65 Facts About Isaac Shelby


Isaac Shelby was the first and fifth Governor of Kentucky and served in the state legislatures of Virginia and North Carolina.


Isaac Shelby was a soldier in Lord Dunmore's War, the American Revolutionary War, and the War of 1812.


Isaac Shelby gained the reputation of an expert woodsman and surveyor and spent the early part of the Revolutionary War gathering supplies for the Continental Army.


Isaac Shelby played a pivotal role in the British defeat at the Battle of Kings Mountain.


Isaac Shelby's heroism made him popular with the state's citizens, and the Kentucky electoral college unanimously elected him governor in 1792.


Isaac Shelby secured Kentucky from Indian attacks and organized its first government.


Isaac Shelby used the Citizen Genet affair to convince the Washington administration to conclude an agreement with the Spanish Empire for free trade on the Mississippi River.


Kentuckians urged Isaac Shelby to run for governor again and lead them through the anticipated conflict.


Isaac Shelby was elected easily and, at the request of General William Henry Harrison, commanded troops from Kentucky at the Battle of the Thames.


Isaac Shelby died at his estate in Lincoln County, Kentucky on July 18,1826.


Isaac Shelby was the third child and second son of Evan and Letitia Shelby, who immigrated from Tregaron, Wales, in 1735.


Isaac Shelby was educated at the local schools in his native colony.


Isaac Shelby worked on his father's plantation and occasionally found work as a surveyor.


Isaac Shelby's father lost a great deal of money when Pontiac's Rebellion disrupted his lucrative fur trade business, and two years later, the business' records were destroyed in a house fire.


The younger Isaac Shelby earned commendation for his skill and gallantry in this battle.


Back in Virginia, fighting in the American Revolutionary War was underway, and Isaac Shelby found a commission from the Virginia Committee of Safety appointing him captain of a company of Minutemen.


Isaac Shelby served a similar role for units in the Continental Army in 1778 and 1779.


Isaac Shelby was elected to represent Washington County in the Virginia House of Delegates in 1779.


Isaac Shelby was surveying lands in Kentucky in 1780 when he heard of the colonists' defeat at Charleston.


Isaac Shelby hurried to North Carolina, where he found a request for aid from General Charles McDowell to defend the borders of North Carolina from the British.


Isaac Shelby assembled three hundred militiamen and joined McDowell at Cherokee Ford in South Carolina.


Isaac Shelby immediately demanded a surrender, but the British refused.


Isaac Shelby brought his men within musket range and again demanded surrender.


Isaac Shelby's men were winning the battle when Ferguson's main force of 1,000 men arrived.


Isaac Shelby ordered his men to construct a breastwork from nearby logs and brush.


Isaac Shelby had ordered his men to advance from tree to tree, firing from behind each one; he called this technique "Indian play" because he had seen the Indians use it in battles with them.


Isaac Shelby never gave a reason for this action, but his order was obeyed nonetheless, and the remaining "convicts" rejoined their fellow prisoners.


Isaac Shelby began working to secure Kentucky's separation from Virginia as early as 1784.


Isaac Shelby was a delegate to subsequent conventions in 1787,1788, and 1789 that worked toward a constitution for Kentucky.


Isaac Shelby appealed to President Washington for help; Washington responded by appointing General "Mad" Anthony Wayne to the area with orders to push the Indians out of the Northwest Territory.


Isaac Shelby called for 1,000 volunteer troops from Kentucky, but few heeded the call and Shelby resorted to conscription.


Isaac Shelby ordered the men to go home and return in the spring.


When he gained an audience with Governor Isaac Shelby, he did so with letters of introduction from Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson and Kentucky Senator John Brown.


Jefferson had written a separate letter to Isaac Shelby warning him against aiding the French schemes and informing him that negotiations were under way with the Spanish regarding trade on the Mississippi.


Isaac Shelby confided to Shelby that he had been sent to secure supplies for an expedition against Spanish holdings, and inquired whether Shelby had been instructed to arrest individuals associated with such a scheme.


Three days later Isaac Shelby responded by letter, relating Jefferson's warning against aiding the French.


Jefferson's successor Edmund Randolph, who actually received Isaac Shelby's letter, wrote Isaac Shelby to inform him of the new powers at his disposal, and informing him that the new regime in France had recalled Genet.


Isaac Shelby retired to Traveler's Rest, his Lincoln County estate, at the conclusion of his term in 1796.


Isaac Shelby was selected as a presidential elector in six consecutive elections, but these were his only appearances in public life during this period.


Slaughter, who lived near Isaac Shelby, visited him and asked whether he would run.


Isaac Shelby assured him that he had no desire to do so unless a national emergency that required his leadership emerged.


On July 18,1812, less than a month before the election, Isaac Shelby acquiesced and announced his candidacy.


Isaac Shelby contended that his noncommittal response to the letter was meant to draw the federal government's attention to the situation in the west.


Isaac Shelby cited the agreement between Washington and the Spanish as evidence that his ploy had worked.


Isaac Shelby claimed to have known at the time he wrote the letter that the French scheme was destined to fail.


One Kentucky paper even printed an anonymous charge that Isaac Shelby had run from the Battle of Kings Mountain.


Isaac Shelby predicted a victory of 10,000 votes; the final margin was more than 17,000.


When he took the oath of office, Isaac Shelby became the first Kentucky governor to serve non-consecutive terms.


Isaac Shelby pressured President James Madison to give Harrison command of all military forces in the Northwest.


Isaac Shelby encouraged the state's women to sew and knit items for Kentucky's troops.


Isaac Shelby vowed to personally act to aid the war effort should the opportunity arise, and was authorized by the legislature to do so.


Isaac Shelby dispatched the requested number, among whom was his oldest son James, under General Green Clay.


On July 30,1813, General Harrison again wrote Isaac Shelby requesting volunteers, and this time he asked that Isaac Shelby lead them personally.


Isaac Shelby raised a force of 3,500 volunteers, double the number Harrison requested.


Now a Major General, Isaac Shelby led the volunteers to join Harrison in a campaign that culminated in the American victory at the Battle of the Thames.


Friends of Isaac Shelby suggested he run for Vice President, but Isaac Shelby quickly and emphatically declined.


Already a founding member of the Kentucky Bible Society, Isaac Shelby consented to serve as vice-president of the New American Bible Society in 1816.


Isaac Shelby was a faithful member of Danville Presbyterian church, but in 1816, built a small nondenominational church on his property.


Isaac Shelby served as the first president of the Kentucky Agricultural Society in 1818 and was chairman of the first board of trustees of Centre College in 1819.


In 1820, Isaac Shelby was stricken with paralysis in his right arm and leg.


Isaac Shelby died of a stroke on July 18,1826, at his home in Lincoln County.


Isaac Shelby was a slaveowner, and left slaves to his children in his will.


Isaac Shelby was buried on the grounds of his estate, Traveller's Rest.


Isaac Shelby's patriotism is believed to have inspired the Kentucky state motto: "United we stand, divided we fall".


Nine states have a county named after Isaac Shelby, as do numerous cities and military installations.