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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Revisiting Henderson's Past: The Unsettled Virginian

It's time for another peek into the archives ...

The Unsettled Virginian

General Thomas Posey overcame his share of life’s hardships to become a Kentucky state senator, a Louisiana senator, and, eventually, Indiana’s last territorial governor. Born in 1750, in Fairfax County, Virginia, on a plantation adjacent to Mount Vernon, famed home of George Washington, he never led a privileged existence. He served in the Virginia militia during the French and Indian wars and fought in the American army for seven years during the Revolutionary War. In 1778, he lost his beloved wife of just six years. Even after his death in 1818 of typhus fever, rumors that he was the illegitimate son of President Washington plagued his family’s name. So, how did he wind up in right here in Henderson County?

A pioneer at heart, Posey set out for the frontier early in life. He moved to western Virginia in 1769 in hopes of finding fortune, and by 1797, an expedition to the newly formed, largely unsettled Kentucky commonwealth enticed his restless spirit. With the help of the Transylvania Company and an old war buddy, General Samuel Hopkins, Thomas Posey moved his family to “Longview,” a vast plantation located on present-day Highway 60 between Henderson and Spottsville, where they lived for over a decade.

The primitive living conditions in Kentucky proved trying but toughening for Mary Alexander Posey, Thomas’s second wife, as well as for the Posey children. Though the separation from their Virginia family and their comfortable lifestyle was difficult, Thomas and Mary managed to prosper and to build a rich life on their land here. Although Thomas proceeded to go into politics in Indiana and Louisiana, some of his family stayed behind, generating many of the Poseys in the area today.

To read about the Revolutionary War adventures and the political life of General Thomas Posey, check out General Thomas Posey: Son of the American Revolution by John Thornton Posey, or just come visit us in the archives to view our Kentucky files. To trace the Posey lineage or to begin your own family tree, you can start by visiting our genealogy page. You may also want to check out other “Revisiting Henderson’s Past” entries.

Image is of Thomas Posey.

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