After the Revolutionary War, over 25 percent of the eastern population left older settled regions. Established families could no longer make a living on their eroded lands. Merchants and businessmen had lost their import-export business with England. They were eager to find better living conditions. This began a trek westward as families sought greener pastures and new homes on the expanding American Frontier.
In 1785 as the country was taking form, the three million citizens began hearing more about the rich land available at little cost in what would become Kentucky and Tennessee. Tales of Daniel Boone’s excursions and settlements beyond the mountains spread rapidly and kindled the urge to take advantage of easy terms for acquiring land. Other conditions such as high taxes, crowded conditions in the seaboard states, and economic difficulties being experienced by nearly everyone after the war’s end, added to the motivation to move west into Kentucky and Tennessee.
Citizens from Maryland generally took the Northern Migration route into Kentucky which started overland to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and then down the Ohio river to Maysville, Kentucky. To proceed to Madison county, settlers then followed an overland trail to one of the forts along the passage, called "stations". Indian attacks were still common, and dependents were usually left at the nearest station until the settlement area was secured and the land cleared for farming.
In 1790, Kentucky’s population was 77,000. By 1800, it had grown to 221,000.