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“Kentucky’s Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park, located just south of London, Kentucky, is dedicated to the early pioneer spirit of all the men and women who braved the perils of the wilderness to settle in Kentucky.
Two such men were John Freeman and Levi Jackson. Freeman claimed an extensive tract of land bordering on the famous Wilderness Road as payment for his Revolutionary War service. Levi Jackson and Freeman became partners in the Wilderness Road Tavern and the Laurel River Post Office after Freeman’s daughter Rebecca married Jackson. Upon Freeman’s death, Jackson continued to run the tavern. The surrounding farmland became known as Jackson’s Farm. In 1931, descendents of John Freeman and Levi Jackson donated 307 acres of land to the Kentucky State Parks system for a park honoring the state’s pioneers.
The Wilderness Road is an integral part of Kentucky’s early history. Along with Boone’s Trace (named for Daniel Boone), the Wilderness Road carried thousands of people into the interior of Kentucky via the Cumberland Gap. Boone’s Trace and the Wilderness Road at times cross each other and both historic trails pass through Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park. Between 1774 and 1796, more than 200,000 pioneers traveled over the Wilderness Road and Boone’s Trace during the settlement of Kentucky.
Today, visitors to the park can retrace the footsteps of the early pioneers on eight-and-one-half miles of hiking trails that include portions of the historic Wilderness Road and Boone Trace. McNitt’s Defeat is one of the most tragic events in the history of Kentucky and took place within the confines of the modern park. A group of fourteen families moving to central Kentucky were attacked by Indians and 23 people are known to have died; only three members of the group survived. A memorial to the McNitt Party is in the park.
The Mountain Life Museum brings visitors into a pioneer settlement. Buildings in the settlement were moved from other sites or built as replicas on the park. All buildings are filled with pioneer relics including tools, products of agriculture and household implements. The museum consists of 7 buildings and is open April 1 through October 31. Admission fees for adults and children apply. Call for museum times and group rates.
McHargue’s Mill was built on the banks of the Little Laurel River where it intersects Boone’s Trace. This working reproduction mill dates to the same era as the original McHargue family mills and has authentic interior works, including millstones. It is surrounded by the largest display of millstones in the country and is open Memorial Day through Labor Day. Admission is free.
As a recreational and historical park, Levi Jackson State Park is an excellent example of combining history and recreation within the beauty of rolling, wooded hills. Other facilities at the park include a swimming pool with water slides, miniature golf, horseshoe pits, volleyball and basketball courts, picnic shelters, and camping.” (Information was obtained from: http://www.examiner.com/x-25351-Louisville-Kentucky-State-Parks-Examiner~y2009m12d11-Who-was-Levi-Jackson-and-why-is-there-a-Kentucky-state-park-named-for-him)