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The Life and Times of Robert B. McAfee, continued ______________

Robert B. McAfee’s autobiographical account of his life and experiences provides insights on family life, education, and important events in the early settlement and statehood period of Kentucky’s history.

with grey eyes, a round expansive forehead, dark auburn hair, straight and abundant and so long that she could sit on the end of it when hanging down her back. [She was] kind and affectionate to all her acquaintances, especially so to her children, whom she regarded as her jewels; so much so that she could not rest long if she did not know where they were. I recollect being so mischievous that I have frequently crawled under the bed to hide, that I might hear her call & search for me when I was a mere child.

This conduct I afterward considered as my first offense against the best of mothers, who regarded me as her idol, and for which I have often reflected on myself. She was always regarded as among the best of women, and my many acts of disobedience to her often rises in judgment against, and has ever made a deep impression on my mind, so much so, that no offense gives me more pain than disobedience or ingratitude to parents, especially the mother.

My father’s cabin, in which I was born, stood on the east bank of Salt River, not more than eight or ten yards from the same. It was on the site of one of

the many Indian towns which existed perhaps 500 years before in many places all over Kentucky.

It is very certain that the Indians had been driven from this state many centuries before any European set his foot in this state, as no Indian village had been occupied for ages before any white man came here. It seems to have been long reserved as the hunt- ing ground of the northern & southern aborigines without any acknowledged or exclusive owners, in which they had their bloody conflicts as their various hunting parties met. …

It is also certain, that it was once populated by some tribes as indicated by the appearance of their fire places since the country has been cultivated by the whites. It is also certain that the southern Indi- ans from Mexico were the victors, as the Shawnee Indians were found on the north side of the Ohio.

  • [They] are of southern origin, as held in their


But it is also certain that Kentucky, all north of the Cumberland Mountains & River and south of the Ohio River had been merely an Indian hunt- ing ground from time immemorial, even among the Indians. The sites of their villages & the remains of several ancient fortifications on Salt River, four or five miles above Harrodsburg & on Elkhorn about Lexington & on North Elkhorn where some nation had dug for lead ore, were covered with timber of the same size & appearance as in any other place.

After my father began to plough & cultiv(ate) the ground north of his house and down the river & out from his cave spring, the remains of numer- ous fireplaces or heaps of stone burnt into lip (?) & sandstone were found from one to two feet below the soil & in several places large piles of mussel shells had been thrown out, and became petrified and con- glomerated together, in various strata, some of them full size & wholly turned into stone.

The native seemed to have fed on them & thrown them out in piles by their lodges & fire places. As the upper soil was washed of(f) the ground above the cave spring, hundreds of flint arrowheads were found & some stone axes. These arrowheads, I have often picked up when a child, and one of a remark- able shape was found a few days since (May the 25th, 1845), by one of my little daughters, which I have preserved with other specimens & fossils in my museum.


2007 Kentucky Ancestors V42-4

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