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From 1826 to 1829, John Bradford, founder of Kentucky's first newspaper, the Kentucky Gazette, reprinted in its pages sixty-six excerpts that he considered important documents on the settlement of the West. Now for the first time all of Bradford's Notes on Kentucky—the primary historical source for Kentucky's early years—are made available in a single volume, edited by the state's most distinguished historian.

The Kentucky Gazette was established in 1787 to support Kentucky's separation from Virginia and the formation of a new state. Bradford's Notes deal at length with that protracted debate and the other major issues confronting Bradford and his pioneering neighbors. The early white settlers were obsessed with Indian raids, which continued for more than a decade and caused profound anxiety. A second vexing concern was overlapping land claims, as swarms of settlers flowed into the region. And as quickly as the land was settled, newly opened fields began to yield mountains of produce in need of outside markets. Spanish control of the lower Mississippi and rumors of Spain's plan to close the river for twenty-five years were far more threatening to the new economy than the continuing Indian raids.

Equally disturbing was the British occupation of the northwest posts from which it was believed the northern Indianraids emanated. Not until Anthony Wayne's sweeping campaign against the Miami villages and the signing of the Treaty of Greenville in 1794 was tension from that quarter relieved. Finally, the Jay Treaty with Britain and the Pinckney Treaty with Spain diplomatically cleared the Kentucky frontier for free expansion of the white populace.

John Bradford's Notes on Kentucky, now published together for the first time, deal with all of these pertinent issues. No other source portrays so intimately or so graphically the travail of western settlement.

Thomas D. Clark, professor emeritus of history at the University of Kentucky, is the author of many books on the history of Kentucky and the American South.

"Brings together for the first time the complete text of John Bradford’s legendary Notes on Kentucky—one of the classic and (until now) most elusive sources of early Kentucky history."—Lexington Herald-Leader

"An essential book for all collectors of Kentuckiana."—Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"Now for the first time all of Bradford’s Notes on Kentucky—the primary historical source for Kentucky’s early years—are made available in a single volume, edited by the state’s most distinguished historian."—Appalachian Quarterly

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Kentucky, Kentucky history, Kentucky Gazette, Notes on Kentucky


United States History

The Voice of the Frontier: John Bradford's Notes on Kentucky
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