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Susanna Hart Shelby


Susanna Hart was born in Caswell County, North Carolina, February 18, 1761, and died at Traveler's Rest, Lincoln County, Kentucky, June 19, 1833, aged seventy-two years. She was the daughter of Captain Nathan Hart and Sarah Simpson. The Harts were very wealthy people for those early times. His brother Thomas was the father of Mrs. Henry Clay. The three Harts, Nathan, David and Thomas, formed a company known as Henderson and Company, proprietors of the "Colony of Transylvania in America." This was a purchase from the Indians and consisted of almost the entire state of Kentucky, but the legislature of Virginia made this transaction null and void, and gave them two hundred thousand acres of land, for which they paid ten thousand pounds sterling, for the important service they had rendered in opening the country.

This is the company which first sent Daniel Boone to Kentucky; and he was the pioneer who opened up this country for them. In April, 1784, Sarah Hart was married to Colonel Isaac Shelby, who was afterwards the first governor of the state. He had seen distinguished service in the Revolutionary War, remaining with the army until after the capture of Cornwallis. While on a visit to Kentucky, in 1782, in the fort at Boonesborough, he met Susanna Hart, whose father had just a short time previous been killed by the Indians, leaving her an orphan. Their marriage took place in the stockade fort at Boonesborough. The hardships and bravery which these people showed and endured in the early settling in this part of the country, then a wilderness filled with savages, can hardly be appreciated by the present generation. Fitting tribute to such women should not be neglected, as they went as pioneers blazing the trail of civilization, spreading Christianity, which brought these sections into states, and made life in them possible and peaceful. Susanna Hart was the helpmeet of her husband, and in all the duties which devolved upon the wife and mother of those days, the spinning of the flax, the making of clothing, the entire labor of the home, were to her always a pleasant occupation. She was spoken of as a woman of most pleasing face, quiet and dignified presence, possessing the rare combination of extreme energy and great repose.

She seemed a woman who could perform and endure, kind and helpful, a woman who retained to the last that gentle disposition and sweet nature which inspired confidence, of an even temperament, who retained to the last her beauty, and transmitted her charms to her descendants. She was the mother of ten children. Her life left her name one which Kentucky holds dear.

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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