In 1793, Edward Thomas wrote a letter to Governor Isaac Shelby, petitioning for the deployment of men at the mouth of Salt River for protection against Indian attacks. It was also signed by a large number of other men.
We have transcribed the letter below, and also provide images of it beginning on another page.
Nelson County 9th May 1793
It was with a considerable degree of pleasure that in consequence of a former requisition made by some of us, who were inhabitants of our frontiers, that you had [ordered] us a guard of men to be stationed at the mouth of Salt River. We can assure you that we are really uneasy to hear that by means of subsequent applications you have been induced to countermand your former orders. Beg leave again to repeat the former request of having a guard, and that to be stationed at the mouth of Salt River, and endeavor to show you that it is by far the most eligible place. First (as we apprehend but little danger from any other quarter than from the westward of the Ohio) this is the general crossing place for the Indians, who from there can within the distance of twenty five miles go to the inhabitants of an extent of frontier of near seventy miles in length. And if a station of men at this place did not actually prevent the Indians crossing the river, yet they could with ease (as the Indians doing mischief on any part of this frontier) get immediate intelligence and thereby be enabled to intercept them on their way out of the country. Whereas the same number of men stationed at any one place immediately on the frontiers, would indue the Indians to direct their attacks (or miss if they went no farther) at a convenient distance therefrom, well knowing that can repass the Ohio by the time the guard can possibly be informed of such mischief. We will suppose the number of men allotted us (as we have heard will be the case) to be stationed in different parties on the frontiers - we then humbly conceive that no one party will be able to prevent the Indians from doing mischief even in the very neighborhood where they are stationed. And before the guard could be collected from the different stations, or a sufficient number of the inhabitants raised to join them, the Indians would as in the former case make their escape, and those at whose plantations the guards are stationed, will be the only persons who will receive any benefits from them. And unless the different salt works have a part of these men to protect them, we shall lose one of the most essential benefits which we have been induced to hope for from this guard. In the second place that the men being together and that at the mouth of Salt River, will be of infinite service to those who are obliged to navigate the craft conveying the produce of this county down the Ohio, as well as those from the different salt works down Salt River, to the Cumberland and other settlements below.
Therefore hope that in mature consideration you will be impressed with the same idea in the premisses as are your most humble servants.
Edw. S. Thomas
Not all of the signatures on this petition are easily readable. We have included an image of the signatures page and also another page where we list those that we have been able to decipher. You are encouraged to view that page and offer suggestions on the others.
This transcription, and related images are taken from the Reuben T. Durrett Collection on Kentucky and the Ohio River Valley. Miscellaneous Manuscripts, Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library. It is used here with the kind permission of the University of Chicago Library. All rights to this transcription and related images remain with the University.
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