Blencowe Families' Association Newsletter Volume 2 Number 1 Winter 1987





Rising green and massive, the Appalachian Mountains formed an effective wall between America's original colonies and the vast wilderness of the continent to the west. Long before the Revolution, the colonial inhabitants were looking beyond their overworked lands for new soil to farm. Their sons and grandsons were dreaming of land of their own. Until some way was found to breach the mighty mountains however, the earliest Americans would have to continue tilling their increasingly unproductive acreage. Meanwhile Indians and trappers were returning from their journeys with tales of green, game filled lands with rich soil over the mountains. Soon a few adventurous men began to probe the wilderness paths used by those same Indians and trappers. In 1750 Dr. Thomas Walker probed as far west as the Cumberland Mountains, a range near the southern end of the Appalachians separating Kentucky and Tennessee. There he found and passed through a gap, the Cumberland, and blazed the first trail into Kentucky.

Twenty-one year old Daniel Boone was one whose imagination was piqued by the stories of abundant game and fresh lands coming back to his North Carolina home from the wilderness. In 1767 he struck out to explore westward as far as the area of the Cumberland River and then returned home in the spring. In 1769, Boone, his brother-in-law and several other men went through the Cumberland Gap to the Kentucky River. He was joined in a few months by his brother, Squire, and they explored the region for many months. They were fascinated at the sight of flocks of wild turkeys so huge that they broke down the limbs of the trees upon which they roosted. They saw teeming herds of deer and buffalo and the creeks were full of beaver and otter. The explorers began to build a fort which later became Boonesborough but as they were not homemakers, but only interested in trading in the land, none had brought their families with them

When the American Revolution broke out in July, 1775 with the fighting in Concord and Lexington, Massachusetts, most of the men at Boonesborough fled back to their homes in the East. They felt they could not survive against the British and the ever hostile Cherokee and Shawnee Indians of the period. In September, Booone returned to Boonesborough with his family and a party of twenty men. During the journey they blazed and widened the footpath called the Wilderness Road and used by the Indians and earlier trappers and explorers. Thus they transformed it into a well marked pathway through the Cumberland Gap, a pathway for the packtrains and wagons of the thousands of pioneering families who soon began to pour into the newly opened lands. The Wilderness Road through Cumberland Gap was the southern route over which travelled families from Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. Among these pioneer families were 'chose of James, Benjamin and Thomas Blincoe of Loudon County, Virginia and tagging along was their younger brother Joseph. These Blincoes went to Kentucky between 1785 and 1790, and today, their descendants who still live there represent the largest concentration of Blincoes in the United States.

by Donald Blincoe, Sr(33) Guest Editor


As you will see, we are featuring one person or family group each issue. This will have a double fold purpose. It will get us aquainted with different sections of the family and of the country and it will get you used to seeing the kinds of information we would like to receive from YOU. We are gradually getting this information put together and you will start to see some of the results.


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updated: 26 January 2003