Transylvania Company,association formed to exploit and colonize the area now comprising much of Kentucky and Tennessee. Organized first (Aug., 1774) as the Louisa Company, it was reorganized (Jan., 1775) as the Transylvania Company. At Sycamore Shoals on the Watauga River, the Cherokee deeded (Mar. 17, 1775) to Richard HendersonHenderson, Richard,
1735–85, American colonizer in Kentucky, b. Hanover co., Va. An associate justice of the North Carolina superior court (1769–73), Henderson was long interested in Western lands and was the chief promoter of the Transylvania Company.
..... Click the link for more information. and other members of the association all the territory embraced by the Ohio, Kentucky, and Cumberland rivers. Henderson had already dispatched Daniel BooneBoone, Daniel,
1734–1820, American frontiersman, b. Oley (now Exeter) township, near Reading, Pa.
The Boones, English Quakers, left Pennsylvania in 1750 and settled (1751 or 1752) in the Yadkin valley of North Carolina.
..... Click the link for more information. to lead the way to the Kentucky River and, with additional settlers, soon followed Boone over his Wilderness Road to Boonesboro, the first settlement. Henderson hoped to make Transylvania, as the region was called, a proprietary colony similar to Pennsylvania and Maryland, but the project did not have British approval and, more importantly, was immediately denounced by both Virginia and North Carolina, within whose chartered limits Transylvania lay. A provisional, democratic government was organized in May, 1775, but the Continental Congress ignored Transylvania's plea to be recognized as the 14th colony. Virginia created (Dec., 1776) Kentucky co. in its portion of Transylvania and voided (Nov., 1778) the company's land titles there. Henderson then turned to the development of the Cumberland River area, employing James RobertsonRobertson, James,
1742–1814, American frontiersman, a founder of Tennessee, b. Brunswick co., Va. He was reared in North Carolina. After the failure of the Regulator movement, he led (1771) a group of settlers from Orange co., N.C.
..... Click the link for more information. to lead this project. However, North Carolina also voided (1783) this section of the grant. Virginia and North Carolina each awarded Henderson and his associates 200,000 acres (81,000 hectares) for their labor and expenses in promoting western colonization.
See A. Henderson, The Conquest of the Old Southwest (1920); W. S. Lester, The Transylvania Colony (1935).
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