[APG Public List] Kentucky travel early 1800s

Alvie L Davidson floridasearch at verizon.net
Sun Mar 27 19:01:58 MDT 2011

I have a book in my library which is in essence a personal diary of an early Baptist minister.  He was born in Kentucky in 1788 and died in Howard County, Indiana 1 May 1866.


In his ministry he traveled all over western KY and Indiana.  In one account he tells of loading his family and belongings onto a flat barge and pulling it to move his family in the dead of winter.  He gives a first-hand account of the New Madrid Earthquake while hanging onto his chimney on his roof.

The book is entitled “Autobiography of Elder Wilson Thompson”.   I have a first edition of the book and a later reprint.  The later reprint was “chapterized” but the first edition was not.

I have read it several times and have enjoy reading of his exploits and travels.  Oh for the hardships of an early minster of the gospel.   His autobiography was published in 1867 by his children. 


Alvie L. Davidson CG

 <http://www.floridadetective.net> www.floridadetective.net

 <http://alviesgenealogyspot.blogspot.com/> http://alviesgenealogyspot.blogspot.com/


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Lakeland, FL 


From: apgpubliclist-bounces+floridasearch=verizon.net at apgen.org [mailto:apgpubliclist-bounces+floridasearch=verizon.net at apgen.org] On Behalf Of JFonkert at aol.com
Sent: Sunday, March 27, 2011 8:34 PM
To: bvlittle at earthlink.net; Elissa at PowellGenealogy.com; apgpubliclist at apgen.org
Subject: Re: [APG Public List] Kentucky travel early 1800s


Thank you, Barbara. The accounts from diaries that you and a few others have offered give interesting insights. Regarding water vs. land, I think most people would guess that river transport was cheaper than land. I suppose that the cost of building a raft or boat was one factor.  As for people returning to Virginia via the Wilderness Road, that makes sense to me because upstream on the Ohio would be a challenge.


For those interested in this subject, a map in C. O. Paulin, Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States, shows travel times from New York in 1880.


- central Virginia, 7 days

- western Virginia, 3 weeks

- Kentucky via the Ohio, 3 weeks

- KY Bluegrass via Cumberland Gap, 3+ weeks


One's travel speed would obviously depend on the size of the party and what belongings people carried.


In a message dated 3/27/2011 3:49:54 P.M. Central Daylight Time, bvlittle at earthlink.net writes:

River travel was more expensive. Francis Taylor's diaries note the move of his kin with livestock and slaves to Kentucky by traveling north from Orange County (central Piedmont Virginia) and then down the Ohio; however, when they made return trips for business it was via the Wilderness Road.

-----Original Message----- 
From: "Elissa Scalise Powell, CG" <elissa at powellgenealogy.com> 
Sent: Mar 27, 2011 10:23 AM 
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Subject: Re: [APG Public List] Kentucky travel early 1800s 

</elissa at powellgenealogy.com>

Barbara Vines Little, CG
PO Box 1273
Orange, VA 22960
bvlittle at earthlink.net


Jay Fonkert, CG
Saint Paul, MN

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