The members of the Loyal Land Company were given 800,000 acres of land in Southwestern Virginia in 1749, reflecting the influence of the Virginia gentry in converting the land resources of the colony into private gain. Just two years earlier, another group organized as the Ohio Company had obtained rights to as much as 500,000 acres. The two land companies were competitors, with the Loyal Land Company composed of gentry who were from younger families located outside of the Northern Neck.
Other large grants west of the Blue Ridge, such as the Van Meter and Hite grants dating back to 1730 and 1731, had to meet Governor Gooch's formula of settling one family for each 1,000 acres that would be patented. In contrast, the Loyal Land Company did not have to recruit a single settler in order to obtain rights to its acreage.1
The Loyal Land Company was required to survey the tracts that it wanted to patent in just four years:2
Thomas Walker, one of the members of the company, took the lead in exploring the territory targeted by the company - Kentucky. (The Ohio Company sent Christopher Gist to explore land in the northwestern part of the colony, near the start of the Ohio River.) In the process, Walker discovered an easy path through the Appalachian Mountains into the rich soil of Kentucky - Cumberland Gap.
1. Thomas Perkins Abernethy, Three Virginia Frontiers, Peter Smith, 1962, p.57, https://books.google.com/books?id=XmgatAEACAAJ (last checked April 5, 2018)
2. "Dr. Thomas Walker and the Loyal Company," West Virginia Archives and History, http://www.wvculture.org/history/settlement/loyalcompany01.html (last checked July 13, 2014)