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Danville, Kentucky: History See also: Timeline of Danville, Kentucky and List of people from Danville, Kentucky. See also: Timeline of Danville, Kentucky and List of people from Danville, Kentucky. The area was originally known as Big Lick because a salt lick drew wildlife to the site near the present-day city hall. In 1831 an Irishman named John Rankin built a cabin on the lick; it was called "Ranking's Lick". The first post office in Big Lick opened in 1832 with John Witherspoon as postmaster; he gave his last name to one street (Witherspoon Street) while another (Rankin Avenue) honors his wife's family name. The settlement had its beginnings in 1830 when Peter Smithson arrived from Virginia along with several companions including Col William Tandy Carter who is considered by many to be "the father" or founder/settler for whom this region is named after today - Carter County KY .