McKinney's Fort

Historical Marker #2063 in Lincoln County remembers McKinney's Fort, an early Kentucky settlement and trading post.

As settlers from the east coast states moved westward into frontier regions like Kentucky, they disturbed the lives of the indigenous people already there. Euro-American intrusion led to conflict. In an effort to protect themselves from Native American reprisals, settlers created forts and stations where groups of individuals and families, and often their slaves, found a measure of comfort and protection.

Across the Bluegrass Region in central Kentucky, log forts and stockades popped up from the mid-1770s into the 1790s. These garrisons were often named for the men that established them. Familiar names such as Fort Boonesborough, Fort Harrod, Bryan's Station, and Logan's Station have gone down in history for the men who founded them and the dramatic events that occurred at these locations. But, other forts and stations—many not so well known—sometimes proved to be invaluable to the settlers around them.

McKinney's Fort, located in Lincoln County, was an established settlement by the early 1790s. Archibald McKinney came to Kentucky from Rockbridge County, Virginia, around 1780 in a party led by John Kennedy. McKinney was granted land for his Revolutionary War service and first settled in Bourbon County. He later moved to Lincoln County and established his fort, which originally consisted of four cabins and a stockade on high ground about nine miles southwest of Logan's Station and along what developed into the Cumberland Trace. This route eventually ran to what became Nashville, Tennessee, and, later, on south into Mississippi. McKinney's Fort served as an important trading location on this frontier road and furnished the local militia with necessary supplies to guard against Native American incursions.

As the settlement developed, McKinney's Fort later became known as McKinney's Station. Today, the community is simply known as McKinney. And, although the historic log fort is long gone, it has been remembered by future generations for its service to the pioneer families who chose to settle there.