Kentucky's Revolutionary Land Grants - Part I by J. Mark Lowe
THOMAS HANSFORD ,First Native Martyr to American Liberty, A paper read before the Virginia Historical Society Tuesday, December 22, i8gi. Mrs. ANNIE (tucker) TYLER, Williamsburg, Virginia . THOMAS HANSFORD, First Native Martyr to American Liberty. In a list prepared by Sir William Berkeley, and preserved in the British Museum, enumerating the persons who were executed by
him in the seventeenth century for participating in Bacon's Rebellion,
occurs the name of one Thomas Hansford, who is described by Sir
William as "a valiant, stout man," and "a most resolved rebel. "^ The few other references to Hansford in the current accounts ^ of the times are in harmony with this description, and justify a natural desire to be still further acquainted with him. Thus are we told that he commanded at Jamestown, under a commission as major from Nathaniel Bacon, Jr., and was there when Berkeley returned from his exile to the Eastern Shore at the head of six hundred, or, as another account has it, one thousand followers. It is said that he took a conspicuous part in the insurrection, brilliant as it was brief, and when he was captured after Bacon's death, he supplicated no other favor than that "he might be shot like a soldier, and not hanged like a dog." We are also told that during the short respite allowed him after his sentence, " he professed repentance and contrition for all the sinsof his past life, but refused toacknowledge what was charged against himas rebellion to be one of those sins, desiring the people present to take notice that he died a loyal subject and lover of his country, and that he had never taken up arms but for the destruction of the Indians, who had murdered so many Christians." ^ Neill's Virginia Carolorum. 'Accounts by "T. M.,"Anne Cotton, &c.
There was also a William Hansford from my line who served in the Revolutionary War with a
Captain Billy Bush, both Virginia natives. After
he war they were involved in many land acquisitions together in Kentucky. That William Hansford lived out his days in the Pulaski county region...which began as a part of the larger Lincoln county.
As is so often said...Freedom is in fact not free.