Name: John GRANT

Misc. Notes
John Grant's Station [1]

A particularly well known Bourbon County station was established by John Grant in 1779. John Grant came from North Carolina with William Ellis, a Virginian, and built a stockaded station on the waters of Houston Creek along the main buffalo road from Bryant's Station to the Blue Licks. The station was intended for 20-30 families then crowded into Bryant's Station (Drake 1942). It was attacked and burned in June of 1780 by 60 Indians, during which two men named Stucker and a woman named Mitchell were killed. This attack was by a group which splintered off from Byrd's large war party after Martin's and Ruddle's Stations were taken. The Indian attack led to its abandonment in 1780, but it was rebuilt by Grant in 1784 (Dunn 1945; Ardery 1939). The Grants sold the Bourbon County property in the late 1780s and 1790s.

John Grant listed the following inhabitants in a letter to Col. John Todd dated April 24, 1780 (Drake 1942). They included John Tamplin, John Jackson, John Van Cleave and his son John, George Stucker and his son George, Samson Culpepper, Stufel Stucker, Philip Drake, Christopher Harris, William Van Cleave, Manoah Singleton, Thomas Gilbert, William Liley, William Loring, Robert Harras, James Rowland, Josiah Underwood, Frederick Hunter, William Morrason, James Gray, Henry Miller, Stephen Murphy, Michael Stucker, Edmond Lilley, Samson Hough, William Ellis and six others he would not "properly call effective". George Summitt, who later built Summitt's Station in Nicholas County, also lived at Grant's Station in 1780.

The station was not reoccupied when Hardesty (Draper mss. 11CC169171) came to Kentucky in fall of 1784. However, once it was reestablished, several primary sources mention relevant events relating to it. Shane interviewed a Mr. Giltner who related that his grandfather, Bernard, and his father, Francis, came to Kentucky in 1786. After camping near "Moreland's Store" (later a post office and small community on Bryan's Station Road between Paris and, Lexington), they proceeded to Grant's Station located "within 20 feet of where the railroad now runs, right on the dividing ridge between the waters of the Licking and the Kentucky rivers" (Draper mss. 15CC81). Hardesty (Draper mss. 11CC169-171) typified the 1787 population at the station as several families living together but not "making up a station" anymore, implying that it was not stockaded or that settlement was more dispersed. In 1788, Timothy Peyton was fatally wounded between Bryant's and Grant's Stations. He was taken to Grant's Station where he died (Mastin 1979; Draper 12CC129-130; 11CC43). John's brother, Squire, was residing at the station in 1789 when he married Susanna Hann (Rouse 1935). The station continued to serve as a stopping place for parties coming to Kentucky. Mary Dewees noted in her journal that her party lodged at Grant's in November of 1788 before going on to Lexington (Blair 1965).

When the Grants left, they sold their relatively large land holdings to several people. The Bourbon County Deed Book A (pages 86-87) contains a deed transfer of Grant's 200-acre station tract to George Berry on June 14, 1788. James Ingels (whose son later built a brick house nearby) purchased the property from the Grants. The Ingels house is on Bryan Station Road almost directly opposite the station site. The April 14, 1792 issue of the Kentucky Gazette included an advertisement that Richard Wilmott, a hatter, established a hat manufactory at Major Robert Wilmott's place in the house lately occupied by Captain John Grant on the road from Lexington to Bourbon County. The Wilmotts built a house on Bryan Station Road about 3/4 of a mile to the northeast of Grant Station. However, the advertisement suggests that they take up residence at the station before establishing themselves on their own property.

The location of John Grant's Station is well documented (Figure IV11). Grant is listed as having seven tracts in the Houston Creek area (Brookes-Smith 1976:77). These include a 400-acre settlement, a 600acre preemption and a 300-acre military warrant, all with a survey date of, August 25, 1780 (Virginia Survey Book 1, page 47). In 1783 he acquired three more tracts of 100 acres, 200 acres and 400 acres in the vicinity. Finally, in 1787, he acquired yet another 400 acres. All of these grants connected or were near one another. His station had to have been located on one of his 1780 tracts since he established it in 1779. The site was indicated on a survey plat drawn for a land dispute between Lewis Craig and John Rogers (Staples 1932:66-69; Fayette Circuit Court Complete Record Book "A", page 397). This plat shows the station in the middle of a square settlement tract surrounded by his preemption. The configuration does not agree with survey calls in his original entry. However, it suggests that the station occurred in the approximate center of the settlement tract according to the survey conventions of the time. Figure IV-11 shows the connected grant entries relative to the location of the station.

The station site itself (designated 15Bb76) is located at the head of a small tributary of Houston fork approximately six hundred feet northwest of present Bryan Station Road (Figure IV-11). It is marked by a pyramidal stone monument placed there by the Martin's Fort Chapter of :the Children of the American Revolution (C.A.R.). A spring which has been partially walled provides a source for the 'small tributary which flows to the northeast from the station. The 1784 house stood to the west of the spring and run. Archaeological remains take the form of a square depression now being used as a dump by the land owner (Figure IV12). This feature was a basement for Grant's 1784 house. Limestone blocks are scattered in the area and probably once formed foundations. The structural remains sit on an elevated area in an otherwise flat upland setting. The elevation is roughly rectangular which is suggestive of a stockade. An old road once ran along the southwest edge of the elevated area and can still be seen along a fence row opposite the old railroad grade which is immediately to the northwest. Since 20-30 families once occupied the site, more cabins must have once been ,present. These may have stood in the flat pastured areas around the existing structural remains although no archaeological evidence was !noted. The entire elevated area measured approximately 25 m (E-W) by 35 M (N-S).

The immediate area around the structure appears to have never been plowed. In an attempt to determine more about the internal characteristics of the site, two transect lines were laid out at right angles in the area north of the structural depression. The transects were laid out so that one ran from the fence line along the old railroad grade to the structural depression and another ran from west of the old road to near the spring (Figure IV-12). Using a soil resistivity meter which measures moisture conductivity in the soil, values were taken at one-meter intervals along both transects. The purpose of this exercise was to determine where variations in soil resistivity occurred on the assumption that cultural activities may have caused changes in the ground. By locating anomalies in the soil, specific areas can be targeted for later excavation. The technique operates on the fact that water is absorbed differently in materials of varying texture. For instance, water will move very quickly through sand but much slower through clay. Since water is a conductor, electric impulses can be sent via metal electrodes into the ground. They will continue to move downward until 1) they are stopped or slowed by a difference in resistance in the soil (such as bedrock, a buried stone wall, a dense clay layer or other material more resistant than that above it); or 2) when the device's depth limitations are reached [in this case, just over

o yard (3.39 feet or one meter)]. By recording electrical values along

o transect at specific intervals, anomalies can be recognized by noting peaks or valleys when the values are plotted on a graph. While the values will not reveal if an anomaly is cultural in origin, the technique can help narrow the area selected for excavation.

In addition, four shovel probes were placed in the area north of the structure. All of the probes revealed dark, organically rich cultural midden. Cultural artifacts were also recovered from the probes. These are listed in Table IV-2.

When the values for the two soil resistivity transects were plotted, some clear anomalies were notable (Figure IV-13). Transect #1, which ran roughly east-west, bisecting the old road across the rise to near the spring, showed lower, consistent values along the roadbed, atypically high values at the road edge, a drop around Probe #26 and another increase at Probes #38 and 39.

Transect #2, which ran perpendicular to Transect #1, showed a steady increase in values to Probe #11 then plummeted at Probe #17, increasing in subsequent readings. The area where the transects crossed appeared to be quite anomalous since one transect had yielded high values and the other low values. Shovel Probe #4 was dug in this area to determine if any cultural feature may have accounted for the readings. Loose, charcoal-rich soil and ash were encountered. At approximately 20-25 cm, a burned log was uncovered. Artifacts included red paste earthenware sherds, a windowpane fragment and an iron tool. These findings appeared to indicate a good possibility of an archaeological feature. The probe was backfilled and its location recorded so that it could be systematically excavated at a later date.

The artifacts recovered from the shovel probes include numerous red paste earthenware sherds, many of which appear to originate from heavy utilitarian vessels such as crocks or bowls. The soft red paste and fragile metallic glaze on these sherds are characteristics similar to eighteenth century lead glazed ceramics produced further east (Noel Hume 1974:99). They have been documented in early settlement sites in the Knoxville area (Dr. Charles Faulkner 1984: personal communication). The local production of redware in the Lexington area began as early as the 1790s (Kentucky Gazette 1794; Ramsay 1939). James Ingels, who acquired Grant's Station in the late eighteenth century, operated a redware pottery from 1810 (or earlier) to at least 1820. The redware sherds retrieved from the shovel probes can be attributed to Ingels' pottery enterprise (O'Malley 1986). Other artifacts such as windowpane, glass, the nineteenth century stoneware sherd and the pearlware sherd attest to continued occupation of the site beyond the settlement era. 'Excavations were performed at Grant's Station in the summer of 1984 as part of the University of Kentucky Archaeological Field School. Analysis is still underway for the field school collection; however, the bulk of the midden (measuring 35 cm thick) is at tributable to at least the occupation of 1784 and later. Evidence for the station occupation is somewhat equivocal since only a small area of the site was excavated. However, a feature consisting of limestone blocks and charred logs may indicate the remains of one of the station cabins. The probable foundation stones overlayed one another in a pattern suggestive of a stacked support pier having been pushed over much like dominoes. The charred logs were exposed as long linear stains which, when excavated, yielded large sections of burnt wood. This feature was located beneath a dense artifactual deposit comprised predominantly of redware sherds. Other excavation units yielded a kaolin pipestem, faunal remains, and diffuse charcoal flecking at the base of the midden deposit. Although natural material evidence of station occupation was not abundant, the excavation results underscore the generally ephemeral nature of pioneer deposits. Based on this limited excavation (which will be more fully reported in the future), pioneer archaeological deposits may consist largely of subtle architectural indicators such as stacked stone foundations, charred log fragments. Artifactual remains may be very limited although faunal remains representing food refuse constitute a potentially important category.

Judging from the wealth of artifacts, the essentially undisturbed structural remains,, and the documented presence of intact cultural deposits including features, John Grant's Station is considered highly significant from the standpoint of archaeological preservation and its historical importance as a prominent and well-known station and residence in the early historic era.

Table IV-2. Artifacts Recovered from Shovel Probes in John Grant's Station, Bourbon County.

Shovel Probe 1:
1 unglazed red paste earthenware body sherd
1 red paste earthenware body sherd with unglazed exterior and metallic glazed interior
1 glazed (interior and exterior) red paste earthenware sherd, possibly a rim

Shovel Probe 2:
4 fragments of charred wood
1 burned cherty limestone rock
5 possible chinking/mortar fragments
1 unglazed red paste earthenware body sherd from heavy, wheel thrown vessel
3 red paste earthenware body sherds with metallic glazed interior
2 red paste earthenware body sherds with interior and exterior glaze
2 indeterminate red paste earthenware fragments
1 "flow blue" pearlware body sherd
1 clear glass fragment

Shovel Probe 3:
1 unidentified possible fossil
1 corroded square-cut iron nail
4 unidentified animal bone fragments
2 unidentifiable red paste earthenware fragments
4 unglazed red paste earthenware body sherds
2 red paste earthenware body sherds with dark reddish brown metallic glaze on exterior and interior
3 red paste earthenware body sherds with interior metallic glaze (one dark glaze; remaining one orange)
2 red paste earthenware body sherds with light metallic glazed exteriors
3 red paste earthenware body sherds with glazed exteriors and interiors
1 red paste earthenware rim sherd with interior glaze extending to lip and collared rim; unglazed exterior
1 red paste earthenware everted rim with metallic glazed interior and exterior
1 stoneware body sherd with Albany-type slip glaze on exterior and interior
1 light blue glass windowpane fragment
1 unidentified clear glass fragment (slight amethyst discoloration)

Shovel Probe 4:
1 red paste earthenware body sherd from large wheel thrown vessel, with light metallic glazed exterior
1 red paste earthenware body sherd with light metallic glazed interior and exterior
1-heavy iron railroad spike fragment with square cross-section and tapering end
1 light blue glass windowpane fragment


1. Nancy O’Malley, Stockading Up, Kentucky Heritage Council, Frankfort Kentucky, revised edition, 1994, pp. 59-60, 63-65.

Last Modified: November 5, 2000
Created: August 15, 2002