Historical marker #190 in Danville commemorates the town's namesake, Walker Daniel. One who knew Daniel called him "a young gentleman of rare talents," and one who "gave promise of great distinction." Sadly, Daniel was killed in 1784, a casualty of the Kentucky frontier.
A Virginia native and attorney, Daniel moved to central Kentucky in 1781. The next year, he purchased land from John Crow, the founder of Crow's Station. In 1783, Daniel "laid off a part of seventy-six acres for a town at that place." This town, which emerged from Crow's Station, eventually became Danville.
In 1783, with Kentucky still part of Virginia, Daniel was appointed attorney general for the newly-created District of Kentucky. Some of his first work was to have a log courthouse and "a prison, of hewed or sawed logs, at least nine inches thick" constructed near Crow's Station. Daniel provided the land for the district court and a "crude log house of two rooms" was constructed.
The next year, Daniel told Virginia Governor Benjamin Harrison that Kentucky was interested in leaving Virginia and forming a separate state. Daniel noted that "the cruelties & Depredations of the Savages" made the pioneers "wish for a separation, because they then expect that every one in power will be equally interested with themselves in securing a friendly Intercourse with their troublesome Neighbors." Three months later he was dead.
A Virginia newspaper reported Walker's death, writing that he and two others "were going from the Falls of Ohio to the Salt Works, about six miles from the works they were attacked by a party of about seven Indians, when Daniel and Keightly were shot dead on the spot; and Johnston wounded across his breast with a ball, thought fortunately effected his escape. The dead bodies were scalped, and stabbed in a very barbarous manner, but the Indians did not plunder them of their money and cloathes [sic]."
Three years later, Daniel was commemorated when the town he had initially organized was officially established. The 1787 act establishing the village noted, "WHEREAS Walker Daniel, in his lifetime, laid off part of seventy-six acres of his land, in the county of Mercer [now Boyle], into lots and streets, and sold and conveyed them to the purchasers . . ." Daniel's brother, Robert, had divided the remaining acreage and sold them, and had also placed "the springs within the said town . . . in trust, for the use of those persons who should reside on the said lots . . ."
The town was named Danville in his honor.