George Washington's
Kentucky Land

Editorial Reviews

"Curtis Dewees's George Washington's Kentucky Land explores the historical connection between America's first president and frontier Kentucky. Dewees, a Kentucky native, masterfully details the late-eighteenth century colonial era of western land speculation that led Washington to acquire five thousand acres adjacent the Rough River in present day Grayson County, Kentucky. Well-researched and written in an accessible and compelling narrative-style, the story of Washington's Kentucky land speculation reads akin to the plot of a modern day soap opera with betrayals, tragedy, and drama. Dewees has a thorough knowledge of the subject matter and given his Grayson County family heritage possesses a personal link to the story that enlivens his writing. The book is well researched and draws upon numerous primary source materials as well as major secondary works. Endnotes, bibliography, and index aid in enriching the scholarly value of the work. If you enjoy American and Kentucky history read George Washington's Kentucky Land and discover firsthand the colorful era of Colonial land speculation and our first president's hopes and aspirations for his Kentucky investments." -- James E. Wallace, Executive Director, Kentucky Historical Society Foundation

"The story of how George Washington swapped a renowned racehorse for some five thousand acres of Kentucky land and made good his title in the face of considerable confusion and chicanery is a little known, but intriguing chapter in the life of `the father of our country.' Curtis Dewees's careful weighing of the surviving documentary evidence has enabled him to present a lucid and accurate account of those events that incorporates generous portions of Washington's lively correspondence with relatives and friends about the ups and downs of his Kentucky land investment. Readers will come away with a much better understanding of Washington as a landowner and entrepreneur and the turbulent world of early American frontier land speculation." -- Philander D. Chase, Editor Emeritus, Papers of George Washington

"This is the first book to specialize in George Washington's western land affairs. Several biographers have mentioned his land preemptions on the upper Ohio in 1770 but his military survey on the Kanawha and Cole rivers in 1774 is less known. But Washington's attempt and final success in acquiring 5000 acres of land in Kentucky has never been told." -- Neal Hammon, Author, My Father, Daniel Boone: The Draper Interviews with Nathan Boone, Daniel Boone and the Defeat at Blue Licks, and Early Kentucky Land Records, 1773-1780

"George Washington's Kentucky Land by Curtis Dewees explores complex real estate maneuvers by land owners in late 18th century Kentucky, with the focus on 5,000 acres in Grayson County owned by George Washington. His acquisition of the land and the unethical behavior of the seller, one of our country's Revolutionary War heroes, "Light Horse" Harry Lee, represent one of the most amusing chapters in the opening of the western frontier of America. This is an extremely well-researched and clearly written piece of Kentucky history. We are proud to claim Mr. Dewees as a member of the Grayson County Historical Society." -- Ken Robinson, President, Grayson County Historical Society

Product Description

This book is unlike any other you have read about America's first president. It involves double-dealing, double-crossing and raw emotions. It's an 18th century soap opera. It all centers on a 10 mile stretch of an obscure Kentucky creek on the edge of the western frontier of America. Washington wrote or received at least 75 letters about the land, although it represented less than 10% of his land holdings. Furthermore, he took time out from his busy job as president to give this small plot unusual attention.

About the Author
Curtis Dewees writes about the history of Kentucky. After he completed this book, he discovered that his grandfather owned a farm close to the land that George Washington owned in Kentucky. He was born in Louisville, Kentucky. He graduated from Louisville Male High School and did his undergraduate work at the University of Louisville. He pursued graduate studies at New York University.

GW chapter synopsis

Chapter 1- Washington's Early Interest in Kentucky
Long before he acquired his 5,000 acres there, Washington was dreaming and scheming with others on how to acquire a vast chunk of what is now the mid-Western US.

Chapter 2 - The Kentucky A Gold Rush, or How Land was Acquired in Kentucky.
Like any financial frenzy, the chaos surrounding the acquisition of land in Kentucky was a nightmare for everyone.

Chapter 3 - Prior Owners of George Washington's Land
Beginning with the famous old hunter, John Saunders, who surveyed the land, and gave George Rogers Clark headaches, to the mysterious Dr. Skinner and his heir General Henry Lee, the author discusses who owned the land before Washington.

Chapter 4 - My Horse for a A Kingdom
How Washington literally traded his Arabian stud to General Lee for the 5,000 acres, transacted during a casual evening of card playing and drinking at Washington's mansion.

Chapter 5 - Double Dealing and Other Misunderstandings
General Henry Lee, who traded the land for Washington's horse, actually sold the same plot to two other people, including a relative of Washington.

Chapter 6 – Who's In Charge Here?
Washington designated so many people to look into his land purchase that they stumbled into one another in the process. No one seemed to be in charge.

Chapter 7 - Surmounting the Hites
Washington acquired the land because he thought that there were iron ore deposits there. But an old American family obstinately stood in his way of acquiring the adjoining property as well.

Chapter 8 - Land After Death
For 20 years after Washington's death, his heirs struggled to sell the property.

$19.95 USD

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