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James Harrod
Born 1742–1746
Died 1792 (aged 50–54)
Nationality American
Occupation pioneer
Known for Built the first permanent settlement in Kentucky
Title colonel
Spouse(s) Ann Coburn McDonald
Children Margaret Harrod
Parent(s) John Harrod and Sarah Moore
Signature
James Harrod signature.png

James Harrod (c. 1746 – c. 1792) was a pioneer, soldier, and hunter who helped explore and settle the area west of the Allegheny Mountains. Little is known about Harrod's early life, including the exact date of his birth. He was possibly underage when he served in the French and Indian War, and later participated in Lord Dunmore's War. He also rose to the rank of colonel in the local militia.

A contemporary of better known explorers, like Daniel Boone, George Rogers Clark, Benjamin Logan, and Simon Kenton, Harrod led many expeditions into the regions that are now a part of Kentucky and Illinois. He and a band of almost forty men founded the first permanent settlement in Kentucky on June 16, 1774, although it had to be abandoned the same year. Restored in 1775, the community was known as Harrodstown and then Harrodsburg in his honor.

In 1792, Harrod disappeared while on a hunting trip in the wilderness. While it is possible that he was killed by Indians or became ill and died of natural causes, some have suggested that he took a "wilderness divorce" from his wife, while his family maintained that he was murdered by one of his companions while secretly searching for the fabled silver mine of Jonathan Swift.

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