This Kentucky County Was Briefly Called Transylvania
If I asked the first three things you think of when you hear the word Transylvania, you would most likely say (in no particular order) Dracula, vampires, and Europe. You would most likely NOT say Kentucky, Tennessee, or anything to do with the United States. Perhaps that will change after reading this.
Have You Ever Heard of Richard Henderson?
Fun Fact #1: Henderson County was established by Richard Henderson, a Kentucky jurist, land speculator, and politician back in the late 1770s. Fun Fact #2: If Richard had his way, that area would NOT be named after him - he had something completely different in mind.
The Forgotten Colony of Transylvania
After forming the Transylvania Company in 1775, Richard Henderson purchased a large area of land, much of which is now Kentucky and Tennessee, from the Cherokee Indians. This was known as the Treaty of Sycamore Shoals. He and his associates (which included legendary frontiersman Daniel Boone) planned to use that land to establish the colony of Transylvania - and it worked, even if just briefly.
The colony of Transylvania was established in 1775 but was short-lived as the Continental Congress in Virginia nullified the Transylvania Company’s treaty with the Cherokee. However, Virginia compensated them with 200,000 acres along the Ohio River. (explorekyhistory.ky.gov)
So, the next time you think of Transylvania, remember it's not just a land of Gothic legends, bats, and bloodlust, but also a forgotten chapter in American history. It's part of a story involving daring pioneers, controversial land deals, and ultimately, the birth of two great states.
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