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Chapter 12

Location, Location, Location

The decision that Caty Todd and James took to move to Kentucky would forever change the way in which the Ware family tree would grow.  The taproot may have started in Virginia, but branches were now popping out in the good, rich soil of Kentucky.  Of course, one could always argue that Kentucky was once Virginia anyway, but it spoils the imagery.  As Webster’s dictionary explains it, A taproot is an enlarged, somewhat straight to tapering, root that grows vertically downward. It forms a center from which other roots sprout laterally.”  There was still a large group of Wares in Virginia, but those “other” roots were now firmly growing in Kentucky and would prove to be equally as hardy and prolific.

Cornelia wrote, “I have been told that the Wares are very influential and wealthy in Kentucky.”(Ref. 2)  She was informed correctly.  A large part of the success of the family in their new home came as a result of having good property locations.  Water was an essential attribute, but the soil and topography of the land also contributed to its richness.  The fact that James lived around the Lexington area was of major importance.  Geographically, the location of Lexington was fortunate in that the town became the transportation hub of the state.  Nearly all the early Kentucky trails and roads passed through or near this settlement.  Commerce going to and from the surrounding settlements, except that which went by river, passed through Lexington.  Not only was Lexington the highway focus of the state but it likewise became commercially the ‘queen city’ of the West, a position it maintained until 1818 when Louisville, as a river town, began effectively to drain it of its commercial resources.” (Ref. 2254)

We know that, as of “August 14, 1786, even prior to the move, James owned 1500 acres on the dividing ridge between Stoners Hingston’s Fork of Licking. (Ref.948)  This was purchased and filed through the Virginia Land Grant Office. (see below)   



Map showing Hingston’s Fork of Licking and Stoners Rivers

It would not be the only property he would own, though.  On October 13, 1797, there was an Indenture (large legal contract entirely written by hand) for James Ware of Fayette County to Clifton Rodes of the same county for 27 pounds, for 17 acres in Fayette County on David Jones’ Fork of Elkhorn, joining the tract whereon the said James Ware now lives and bounded by Ashby’s line.  Absolem Adams, George Northcut, and Jesse Barbee witnesses, recorded December 11, 1797.” (Ref. 1077, 1091)

In May of 1779, the Virginia General Assembly had passed laws that expanded the land patenting process to include acquisitions by Treasury Warrants.  From October 1779 to December 1783, over 23,000 of these Treasury Warrants were purchased from the Virginia Land Office or authorized by the state General Assembly by special legislation.  There were four major steps required in obtaining land ownership.  You needed the actual “warrant” which would authorize a survey, the entry number reserving the land for patenting, the field survey done by “a regularly appointed County Surveyor,” and finally, the ‘Governor’s Grant’ or signature which would seal the deal.  The surveyor needed the following information to do his job: “. . . the proposed boundary in numbers of acres, on some particular watercourse, and in one of the original counties.” (Ref. 2284) It was possible for a person to have several warrants in their possession, but unless the other three criteria were met, the land was not legally theirs.  The recipient of the warrant also had choices regarding disposition of the land.  In the case of one man, he was awarded over 15 warrants, but he chose to patent only 11 of them.  He probably just sold off the other parcels if they did not benefit his estate.  The following is a description of the job of the surveyor:

The job of a surveyor in the eighteenth century was to measure land to be transferred from the crown to private ownership.  When a warrant was issued from the secretary of state's office in Williamsburg, the county surveyor would survey the designated tract, draw a plat (a map showing the features of the land), and write a description of the land.  Most surveyors learned their trade through an apprenticeship.  County surveyors were appointed.  Both surveyors and chain men (those who held the measuring chain) had to take an oath that they would be faithful, accurate, and would record their results without favor.  During the 1700s and 1800s, Gunter's chain was the standard for measuring distances and played a primary role in mapping out America.  The chain consisted of 100 links and its total length was 4 poles (66 feet).  Each link was connected to the next by a round ring.  Eighty chains equaled one mile. Because the chains were hand-made, their measurements were rarely exact.  Gunter's chain served as the basic surveying instrument for three hundred years, until it was replaced in the early 20th century by the steel tape.”  (Ref. 2273)


Survey chains


The following documents are on file in the Kentucky State Land Warrants Department and can be found on line.  They reflect the acreage that James acquired, the amount he paid for it (in English pounds), the written survey descriptions, and, in at least one case, the signature of Patrick Henry, who was the Governor of Virginia at the time.  Henry served as Virginia’s governor from 1776-1778 and also in 1784.

Land Warrant dated March 22, 1780 for
acres for the price of 1200 pounds
Entry number 4234


On the back of the land warrant 4234

Survey for warrant #4234

Land warrant dated March 1780 for
acres of land purchased for the price of 140 pounds
Entry number 4232

Survey on the back of warrant #4232

Land warrant dated March 22, 1780 for
acres purchased for the price of 120 pounds
Entry number 4237

Back of warrant #4327

Survey for Warrant #4327

Although only the front part of this Warrant # 4384 was available for copy, the registration number and survey note tell us that it was for 1500 acres of land and the survey was done in 1783.  Governor Patrick Henry signed the paperwork. 

Final paperwork signed by Governor Patrick Henry

The following is a transcription of the above document and other surveys which describe the location of the land James Ware purchased.

“Patrick Henry, Esq., Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, to all to whom these present shall come, greeting - Know ye that by virtue and in consideration of part of a Land Office Treasury Warrant No. 4336 offered the 22nd Day of March, 1780 there is granted by the said Commonwealth unto James Ware, a certain land or parcel of land, consisting 1,400 acres by Survey bearing date the 23rd day of July 1783, lying and being in the County of Fayette on the dividing Ridge between Stoner’s and Hingston’s Forks of Licking and bordered as follows – to and beginning at 2 Buckeyes and a Walnut standing in an ancient marked line and a corner to Morgan and Ashby, thence South 70 degrees east, 520 poles to a Shugar Tree and Line by a Drain a Corner to Ann Churchill, thence North 34 degrees East at 238 poles crossed a branch course - continued in all 482 poles to a black Walnut and Cherry tree standing in an Open Flatt – thence North 70 degrees West and 154 poles crossed a branch at 220 poles crossed another Course, continued in all 520 poles to a Honey Locust and Hickory – thence South 34 degrees West  to 282 poles to the Beginning with its appointments to have and to hold the said tract or parcel of land with its appointments to the said James Ware and his heirs forever.  In witness whereof the said Patrick Henry, Esquire, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia hath hereto set his hand and attached the Proper Seal of the said Commonwealth of Virginia to be affixed at Richmond . . .”

This particular land was bordered by Randall’s and Brown’s land on one side, Morgan’s land on another, and Ashby and Churchill’s on the third side.

Hinkston Creek



Covered Bridge crossing over Hinkston Creek 

All photos taken by James and Judy Ware - 2010

Hinkston Creek


Hinkston Creek

Covered Bridge over Hinkston Creek

Inside the bridge

Old Mill on the North Side of Hinkston Creek
provided courtesy of the
Historic Paris Bourbon County/Hopewell Museum

Land warrant dated February 2, 1782 for
acres of land purchased for the price of 210 pounds
Entry number 8194

Since there was no further paperwork attached to the above warrant, it may have simply been sold off.

In 1810, concerning the property of James Ware II, “William Steele gave a deposition in Watkin’s Tavern on Sept. 6TH, stating that he knew of the surveys done for the families of Meredith, Ware, and Christian.  Another deposition, this one of Robert Johnson, taken at the Kentucky Hotel in Lexington on June 10, 1812, gives a more detailed description that takes into account the progress of roads, etc. at the time.  Johnson stated, “The Ironworks Road runs by the corner of Ware’s, Christian’s, and Meredith’s military surveys, which road crossed the road from Lexington to Georgetown and Henry Mill Road (now the Newtown Pike.)  The corner to Ware’s and Christian’s military survey is below Georgetown Road near Hutchison’s Tavern, and the greater part of Christian’s and Meredith’s lines are above the same road from Lexington to Georgetown.  I believe these surveys were well known to people of Bryant’s Station and Lexington as early as 1781-1782.  Robert Johnson bought a settlement and preemption of Bryant which joined Ware’s, Christian’s, and Floyd’s, also part of Patrick Henry’s military survey and in 1783 he settled where he now lives at the Great Crossing. (Ref 1072 & 1033)


Map showing Ware Road

Maps showing location of James Ware land – courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society

          Bryant Station Pike         Briar Hill Pike            Ware
          David’s Fork                    Stewart                       Houston-Antioch

James and Caty had a wonderful location for their property.  In his work entitled, The American Geography, Jedidiah Morse wrote, in 1794, the following description of the area:

“Elkhorn river, a branch of the Kentucky, from the south-east, waters a country fine beyond description.  Indeed, the country east and south of this, including the head waters of Licking river, Hickman's and Jessamine Creeks, and the remarkable bend in Kentucky river, may be called an extensive garden.  The soil is deep and black, and the natural growth, large walnuts, honey and black locust, poplar, elm, oak, hickory, sugar tree, &c.  Grape vines run to the tops of the trees; and the surface of the ground is covered with clover, blue grass, and wild rye.  On this fertile track, and the Licking River, and the head waters of Salt River, are the bulk of the settlements in this country.”

Elkhorn Creek from suspension footbridge, near Frankfort
Used with kind permission of the Kentucky Historical Society

The Wares found this land to be perfectly suited for raising good crops and nurturing livestock that would soon rival the best breeding farms in Virginia.  It would not be long before Kentucky would be known as the epicenter of good horseflesh; a reputation it still maintains today.

W.G. Stannard, a 19th century author, recorded the following information concerning the property location of James:

“In 1792, Dr. Ware and the Webb families built three homes on the old Ironworks Pike, just east of the Bryan Station Pike.  The Dr. James Ware house still stands at the intersection of the Briar Hill Pike and (new) Antioch Pike. (Ref. 939)  With time and growth, the names would change.  The road markers in Fayette County, as of 1998, showed that road as the Houston-Antioch Road and a current map shows the name as Antioch Road, most of it is in Bourbon County. (Ref. 944)

Current Map (as of 2010)
showing historical location of the property of James Ware II

Kentucky Geological Survey Frankfort, KY  W.R. Jillson, Director and State Geologist  Series VI -1926

MAP OF THE AERIAL AND STRUCTURAL GEOLOGY OF FAYETTE COUNTY KENTUCKY – Reconnaissance Areal Geology by A.C. McFarlan and L.C. Robinson     Base source: New Survey by W.C. Eyl, 1925

          Bryant Station Pike         Briar Hill Pike      Ware
Houston and Antioch       David’s Fork  


Road signs near Ware property – Photos taken by James and Judy Ware 2010

Since it was “ordered that Abraham Ferguson, Abner Wilson, Absalom Adams, and Thomas Scott, or any three, be appointed Commissioners to view a proposed alteration to be made in the road leading from Bryant’s Station to Hornback’s mill road, through one corner of James Ware’s land,” that also gives us a hint as to where the property was located.  (Ref. 1044B)

When a death occurred in the family during those years, most people buried their loved ones in a small cemetery near their home or on the property itself.  As in the case of the Ware and Webb families during the cholera epidemic, “most who died then were buried in a small cemetery near the home of Isaac Webb. One source locates the graveyard as “on Stewart Road. (Ref. 934)   The maps below show the close proximity of Stewart Road to the home of James Ware.  As mentioned in the chapter on Lucy Webb, the cemetery is located on a “road that runs northwesterly to and along a Houston Creek on to where it meets the Lexington-Paris Pike (the Antioch Church is at the Lexington-Paris Pike juncture, in Bourbon County, where it is known as the Antioch Pike.)  The road markers in Fayette County now show that road as the Houston-Antioch Road and a current map shows the name as Antioch Road, most of it is in Bourbon County.” (Ref. 944)

--------- Briar Hill Road goes this way ----------

Map showing land belonging to James Ware in Fayette County

According to Cornelia Ware Anker, the home of James and Caty Todd Ware was “at first a settlement and some cleared land; the line of Fayette and Bourbon counties ran through their house.  This was near Lexington.” (Ref. 2)   At the exact “intersection of the Briar Hill Pike and (new) Antioch Pike” there still stands a house today on the property that once belonged to the Wares.


As with all other property claims that were established by those first Kentucky settlers, the acreage that was once vast and expansive has been whittled down to just a small section.  Some of the land was sold, some was inherited, and some subdivided by numerous heirs over the years.  Once the property fell out of Ware ownership, it soon became swallowed up by “progress.”  This one portion of land is a lone bastion holding out against time; a defiant reminder of what once existed.   It is frankly amazing that it still exists - - one definable plot of Kentucky soil that so many Wares walked on over 200 years ago.  If only trees and soil could talk.

Leafy Swirl

Supporting Documents for Chapter 12

 All photos below taken by James and Judy Ware - 2010

Corner of Briar Hill Road and Houston Antioch (Co. Road 2335)


Corner of Briar Hill and Houston, Antioch

Coming from the opposite direction

Property originally owned by Caty and James Ware II

Source:  Courtesy of Google Maps



All photos below taken by James & Judy Ware 2009

Land purchased by James Ware II in the late 1700s

All photos taken by James & Judy Ware 2009

Chapter 13

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