John Martin's Station

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John Martin's Station (1779-1780) - One of the most famous Central Kentucky stations was established by John Martin, an early Fort 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 about five miles north of Paris. A major aboriginal path, identified by Jillson (1934) as the Alantowamiowee Trail, passed by the site. Also known as John Martin's Fort.


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).

Current Status

No identifiable remains. A marker erected by the Jemima Johnson Chapter DAR in 1921 was supposedly placed near the site but could not be located. The site was given an archeological designation of 15Bb8l due to the excellent historical documentation of its location but the location has not yet given up any traces of 18th-century artifacts. The GPS coordinates came from the Hopewell Museum.

Location: About 5 miles North of Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky.

Maps & Images

Lat: 38.26261 Long: -84.29376

  • Multi Maps from ACME
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  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: 810'

See Also:


  • O'Malley, Nancy, Stockading Up: A Study of Pioneer Stations in the Inner Bluegrass Region of Kentucky, Kentucky Heritage Council, University of Kentucky Program for Cultural Resource Assessment, 1987, rev 1994, 347 pages, page 70-71.


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