In my last post, Preston, Floyd, and Breckinridge; Revolutionary War Names are a Link to the Past (Part 1), I discussed Floyd’s Station. As noted in that post, Stations were basically mini-forts positioned throughout Colonial Kentucky. Pioneers and explorers west of the Appalachian Mountains used these Stations to defend themselves against the constant attack of the American Indians.
When I was working on the research for my post on John Floyd and his station, I stumbled (as I often do) upon the map created by John Filson, showing Floyd’s Station. As you see above, there were several other stations along Beargrass Creek, and as I read them, some names sounded all too familiar. Of course, I fell down that rabbit hole of research and this expanded post came to be. If you are a Louisvillian, these names should be familiar to you too. While most of the stations are gone, the names remain. These names are a link to our Revolutionary War past. So, come with me as I introduce you to a few more people who helped form our nation – the brave, the determined, and those that should not be forgotten.
Colonel William Linn was born around 1734 in Warren County, Colonial New Jersey to Andrew Linn and Rachel Crowe Linn. While little is known of his childhood, it is known that the family later moved into Maryland and then Pennsylvania. It is noted that, “He had developed marked ability as a scout and Indian fighter very early” (Beattie, Pioneer Linns of Kentucky).
In 1757, he was a volunteer ranger in Captain Alexander Beal’s company during the French and Indian War. In 1758, he served as a volunteer for Captain Evan Shelby in the General Forbes Campaign. In 1774, during Dunmore’s War, it is believed he served as a scout under the command of Major Angus McDonald. It is here that Linn became acquainted with George Rogers Clark, who, at the time was only 22 years old.
It is believed that shortly afterward, Linn, his brother Andrew, and several others traveled into Kentucky to locate land claims. It is known that he visited Fort Boonesborough, and while there he met Colonel Richard Henderson. From there, he went on to Leestown (current day Frankfort) where he ran into George Rogers Clark again, who was chief surveyor for Hancock Lee of the Ohio Company. He traveled on from there, and it is believed that this was when he claimed a track of land along the Beargrass Creek in Jefferson County.
Returning to Pennsylvania, Linn and his brothers then served in the Revolutionary War. William entered service in Virginia along-side Captain George Gibson. Linn moved up ranks and found himself in many battles and in many locations. If interested, you may read more about his service here.
It is in 1779, that we find William Linn establishing one of the first stations along Beargrass Creek, on the land that we know today to be Hurstbourne Country Club. It is here that he built (or had built) a spring house, various cabins for settlers, and other stone dwellings.
In 1779, Linn was one of the 39 signers petitioning the Virginia Legislature to establish the Town of Louisville. In 1780, Linn joined George Rogers Clark on an expedition from the Falls into Ohio to pursue Indians who had been harassing settlements in the Bluegrass area.
On March 5, 1781, Colonel William Linn was headed to County Court in Louisville, leaving the station ahead of others.
Bland Ballard was living at Linn’s Station at the time recovering from a wound received in the fight at Piqua, and in the letter to Senator Linn before
“Lynn left the station a little ahead of the others of thePioneer Linns of Kentucky
party who were going to the court. Shortly after, a report of
several guns was heard. A party from the fort immediately went
to the place and found his horse killed by a shot but could find
nothing of Linn. The next day the search was renewed, and
his body was found about a mile from the station and near the
place of residence of the late Colonel Anderson.”
John Floyd went on to call Linn, “one of the finest Indian fighters in the world.” Unfortunately, Colonel William Linn’s burial site was never marked and therefore, never found. While Linn may be gone, his name remains in Linn Station Road and the area of Lyndon.
This station located on the Middle Fork of Beargrass Creek was named for Captain Peter A’Sturgis. (James A’Sturgis was John Floyd’s brother-in-law. It is believed that Peter A’Sturgis may have been Floyd’s nephew, or at least a relative.) He settled on a 2,000 acre tract of land that had been surveyed in 1774, and he established a station. By 1780, it had become a rather large fort, housing between 20 and 40 families.
Sturgis served in Captain William Harrod’s Company that was stationed near the Falls of the Ohio in 1780. Also in 1780, the land on which Sturgis’s Station stood was granted by patent to Colonel William Christian for his service during the French and Indian War.
Sturgis’s Station would later be known as Fort William for Colonel William Christian.
In 1786, Christian’s daughter, Priscilla would go on to marry Alexander Bullitt. Colonel Christian gave 1,000 of his 2,000 acres of land to Alexander and Priscilla as a wedding gift. This land would go on to become Oxmoor Farm.
Christian County, Kentucky and Christian Way near Oxmoor Farm are named for Colonel William Christian.
Low Dutch Station
Originating from the Netherlands, the Low Dutch people were in America as early as 1640. The Low Dutch were adventurers, settlers, and farmers. They built schools and organized churches, forming the first Dutch Reformed Church west of the Alleghenies.
Located in the area that is today Kresge Way, Browns Lane, and Bowling Parkway, Low Dutch Station was established in 1780 when Hendrick Banta led a large group of Dutch pioneers from Pennsylvania. They rented the land from John Floyd to build Low Dutch, or New Holland Station along Beargrass Creek.
Later, the group fled from American Indians in the area and went on to purchase land from Squire Boone in Henry and Shelby counties. The land left behind by the Low Dutch was later acquired by James Brown of Maryland in 1810. (As stated in Part 1, the history of the Brown family is coming up in my next post!)
Today, all that remains of Low Dutch Station is a name; Dutchman’s Lane. It was in fact the Dutch man who settled this part of Jefferson County.
Spring Station was established in 1780, along Beal’s Branch of Beargrass Creek, by Richard and Martha Steele. The McKamie and Steele families were Scotch-Irish Presbyterians. Richard was the great-grandson of Sir Richard Steele of Ireland.
“An example of a Kentucky wife who proved brave when her husband was in trouble is Martha Steele. The daughter of Robert and Martha (Breckinridge) McKamie. Martha Steele was born near Mercersburg, Pennsylvania around 1748. She married Richard Steele in 1769. They were the parents of thirteen children. In 1780 they moved to Kentucky to occupy the land which Richard had been granted for his military service [during the Revolutionary War].
After traveling down the Ohio River on flatboats to Corn Island at the Falls of
the Ohio, the Steeles and their companions settled along Beargrass Creek in Jefferson County and erected a stockage, Spring Station.
When Spring Station was attacked by Indians, Martha, along with the other women and the children, went to Floyd Station [seven miles away]. It was felt that they would be safer in this larger and better fortified stockade. When Martha learned that her husband had been seriously injured in the shoulder, she left the stockade. Traveling by night and carrying her small child, she rode past the Indian encampment, and returned to Spring Station to nurse her husband back to health.
Longhunter Newsletter, Summer 1997
In 1784, the Steele family moved to Fayette County where they settled on a 1,000 acre farm. Martha Steele died September 22, 1822 in Shelbyville at the home of her eldest son.”
Based on current day maps and names of streets, I can only conclude that Spring Station was in the area of present-day Seneca Park nearest Cannons Lane. Beal’s Branch of Beargrass Creek seems to no longer exist as it does not show up on a Google map search.
Sullivan’s Station, established sometime before 1784, was named for Daniel Sullivan. Sullivan was another frontiersman and Revolutionary War soldier that deserves as much remembrance as Boone, Kenton, and Clark.
Born around 1754-1755 in the Valley of Virginia, Daniel Sullivan grew up with his brother, James and sister, Sarah along the Potomac River. Like many during this time period, Daniel’s life was full of adventure. To read about the events of Sullivan’s life, click here.
For the purpose of this post, we’ll jump to the history that took place in present-day Louisville. These events were taken from this NPS History document.
- “In 1780, Sullivan and his brother, James, moved to the Falls of the Ohio (Louisville) and near there they established Sullivan’s Station. The brothers were involved heavily in land speculation. Daniel eventually was to claim more than 11,000 acres.”
- “During the summer of 1782, the Sullivan brothers built for General George Rogers Clark the first of what was intended to be a fleet of gunboats to patrol the Ohio against Indian attack.”
- “Daniel Sullivan also was employed as an “express” in the dangerous occupation of carrying messages between military outposts. On September 9, 1782, Sullivan and Colonel John Floyd set out in a canoe from Fort Pitt to convey messages and a load of 50 three-pound cannonballs to General Clark at Louisville.”
- “…in April, 1790, along the Buffalo Trace about 67 miles from Vincennes [Indiana]. Daniel Sullivan and Jacob Tevebaugh, Jr., were attacked and were killed by Indians.”
My research of Sullivan’s Station came up empty. I could not find anything to denote exactly where the station was located. In addition, I did not find anything to be named for him in Jefferson County, KY. I did however, find that a county in Indiana was named for Sullivan.
This lack of information regarding the location of Sullivan’s Station, as well as thefact that nothing was named for him, says to me that we should have done better. These men (and women) who helped create our towns, cities, states, and this country should NOT be forgotten.
I know this was not my typical post type. I do prefer to write about places that can be visited and/or toured, and I love to write about the antics that usually come with our travels. I felt drawn to this history though. I felt that the stories of these few early stations needed to be told.
The names of our streets and roads are often the last reminder of our history, of those who came before us. Our history and these people should not be forgotten. In telling the stories, I did my small part; helping those brave, courageous, and most adventurous people to be remembered.
Let us never forget our Revolutionary War Patriots!