Matthias Harman, a Pennsylvania-born Virginian, became acquainted with Kentucky's Big Sandy River valley in the mid 1700s. Harman and some of his Virginia associates built a log cabin in the valley for hunting in 1755 in present-day Johnson County. In late 1787, Harman and others thought it was safe to return, so they established a permanent settlement in the Big Sandy Valley during the winter of 1787-88.
Harman's Station was located near the cabin built in 1755, at the junction of John's Creek and Louisa (Levisa) Fork of the Big Sandy River. This station became the first settlement in eastern Kentucky, and was completed by a small party from Walker's Creek, Virginia, guided by Mathias Harman. The arrival of Harman and his party opened up eastern Kentucky for settlement.
The settlers were briefly forced back to Virginia by persistent attacks by the Native Americans. They did, however, return in time to provide safety to the "frontier heroine" Jenny Wiley when she escaped Indian captivity in early 1790.