Historical Marker #212 marks five thousand acres of land owned by George Washington in present-day Grayson County.
These five thousand acres in Grayson County was the only land in Kentucky owned by General George Washington. The deed to the land began on the south side of Rough Creek, with all five thousand acres located within Grayson County. George Washington regarded the land as more valuable that what he paid for it because of the abundance of iron ore. It was purchased on November 5, 1788, for “600 pounds in current money of Virginia.” Unfortunately, Washington died in 1799, before he could visit Kentucky.
The “abundance of iron ore” was cited from John Filson’s 1784 book “The Discovery, Settlement, and Present State of Kentucke and an Essay towards the Topography, and Natural History of that Important Country.” Filson, born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, was a historian, surveyor, teacher, and cartographer who drew the first map of Kentucky. The purpose of his book was to promote Kentucky and its settlements, from which Filson, who owned more than thirteen thousand acres, would gain through land investments. Filson also surveyed a road from Lexington to Losantiville (now Cincinnati) in 1788, and began laying it out for settlement. While exploring north of that site, Filson disappeared. It is believed that he was killed by Native Americans sometime around October 1, 1788. The Filson Historical Society in Louisville is named in his honor.