Danville attracted early settlers due to numerous springs

Published 8:27 pm Friday, May 24, 2019

A plat showing the locations of settlers of Danville in 1774 was found in early records in Stanford, according to an article in July 9, 1929, edition of the Kentucky Advocate.

Each settler built a station near a water supply, either from a spring or a branch.

The headline called the plat a “Remarkable Discovery.”

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A deed made to Walker Daniel by John Crow in 1784 showed Daniel’s line on the east, following Town Branch; and on the west the present Fourth Street as the boundary.

Between the two points, the land extended north and south far enough to embrace 67 acres.

John Crow’s homeplace, where his station was on the east side of Town Branch, contained 40 acres as evidence in his deed to Hughes on record in Harrodsburg.

The plat shows the distance from the Town Spring to James Harrod’s “Sinking Spring” to be 3,000 feet slightly southwest. By measurement that placed the spring on the Centre College campus, in front of the President’s House.

James Harrod’s Sinking Spring also was known for more than 100 years as one of the town springs of Danville. Harrod claimed the spring in 1774 in the name of his brother, James Harrod, who was not a member of the original company of 1774. James came to Kentucky in 1776.

Brown’s Spring, where James Brown lived, was about 3,600 feet southeast of Sinking Spring. In later years, Brown’s Spring was known as the Tompkins Spring, near South Second Street.

Samuel Givens’ Spring was about 3,500 feet southwest of Sinking Spring and in later years was known as Fackler’s Spring.

William Field’s Spring was a mile and quarter northwest of Sinking Spring. The pioneer Field’s graveyard is on the Col. R.G. Evans farm.

The Round Spring marked the location of Martin Stall’s cabin, about 3,500 feet northeast of Sinking Spring, which was carried through the courts by their heirs and was finally awarded to Margaret Harrod, Col. James Harrod’s only daughter.

Azor Rees built his cabin about 100 feet southwest from the Town Spring, near the point where cottages stood behind the Catholic Church.

John Crow had settled east of the Town Spring on Wilderness Road, which then followed the course of Stanford Street and McGrorty Avenue, through to Shakertown Pike and through Fox Caldwell’s property to Gentry Lane on the Harrodsburg Pike, and to Bardstown, Harrod’s Station and Harrodstown.

The deed of Crow to Hughes for his house and 40 acres is on record in the Mercer County clerk’s office. His line followed the Town Branch and adjoined the town lands on the east which had been sold to Walker Daniel.

30 pioneers settle in Danville

In 1774, fewer than 50 settlers had taken up their homes in the United States west of the Allegheny Mountains. The sworn records and land grants show conclusively more than 30 of the number were making their homes in and around Danville. Of the total number, several had settled along the Ohio River.

Of the 40 men who came with James Harrod, 30 or more are known to have settled in Danville.

One of the outstanding reasons why Danville came to be the first town settled in Kentucky was due to the large number of springs within its limits.

There are more than 20 springs in Danville and immediately around the city limits.

Practically all the springs named on the plat are in the present limits of the town.