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There have been several lists of the party who left Fauquier County, VA bound for Mason County,Kentucky on 16 September 1783. The lists vary, but it appears that there were at least 23 members of the Kenton family to arrive in Kentucky.

Simon Kenton

Mrs. Mark Kenton (nee Mary Miller)

Nancy Kenton and child

William Kenton and his wife, Mary, with six of their children

Thomas Laws and his wife Jane Kenton, with four of the Owens sons , three of the Owens daughters( by Janes's first marriage) and two of the Laws daughters

In addition the following persons also traveled to the frontier:

A negro woman and child with Mrs. Mark Kenton

A negro girl with William Kenton and family

Elijah Berry, his wife and two children and a negro man.

James Whitehouse, his wife and three children

John Metcalf (father of Governer Metcalf)

John Griffith

A negro woman with Simon Kenton

John McGraw and his wife

The party attemped to land at Simon Kenton's Station in the area of Salt River, however, seeing signs of  Indians they moved on to Limestone. In the forest area of Mercer County several members of the family remained a number of years.

Over the next few years, other members of the Kenton family moved from Virginia into Kentucky. By October 1, 1784, Thomas Dowden's widow, Sally Cleland (sister of Mary Cleland Kenton) and her four children settled in KY. By 1785 the Edward brothers along with their sister, Jane and her husband, William Rains had arrived. Also, William McGinnis, who was killed by Indians in Nov of 1786, had settled in KY.

A petition, to form Washington in Mason County, was drawn up on Aug 22 1786 and signed, along with others, by the following:

John Kenton, Simon Kenton, William McGinnis, Cornelius Rains, John Rains, William Rains, James Rains

A petition asking for a division of Bourbon County, was signed on 19 Sept 1787. The Commonwealth of Virginia was petitioned for the third time in 1787 asking for the divion of Bourbon County. Among others, both petitions were endorsed by:

John Kenton, Simon Kenton, Cornelius Rains, William Rains, John Rains.

Above text from "Be Fruitful and Multiply and Replenish the Earth" by Denise Mahan Moore

Flatboating on the 18th Century Ohio River

Edna Kenton tells of Simon Kenton's party who traveled down river from the Boat Yard in Pennsylvania, to Limestone, Mason Co., Ky., in October, 1783. She identifies the party of forty-one persons as: Mrs. Mark Kenton, with a Negro woman and child; Nancy Kenton and child; William Kenton, wife and six children including sons P.C., Joshua, Mason, Jerry and William, and a Negro girl; Thomas Laws and his wife, four Owens boys and girls, and two Laws girls; Elijah Berry, wife, two children, and a Negro man; James Greathouse, wife, and three children; John Metcalf (father of Gov. Metcalf), John Griffith, John McGraw and wife, and Simon Kenton and a Negro woman. Nineteen horses came with them from Fauquier Co., Va. They carried their livestock, sundry supplies, including corn, flour and salt, and the Berry's cat aboard a rectangular "Kentucky flatboat" which she says was "..much larger than the usual thirty or forty-foot one.." At one end were stock pens, at the other was the roofed cabin with its fireplace for warmth and cooking. When they stopped to take on firewood, Simon hunted and returned with turkeys, deer, and once, a bear. George Washington surveyed this region in 1770, and apparently believed the Ohio River to be a perfect means of westward travel. Lest we take for granted the ease of the Kenton journey, and to answer the curious who might wonder why they chose to travel in October, let's read what has been said of this mighty stream before the advent of the Corps of Engineers... "Despite [Washington's] optimism about the convenience of navigation, the natural Ohio was an imperfect highway on several counts. Over its 981 miles, the river dropped only 430 feet, an average of less than six inches a mile. In low water, it was so shallow in places that a child could wade across. It remained low in the dry months of summer and in winter before the snow melt, rising high enough for ready passage only in the rainy months of spring and fall. On his way down the Ohio to rendezvous with William Clark in 1803, Meriwether Lewis had to pay local draymen two dollars to haul his boat over riffles- an exorbitant fee, he complained- and at gravel bars his men often had to climb out and shovel a passage, until the languid current swept a channel clear. Even in high water, sunken trees, rocks, sand bars, and the wrecks of earlier boats made travel hazardous. Drift ice was a problem most winters, and about once in every ten years the river froze solid."

(Footnotes:) Edna Kenton, Simon Kenton, His Life and Period, 1755-1836, Country Life Press, Garden City, NY, 1930, p. 166-7(Reprint, Ayer Company, Publishers, Inc., Salem, New Hampshire, 1993) Robert L. Reid, ed., Always a river: the Ohio River and the American Experience, 1938, p. 20. (reprint: Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN, 1991)

More Publications Available

Kenton Kin Information

 Simon Kenton Home Page

Yvonne James-Henderson, The Kenton Kin Association

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