In 1786 James Wilkinson purchased the 260-acre (1.1km2) tract of land on the north side of the Kentucky River, which developed as downtown Frankfort. He was an early promoter of Frankfort as the state capital. The town of Frankfort likely received its name from an event that took place in 1780s. Native Americans attacked a group of early British-American pioneers from Bryans Station, who were making salt at a ford in the Kentucky River. After the pioneer Stephen Frank was killed, the settlers called the crossing "Franks Ford." This name was later shortened to Frankfort.