"Kentucky," Travels in the United States of America, John Melish, 1812

Westward Paths

Kentucky became the first western state in 1792. Its position between the Cumberland Gap and the Ohio River made it the crossroads of Western migration during the early years of the nineteenth century, well before the Erie Canal and railroads made other routes more accessible. By 1810 Kentucky had a population of over 400,000, one-fifth of whom were held in slavery.

John Melish was a Scottish traveler who settled in Philadelphia and became one of the foremost map publishers of the early United States.