Looking back: Danville paper shared Kentucky Gazette excerpts in 18th century

Published 6:06 am Saturday, January 11, 2020

Columns with excerpts taken from the Kentucky Gazette newspaper in the late 1700s and early 1800s appeared in The Advocate-Messenger and other state newspapers in the 1930s and 1940s.

The Gazette, the first newspaper west of the Allegheny Mountains, was established in 1787, in Lexington. It ceased publication in December 1848.

Kentucky native W.C. Barrickman, a former Kentucky newspaperman and lawyer, and a friend of J. Curtis Alcock of Danville, local newspaper editor, compiled the information from The Gazette.

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The columns contained information on items lost or stolen and found, runaway slaves, Indian wars, legal matters, land for sale, travel, estate settlements, early settlers and where they lived, names on letters to people in Danville, and other state news.

Barrickman and Alcock, publisher of the Danville Daily Messenger, and secretary of the Kentucky Press Association, established The Jeffersonian, established as a Democratic newspaper, in 1909.

During the 25th anniversary, Alcock said he first doubted the possibility of making a newspaper in Jeffersontown a success, despite the enthusiasm of Barrickman.

It did not pay well at first, and Barrickman left after a short time.

Alcock was referred to as “the bravest man in Kentucky, because he started a newspaper at Jeffersontown and made it go.”

Barrickman (1871-1958), a native of Shepherdsville in Bullitt County, was a secretary of the Louisville Chamber of Commerce. He also owned the Shelby Sentinel, and sold it in 1904.

He moved in the 1920s to Texas. He was a secretary and agricultural assistant in Dallas, and also worked in law enforcement.

He was a member and secretary of the Kentucky Club, organized for former Kentuckians, in Wichita Falls, Texas, in 1910.


Excerpts from Gazette


  • Land for sale: Nicholas Lewis of Danville had 80 acres of land for sale in Lexington near Jessamine County line; Nicholas Meriwether, executor of George Meriwether, was selling real and personal property on March 10, 1791, in Danville, 1,200 acres on Silver Creek, 1,490 acres on Clover Creek, and a parcel of land in the forks of Dick’s River area.

It was also announced that a “party will leave the Crab Orchard to go through the wilderness.The travelers were warned to “come well armed.”

A reward was offered in 1791 for a runaway slave “belonging” to John Meaux of Mercer County.


  • Mississippi navigation: A meeting of “respectable inhabitants of the state” was scheduled in May 1794 to consider “their right to the navigation of the Mississippi River” and to appoint a committee to oversee the meeting.

“The people west of the Appalachians are entitled by nature to the free and undisturbed navigation of the Mississippi. From 1783 until now the right has been interfered by the Spaniards.

“The general government by design or mistaken policy have adopted no effective measures to maintain this right, and such measures as have been adopted have been veiled in mysterious secrecy.”

The people demanded their natural rights to the Mississippi River and requested the government immediately take action on the matter.


  • Logan elected: Benjamin Logan of Lincoln County was chosen as a state representative and served from 1792-1795.


  • Post offices open: After complaints in December 1794 about not receiving mail and newspapers from the East via the Ohio River, mail began to reach Kentucky by the way of the Ohio River and through Cumberland Gap.

Danville was one the three post offices established along with Frankfort and Lexington. Thomas Barbee of Danville was the first postmaster in Kentucky. Barbee said the mail would run every two weeks in Danville. Post riders would stay in Danville from Saturday to Monday to pick up mail. Mail was to be carried between Danville and Richmond, Virginia, every two weeks.


  • 17 newspapers: In 1810, Kentucky had 17 newspapers, and there were 346 in the United States. Those in Kentucky included Joseph O. Letcher at Lancaster and Benjamin Munroe at Stanford, both evening newspapers.


  • Military duty: In 1820, the state legislature received requests from officers of the Militia and other citizens of Mercer County, asking that Shakers be required to pay a penalty for exemption from military duty.

“Many of the Shakers of Pleasant Hill in Mercer County were soldiers in the American Revolution.”


  • Token of regret: After receiving information in July 1826 of the deaths of Governor Isaac Shelby of Lincoln County, and former presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, first vice president and second president of the United States, a group of citizens in Frankfort passed resolutions that any citizen in Frankfort would “wear crape on the left arm for 30 days as a token of regret of the three. Jefferson and Adams died on July 4, 1826, and Shelby died July 18, 1826.