3. The Cherokee sold their lands to Richard Henderson as the American Revolution began
Cherokee leaders agreed to sell their lands in Kentucky in the Transylvania Purchase. Both the Shawnee and Cherokee thus ceded their claims to what became Kentucky before the major influx of settlers began. Following the purchase, Richard Henderson hired Daniel Boone to cut a road through the Cumberland Gap into the area he called Transylvania. Boone’s Wilderness Road became a highway into Kentucky beginning in 1775. In September of that year he brought his family to a settlement he established on the Kentucky River named Boonesborough. Despite occasional Indian attacks, chiefly on travelers and hunting parties, the settlement and others in Kentucky flourished.
Settlers went west to avoid the violence in the western colonies caused by the American Revolution. Loyalists and Patriots fought in the western areas, often in battles which were little more than the settlement of ancient grudges. During the winter of 1775-76 attacks increased in Kentucky, with Indians determined to drive settlers off the lands they had sold or ceded. By spring, 1776, fewer than 200 settlers remained in Kentucky, the Boones among them. That summer Daniel’s daughter Jemimah and two of her friends were kidnapped by a party of Shawnee. Boone led a party of settlers in pursuit, ambushed the Indians, and freed the girls.