Original Signature of Stephen Trigg


This is a 1765 document with the authentic signature of frontiersman Stephen Trigg, who was killed at the Battle of Blue Licks, in Kentucky.

Stephen Trigg (c. 1744 – August 19, 1782) was an American pioneer and soldier from Virginia. He was killed ten months after the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown in one of the last battles of the American Revolution while leading the Lincoln County militia at the Battle of Blue Licks, Kentucky.

A son of William and Mary (Johns) Trigg, he mainly worked as a public servant and militia officer during the early years of the frontier counties of southwest Virginia, which then included Kentucky. He was one reportedly of the wealthiest men on the frontier.[1] Trigg was a delegate to the first Virginia revolutionary conventions, and was a member of the Fincastle Committee of Safety that drafted the Fincastle Resolutions, a precursor to the Declaration of Independence passed by the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. He was also elected to the Virginia House of Delegates.

Trigg was appointed to the Virginia Land Court Commission in 1779, charged with settling land titles in Kentucky. He then moved to Kentucky himself. In 1782, a raiding party of Shawnee Indians led by British and Loyalist officers attacked Bryan Station, but were driven off. Kentucky militia companies then pursued the fleeing invaders. Trigg commanded half of the men, while Daniel Boone led the other. The mounted militiamen soon overtook the raiders, but the experienced woodsman Boone warned that it looked like a trap. Ignoring Boone’s warning, the militiamen charged across the river at Blue Licks, only to find themselves in an Indian ambush. Trigg and many others, including Boone’s youngest son, were killed in the disastrous battle. Trigg’s body was later found hacked into pieces.

Trigg County, Kentucky, was named in memory of Stephen Trigg.

This headstone at the Blue Licks Battlefield State Park marks the mass grave where Trigg and his men were buried.

Interestingly, this document also has a connection with Bryan history – in that it serves as a receipt for a bunch of items sold by Trigg to David Bryan – both then living in Augusts County, in the “Colony of Virginia.”  This is probably referring to the Roanoke Valley area, which was then Augusta County, and where the Bryans lived, headed by the patriarch, William Bryan, Sr., who named Salem, Virginia and settled there.

The document mentions the following items being sold to David Bryan:

Fifty head of Hoggs marked with a staple in the right ear and a under keel and a half crop in the left ear, fifteen head of cattle of sundry marks, twelve head of sheep of sundry marks, four feather beds and furniture, one wagon and gears, and four horses branded “RD” six mares and colts of the same brand, one desk, three dozen plates half a dozen dishes, and half a dozen basins (pewter shallow bowls) for potts [sic], and all my household furniture whatsoever…..

ETA 12/4/19: thanks to Jim Mullins for some corrections on the “gears” and “basins.”


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