Cornland

Historical Marker #883 marks the home of Colonel Joseph Hamilton Daviess, a farm called “Cornland”, located on the Ohio River a mile and a half east of Owensboro. The original residence was a hewn log house, although none of that remains today.

Colonel Daviess prosecuted Andy Burr in 1806, while he still lived at Cornland. Burr was charged with treason in 1806, resulting in the affair historians have labeled the Burr Conspiracy. It was his intention to lead a small army down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers in order to possibly try to seize Mexico from the Spanish. Before Burr had even full committed himself to this plan, newspapers were accusing him of trying to withdraw from the Union and create his own empire by combining the states and territories west of the Appalachians with Mexico.

The first time Burr was brought to trial was in December 1806, defended in part by a twenty nine year old Henry Clay and prosecuted by Daviess, but the charges were dropped as the press admitted the plot to be hearsay. As his relationship with President Jefferson was never the best, and in addition to his supposed collaborator General James Wilkinson sending Jefferson translated ciphers signed by Burr, Burr was again summoned to before a grand jury. Once again prosecuted by Daviess, there was never quite enough evidence to charge Burr fully.

Even after two hearings, Col. Daviess was never able to establish the charge of conspiracy against the United States to separate from the Union or to lead an expedition against Mexico. Because of this failure, President Jefferson removed Daviess from office, whereupon Daviess bitterly criticized Jefferson’s conduct.

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