Esther Whitley: There is no picture, no drawing, and little historical reference to Esther Whitley. But there is a rifle with her initials engraved on it and you can see it when you visit the William Whitley House located at Crab Orchard. There was indeed an Annie Oakley living in Kentucky.
The Whitley House was probably built in 1791, and it was the first brick residence built in Kentucky. As you drive up, your eye notices that the end of each brick is glazed slightly darker so that a diamond pattern takes shape, clearly outlining two sets of initials: “WW” over the front door stands for Williams Whitley and “EW” over the back door (now blocked by an addition) stands for Esther Whitley.
This was a house where people enjoyed themselves. They built one of the earliest race tracks in America. In defiance of the British racing traditions, the Whitley’s track was ovalin shape and made of clay, not turf. One can read about lavish breakfasts held after the races, which adds a frivolous nature to the otherwise serious lifestyle of the Kentucky frontier.
Serious because women did the laundry on wash boards; there was no electricity or plumbing, no fast food, no paper diapers. Thinking about the inconveniences in the daily life of a pioneer woman like Esther Whitley reminds us that the women who came to Kentucky were strong, spirited, and adventurous.
Click here to get informations in german!