Brief Historical Timeline - Fayette County Kentucky
(for a brief Kentucky timeline, visit the Kentuckiana Digital Library's Kentucky Journey )

1606

The first Virginia charter includes territory that became Kentucky (April 10)

1654

Kentucky explored to the Mississippi by Colonel Wood
Kentucky Prehistory
Cherokee
Chickasaw
Iroquois
Potawatomi
Sauk and Fox
Shawnee
First Nations Histories

1689 - 1763

French and Indian Wars
1751

Christopher Gist, representing the Ohio Company, explores as far as present-day Clark County
Christopher Gist's Journals

1754

Eskippakithiki (ca. 1718-1754), possibly last Indian permanent settlement in historic Kentucky, abandoned. Location is in Indian Old Fields in Clark County, Kentucky. Occupants were Piqua, of the Shawnee nation.

1754/5 -1763

The French and Indian War - also known as the Seven Years' War

1769

Daniel Boone, John Finley and others cross the Appalachians into the region that includes present-day Clark County, Kentucky. They camped beside Lulbegrud Creek.
Daniel Boone: Myth and Reality in American Consciousness
The Adventures of Col. Daniel Boon by Daniel Boon
Mrs. William Price's life history

1772

Fincastle County Virginia organized from Botetourt County; includes all of Kentucky.

1775

The Cherokee sell eastern and central Kentucky to Colonel Richard Henderson of the Transylvania Land Company for 10,000 pounds. His ownership claim is overturned by the Virginia legislature.

 

Daniel Boone and "a company of 30 men with axes" connect old paths into the Wilderness Road

 

The founding of Lexington from Ranck's History

1775-1783

American Revolution
Historyplace
Timeline

1776

Kentucky County, Virginia formed from Fincastle County, Virginia (December 31)

 

John Strode migrates from Berkeley County, Virginia, settling about one mile west of Winchester on present US60

1779

Colonel Robert Patterson ( 1753-1827) begins fort construction at Lexington by building a blockhouse at the corner of what are now Main and Mill streets. His cabin is preserved on the Transylvania University campus.

 

Bryant's Station established

 

Boone's Station

 

John Strode brings Boonesboro settlers also from Berkeley County, Virginia, to his location where they built a station with about 30 cabins and a defensive wall.

1780

Ruddle's and Martin's stations surrender to British
Ruddle's and Martin's Forts

 

Kentucky County Virginia divided into Fayette, Jefferson and Lincoln counties (May). Fayette County named for the Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834)

  First Lexington burial ground established on "the first hill," later known as the Baptist Church yard on Main Street (Tadlock 1902)
1782

General Assembly of Virginia charters Lexington on May 6 (Helm, 1916)

 

Virginia establishes judicial district of Kentucky

  Siege of Bryan's Station - 15 August
British Report on Bryant's Station attack
 
  The Battle of Blue Licks - 19 August
  End of major settler-Indian conflict in Kentucky
1783 First Kentucky schoolhouse built on site of present Lexington courthouse (Helm 1916)
  McConnell's Station established by the ruins of McConnell's hut (Helm 1916)
McConnell Springs
Dating McConnell's Homestead
  First Lexington church built; Mt. Zion Presbyterian (Helm 1916)
1784 John Filson (1747-1788) writes first history of Kentucky
  General James Wilkinson opens a store in Lexington containing "fetched in" goods (WPA 1938)
  Presbyterians build first log church in KY on southeast corner of Walnut and Short streets (Tadlock 1902)
1785

Boone's Creek Baptist Church founded

  First Lexington tavern opened by James Bray on Main near Spring Street (Helm 1916)
  Main Cross Street (later Broadway) opened; trustees ordered all cow-pens and hog-pens removed and banned fishing from the first bridge located on Main Cross and Water streets (Helm 1916)
1786

Bourbon County formed from Fayette County (01 May)

 

John Higbee opens inn at the corner of High and Limestone Streets (WPA 1938)

1787

Kentucky Gazette established in Lexington by John and Fielding Bradford (18 August)

 

First Lexington horse races on the Water Street Commons (town trustees banned Main Street races in August) (Tadlock 1902)

  Isaac Wilson establishes Lexington Grammar school (Tadlock, 1902)
  First Methodist church in Kentucky built at Masterson's Station (Helm 1916)
1788

Transylvania Seminary moved from Danville to Lexington

 

Virginia Masonic Lodge No. 25 established on 17 November on Lexington. (In 1800 becomes Lodge No. 1 of the Grand Lodge of Kentucky)

  John Davenport opened a Lexington dancing school (Tadlock, 1902)
  First stone court house built in Lexington--earlier location was log building on northeast corner of Main and Main Cross streets (Tadlock 1902)
  Lexington celebrates the Fourth of July for the first time (Tadlock 1902)
1789

Woodford County formed from Fayette County Kentucky (01 May)

  First Methodist church organized in Lexington (Helm 1916)
  First Lexington Baptist church built (Tadlock 1902)
  Lexington Light Infantry organized (Tadlock 1902)
1790

Revolutionary War Captain John Postlethwait migrated to Lexington; he was an innkeeper and merchant

The African Baptist Church appeared in Lexington (The Negro in our History by Woodson)

  Union Fire Company organized; the first regular fire company (Tadlock 1902)
1791

Map of Lexington town bounds
Lexington's First Lot Owners

  Lexington trustees prohibit building of wooden chimneys. Post and rail fences across Short street ordered removed (Helm 1916)
1792

Kentucky admitted as the fifteenth state of the union and the first west of the Alleghenies (June 1)

 

First Kentucky Legislature meets at Lexington--Frankfort selected as capitol (04 June)

  Last settler to be killed by the Indians near Lexington (Tadlock 1902)
1793

Clark County formed from Bourbon and Fayette Counties Kentucky

 

First mid-western steamboat operated on Town Branch Elkhorn Creek near Lexington by Edward West during August (Ranck, 1872; Helm 1916; Tadlock 1902)

1794

Citizen meeting in Lexington results in resolutions on free navigation of the Mississippi River (May)

 

First Kentucky Episcopal Church established at Lexington

 

Father Badin organized Catholic congregation in Lexington (WPA 1938)

  Lexington Post Office likely established (Ranck, 1872); it was located in the jail on Main street immediately west of Main Cross street (Helm 1916)
1796

The City of Lexington and the Lexington Lodge of Ancient Masons hold a joint lottery, with each party realizing $2,250 in proceeds. The masons build a new building and the city decides "to sink wells, erect pumps and to make sewers for carrying off the water" (Coleman 1951: page 6).

  Lexingtonian Nathan Burrows invented a machine for cleaning hemp (Tadlock 1902)
 

Lexington Library established with 400 volumes; endowed by annual subscriptions

  Episcopal Church in Lexington organized (Tadlock 1902)
  Jockey Club organized in Postlethwait's Tavern (WPA 1938)
1797

Henry Clay migrates from Virginia and opens law office in Lexington
Henry Clay (1777-1852): An Introduction

  Lexington's first (temporary) theatre opens at the northeast corner of Limestone and Water streets (Helm 1916)
  Lexington Immigration Society organized (Tadlock 1902)
1798

"Kentucky resolutions" passed in favor of nullifying alien and sedition laws. 1798 draft compared with 1799 resolution

 

Henry Clay advocates gradual emancipation of slaves

 

Transylvania University established through merger of Transylvania Academy and Kentucky Academy (December)

 

August 28 - the first American vineyard began operation in Lexington, Kentucky. 
The Kentucky Vineyard Society formed

 

A Lexington coffee house has on file 42 newspapers from all over the Union (WPA 1938)

1799

Jessamine County formed from Fayette County Kentucky

 

Census for Kentucky shows 3081 residences, slaves 28,517, acres 17,674,634  (Kentucky Gazette, 31 October 1799, p. 2 col. 3)

  Lexington paved a strip of Main Street and built a bridge-of-sorts across mud holes between the courthouse and the Main-Mill corner (Helm 1916)
1800

Transylvania University has schools of medicine and law

1800

Religious revival in Fayette County (movement embraced by Methodists, Presbyterians and Baptists)

  Postlethwaite's Tavern built on Main street, on site of later Phoenix Hotel (Helm 1916)
  Ed West patents revolutionary nail-cutting machine (WPA 1938)
1801

Letter from Colonel Robert Patterson to Dr. John King on the Kentucky religious revival

 

Other Lexington restoration correspondence

1802

Lexington Insurance Company established. The legislature inadvertently granted the company banking privileges.

  Meetings of the Lexington Jockey Club first held at Ashland, home of Henry Clay (Helm 1916)
1803

Fire at Fayette County KY clerk's home office destroys most county records

 

Stage route established from Lexington through Winchester and Mount Sterling to Olympian Springs in Bath County

1805 Lexington trustees prohibit citizens from harboring panthers as pets (Helm 1916)
1806

Charless Almanac publishes Lexington City Directory

1807 William W. Worsley and Samuel R. Overton established the Kentucky Reporter (Tadlock 1902)
1808 First Lexington brick courthouse built by Winslow & Stevens (Helm 1916)
1809 Lexington Jockey Club organized (Tadlock 1902)
1810 First steam mill in the west built by Winslow & Stevens (Helm 1916)
  Local land prices boomed - Lexington property values equal to Boston's (WPA 1938)
1811

Henry Clay is speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives

 

December, New Madrid earthquake (shocks continue into 1812)

1812-1814

War of 1812 - Kentucky suffered enormous losses

1813

Daniel Bradford holds his first book auction "at candle light" over the store of Bradford and Vigus (Kentucky Gazette, 22 November

1814 Spotted fever epidemic in March (Tadlock 1902)
1815

Fayette Hospital for the insane granted charter (now Eastern State Hospital). This was the first such asylum in the west and the second in the United States (Helm 1916)

  Luke Usher's theatre opens in Lexington (Helm 1916)
1817

Turnpike road companies chartered: Lexington-Maysville and Lexington-Louisville

 

First recorded saddlebred horse show in Lexington

 

Cornerstone laid for Lexington Lunatic Asylum (June)

  The United States Bank opened in Lexington on 27 January 1817 (Helm 1916)
1818

Mary Todd, future wife of Abraham Lincoln, born

1819

First agricultural show at Lexington

  Second Lexington Baptist church located on Mill Street opposite Gratz Park completed in October (Helm 1916)
  John Postlethwaite's Tavern burns (WPA 1938)

1820

Census of Lexington shows total whites, 3528; total slaves, 1641; total free colored, 115; entire total citizens, 5279  (Kentucky Reporter, 30 October 1820, p. 3 col. 4)
1822

Lottery authorized to establish Lexington medical college

1823

Lexingtonian Colonel James Morrison dies April 23, bequeathing $60,000 to Transylvania University

 

D.A. Sayre and Co. establishes a bank in Lexington (Observer and Reporter 29 July 1868)

1824

April 17 - stage line from Maysville to Louisville through Lexington and Frankfort (two-day trip) and to Washington D.C. (six-day trip) begins

 

Henry Clay is a presidential candidate

  Grand Masonic hall erected at corner of Walnut and Short streets; was used as a hospital during 1833 cholera epidemic (Tadlock 1902)
1825

Henry Clay appointed U.S. Secretary of State

 

General Lafayette visits Kentucky (May 16)

1826 Meetings of the Kentucky Association, oldest living turf club in America [in 1916], were held at the Williams' track on what is now the tomb-spiked northern plateau of the Lexington Cemetery (Helm 1916)
1827 Lexingtonian Thomas Harris Barlow builds first locomotive in western America (Tadlock 1902)
1829 Road to Maysville begun in Lexington during the fall. This was the first macadam highway in Kentucky (Helm 1916)
1830

Companies chartered to build railroad from Lexington to the Ohio River (January)

 

First rail of Lexington & Ohio Railroad laid at Lexington, 21 October (Ranck 1872)

1832

minor cholera outbreak in Lexington (October)

 

Lexington chartered as a city - first mayor is Charlton Hunt.

 

Third Street Catholic Cemetery established in Lexington

1833

Importation of slaves prohibited (repealed 1849). Legislature adopts resolution in favor of Union and against nullification (February)

 

Kentucky Colonization Society sends 102 freed Negroes to Liberia (March)
Four letters from Liberia to Lexington

 

major cholera epidemic (May and August) Total Lexington deaths June 1 through August 1: 502 (Observer & Reporter, 22 August)

  Lexington Orphan Asylum established to care for those orphaned by the cholera epidemic (Helm 1916)
 

Kentucky Livestock Association holds exhibit at Lexington (September)

1834

St. Catherine's Academy for young ladies moved to Lexington from Scott County (Ranck 1872; Helm 1916)

 

First city school established in Lexington, intended primarily for orphans of the of cholera epidemic (Helm 1916)

1835

First train runs from Lexington to Frankfort--time, 2 hours 29 minutes (January 29)

  Northern Bank established (Tadlock 1902)
  10 July, Bank of Kentucky opened with R.S. Todd, President, William S. Waller cashier, T.H. Pendell teller, Ben C. Keiser porter  (Observer and Reporter, 15 July 1835)

1836

May, Kentucky legislature chartered Lexington Fire, Life and Marine Insurance Company
1837

national economic crash affects local businesses

 

Third Street Episcopal Cemetery established in Lexington

  St. Peter's Church, Lexington, dedicated 03 December (Helm 1916)
  Odd Fellowship begins in Lexington on May 6 (Tadlock 1902)
1838 Presbyterian cemetery established between Limestone and Upper streets north of Sixth--date approximate (Helm 1916)
1839

Mac Cabe publishes Lexington/Fayette 1838 Directory

1840

Census shows 4135 whites, 2484 slaves, 404 free colored, total population 7023  (Kentucky Gazette, 26 November 1840)

1845

True American, abolitionist journal, established at Lexington by Cassius M. Clay (June 4). Refuses to discontinue publication (August 14); press and type seized

1846-1848

Mexican-American War --- Lexington sent two volunteer infantry companies

1848

Telegraph line built between Lexington and Louisville (March) (Tadlock 1902)

1849

James Lane Allen (1849-1925), born on Parkers Mill Road near Lexington

 

Cholera epidemic - By August 18, total dead numbered 342 (Lexington Observer and Reporter)

 

Lexington Cemetery established, taking over Thomas E. Boswell's woods on Leestown road

1850

Congress passes Fugitive Slave Act permitting slave owners to enter free territory and retake their escaped slaves.

 

The horse Lexington foaled; progenitor of Man O'War, Fair Play, War Admiral and others

1851

Emancipated slaves required to leave state (March)

1852

Henry Clay dies in Washington DC (June 29)
H. Clay manuscript, archival collections

  Lexington and Big Sandy Railroad Company organized - first rail laid 02 March 1872(Tadlock 1902)
1853 Gas plant established in Lexington (Tadlock 1902)

Livestock importing agency organized in Lexington (March)

First gas lighting available for Lexington homes (27 July)
1854

Sayre Female Institute established in Lexington on 01 November

1856

John Cabell Breckinridge of Lexington elected United States Vice President

1857

The Lexington Rifles organized; John H. Morgan, captain (Tadlock 1902)
  National financial panic - railroad building in the bluegrass is halted
By 1860 Lexington Chasseurs organized
1861-1865

United States Civil War
In Lexington, Transylvania College's Morrison Chapel and Medical College were used as hospitals. Federal prisons were at the northwest corner of Short and Limestone streets and on Water street (Helm 1916)

 

During the Civil War, many Fayette County black men gathered at Camp Nelson, a Union army supply depot 5 miles south in Lexington in Jessamine County. They were often joined there by their families.

1861

Legislature adjourns rather than call a convention that could result in Kentucky's secession from the union (February 11)

 

Governor Magoffin refuses to furnish militia for the Union (April 15); President Lincoln says that he will not attack Kentucky as long as it remains neutral

 

A "Sovereignty Convention" at Russellville declares Kentucky a Confederate state with Bowling Green as the capitol (November 18)

 

Kentucky delegates are seated in the Confederate Congress (December 10-12

1862

Legislature rules that anyone in the Confederate Army or service who gives voluntary aid against the United States or Kentucky is expatriated, unless specifically exempted (March 11)

  U.S. Military Commandant of Kentucky appointed (June 1)
 

Confederate General John Hunt Morgan, (1825-1864) a Lexington native, conducts first raids in Kentucky (July)

 

Provisional (Confederate) Government holds inaugural ceremonies in Frankfort, but flees the city four hours later (October 4)

1863

President Abraham Lincoln issues Emancipation Proclamation (January 1). It does not apply to Kentucky.

 

Grinstead and Bradley establish Lexington bank  (Observer and Reporter 29 July 1868)

 

City National Bank established (Observer and Reporter 29 July 1868)

 

The Trotting Track on South Broadway established in Lexington

1864

President Lincoln places Kentucky under martial law (July)

  John Hunt Morgan's Final Moments took place in Greeneville, Tennessee (September 4)
1865

Kentucky legislature rejects Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution (February 24)

 

College of Agriculture, to be part of the Kentucky University and located at or near Lexington, established by legislature (1865)

 

President Johnson restores privilege of writ of habeus corpus to all border states except Kentucky (November 30)

 

First National Bank established in Lexington  (Observer and Reporter 29 July 1868)

1866

Agricultural and Mechanical College (later the University of Kentucky) began as a land-grant college under provisions of the Congressional Merrill Act

 

Federal Civil Rights Act declared all persons born in the United States to be citizens, regardless of circumstance (08 April)

 

Ashland, home of Henry Clay at Lexington, bought by the University of Kentucky (January)

1867

Kentucky legislature rejects Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution (January 8)

 

Kentucky legislature passes amnesty bill (February)

1868

Morgan's Men Association, Inc. founded at Lexington

 

J.M. Hocker and Co. establishes Lexington bank (Observer and Reporter 29 July 1868) 

1869

20 February - Earthquake in Lexington now set at level IV intensity

 

Kentucky legislature rejects Fifteenth Amendment to the US Constitution (March 12)

1875

The Thoroughbred Weekly Record first published

  Red Mile harness racing track opens (September 28)

1877

Early September: W.R. Hill (the one white founder and treasurer of Nicodemus) and Reverend M.M. Bell enroll nearly three hundred freedmen from the vicinity of Lexington, Kentucky for settlement in Nicodemus, Kansas.
September 17 The Lexington, Kentucky group arrives. This date is still celebrated as the founding of
Nicodemus colony in Graham County, Kansas.
1879

Lexington's last market house, Jackson Hall, built

1880

The Iroquois Hunt Club established. Continues in old Grimes Mill

1881

Last Lexington stagecoach runs

1882

Horse-drawn streetcars in use in Lexington

1887

Lexington Opera House opens (August 19)

 

Water trough being erected on court house square (also on Broadway & High, Vine & Limestone, 2nd & Limestone) (Lexington Transcript 27 September 1887)

1888

Kentucky Leader first published

 

Laura Clay, daughter of Madison County abolitionist Cassius Clay, begins the Kentucky Equal Rights Association in Lexington

1890

Electric streetcars introduced in Lexington

1896

Morning Herald first published

1897

Fayette County KY courthouse fire destroys some county records (May 14)

1898-1899

Spanish American War

1899-1902

Phillipine- American War
An Anti-Imperialist Letter from Lexington

1902

Lexington houses renumbered (Morning Herald 27 June 1902)

1904

Bluegrass Cookbook by Minnie C. Fox
1905

Carnegie Public Library built in Lexington

1908

Agricultural and Mechanical College becomes State University

1914-1918

World War I

1916

State University becomes University of Kentucky

 

Lexington segregates its public parks - they remain segregated until 1956. For narrative, photographs and oral histories on the park systems during this time, see The Daily Aesthetic

1917 American National Red Cross holds first state convention on Lexington (August 22-23)
1918

Influenza Pandemic

1921

Fayette County court days outlawed, 26 October
1922

The Kentucky Theater opened its doors on October 4

1924

Calumet Farm founded

1927

Lexington Board of Commerce established commercial air field later known as Blue Grass Airport

1928

27 August, new City Hall to be occupied (Herald, 12 August 1928)
1929

Stock market crash result in increased growing of tobacco as a cash crop; prices fell as a result of over-production

1932

Sesquicentennial celebration of Bryan's Station

1936

First race at the Keeneland Race Course, established on part of the old Keene Place, originally granted to Francis Keene by his kinsman and Virginia governor, Patrick Henry

1938

Lexington Children's Theatre established

 

Adolph Rupp's Era UK championship basketball teams

1939-1945

World War II

1941

A Hubbell Industrial Plant was opened in Lexington
1947 Man O' War died
1948 The Lyric Theatre opens

1949

Lyman T. Johnson wins discrimination lawsuit, is first black admitted to the graduate school of the University of Kentucky

1950-1953

Korean War

1956

26 December, first IBM typewriter rolled off the line in Lexington plant

1958

Production begins in Lexington at International Business Machines (IBM) plant (Lexington office estab. 1948)

1961-1975

Vietnam War

1963

The Trane Company opens new plant in Lexington to manufacture central station air handlers
1974

Lexington and Fayette County governments form a metro-government

1976

Kentucky ratifies Thirteenth Amendment to the US Constitution (March 18)

 

Kentucky ratifies Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution (March 18)

 

Kentucky ratifies Fifteenth Amendment to the US Constitution (March 18)

 

Lexington Opera House, newly renovated, reopens (May 22)

1979

Fayette countian John Young Brown, Jr. elected Kentucky governor

1988

First annual Lexington Roots and Heritage Festival


Sources include Kentucky: A Guide to the Bluegrass State, Federal Writers' Project, Work Projects Administration, Harcourt Brace and Company, New York, 1939; Lexington and the Bluegrass Country, Works Project Administration, 1938; the LDS Family History Library research outline for Kentucky; History of Lexington, Kentucky, George W. Ranck, Robert Clarke & Co., Cincinnati, 1872; Helm's
History Shrines in and About Lexington, The (Lexington, KY) Leader, 02 April, 1916; Tadlock's The History of Four Lexingtons; and other sources as indicated by active links.


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1999-2006 by Pam Brinegar

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