Oldest House

Historical Marker #1228 commemorates the oldest house still standing in Bell County. The house was constructed out of brick about 1800. Although the subject matter of the marker is later than the era of Daniel Boone's early exploration, this house rests on Boone Trace and therefore represents a marker along this historic trail.

The general route of Boone Trace through this area was north, following the course of Yellow Creek along present-day 19th Street in Middlesboro. The route turns left in front of the house on Hurst Road and north along Old Pineville-Middlesboro Road (Highway 3486) to Meldrum. Yellow Creek runs on the right side of the road while traveling north along most of this route.

It was in this vicinity—barely out of the shadow of Cumberland Gap—that early explorer William Calk traversed this area. On March 13, 1775, Calk, who was from Prince William County, Virginia, set out with a party of settlers and their slaves to claim lands purchased from Native Americans by Colonel Richard Henderson in what would eventually become Kentucky. Henderson had sent Daniel Boone and a party of men ahead of Calk's group to widen the trail and begin marking off property lots in the Bluegrass Region at what would become Boonesborough.

During his grueling journey, William Calk kept a journal of his travels. On April 8, he mentioned that his party "Crost Cumberland Gap." He commented that his party met a number of other early settlers turning back "for fear of the Indians." However his group went "on Still with good Courage." Of the many obstacles that Calk encountered, creeks and rivers seemed to prove especially dangerous. Calk wrote that day that "we come to a very ugly Creek With Steep Banks & have it to Cross Several times." That night Calk's faction made a camp by the creek, which was likely Yellow Creek.

Boone and his forward party arrived at their destination on April 1, but Calk and his group did not make it to Boonesborough until April 20, after experiencing many days of bad weather, unpleasant food, and constant dangers.

Images

Oldest House

Oldest House

This photograph is of the "Oldest House" in Middlesboro. It is located along Boone Trace and therefore represents of marker of it. Boone Trace ran along the route of 19th Street turning left at Hurst Road in front of the house then traveled north. Courtesy of Friends of Boone Trace, Inc. View File Details Page

Boone Trace

Boone Trace

This photograph shows where Boone Trace passed in front of the "Oldest House" in Middlesboro. The road can been seen passing in front of the house and the highway marker along 19th Street, turning left at Hurst Road by the blue building and proceeding north. Courtesy of Friends of Boone Trace, Inc. View File Details Page

Boone Trace

Boone Trace

From the "Oldest House" in Middlesboro, traveling north along Boone Trace, the same route of Old Pineville-Middlesboro Road (Highway 3486), Yellow Creek can be seen along the route appearing from the right while traveling north. Courtesy of Friends of Boone Trace, Inc. View File Details Page

Indian Rock

Indian Rock

Boone Trace descends from Cumberland Gap toward Yellow Creek which flows north out of today's Middlesboro. Native Americans, and later robbers, would hide behind a giant boulder along the path before attacking unsuspecting travelers. Historic accounts contend that two men are buried at the base of the rock, victims of a Native American attack in the 1700s. The Kentucky D.A.R. marked the boulder in 1915 with a cast iron plaque. Courtesy of Randell Jones, www.danielboonefootsteps.com View File Details Page

William Calk Journal

William Calk Journal

William Calk's journal describes his journey from Virginia to Boonesborough in March and April 1775. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Gourd Powder Flask

Gourd Powder Flask

William Calk transported gunpowder in gourd flasks during his 1775 trip from Virginia to what would become Kentucky. The gourds helped keep the powder dry and protected. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Powder Horn

Powder Horn

Early settlers used powder horns for easy access. This one was owned by William Calk, who journeyed to Boonesborough in 1775. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Powder Measure

Powder Measure

A correct measurement of gunpowder was necessary for accurate shots. William Calk, who traveled to Boonesborough in 1775, owned this measure. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Middlesboro, Kentucky

Middlesboro, Kentucky

This early-twentieth century photograph of downtown Middlesboro shows the dramatic changes that took place since the first early settlers came through Cumberland Gap. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Friends of Boone Trace, Inc., “Oldest House,” ExploreKYHistory, accessed May 26, 2017, http://explorekyhistory.ky.gov/items/show/413.

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