|First book published about Kentucky|
The land grant reads "Robert Breckenridge and John Filson, as tenants in common, entered 1000 acres of land upon the balance of a treasure warrant No. 10117, about sixty or seventy miles northeasterly from Martins Cabins in Powell Valley to include a silver mine which was improved about seventeen years ago by a certain man named Swift at said mine. Where-in Swift reports he has extracted from the ore a considerable quantity of silver, some of which he made into dollars, and left at or near the mine, together with apparatus for making the same. The land to be in a square and the lines to run at the cardinal points of the compass including the mine in the center as near as may be. This is Lincoln Countrie No.10117, issued on May 17, 1788, and filed in the land office at Richmond, Virginia."
|Land grant to Filson that claims to contain Swift mine from state archives|
So consider, Mr. Filson published clearly on page 25 of his book "iron ore and lead are found in abundance, but we do not hear of any silver or gold mines as yet discovered." Within two years Filson is filing a land claim that supposedly had the working mine of John Swift.
Daniel Boone, Levi Todd and James Harrod, all reviewed Filson's book manuscript and approved it for publication. Within four years Filson acquired land supposedly to have the silver mine, in one part of Kentucky and a few years later James Harrod disappeared in another region of the state supposedly visiting the mines. A very interesting connection I always thought.
I should mention that Filson himself was thought to be killed in an attack by the Shawnee October 1, 1788 while surveying lands in what is now Ohio. He was never seen again and he never was known to mine any silver on the Kentucky land claim he had filed just four months earlier.
Anyway, I used the story about Harrod and stated it to be one of the earliest stories because of his unusual disappearance and that he actually was searching for the mine. However, to be more accurate I would have to say the acquistion of the land by John Filson was an earlier reference. And there may be other even earlier references yet to be identified. All this boils down to what I've said for many years and why I do like this Swift story so much. It is without a doubt the oldest legend known in Kentucky and has been passed down generation to generation since it began from these early reports and that makes it worth remembering.