Journey to Lexington

Hamilton, July 22d, 1810.

   Dear Peggy,
                                             You have been good enough to encourage me to write to you, and (as you flatteringly express it) "communicate anything which I think might amuse you." This I consider one of the greatest privileges and comforts which I enjoy in this place, and feel disposed to engage in it and amuse myself in this way, in which, I fear you sometimes find me dull and tedious. As I at present feel a strong inclination to enjoy that pleasure I must indulge in it, although I have nothing better to entertain you with than an account of an excursion which I lately made into the State of  Kentucky from whence I have returned a few days since.   Wednesday, June...   I left Hamilton, [Ohio] in the morning on horseback and rode to Cincinnati where I remained during the night.  

Thursday, June.... Early in the morning I crossed the Ohio river and proceeded on my way to Lexington. Travelled twenty miles to Gaines' tavern where I breakfasted, although it was then late in the forenoon, after which I rode forward to Arnold’s tavern where I arrived at 6 o'clock in the evening and took lodgings for the night. The road by which I travelled is called the Ridge-Road, so called on account of its being laid out on a ridge of high ground known by the name of the Dry ridge, on which, in travelling the direction I went, you do not meet with a drop of running water for a distance of forty-five miles. The road was very good which, in consequence of the highness of the ground and nature of the soil, I presume must generally be the case.

Of the entertainment which I met with at the Inns on my way I cannot boast so much as of the road. The soil of the country is poor, and its appearance by nature none of the pleasantest, nor have the inhabitants greatly improved it by works of art. They are settled along the road at intervals of eight or ten miles from each other.    They told me that there were no settlements off from the road to the right or left for a long distance, consequently the nearest neighbour which some of them have is ten miles distant. They live by cultivating a small farm and furnishing entertainment to travellers consisting of new whiskey and a liquid called tea or coffee, but which I was not able to determine and for which they never fail to demand an adequate price. But I fancy you have heard enough of poor mountain ridges and miserable Inns, so I shall advance on my journey to the fertile country beyond, whither, if you please, I shall be proud if you will accompany me. 

Friday. ..  Set out early in the morning and rode fifteen miles to Nelson's tavern at the south extremity of the Dry ridge, called the foot of the ridge where I breakfasted and continued my journey to Georgetown where I arrived at 3 O'clock, P. M. and sat down to an excellent dinner.  Georgetown is a pleasant place situated on the south side of the North fork of Elkhorn Creek & is the seat of justice for Scott County. It contains a frame Court house and I suppose about eighty houses, about twenty of which are brick and look very neat. As to the particulars of the place or manners of the inhabitants, I trust you will not insist on a particular account of either as I remained there only one hour in the heat of the day, and then proceeded to the residence of Coln. Logan, who lives on a farm in the country.  


McBride, James. "Journey to Lexington, Kentucky, July 22, 1810." Quarterly Publication of the Historical and Philosophical Society of Ohio 5 (January-March 1910): 22-27.