Sunday, June 8, 2014

52 Ancestors - #23 Benjamin Franklin Hardesty - Early Kentucky Settler

Benjamin Franklin Hardesty was born around 1735, the son of William Hardesty and Priscilla Lawrence. The family lived on a portion of “His Lordship’s Favour” a plantation which William’s mother Sarah Meades Hardesty had inherited from her father William Meades. Benjamin was the fourth son out of five and he also had three sisters.

Benjamin Franklin Hardesty married Elizabeth Hance, the daughter of Joseph Hance and Ann Johns about 1765 in Calvert County, Maryland.  Their first child Henry was born in Maryland and he was most probably followed by Elizabeth, Rebecca and Thomas. At some point they moved to Virginia because some of the children appear to have been born there - Samantha in about 1773, Benjamin in about 1776, William in 1777, Kinzea in 1779 and Samuel about 1782. According to some records Elizabeth and Benjamin may have had another child while living in Virginia.

In 1784 Benjamin brought his family to Kentucky (which at that time was still part of Virginia.) It was only nine years after Daniel Boone, thirty-five men, and two women blaze the Wilderness Trail into Kentucky. Sometimes it is hard to realize how difficult it was to travel from place to place back then.

The following is from Border Life: Experience and Memory in the Revolutionary Ohio Valley by Elizabeth A. Perkins, John Dabney Shane: 

Animal and man-made trails provided a rudimentary road system through the dense vegetation, although travelers needed considerable experience to navigate these routes successfully. Benjamin Hardesty described his family’s confusion upon their arrival in Kentucky in 1784 when they encountered the maze of trails and paths which criss-crossed the countryside. “We got out of our road at the Lower Blue Lick, and got lost with our wagons before we got to Bryant’s Station,” he said. “Followed an old Indian trace that let from Limestone to Bryant’s Station.” He added, with evident chagrin, “we took the wrong buffalo trace, of a good many that came in to the lick. Were two weeks getting to Bryant’s Station (sic) from Maysville,” a distance of approximately 60 miles.

1784 was also the year that the first statehood convention was held. Several factors contributed to the desire of the residents of Kentucky to separate from Virginia. First, traveling to the state capital was long and dangerous. Second, offensive use of local militia against Indian raids required authorization from the governor of Virginia. Last, Virginia refused to recognize the importance of trade along the Mississippi River to Kentucky's economy. Trade with the Spanish colony of New Orleans, which controlled the mouth of the Mississippi, was forbidden.

Benjamin and Elizabeth had three more children after they moved to Kentucky - Mary was born in about 1784, Sarah in about1786, and Francis in about 1790. As more settlers arrived and were born, the problems increased and nine more conventions were held. Finally, on June 1, 1792, with Virginia consenting to the separation, the United States Congress accepted the Kentucky Constitution and admitted it as the 15th state, without creating a territory first.

Benjamin and his youngest son, Francis, lived in and ran the first tavern between Lexington, Fayette County, and Maysville, Mason County, Kentucky. It took up to five days to make the trip between Maysville and Lexington, so hopeful proprietors established inns or taverns to serve travelers.

Elizabeth and Benjamin were married for 53 years when he died in 1818 in Bourbon County, Kentucky. Elizabeth died in 1833 and her will was probated in June of that year.  

Great Great Great Great Great Great Grandparents: William Hardesty/ Priscilla Lawrence
Great Great Great Great Great Grandparents: Benjamin Hardesty/Elizabeth Hance
Great Great Great Great Grandparents: Kinzea Hardesty Sr./Sally Campter (Kemper or Kempter)
Great Great Great Grandparents: Kinzea W Hardesty Jr./Mary (Pollie) Sallee Dingle
Great Great Grandparents: Mary Grave Hardesty/John Tucker
Great Grandparents: William John Tucker/Georgianna Katherine Ragan
Grandparents: Alva Ashbury Tucker/Effa Belle Graves
Parents: Elva Rosalie Tucker/Lionell Burris Mitchell

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