Bullitt County History

Early Land Tracts

In footnote 113 of Robert E. McDowell's "Bullitt's Lick: The Related Saltworks and Settlements" he wrote "The Parakeet Lick was on a 450-acre survey on Salt River between Shepherd's 900-acre tract including Shepherdsville on the west, and Jacob Myers' 400-acre tract including Dowdall's Garrison on the east."

McDowell also commented that Fort Nonsense "was located within the bounds of Jacob Froman's 1,670-acre survey that joined Christian's "Bullitt's Lick Tract" on the lower side."

In an attempt to locate these tracts on a modern map, I first visited the Kentucky Secretary of State's web site where he maintains the Kentucky Land Office. Here I followed the links to the Virginia Patent Series and searched until I located images of the original surveys and the resulting deeds for each of these three.

For reference, Peter Shepherd's 900 acre tract is patent number VA 0335.0, and Jacob Myer's 400 acre tract is patent number VA 0460.0.

Locating the Parakeet Lick tract was a bit more complicated. McDowell stated that the tract was owned by the McGees, but didn't specify which one. Patrick was the one named most often in McDowell's writing, but there were at least two others mentioned: Thomas and John. It turns out that it was Thomas McGee who claimed this tract of land. His patent number was VA 0429.0.

For reference, I've placed the images of these three surveys and deeds on separate pages that you can view by following these links:

The next step was figuring out where these tracts might be on a modern map. The easiest one was Peter Shepherd's 900 acre tract due to the way it hugged the Salt River, and the clarity of the surveyor's drawing. Still, it was a bit of trial and error until I located the apparent places where his survey left the river. When I was satisfied with that location, the next step was to figure out where the McGee tract would be.

Shepherd's deed helped because at one point it identified a location as "McGees Corner." This turned out to be the upstream spot where Shepherd's tract left the river bank. Thus I now had the location of one of McGee's corners. Plotting his tract was straight forward as it was roughly a rectangle. According to his deed, the survey began at "the south west corner of Jacob Myers' land" at the bank of Salt River. It went northwest to a point, turned southwest to another point, and then southeast back to the bank of Salt River before following the river upsteam to the beginning. It was this second point on the river that corresponded with the "McGees Corner" in Shepherd's deed.

Since McGee's deed specified a corner as the "south west corner of Jacob Myers' land" we next had a beginning point for locating Myers' tract. It was also roughly rectangle in shape.

These three tracts are drawn on the map below. They are identified with the C, D, and E markers. We will discuss the other tracts and markers below the map.

Below is an image insert from Google showing the approximate location of various early tracts. Please note that the locations of borders are only rough estimates.

You can use the arrows in the upper left corner to move the image, or use the plus and minus signs to zoom in or out. You may also put the cursor on the map and drag the image to where you want it.

Keep in mind that these locations are approximations based on the available data and some guesswork.

Marker F is the approximate location of the ferry that passed between Dowdall's Station and Pope's cabin. I made this determination based on a statement in Myer's patent that says that his tract begins "at an elm and white oak on the upper Bank of the river about fifty yards above the ferry..." Since Pope's cabin still exists as part of the larger farmhouse still standing, we know it's location. Plotting approximately fifty yards downstream from Myer's upper corner places it reasonably close to a spot on the river across from the Pope farm.

Peter Shepherd also patented a 600 acre tract on the lower or south side of Salt River, across from his 900 acre tract (patent number VA 0147.0). Because these two tracts appear to share a point where the 900 acre tract leaves the river downsteam, it was fairly easy to plot the 600 acre tract since it is roughly square except for the river side. It is shown at marker B on the map above.

The next tract drawn on this map (marker A) shows where I think William Christian's 1000 acre tract was located (patent number VA 3966.0). This is the tract that included Bullitt's Lick. While the surveyor's sketch of the tract is helpful, it is also somewhat confusing since it shows Salt River at the top, but we know that this tract was on the north or upper side of the river.

If you draw the three straight sides accurately according to the directions given, it becomes clear that the river is actually to the southeast of the tract. Determining just where on the river this is however is a challenge.

My guess is that this tract shares the point on the river where Shepherd's two tracts come together. Using this as a corner, I plotted the three straight sides and the third side ended up almost exactly on the river downstream. From this I believe this is the actual location of Christian's tract.

Note that the river forms the fourth side of this tract. Note also that it appears that Christian's tract and Shepherd's 600 acre tract both claim a small plot on the north side of the river, that is if my drawing is accurate.

Placing Jacob Froman's 1670 acre survey (patent number VA 8980.0) next to Christian's tract was fairly simple, and is shown with the "G" marker.

For reference, I've placed the images of these three surveys and deeds on separate pages that you can view by following these links:


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The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 13 Jul 2015 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/bchistory/earlytractsmap.html