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Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

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Lexington is located in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky and is known as "The Horse Capital of the World".

History

Lexington was founded by European Americans in June 1775, in what was then considered Fincastle County, Virginia, 17 years before Kentucky became a state. A party of frontiersmen, led by William McConnell, camped on the Middle Fork of Elkhorn Creek (now known as Town Branch and rerouted under Vine Street) at the site of the present-day McConnell Springs. Upon hearing of the colonists' victory in the Battles of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, they named their campsite Lexington. It was the first of many American places to be named after the Massachusetts town. The risk of Native American uprisings against colonialism delayed permanent settlement for four years.

In 1779, during the American Revolutionary War, Col. Robert Patterson and 25 companions came from Fort Harrod and erected a blockhouse. They built cabins and a stockade, establishing a settlement known as Bryan's Station. In 1780, Lexington was made the seat of Virginia's newly organized Fayette County. Colonists defended it against the British Army and allied Shawnee uprising in 1782, during the last part of the American Revolutionary War.

The town was chartered on May 6, 1782, by an act of the Virginia General Assembly. The First African Baptist Church was founded c. 1790 by Peter Durrett, a Baptist preacher and slave held by Joseph Craig. Durrett helped guide "The Travelling Church", a group migration of several hundred pioneers led by the preacher Lewis Craig and Captain William Ellis from Orange County, Virginia to Kentucky in 1781.It is the oldest black Baptist congregation in Kentucky and the third-oldest in the United States.

In 1806, Lexington was a rising city of the vast territory to the west of the Appalachian Mountains; poet Josiah Espy described it in a letter:

“Lexington is the largest and most wealthy town in Kentucky, or indeed west of the Allegheny Mountains; the main street of Lexington has all the appearance of Market Street in Philadelphia on a busy day ... I would suppose it contains about five hundred dwelling houses [it was closer to three hundred], many of them elegant and three stories high. About thirty brick buildings were then raising, and I have little doubt but that in a few years it will rival, not only in wealth, but in population, the most populous inland town of the United States ... The country around Lexington for many miles in every direction, is equal in beauty and fertility to anything the imagination can paint and is already in a high state of cultivation.” Residents have fondly continued to refer to Lexington as "The Athens of the West" since Espy's poem dedicated to the city.

In the early 19th century, planter John Wesley Hunt became the first millionaire west of the Alleghenies. The growing town was devastated by a cholera epidemic in 1833, which had spread throughout the waterways of the Mississippi and Ohio valleys: 500 of 7,000 Lexington residents died within two months, including nearly one-third of the congregation of Christ Church Episcopal. London Ferrill, second preacher of First African Baptist, was one of three clergy who stayed in the city to serve the suffering victims. Additional cholera outbreaks occurred in 1848–49 and the early 1850s. Cholera was spread by people using contaminated water supplies, but its transmission was not understood in those years. Often, the wealthier people would flee town for outlying areas to try to avoid the spread of disease.

Planters held slaves for use as field hands, laborers, artisans, and domestic servants. In the city, slaves worked primarily as domestic servants and artisans, although they also worked with merchants, shippers, and in a wide variety of trades. Plantations raised commodity crops of tobacco and hemp, and thoroughbred horse breeding and racing became established in this part of the state. In 1850, one-fifth of the state's population were slaves, and Lexington had the highest concentration of slaves in the entire state. It also had a significant population of free blacks, who were usually of mixed race. By 1850, First African Baptist Church, led by London Ferrill, a free black from Virginia, had a congregation of 1,820 persons, the largest of any, black or white, in the entire state.

Many of 19th-century America's leading political and military figures spent part of their lives in the city, including U.S. President Abraham Lincoln and Confederate President Jefferson Davis (who attended Transylvania University in 1823 and 1824); Confederate general John Hunt Morgan; U.S. Senator and Vice President John C. Breckinridge; and Speaker of the House, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of State Henry Clay, who had a plantation nearby. Lincoln's wife Mary Todd Lincoln was born and raised in Lexington, and the couple visited the city several times after their marriage in 1842.

During the 19th century, migrants moved from central Kentucky to Tennessee and Missouri. They established their traditional crops and livestock in Middle Tennessee and an area of Missouri along the Missouri River. While Kentucky stayed in the Union during the American Civil War, the residents of different regions of the state had divided loyalties.

In 1935 during the Great Depression, the Addiction Research Center (ARC) was created as a small research unit at the U.S. Public Health Service Hospital in Lexington. Founded as one of the first drug rehabilitation clinics in the nation, the ARC was affiliated with a federal prison. Expanded as the first alcohol and drug rehabilitation hospital in the United States, it was known as "Narco" of Lexington. The hospital was later converted to operate as part of the federal prison system; it is known as the Federal Medical Center, Lexington and serves a variety of health needs for prisoners. Lexington also served as the headquarters for a pack horse library in the late 1930s and early 1940s.

Lexington has continued as the center of thoroughbred horse breeding and racing in Kentucky, with major racing and sales facilities, as well as a museum of horses and the sport.

Links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bluegrass_region

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fincastle_County,_Virginia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elkhorn_Creek_(Kentucky)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bryan_Station

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shawnee

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_African_Baptist_Church_(Lexington,_Kentucky)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Travelling_Church

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pack_Horse_Library_Project

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kentucky_Horse_Park

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Red_Mile

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keeneland