John Martin's Station

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John Martin's Station (1779-?) - One of the most famous Central Kentucky stations was established by John Martin, an early Ft. Boonesborough resident (Draper mss. 12CC6478). Martin first improved the site in 1775 or 1776 with William Whitsett (Ardery 1939:14; Jillson 1934:93). It was located on Stoner Creek five miles from Isaac Ruddell's Station and three miles below Paris. A major aboriginal path, identified by Jillson (1934) as the Alantowamiowee Trail, passed by the site. The improvement was enlarged and fortified as a station in the spring of 1779 after Lexington was begun (Draper mss. 12CC64-78). Numerous families settled there but, in June of 1780, Martin's Station was taken by Capt. Henry Byrd and his army (Coleman 1951). Byrd left Detroit in the spring of 1780 with 150 soldiers and 100 Indians with orders to launch a defensive against the exposed Kentucky settlements. He reached Cincinnati on June 9th where a council with the Indian chiefs led him to reluctantly agree to an attack of the interior settlements rather than attacking George Rogers Clarke's settlement at the Falls of the Ohio. At this time, 300-350 families, many of whom were loyalist Pennsylvanian Germans, lived in the Martin's/Ruddell's Station neighborhood. Byrd first arrived at Isaac Ruddell's Station with two field artillery pieces, having sent an advance unit ahead under the command of Capt. McKee. The station had been defending themselves against McKee's unit but the sight of Byrd's 6-lb cannon led them to surrender. Despite promises to the contrary, several of the inhabitants were killed. Byrd then moved to Martin's Station, arriving there on the morning of June 26. Capt. John Martin was away on a hunting trip. When demanded to surrender, the station inhabitants did so without firing a shot. The majority of inhabitants from both stations were marched as captives to Detroit (Coleman 1951).



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