Most people in Grayson County know that Leitchfield is named for a man named David Leitch. But few people know much about him. That is because there is scant printed information about him readily available.
My interest in David began while writing my book about George Washington’s Grayson County land, which adjoined David’s property on Rough River. He intrigued me from the beginning. I delayed for years before I started researching him, but decided in late 2013 that it was either write a book about him then or never. This series is a summary from my forthcoming book, David Leitch: Mysterious 18th Century Kentucky Land Speculator.
David was born into a wealthy family on Sept. 11, 1755, in Strathbane, Scotland, a Glasgow suburb. He had four brothers and five sisters. All of the brothers migrated to America, but evidently David’s sisters did not. David and two of his brothers, John and George, went into the tobacco exporting business in Manchester, Virginia. They also imported dry goods from Scotland and had various stores.
When the Revolutionary War broke out, the U.S. Government forbade the export of tobacco, and David’s two partner brothers, George and John, returned to Scotland, since they were almost without income, and left David to run their stores in Virginia. David’s oldest brother, Andrew, served in the war and was killed at the battle of Harlem Heights in 1776. David supposedly also served in the war, as an aide-de-camp to General Robert Lawson. He held the rank of major. However, his length of service was only one year and six months, and during that time he spent a large part of his time at home.
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