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


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


Kentucky explored to the Mississippi by Colonel Wood
Kentucky Prehistory
Sauk and Fox
First Nations Histories

1689 - 1763

French and Indian Wars

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


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


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


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


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


American Revolution


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


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.


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)

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)

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)

Bourbon County formed from Fayette County (01 May)


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


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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)


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)

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)

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)

"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)


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)

Transylvania University has schools of medicine and law


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)

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


Other Lexington restoration correspondence


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)

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)

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)

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


December, New Madrid earthquake (shocks continue into 1812)


War of 1812 - Kentucky suffered enormous losses


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)

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)

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)

Mary Todd, future wife of Abraham Lincoln, born


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)


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)

Lottery authorized to establish Lexington medical college


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)


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)

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)

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)


minor cholera outbreak in Lexington (October)


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


Third Street Catholic Cemetery established in Lexington


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)


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)


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)


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

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)

Mac Cabe publishes Lexington/Fayette 1838 Directory


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


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


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


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


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


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


Emancipated slaves required to leave state (March)


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)

Sayre Female Institute established in Lexington on 01 November


John Cabell Breckinridge of Lexington elected United States Vice President


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

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.


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


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)


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


President Lincoln places Kentucky under martial law (July)

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

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)


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)


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


Kentucky legislature passes amnesty bill (February)


Morgan's Men Association, Inc. founded at Lexington


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


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


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


The Thoroughbred Weekly Record first published

  Red Mile harness racing track opens (September 28)


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.

Lexington's last market house, Jackson Hall, built


The Iroquois Hunt Club established. Continues in old Grimes Mill


Last Lexington stagecoach runs


Horse-drawn streetcars in use in Lexington


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)


Kentucky Leader first published


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


Electric streetcars introduced in Lexington


Morning Herald first published


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


Spanish American War


Phillipine- American War
An Anti-Imperialist Letter from Lexington


Lexington houses renumbered (Morning Herald 27 June 1902)


Bluegrass Cookbook by Minnie C. Fox

Carnegie Public Library built in Lexington


Agricultural and Mechanical College becomes State University


World War I


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)

Influenza Pandemic


Fayette County court days outlawed, 26 October

The Kentucky Theater opened its doors on October 4


Calumet Farm founded


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


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

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


Sesquicentennial celebration of Bryan's Station


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


Lexington Children's Theatre established


Adolph Rupp's Era UK championship basketball teams


World War II


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


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


Korean War


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


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


Vietnam War


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

Lexington and Fayette County governments form a metro-government


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)


Fayette countian John Young Brown, Jr. elected Kentucky governor


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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