Jouett helped America gain its independence

Published 7:55 pm Wednesday, July 3, 2019


State Representative

This time of year our thoughts always turn to the Fourth of July and all the pomp and circumstance that comes with Independence Day. Though my heart belongs here in Kentucky and my focus is on our state, I am also thinking of the extraordinary gift that is the American Experience.

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The United States of America is still the greatest country on the face of the Earth. I believe it and I make no apologies for it.  What was once an experiment forged out of tyranny by a small group of patriots is today a beacon of opportunity and hope. People still want to come here and live in what President Ronald Reagan called “the shining city upon a hill.”

America is free because of the courage and foresight of our founders, as well as the brave men and women who have fought for freedom both here and abroad. Over 240 years ago, 13 colonies banded together to create a new nation, free of colonial interference and a system that taxed them without providing them any say in their own destiny. The signers of the Declaration of Independence had a different America in mind than the one that existed under British rule. They wanted power to come from the people and a government that reflected the people’s will.

While Kentucky was only a Virginia County during the Revolutionary War, early settlers like George Rogers Clark played a big role in defending the Western frontier from the British and Native Americans, and frontiersmen fought side by side with men from Virginia, Maryland and the Carolinas on the Eastern front.  Early Kentucky settlers definitely made their mark. Have you ever heard of a man named Jack Jouett? I will be honest with you, I had not until recently.  Let me tell you about the man who came to be known as “the Paul Revere of the South.”

In the summer of 1781, Captain Jack Jouett, a member of the Virginia militia, happened to hear the conversations of British soldiers at a nearby tavern. They were under the command of Colonel Banastre Tarleton. The soldiers were saying that troops were on their way to Charlottesville to capture Thomas Jefferson, who was the governor of Virginia and author of the Declaration of Independence. The British were not terribly fond of that document.

Jouett covered most of the distance before dawn, riding into the night and traveling mostly back roads because he knew that the soldiers would likely traverse the main road. He was able to alert everyone in time, cementing his status as a hero of the Revolutionary War.

Jouett eventually moved here to Kentucky where he served in the Kentucky House of Representatives. His home still stands in rural Woodford County, and it humbles me to know this Revolutionary War hero once served in the same legislative body I now serve.

I hope you know that I always welcome your comments and concerns on any issues impacting our Commonwealth, even while we are not in session. As always, I can be reached at home anytime or through the toll-free message line in Frankfort at 1-800-372-7181. You can also contact me via e-mail at

Daniel Elliott is the state representative for Kentucky’s 54th district, which includes Boyle and Casey counties.