Very few of you that read this blog probably know this, but I grew up on a small farm in northern Mercer County. More specifically that farm was located in a little area called McAfee, which at the time was actually a dot on the official maps of the state. Though it has been removed since that time.
The little community, much as the whole of the area was originally populated by Native Americans of course. In the 1770’s though there an influx of white settlers who came both to McAfee Station and just south of there to a Fort Harrod, and of course we can not forget Boonesboro, a few miles East. The point is this though, the McAfee brothers, of which eventually their were five that settled in the area, along with some kinsfolk were the first to establish a settlement in the McAfee area of Kentucky.
What little I knew of that was that were probably from Virginia and further back were most likely Irish. They were definitely religious and Presbyterian in their practice. One the things that they did was establish the New Providence Church. Though I do not know the date of the church’s establishment I believe the building (at the end of the road of my youth was built in 1815. Further, the cemetery was just over the hill from the house and has markers from the Revolutionary War time period contained with its borders. And for the record many is the time I have ridden a bike or otherwise walked through that graveyard looking at the old historical markers and wondering about the life’s they must have led.
… Time Passes …
Some number of years later I took a position at Virginia Polytechnic University (more generally known as Virginia Tech). The campus is located in a little town called Blacksburg, and lays in the foothills of the mountains. I always lived away from campus for the most part, out further in the actual mountainous areas. For the most part I lived in the are of Dublin, in Pulaski county (not the mix of Irish and Scottish names), all of which are considered to be part the highlands of Virginia. However, I often had times when I had to go to Roanoke. I generally prefer back roads to interstates and since I had friends that lived down some of those back roads.
Imagine when I visited one those friends in a little place along Catawba Creek they referred to the one small mountain near there as McAfee Knob. I found that curious and started looking into it. Sure enough, the McAfee’s that the knob was named for was the parents of the McAfee brothers that later settled McAfee Kentucky. A very short history has the family originally coming from Ireland in the 1730’s. They settled in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. When James decided that it was getting to crowded there in the area for him and the six children, the moved to Catawba Creek. That not liking to be crowded was a theme, as that is the very reason Robert, the eldest brother, gave when they started making regular trips to Kentucky. interestingly enough, Jane McAfee, their mother, went to Kentucky with them in 1779 at an advanced age at the time.