Bryan's Station

Historical Marker #21 in Fayette County commemorates Bryan's Station, a frontier fort that came under a combined Native American, Tory, and Canadian Ranger attack in 1782.

The marker, which was installed by the Historical Markers Society in the late 1930s, reads:

"Camping place in 1775-76 of the brothers Morgan, James, William and Joseph Bryan. In 1779 was fortified as a station which in Aug. 1782 repelled a siege of Indians and Canadians under Capt. William Caldwell and Simon Girty."

As this marker's story attests, the settlements in what became Kentucky found themselves in an unenviable position during the Revolutionary War. Although there were not large armies present like those campaigning in the East Coast colonies, Kentucky became the focus of British attention in the trans-Appalachian region. Since Kentucky was the area chosen by early settlers for development, and thus was in violation of the Proclamation of 1763, the British attempted to ensure that the people there experienced a particularly brutal war.

The British capitalized on Native American anger at the settlers' encroachment upon their lands. Indian displeasure with the growing number of pioneers made the natives natural allies for the British.

In mid-August 1782, approximately six hundred British, Loyalist, and Native Americans from Ohio approached the settlement at Bryan's Station in Fayette County to capture and destroy the fort. The attackers first tried to cause a diversion to draw the pioneers out of their defenses, but the ploy failed. In the meantime, two Kentuckians slipped out of the fort, reached Lexington, and called for reinforcements.

After a sharp firefight, the besiegers reluctantly retreated back north. Kentucky settlers followed the British-led force to Blue Licks. There, the pioneers were soundly defeated after an impetuous charge.

The Kentuckians eventually retaliated with military missions against Indian settlements in southern Ohio. Those raids, combined with the official end of the Revolutionary War the following year, brought a general decrease in Native American attacks in Kentucky. However, random Indian attacks occasionally occurred on Kentucky frontier settlements into the 1790s.