A book about the settlement of Danville that includes documented materials, early maps, deeds, estate settlements, and letters written by early settlers will be for sale at the Constitution Square Arts Festival.
“KEN-TAH-THE, The Life and Times of Walker Daniel, founder of the towns lands of Danville, Kentucky
, 18th Day of June 1784” is about the settlement of Danville. Jerry E. Jones, a physician and owner of a bed and breakfast on North Third Street, is author of the book published in 2009.
“I have been interested in local history since we’ve been in Danville,” said Jones, who moved here a few years ago with his wife, Nancy. “I became interested in how Danville got its name.”
Jones included excerpts from Supreme Court records while this area was Kentucky County, Va., 10 years before it became a state.
During his short time in the wilderness, Walker Daniel acquired thousands of acres of land. He and Isaac Hite organized a company, and most of his partners were surveyors.
Daniel also had a store and law office.
“Walker was a big-time businessman,” said Jones. “He had his finger in every pie.”
Daniel was prosecuting attorney for the new District Court of Kentucky; was attorney general of Kentucky County; and was appointed with John May to build a log structure to house a courtroom and jail house near John Crow’s Station. Daniel began to build the courthouse after May got more involved in land surveys.
Killed by Indians
While on a trip Aug. 12, 1784, from Louisville to Salt Works, Daniel and George Keightley were killed by Indians, according to a letter written by William Johnson.
“This Western County, perhaps Sir, has never sustained a greater loss, or more deep felt shock, the death of one man, than it now does in that of Walker Daniel Esquire,” who was killed, Johnson wrote.
David Rice, first Presbyterian minister in Danville, had charge of a memorial service believed to have been held on the “Public Square.” After Daniel’s death, his brother, Robert Daniel
, and Hite were named administrators of his estate. James Speed, Abraham Irvin, Robert Caldwell and Thomas Allin were to make appraisal of the estate. Thousands of acres had to be surveyed and merchandise, goods, town land, property and livestock had to be appraised.
Since there was no recorded will, Daniel’s younger brother, Robert, assumed the responsibility of the inheritance. It took eight months to complete the inventory and appraising of the Walker Daniel estate, according to Lincoln County court records. The records later were moved to Mercer County.
Daniel left a wife, Mary, and two children and an another brother, Martin. Mary and one of the children were killed by Indians five years after her husband was shot.
Town began with 63 lots
The plan, drawn Sept. 14, 1785, for Danville included 63 lots plus a public square and tanyard land. The town trustees — George Muter, Henry Innes, Thomas Perkins, Peter Tardaveau and Andrew McCalla — purchased 26 of the lots.
In December 1787, an act legally established the town of Danville in the county of Mercer.
Walker Daniel was well-educated, a lawyer, soldier, surveyor, frontiersman, attorney general and statesman. He also was a businessman, entrepreneur, land speculator, store manager and tavern keeper, according to Jones’ book.
Jones also has written two volumes of Jones genealogy and more than 30 articles published during his 27 years practicing medicine. He also published “Brickwall Protocol” to help genealogists who run into dead ends when doing research.
“I began doing genealogy when I was 9 years old,” said Jones, who has a research library at his residence.
SO YOU KNOW
“KEN-TAH-THE, The Life and Times of Walker Daniel, founder of the towns lands of Danville, Kentucky, 18th Day of June 1784” will be available at the Constitution Square Arts Festival. Books also may be purchased from Jones by calling (859) 319-0738. Cost is $28 each plus shipping.