organized as the Louisa Company by Richard
Henderson, in August 1774; it was reorganized as
the Transylvania Company in January 1775.
Henderson organized the company in hopes of
exploiting and colonizing the area that now
comprises most of Kentucky and Tennessee. On
March 17, 1775, he met with a large contingent of
Cherokee Indians near present-day Elizabethton,
Tennessee, and came away with a "deed"
to all the territory embraced by the Ohio,
Kentucky, and Cumberland rivers, as well as a
tract through the Cumberland
Gap; in return, the
Cherokee received trade goods valued at about
10,000 British Pounds. Henderson then hired Daniel Boone, who had previously explored area, to
improve the Wilderness Road into the area and
find a suitable place for a settlement.
In May 1775, Henderson
organized a provisional democratic government for
his colony, which he called Transylvania, and
began petitioning the Continental Congress for
recognition of Transylvania as the 14th colony.
Unfortunately for Henderson, both Virginia and
North Carolina, the two "real colonies"
within which his claim lay, refused to recognize
his claim to the land, saying that the Cherokee
never owned the land and could not, therefore,
sell it to anyone. As a result, Congress never
gave Henderson's petition serious consideration.
In December 1776, Virginia
assumed formal control over that portion of
Henderson's claim within its jurisdiction, and
created Kentucky County. In November 1778,
Virginia voided all Transylvania Company-issued
titles within Kentucky County. North Carolina
voided Henderson's claims in 1783.
Although Henderson's dream of
establishing a 14th state had been dashed, his
efforts did not go unrewarded. Virginia and North
Carolina each awarded Henderson and his
associates 200,000 acres for their labor and
expenses in having played a major part in the
settlement of what are now Kentucky and
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