Now who woulda thought it would have started in Philadelphia
Of all places for the Clay County land grab to begin, who would have thought of Philadelphia? But that's where it began, at a city watering hole known as the City Tavern, way back in 1783. It was no coincidence that was the year the American Revolution ended and that Virginia decided to open up vast new stretches of territory for development. That territory included the Goose Creek and Red Bird watersheds of the South Fork of the Kentucky River, and that's where surveyors working for a group of twenty-nine Philadelphians with big ideas came to carve out a large slab of land that covered thousands of acres in what would become Clay County.
The following year none other than Daniel Boone himself arrived to survey a 50,000-acre boundary from Sextons Creek to Hector that would include the site Manchester was to occupy. This claiming of huge tracks of land where land-hungry settlers wanted to put down roots didn't play at all well with the settlers, many of whom squatted on the land assuming, rightly, that the Philadelphians had no intention of ever visiting their remote property. Much of this disputed land would be tied up in the Clay County courts for decades to come, with some disputes never fully being resolved.
Even the powerful salt makers had trouble establishing ownership of the land their salt works occupied. Not surprisingly, the local courts, controlled to a large extent by the salt makers, usually decided in the local's favor when push came to shove.