Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

Trip to Kentucky yields miles of family history

Grandma Henry was Huldah Pratt, a young woman, when she married "Mr. Henry," a Civil War veteran and widower with three growing children. She was a petite, gentle woman who loved kids, and she died when I was 7 years old.

As Mother was their first child, she inherited Grandma’s well-worn, soft, leather-bound Bible. It became mine when Mother died in 1937.

I wasn’t one to care about ancestors at age 23, but I’d heard that Grandma’s relative, Rebecca Bryan, married Daniel Boone, and that one of their sons was the first white male child born in Kentucky. I learned that Rebecca’s parents were Tories, not happy with her choice of husband, but they moved their family several times, following Rebecca and Daniel as he sought "elbow room."

Gradually I became more acquainted with the Bryans, Boones and Logans who relocated together. There were few eligible spouses, so it was natural that the young people intermarried.

For example, Daniel Boone and his brother Edward married sisters, Rebecca and Sarah Bryan. I’m now old and more curious about our past. I’m particularly interested in the young mother who rode horseback, carrying an infant who was only 3 weeks old when they left Kentucky for Missouri. And I want to know more about the woman who wove coverlets and required payment to be made in silver so she could shape the coins into spoons and other tableware.

When my young friend, Amy Power, offered to drive me "anywhere you want to go" for the nine days of her vacation, I chose Kentucky. I was eager to visit the sites of pioneer forts of our ancestors named Bryans, Logans and Boones.

Amy hinted that she’d also like to "put at least one foot on the Appalachian Trail." Hooray! I’d like that. We did all of that about a month ago in her car with a flexible itinerary. Kentucky came first.

In Lexington, we drove down Bryan’s Station Road, northeast of the city, and stood where my ancestors had camped more than 200 years ago. Boone’s Station and Boonesborough, the fort, were on the beautiful Kentucky River several miles south of Lexington.

I had imagined that the three families lived in a cluster for protection, but a native we met at a country store explained that the settlers spread out so the Indians wouldn’t concentrate their fury in one place. That explained why it was forty miles to the site of Logans Fort, home of friends of the Bryans and Boones.

Grandma Henry’s Bible record is worn and partly faded away, but we know that her mother, my great-grandmother, was Emeline Logan. Could she have been the weaver and silversmith? There may have been two with that name; we know that there were at least three, including me, who were named Emeline or Emelyn.

South of Lexington we found the location of Boonesborough where the Bryans and Boones resisted nine torturing days of attacks by Indians who finally gave up and left. Amy and I stood near the beautiful Kentucky River, marveling at the courage of the women who made the 800 mile trip to Missouri in homemade "pirogues," canoes made by hollowing out tall trees with crude tools.

Amy was taking my picture as I read a plaque about the Logans on a street corner in Stanford. Suddenly a woman in a pick-up truck stopped and yelled, "Follow me home, I live on Logans’ farm."

What luck! We spent an interesting hour there, and her brother offered to send me a book on the Logan family.

I’m a giant step farther into the search for past relatives, and they get more interesting as I go.

Next Tuesday I’ll tell what happened in the Appalachians.

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