1810 TO 1850
In the meantime, the new country was undergoing its first great expansion. Following the trails blazed by Daniel Boone and other explorers, families from the eastern seaboard in ever-increasing numbers had been moving over the Alleghenies into the cheap and fertile lands of the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys. Before 1800 Kentucky and Tennessee were added to the original thirteen states. Lexington, Kentucky, soon to call itself the "Athens of the West," had the first western newspaper in 1787 and the first western university shortly after. Amateur theatricals appeared in Kentucky early, and in 1810 a group of professional actors was induced to come from Montreal and play in Lexington, Frankfort, and Louisville. They did not persevere, and the professional theatre in the West really began with the arrival in Frankfort in December, 1815, of Samuel Drake and his company.
Before coming to America, Drake had been an English manager in the provinces. He was stage manager under John Bernard in Albany when he was induced to try his luck on the frontier. His company consisted of his three sons, two daughters, and five others, including young Noah Ludlow,