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Mike Watson: Just a word on the Daniel Trabue autobiography

Judge H.C. Baker's version of Trabue's life is accurate as far as he was able to go, with space in the Adair County News somewhat limited. The transcribed Baker History of Adair County is in print, prepared by "Jim", and a few copies are still available.
Related: 100 Years Ago - Judge Baker writes of Col. Daniel Trabue

By Mike Watson
Adair County Historian

Daniel Trabue was one of the three founders of the Town of Columbia and he was instrumental, along with others, in the early financial and industrial growth of this region. Having had considerable experience in business prior to settling in Adair, then Green County, he was a driving force and investor in various enterprises that including the paper manufacturing mill in what is now Russell County, and in salt production on Crocus Creek and the Cumberland River. He had financial troubles in his latter days, the instability stemming in large part from his trust in those who defaulted on loans on which he had co-signed.


In 1822 he and his partners applied to the Kentucky Legislature for assistance in their salt making enterprises:

By Act of the Legislature, 1822, for the benefit of Daniel Trabue and others: "...that Daniel Trabue, Charles Bennett, Adam Kearns, Jr., and Jacob Antle are engaged in boring for salt water in Cumberland County on Blackfish Creek and that they have made considerable progress..."

A second Act of this session [1822] allowed the four partners an additional two years to survey and take up land on which to bore for salt.

Daniel Trabue was a soldier of the Revolution and served as a private and commissary, or sutler--one who sold goods to the soldiers, having made bond with the government. He was eventually pensioned, but after a very difficult fight for the right. Like many Revolutionary War veterans, he was not eager to accept a pension for his services as he, and they, felt it had been their duty to serve. However, as his fortunes waned and his age advanced, he was in need of the money such a pension could provide, and worked diligently to acquire the funds owed him upon this service. It came just at the end of his life.

Trabue's autobiography is a wonderful piece of writing. I have used it many times in researching Adair County and her people, both the Chester Young version, which is by far the best and most complete, and the microfilm of the originals from the Wisconsin Historical Society.

Judge H.C. Baker's version of Trabue's life is accurate as far as he was able to go, with space in the Adair County News somewhat limited. Judge Baker had access to the 1916 version of the Trabue narrative and it may have been the publication of that book on frontier life that spurred him to write the "Baker History" of Adair County that appeared in the News.

Trabue's narrative has been credited with illuminating several incidents of the frontier and Revolutionary War era of Kentucky. Most notably the trial of Daniel Boone, with whom he was well acquainted.

The transcribed Baker History of Adair County is in print, prepared by "Jim", and a few copies are still available.


This story was posted on 2016-12-12 04:07:01
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