Run and Cherry Run. George's daughter Frances married Thomas W. Peek who resided near Stamping Ground on McConnell Run also in Scott County. By 1819 George Marshall, along with son-in-law Thomas W. Peek were on the move again. George went west looking at land along the Green River but ended up with a purchase of land in Caldwell County not far from the newly opened Jackson Purchase.

It is interesting how trails can create and influence lives. Son-in-law Thomas W. Peek, was just a small boy when his mother and family followed the trail to Scott County by a totally different route. Thomas' father, Francis Peake died at Wheeling, Virginia and Mary brought her family into Scott County by the northern route. His mother states that she brought her family to Kentucky in 1793. The National Road aka Cumberland Road would not be built from Wheeling until 1811 and Ebenezer Zane would not start blazing Zane's Trace until 1796. Thus the practical way, as well as the safest way for her to migrate to Kentucky would be along the Ohio River from Wheeling. A woman pioneering before Zane ever cleared those Indian trails.

I think about the widow Mary Peake and her children and how they could easily have stopped along the Ohio River at the mouth of the Big Sandy or chosen any number of other trails. But she also headed for land near settled stations in Scott County.

Families grow and continue to move and with several generations my own line ended up in Eastern Kentucky which their ancestors had skirted and managed to avoid in the early pioneer days.

I am so proud that this is my family that traveled these early pioneering trails across Kentucky in so many regions. I think Nancy Ann Roszell's father may be the most pioneering of the group. Dr. Nehemiah Roszell crossed the Ohio River into the Northwest territory and was just a couple of miles from the mouth of the Miami when he died in 1797. I doubt he ever saw my beautiful Eastern Kentucky, unless he was looking over his shoulder at the mountains and hills.

Happy Trails To You until we meet again.

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