The first owner of the Tyler Settlement was Edward Tyler, born in 1719 in Prince Georges County, Maryland. Edward was the grandson of Robert Tyler, a wealthy planter and member of the legislature. In his youth, he lost the inheritance bequeathed to him by his grandfather Robert and, in about 1740, moved to the Appalachian region of the Virginia frontier. There he worked as a trader and, in about 1750, married Ann Langley. Their ten children were born in this region.
In 1780 Edward, his wife, and seven of their children came downriver to the Falls of Ohio where they settled at Linn’s Station on Beargrass Creek. In 1782, Edward purchased a treasury warrant that entitled him to claim over 1,000 acres of land. He located his claim on Chenoweth Run east of present Jeffersontown – today’s Tyler Settlement Rural Historic District – where three of his sons and a nephew established farms.
Never a farmer himself, Edward and Ann moved into Louisville with their younger children. Edward built a cabin home there and in 1784 began operating a tavern on Main Street near Fort Nelson. He owned additional lots and at least one warehouse in Louisville from which he wholesaled merchandise and in several instances helped supply the army of George Rogers Clark.
Edward’s 1,000-acre tract on Chenoweth Run was fertile land and highly suited for farming: springs supplied pure water, and trees and rock outcroppings provided building material. William Tyler, probably the first of the sons to live on this land, established his farm south of present Taylorsville Road. His brother Moses and cousin Robert Tyler came next in about 1785, and before 1790, Edward Sr. and Ann had left Louisville with their youngest son, Edward Jr., to establish the fourth homestead nearby.
These farms soon became known as the Tyler Settlement. Three of the four survive today. Each has a stone (or stone and log) house constructed before 1800. Moses’ farm – today’s Blackacre Nature Preserve – also has a log barn from the same period. Moses’ son Presley had Blackacre’s brick farmhouse built in 1844. The families of Edward Sr., Edward Jr., and Moses Tyler also shared a cemetery, centrally located on the Settlement. A system of roads and lanes was established connecting all four homesteads. Some segments of this historic road system – such as our Mann’s Lick Road trail – can still be seen today; others have become incorporated into public roads.
Today 600 acres of the Tylers’ original 1003 acres have been designated the Tyler Settlement Rural Historic District. The district is loosely bounded by Taylorsville Road on the south; the Norfolk Southern Railway on the north; the Gene Snyder Freeway on the east; and the Jeffersontown city limits on the west. In addition to three original Tyler homesteads, the district includes about 17 early 20th century houses and several recently subdivided developments.
In 1980 Judge Macauley and Emilie Strong Smith donated 170 acres, which included the Moses Tyler homestead, to the Kentucky State Nature Preserve System. Later Emilie Smith donated an additional 100 acres to the Blackacre Conservancy. It is due largely to their efforts that so much of the land in this historic district remains largely preserved in its original, rural state.