The first time I remember hearing this term is when I was 35 years old, I purchased a DVD of Fess Parker playing Daniel Boone Season 1 Episode 1. I had watched all the Daniel Boone episodes when I was a child but I do not remember this term, anyway, it has intrigued me ever since and I love referring to Kentucky as The Dark and Bloody Ground. There are a lot of people, even my mom, who do not know to what it is I am referring, which of course, is why I use the term, besides it fun to say! My little way of teaching people a little something about history.
Since learning the term, the land and its history has intrigued me and I try to visit every year for some new learning of history. I did find a book written by John Filson called: The Discovery, Settlement and Present State of Kentucky written in 1784 that I enjoyed thoroughly you can get it on Amazon here. A great read if you are interested in some of the history of Kentucky. It is not a lot of pages, it is photo copied of the original book so the English is the old English where the "f" has the "s" sound so it makes it an even more interesting read.
Mr. Filson talks about sepulchers full of human skeletons buried in a manner that is not in the manner of the American Indian. There was also found hundreds of dinosaur bones, bones of large humans. The belief was that there were ancient Welsh civilizations in America long before Columbus and before the Indians. Very interesting as to why this is not taught today.
I will quote him, " There are several ancient remains in Kentucky which seem to prove, that this country was formerly inhabited by a nation farther advanced in the arts of life than the Indians. These are there usually attributed to the Welsh, who are supposed to have formerly inhabited here; but having been expelled by the natives, were forced to take refuge near the sources of the Missouri. It is well known, that no Indian nation has ever practiced the method of defending themselves by entrenchments; and such a work would even be no easy one, while these nations were unacquainted with the use of iron. In the neighborhood of Lexington, the remains of two ancient fortifications are to be seen, furnished with ditches and bastions." He tells us that these remains appear to be at least 150 years old.
On one of our trips to The Dark and Bloody Ground we visited The Blue Licks State Park and as we were driving through The Dark and Bloody Ground in our modern car we thought and talked of what would Daniel Boone think of our modern trails through the woods? We thought of how we just zip over the rivers without giving it a moment's thought when not that long ago crossing these rivers was a major undertaking! It might take weeks to get everybody across the river. The planning of the trip would take the crossing of these rivers into account but we do not give the crossing of these rivers any kind of thought, which in a certain way, we miss out on the the wonder of the trip and the beauty of the wilderness.
Back to the story of The Battle of Blue Licks, the British and Indians had sacked a couple forts and the Americans were chasing them through the woods. Daniel Boone and others warned the other leaders that the trail was too easy to follow and warned of an ambush. The Americans crossed at the ford and were ambushed as they made their way up the ridges after crossing The Licking River. There is a book written from the British Point of View that tells of the battle that is available and my absolute favorite book about Daniel Boone Master of The Wilderness written in 1939 tells us about Daniel Boone from his earliest days and does cover the Battle of Blue Licks. Some say it was the last battle of the Revolutionary War. Great books and great history!
Another great book on Kentucky is by Allen Eckert called The Frontiersmen. I was going to provide a link to it on Amazon but the prices were outrageous! So here is a link to Thrift Books for The Frontiersmen. He also has other good books about early American history. Early on in The Frontiersmen he tells of an interesting story and since I have already mentioned Chief Blackfish I will mention this as well, Eckert tells us that Chief Black Fish and a man named Bullit, representing the King of England, had a conversation about the land of Kentucky and that Bullit wanted to negotiate a purchase but Blackfish said that the land was not the Shawnees’ to give because it did not belong to them. Eckert quotes Blackfish saying, “The Shawnees cannot tell you that you are allowed to settle in the Can-tuc-kee lands. We have never owned that land. It belongs to the murdered ghosts of the murdered Azgens —a white people from the eastern sea. Their bones and their ghosts own and occupy every hill and valley of the country. Long ago our fathers and our grandfathers killed off the Azgens, but we now fear the spirits of these people more than our fathers and grandfathers feared them when they were flesh.”
At the Blue Licks State Park we hiked the trails and found the Lick, the Lick is where the salt used to pour out of the ground and the animals would come to the Lick the salt. The Lick, as of this writing, is on private property and we could not get close to it or close to the ford where the crossing of The Licking River took place. We were disappointed about the Lick and the Ford and made a polite complaint to the park manager, he explained to us that they were in the middle of litigation to purchase the land. They are sure there are still more dinosaur bones to be unearthed at this lick. There is also another Lick in Kentucky called Big Bone Lick. At this lick there were, at one time, hundreds of dinosaur bones just sitting on top of the ground. We did visit this park as well, not a lot to see anymore but at one time in America's history this was a hot spot!