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Elizabeth Jarboe Kenton ~ Kentucky & Ohio


The name of Simon Kenton, one of the early pioneers of Kentucky, is intimately associated with that of Daniel Boone, he being one of the hardy explorers who went into the wilderness of the Alleghany Mountains and spent three years in the wilds near the Kanawha River, until the breaking out of the wars between the Indians and the settlers in 1774, when he tendered his service to his country and acted as a spy.

He was captured by the Indians, carried off and the details of his capture form one of the most thrilling stories of these days. He was tied on the back of an unbroken horse and eight times was exposed to what the Indians call "the running of the gauntlet," which consists in giving a man this one chance for his life. He is allowed to run a certain distance, and if he reaches the enclosure selected by the Indians in safety, when all the Indians are shooting at him, he is given his life. He was three times bound to a stake with no prospect of rescue, but suddenly saved through the interference of a friendly Indian. He was at another time saved through the intercession of Logan, the great Mingo chief, and such experiences filled his almost daily life among his savage captors. He afterwards rendered distinguished service under General George Rogers Clark and in the campaign of Wayne. General Kenton's first wife was Martha Dowdon, who lived ten years.

Elizabeth, his second wife, was the daughter of Stephen Jarboe, a French settler from Maryland, who had come to Mason County, Kentucky, about 1796, when Elizabeth was about seventeen years of age. A clever story is told of the wooing of Elizabeth Jarboe by General Kenton. She had many admirers, among them young Mr. Reuben Clark, and the race seemed close between young Clark and General Kenton; but the wily hero of so many more perilous experiences cleverly outwitted his young friend Clark by sending him on some important work to Virginia, and in his absence General Kenton secured the prize.

 They were married in the year 1798 at Kenton's Station. A few months after their marriage they removed to Cincinnati, and later to what was then called the Mad River Country, a few miles north of Springfield, Ohio. Here they had many experiences of a thrilling nature with the Indians. General Kenton's family consisted of five children. He was greatly beloved and had most successful influence with the Indians. His home became the rendezvous of both settlers and Indians, which necessitated incessant toil and privation on the part of Mrs. Kenton. General Kenton had lost a great deal of land in Kentucky through the dishonesty of agents whom he had entrusted with his business, and in 1818 they procured only a small portion of some wild land in Logan County, and again took up their residence in Kentucky.

In 1836 General Kenton died. In 1842 Mrs. Kenton returned to Indiana and on November 27 passed away. Her daughter was a Mrs. Parkinson of Dayton, who remembers seeing her mother instruct the Indian wife of Isaac Zain.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.


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