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James and The Silver Mine

Col. James Harrod, one of Kentucky’s greatest pioneers and the founder of Harrodsburg KY, was the father-in-law of my aunt’s 5th great-grandfather. His death in 1792 is still somewhat of a mystery.

In those early days of settlement, there were numerous land disputes and court cases involving Kentucky settlers who were forced to protect their land rights from newcomers. James was involved with a number of them, many against a man named Bridges. Despite these disputes, Bridges asked James to accompany him in his search of a supposed Silver Mine thought to exist in the area. His wife, Ann, not trusting Bridges, begged him not to go but James could not be persuaded. Finally Ann just asked him to take another friend which he did.

According to that friend, James had gone upstream to check some traps and Bridges disappeared from camp. He heard a gunshot, but thought one of them had just shot their next meal. Suddenly Bridges comes running back into camp shouting about seeing many Indian footprints and that he had seen James get killed. He convinced the friend not to go search of James due to the many Indians that were around them.

James was said to have been wearing a shirt with distinctive silver buttons engraved with the letter H. Some time later, it was told that Bridges tried to sell those buttons at a distant trading post. Family members then returned to the campsite and while they did find a skeleton in a cave nearby, positive identification was not possible.

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