The First Peoples

The Original Native Americans of the Carter County Region

May we forever honor the original "Ken-tah-ten" peoples..

"In a past that is now lost forever, there was a time when the land was sacred
and the ancient ones were as one with it. A time when only the children of the great spirit were here,
to light their fires in these places with no boundaries. When the forests were as thick as the fur of the winter bear,
when a warrior could walk from horizon to horizon on the backs of the buffalo,
when the deserts were in bloom, and the streams pure as freshly fallen snow.
In that time when there were only the simple ways, I saw with my heart the conflicts to come.
And whether is was to be for good or bad, what was certain was, there would be change..."


Native American names used in our region

"Ken-tah-ten" meaning "land of tomorrow" - Kentucky

"Oua-sioto" - name given to the northeast Kentucky range of mountains

"Kinniconnick" Shawnee word that meant "willow bark" - Kinniconick Creek

"Nepernine" - the Licking River

  • Excellent article on Shawnee names used in Kentucky

  • Excerpt from Kentucky Cherokee: People of the Cave by Dr. Tankersley

  • Native American Trails of Kentucky

  • Native American Tribal Distribution

  • Club head found in Carter County Contributed by Pearl Crum

  • Carter County Research and Artifacts" Contributed by Matthew Maley

  • "Campbell County Indian Tribes"

  • "An Essay on Native Americans and Early Kentucky" by Patsy Woodring

  • "In Search of Morgan's Station and the Last Indian Raid in Kentucky"

  • "The Early Adventures of William Sudduth in Kentucky" - submitted by Dick Carroll

  • Archeology-related Articles, Mostly Boyd County & General Cultural Information

  • The Ancient Pathways Project. Tracing the Bison Trails of Carter County. (not yet complete)

  • Bath County, Ky. Arrowheads

  • Photos of the Native American Heritage Museum in Corbin, Kentucky

  • "Scott's Arrowheads" projectile point collection video

    "Note that the video "Scotts Arrow Heads" is mislabeled. There are very few "arrowheads" most are atlatl dart points, spear points and knives.
    From studies around the Tri-state area, it seems that the "arrow" was not introduced into KY until about 750 AD.
    Thus the use of the term "arrow heads" is not correct when referring to a mixed collection.
    It is more appropriate to refer to them at "points" or "projectile points". Matthew Maley

  • Point typology: arrow vs. dart (ie. atlatl)

    A Guide to the Proper Treatment of Archeological Artifacts

    (takes a moment to load)

    Unless otherwise indicated, all artifacts and sites displayed here are in Carter County


    Article from the Grayson Journal-Enquirer Newspaper of September 7, 1950

    Tsa'lagi'

    "The Real People"

  • Research and photos related to the 1950 discovery


  • 1976 Newspaper Article on Found Artifacts

    Arrow heads and spear points on display at the Smokey Valley Truck Stop near Olive Hill, Ky.

    Click here for an larger image of this photo.

    No one I spoke with knew the source of these artifacts, but they are believed to be local.


    Lick Branch Arrowhead Photos.


    Analysis of clay deposits in the Olive Hill area

    It is speculated that clay from this area was used to make pipes and pots by Ohio Native Americans

    Olive Hill Clay Study.

    Analysis of limestone, slate and sandstone deposits and a tour of the carter Caves area

    Geology of the Carter Caves Area.


    Books to Read

    Archeological Survey of Kentucky by W D. Funkhouser & W. S. Webb - Originally pubished in 1933.

    A really interesting survey of the cultural remains of the Original Peoples of Kentucky.

    This is a link to selected pages from this series of books.

      Deep Ancestry - Inside the Genographic Project
    by Spencer Wells.

    I just finished this book and found it very interesting. It discusses research which traces ancient migration and language patterns
    through DNA analysis. It won't help you find your ancestors (yet), but it will help you discover where they lived.
    It is a little technical in places, but overall, it's very accessible. The recent discoveries on human migration are facinating.

    This is a link to the latest news on the project.

    The "Genographic Project" is a National Geographic project, funded by donations and IBM. From the makers of "The Journey of Man" film.


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