Review: Russell Mahan, The Kentucky Kidnappings and Death March: The Revolutionary War at Ruddell’s Fort and Martin’s Station, Kindle ed. (West Haven, UT: Historical Enterprises, 2020).

In the summer of 1780, Captain Henry Bird crossed the Ohio River with some 800 Native Americans from various British-allied tribes and two companies of soldiers from Detroit (roughly 50 Canadians and Tories and a mixed group of regulars from the 8th and 47th regiments) to invade Kentucky.  More importantly, he brought two pieces of artillery, a three pounder and a six pounder.  It was one of the largest and most substantial attacks into Kentucky during the American Revolution.  

Bird’s goal was the Falls of the Ohio (today’s Louisville), which was critical to the American war effort on the frontier due to its critical position on the Ohio River.  Bird rendezvoused with the great bulk of the Native Americans at the confluence of the Great Miami and Ohio Rivers, (west of today’s Cincinnati) to discover that they had other plans.  Attacking fortified areas was less appealing than raiding small settlements and isolated farms, where the Indians might secure booty and terrorize the locals into abandoning Kentucky.  Constituting the vast majority of the army, the Native Americans won out. 

Continue reading “Review: Russell Mahan, The Kentucky Kidnappings and Death March: The Revolutionary War at Ruddell’s Fort and Martin’s Station, Kindle ed. (West Haven, UT: Historical Enterprises, 2020).”

Historians from the Past: Lyman Draper

Lyman Copeland Draper (Wikimedia Commons)
Lyman Copeland Draper from the Fronts-pieceof his book, King’s Mountain and its Heroes, 1881 (Wikimedia Commons)

For the last century, everyone studying the frontier in the American Revolution has owed a debt to Lyman C. Draper.   Not many people are familiar with him, but he compiled one of the deepest and most extensive collections of original material related to the Trans-Appalachian Frontier, particularly during the American Revolution.  His hard work and extensive efforts represent a life dedicated to history that enabled his successors to continue his remarkable work .

Born in western New York in 1815, Draper’s grandfathers were both veterans of war with the British, either during the American Revolution or the War of 1812.  Given the number of veterans moving west to start farms after the war, a young and impressionable Draper heard their stories.  Draper’s family eventually settled in Lockport, NY on the Erie Canal and that is where he attended Continue reading “Historians from the Past: Lyman Draper”