Dr. Thomas Walker's Route of 1749

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The following is based on a combination of Williams, 1928 and Summers, 1929, and in particular a discussion on TNGenWeb.

In 1749, Peter Jefferson (father of U.S. President Thomas Jefferson) and Joshua Fry, Dr. Thomas Walker (1714-1794), James Maury, Thomas Meriwether (grandfather of Meriwether Lewis) et alia, established the Loyal Company. The intent was to petition for a land grant west of the Allegheny Mountains. Subsequently, (12 Jul 1749), the Loyal Land Company was authorized by the "Council of the Province of Virginia" to "enter and survey" 800,000 acres of the public domain on the "western waters". This included the area along the southern border of Virginia, including what is now southeastern Kentucky. A provision of the authorization was that settlement of the land was required within four years.

Dr. Walker was an experienced surveyor, and in 1748 had explored the western portions of Virginia as far south as the "Fork Country of the Holston" reaching modern Kingsport in Sullivan County, TN. Members of the 1748 exploration party included Col. James Patton (?-?), Colonel Patton's son-in-law, John Buchanan (?-?), [[Charles Campbell (?-?)and longhunter John Findlay (?-?).

As a member of the Loyal Land Company, Dr. Walker carried out further explorations of the area, beginning in March of 1749/50, and ending in July of 1750. Dr. Walker kept a detailed journal of this exploration. A limited edition of Dr. Walker's journal covering the TN portion of the Journal was published in 1888 by descendant, William Cabell Rives. Samuel C. Williams published a portion of the journal as "Early Travels in the Tennessee Country" (The Watauga Press, Johnson City, Tennessee, 1928, pp. 165-174). Lewis Preston Summers published the complete journal in his "Annals of Southwest Virginia, 1769-1800," (Vol. I, pp. 8-26, Abingdon, Virginia, 1928).

Samuel C. Williams, 1928. Early Travels in the Tennessee Country, 1540-1800.

see TNGenWeb for additional details.

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