General Joseph Martin

General Joseph Martin

There, just east of Cumberland Gap, Joseph Martin built the fort called Martin’s Station. It was 100 wilderness miles by foot from the last town in Virginia, and 100 miles further by foot to what would later become Boonesboro. It was the westernmost English settlement when it was built, later the halfway house between Virginia and Kentucky, the lone base camp and defensive position on a very long journey. The Cherokee burned it down, forcing Martin to rebuild it. But over the next generation, this oasis and refuge anchoring Walker and Boone’s Wilderness Road would see ten percent of America’s entire population – roughly 300,000 intrepid men, women and children – pass through the shelter and sustenance of its gates, the last outpost of civilization on their way to settling the young nation’s first frontier.