Transylvania Company

Historical Marker #66 in Henderson commemorates the Transylvania Company.

Formed by Richard Henderson, the Transylvania Company was created to settle the area around the Kentucky, Ohio, and Cumberland rivers. The Company is also credited for establishing Henderson County.

In 1774, Richard Henderson and some associates established the Louisa Company, which began negotiations with the Cherokee Indians to purchase land south of the Ohio and west of the Kanawha rivers. The company was reorganized at the start of 1775 as the Transylvania Company. On March 17, 1775, the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals was signed by the Transylvania Company and the Cherokee, which gave a large area of land to the Transylvania Company.

The colony of Transylvania was established in 1775, but was short-lived as the Continental Congress in Virginia nullified the Transylvania Company's treaty with the Cherokee. However, Virginia compensated them with 200,000 acres along the Ohio River.

It was out of that land grant that Henderson's Transylvania Company would survey the boundaries for Henderson County. Henderson County has been home several notable Kentuckians through the years, including famed artist/ornithologist John James Audubon, several Kentucky governors, many state and national legislators, and Mary Towles Sasseen, who is credited with being the first to celebrate Mother's Day.

Images

Col. Richard Henderson

Col. Richard Henderson

Richard Henderson formed what would become the Transylvania Land Company. The Transylvania Company established Henderson County out of a 200,000 acre land grant, and named it in his honor. Courtesy of the University of Kentucky. View File Details Page

Surveyor Compass

Surveyor Compass

This compass belonged to William Calk, a surveyor hired by Richard Henderson and the Transylvania Company to survey Boonesborough, the capital of the Transylvania colony. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Henderson County Courthouse

Henderson County Courthouse

This Henderson County Courthouse was designed in 1843. Henderson County was surveyed, and established, by the Transylvania Land Company. Courtesy of the University of Kentucky. View File Details Page

Governor A. B. "Happy" Chandler

Governor A. B. "Happy" Chandler

Henderson County, formed by Richard Henderson's Transylvania Land Company, has produced several prominent Kentuckians, including Governor "Happy" Chandler. Besides being governor, Chandler was a United States Senator, and served as Commissioner of Baseball from 1945 to 1951. Courtesy of The Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Fort Boonesborough

Fort Boonesborough

One of Richard Henderson's Transylvania projects was the establishment of Fort Boonesborough, which is in present-day Madison County. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

McKenzie Martin, “Transylvania Company,” ExploreKYHistory, accessed June 24, 2017, http://explorekyhistory.ky.gov/items/show/384.
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