The Kentucky Frontier

Nolin Creek appears in the lower left quadrant of the first published map of Kentucky, printed twenty-five years before Abraham Lincoln was born.

In 1784 John Filson, a Pennsylvania schoolteacher, published this map in his book promoting migration to Kentucky. Filson portrayed the Kentucky frontier as a place of unsullied natural abundance. His stories made pioneer hunter and settler Daniel Boone famous and established a pattern for later frontier narratives. Filson segregated his stories of conflicts with Indians from his contention that there was a clear chain of legitimacy to land rights in Kentucky, based on Virginia’s claims to the land.