Running Mad for Kentucky: Frontier Travel Accounts

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The crossing of America's first great divide -- the Appalachian Mountains -- has been a source of much fascination but has received little attention from modern historians. In the eighteenth century, the Wilderness Road and Ohio River routes into Kentucky presented daunting natural barriers and the threat of Indian attack. Running Mad for Kentucky brings this adventure to life. Primarily a collection of travel diaries, it includes day-to-day accounts that illustrate the dangers thousands of Americans, adult and child, black and white, endured to establish roots in the wilderness. Ellen Eslinger's vivid and extensive introductory essay draws on numerous diaries, letters, and oral histories of trans-Appalachian travelers to examine the historic consequences of the journey, a pivotal point in the saga of the continent's indigenous people. The book demonstrates how the fabled soil of Kentucky captured the imagination of a young nation.