Entry 24 – Date 19 September 1829

Came into Fayette County. Fine land. Entered Lexington, KY, a large town with many fine brick houses, but it has the appearance to be declining. No new buildings are going up. It has got its growth. Took road to Frankfort. Staid that night at William McCluer’s 7 miles from Lexington.

Fayette County was originally what was Kentucky County in the Commonwealth of Virginia in June of 1780, but then that was abolished and divided into Fayette County, along with Jefferson and Lincoln. Together these three counties were what would become Kentucky in 1792. Fayette County was reduced to its’ present boundaries in 1799. This can be confusing for today’s genealogist’s who mistakenly thinks an ancestor has moved, when all that happened was simply the county lines were redrawn. One can use the information to their advantage though to better pinpoint what lays within both counties, or what was once a third of Kentucky. Lexington, Kentucky was founded in 1775, when still part of the Colony of Virginia. In 1782, an early settlement within Lexington was Bryan Station, which was besieged by, and withstood an attack by American Indians during the Revolutionary War.

The Caravan is struggling, coming from James McDowell’s to the east, they have come to Lexington and then gone north towards Georgetown, where they will take the road to Frankfort, and then stop seven miles away from Lexington at the home of William McCluer. William has been living near Georgetown, which is north of Lexington, since at least 1800, and he shows up on the tax list at that time. In 1820 he is still living near Georgetown, and he owns two slaves, one a male between the age of 26 and 44, and one female between 14 and 26, suggesting they are most likely a young 26 year old couple. There are descendants of the enslaved couple that appear later as living in Georgetown named William McCluer (1861-1880) as well. William McCluer and his family are buried in the Bethel Presbyterian Church in Lexington, Kentucky.

Bethel Presbyterian Church in Lexington, KY

Perhaps this is where the African-American nurse for Robert McCluer and his wife Sophia Campbell left the caravan, as the McCluer family left Lexington, Virginia, with 14 enslaved and will make it to Missouri with 13 enslaved. She most likely has her newborn baby Wesley Alexander with her. Maybe she is ill or perhaps she has died. Children of the enslaved under the age of 10 are not taxed, or given any value. The enslaver Robert McCluer’s (1792-1834) wife’s mother is an Alexander, and Sophia may have inherited the young female when her father died in 1822. Wesley Alexander is the son of Archer Alexander (1806-1880).


One of the most difficult parts for any research trip is knowing in advance where you will find a good historical society or genealogical society that may have just the information you’re looking for. We had attempted a stop in Paris, in Bourbon, Kentucky, but it wasn’t open when we arrived. The area is filled with beautiful breathtaking horse farms, and that cheered us up.


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