Showsight Presents the Treeing Walker Coonhound

Treeing Walker

History

ONE MORE CHASE THROUGH THE WOODS

BY CURT WILLIS

C an anyone tell me what geography, tyranny, the Declaration of Independence, and the most dominant hound ever developed to chase fur-bearing critters through the forest of America have in common? If you guessed “the Bluegrass State of Kentucky” then you are absolutely right. THE FIFTEENTH STATE Kentucky became the 15th state in 1792 after spending a great deal of time as part of a large land grant called Virginia. In 1609, when King James I estab- lished Virginia, this area covered from what is now known as North Carolina in the south to Maine in the North, with the western boundary basically to infinity or the Pacific Ocean. The land was given to the Virginia Company as a private entity and would be managed as a company. This sizable grant would be amended in 1612 and revoked in 1624. Following in King James’ footsteps, his son, King Charles I, would continue to restrict colonial borders as well, but it was not until 1665, under King Charles II, that the North Carolina/ Virginia border would be set at 36 degrees 30 minutes north latitude. This line of demarcation would carry west to the Kentucky/Tennessee border in the mid-1700s as well. Using a straight line as a land boundary wasn’t a completely new endeavor. However, it was not an exact science in colonial times and geo- graphical boundaries were far more typical. This 36-30 boundary would cause numerous disputes during this time. Finally, men from each state would form a team to survey the boundary once and for all. In 1728, a team led by William Byrd started at the Atlantic Ocean and made it 241 miles west before rattlesnakes and the summer heat required them to stop. This was approximately two-thirds the way across. Twenty-one years later, in 1749, a second team led by Peter Jefferson and Joshua Fry would pick up and take the line further west to just east of Bristol, Tennessee. Peter Jef- ferson, Joshua Fry, Thomas Walker, and Edmund Pendleton formed the Loyal Land Company and secured an 800,000 acre tract of land along the Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee borders. This tract of land would later become a bit of a headache to Peter Jefferson’s son, Thomas. In 1763, King George III would take back this land grant and place the area west of the Appalachians under the governance of a new province named Que- bec. Quebec was won from the French during the “Seven Years’ War.” This did not sit well with the Colonies, as one might imagine. Along with the increased taxation, the Revolutionary War was upon us. This bothered our forefathers so much, in fact, that Thomas Jefferson saw fit to include the following sentence in the Declaration of Independence: “For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies…”

234 | SHOWSIGHT MAGAZINE, OCTOBER 2021

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