Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Kentucky
Copyright, 1882, by John R. Procter.
KENTUCKY, one of the central States of the United States of America, is situated between 36° 30' and 39° 6' N. lat., and 82° and 89° 38' W. long., and is bounded on the N. by Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, on the W. by Missouri, on the S. by Tennessee and Virginia, and on the E. by Virginia and West Virginia. It extends from east to west 458 miles, and its greatest width from north to south is 171 miles.
The area of the State has been variously estimated at from 37,000 to 40,000 square miles. The surface is an elevated plateau sloping from the great Appalachian uplift on the south-east, to the Ohio and Mississippi rivers on the north and west. Only that portion of the State including and lying between the Pine or Laurel Mountain and the Cumberland range may be said to partake of the mountain structure. These parallel ranges have an elevation of from 2000 to 3000 feet above sea-level, whilst the mountains in the Cumberland valley between these ranges have an elevation of 3500 feet. The Cumberland river, near where it passes through a break in Pine Mountain, is at low-water mark 960 feet above the sea. Some of the hills immediately to the north are as high as Pine Mountain, gradually decreasing in height to the western edge of the Appalachian coal-field, where the greatest elevation is less than 1600 feet above the sea. The topography can be understood by reference to the accompanying sketch map of the geology of the State. The eastern coal-field, with an area over 10,000 square miles, has an elevation of 650 on the Ohio river to 1400 feet on the south-western edge on the Tennessee line, and 3500 feet on the south eastern border of the State. The great central or “Blue Grass region” (Lower Silurian on map) has an area of about 10,000 square miles, and an elevation of from 800 to 1150 feet. Although elevated several hundred feet above the drainage level, the surface is that of a gently undulating plateau, with a pleasing topography. The Upper Silurian and Devonian, with an area of about 2500 square miles, have an elevation of 450 on the north-west and 800 on the north-eastern end to 1100 feet where these formations curve around the Lower Silurian on the south west. In this region are wide stretches of very level country, often with insufficient drainage. Around this central region extends from the mouth of Salt river to the mouth of the Scioto a continuous ridge known as Muldrows Hill, King's Mountain, Big Hill, and other local names, having an abrupt escarpment on its inner circle, and sloping away from the central uplifted dome of the Blue Grass region, as a broken plateau on the east, and an almost level plateau on the west where the subcarboniferous limestone determines the topography. This range of hills is one of the prominent features in the State. The subcarboniferous has an area of about 10,000 square miles, with an elevation of from 350 to 600 feet on the south-western to 950 in the central region. In the eastern portion of this formation the streams have cut deep gorges in the limestone, but in its central part only the larger streams are open to daylight, and most of the drainage is subterraneous, which gives to that region a peculiar topography,—the surface being a series of slight round or oval depressions, through which the surface water escapes to the streams below. Whenever the small passage way leading downwards from one of these sinks becomes closed, a “pond” is formed. In this formation are the numerous caverns for which this State is noted. The western coal field has an area of about 4000 square miles and an elevation of from 400 feet along the Ohio river to 850 feet in its south-eastern portion. The Quaternary, with an area of about 2500 square miles, has an elevation of about 280 feet on the river bottom lands and from 350 to 450 on the uplands. The average elevation for the entire State is over 1000 feet above the sea, and the numerous streams penetrating all portions have cut their channels deep enough to secure ample drainage, and exemption from the dangers of floods, with the exception of very limited areas.
Rivers.—The State has a river boundary of 813 miles of navigable streams:—the Chatterawha or Big Sandy on the east for 120 miles, the Ohio on the north for 643 miles, and the Mississippi on the west for 50 miles. The Chatterawha, Licking, Kentucky, Cumberland, and Tennessee rivers have their sources in the Appalachian coal field, and flow through the State to the Ohio river. The Green and Tradewater rivers drain the western coal-field. Kentucky has many hundred miles of navigable rivers, connecting with the Mississippi system, and furnishing a most advantageous means of cheap transport for coal, timber, &c. A system of river improvement, begun by the State some years ago, by which the Green and Barren rivers from Bowling Green downwards, and also the lower portion of the Kentucky river, were made continuously navigable, is being prosecuted still further by the United States Government. It is now possible to float down logs, rafts, flat boats, &c., from almost the fountain heads of the rivers.
Climate.—The climate is very mild and salubrious. The mean annual temperature ranges in different parts of the State from 50° to 55° Fahr. The extreme range is less than in the States north and west. The lowest record at the United States Signal Service Station during the exceptionally cold months of December 1880 and January 1881 was -8°. During the very hot summer of 1881 the maximum temperature was greater as far north as Chicago than in Kentucky. Cattle remain upon pasture during the entire winter, with but little additional food, and there is seldom a day, winter or summer, when a man may not perform a full day's work in the open air. The healthfulness of the climate is attested by the low death-rate and by the strength and vigour of the population. The tabulated measurements of the United States volunteers during the civil war show that the soldiers born in Kentucky and Tennessee exceeded all others in height, weight, circumference of head, circumference of chest, and ratio of weight to stature. The speed and endurance of the Kentucky horse, and the superior development of all kinds of domestic animals, are well known. The annual rainfall ranges in various parts of the State from 45 to inches, and is probably still higher in the Cumberland Mountains.
Geology.—With the exception of the more recent formations in the portion of the State west of the Tennessee river and along the valleys of some of the streams, Kentucky is composed entirely of Palæozoic strata, having present all of the various groups found in the Ohio valley, from the calciferous sandrock (3a of Dana's Table of Formations) to and including the carboniferous. The united thickness of the various groups is not great in Kentucky,—probably not aggregating over 5000 feet. The entire State is included within the area of the great Appalachian uplift. In the south-east the disturbance is greater, the strata often being inclined at a high angle, the successive undulations gradually diminishing toward the north west. This disturbance in the south-east is emphasized by the Great Pine Mountain fault, extending parallel to the axis of the Appalachian uplift, entirely through the south-eastern portion of the State, and bringing to the surface in the Coal-measures rocks as low as the Clinton group of the Upper Silurian. The axis of the greatest geological elevation in the State is parallel to the above, and passes in a north-easterly and south-westerly direction through the counties of Montgomery, Clark, Madison, Garrard, Jessamine, and Boyle, shown on the map by the deflexion of the Kentucky river from its general course towards the Ohio river. This uplift brings to the surface the lowest rocks exposed in the State,—the “bird's eye” limestone of the Trenton (4a of Dana), and the dolomite, known as “Kentucky river marble,” including what is probably the equivalent of the calciferous sandrock of the New York section. These lower rocks of the Kentucky section form a triangular area having its depressed apex north-west of Frankfort, and its elevated base in the counties named above. Through these formations, having a thickness of over 400 feet, the picturesque gorge of the Kentucky river has been cut. Next in ascending order we have 150 feet of blue, fossiliferous limestone, containing characteristic forms of the Trenton of New York, and 800 feet of limestone and shales containing the fossils of the Hudson river or Cincinnati groups (4c of Dana). These groups make up the well-known “Blue Grass” region of Kentucky, celebrated for fertility of soil, high agricultural development, and superiority of the horses and other domestic animals produced. The soils of the most fertile portion of this region are derived from the 150 feet immediately above the bird's eye limestone. These rocks are very rich in phosphate of lime, and with careful tillage and proper rotation of crops the lauds are not exhausted by cultivation. The blue limestones of central Kentucky are very prolific in fossil forms.
Surrounding this central region are the rocks of the Upper Silurian, averaging in thickness about 100 feet. East of Louisville this formation is about 25 miles wide, and in eastern central Kentucky about 10 miles wide, decreasing in thickness and in superficial extent toward the south-western portion. The rocks are mostly magnesian limestone rich in fossil forms, of which the most characteristic are the beautiful chain corals. The soils of this formation are less fertile than those derived from the blue shell limestone and marly shales of the Lower Silurian. Above the latter formation, and forming the outer portion of the semicircle or irregular triangle extending around the great central uplift, are the corniferous limestones of the Devonian (9c of Dana). The principal exposure is
seen at the falls of the Ohio below Louisville, at low water presenting probably the most beautiful and extensive natural cabinet of corals in the world,—a reef of corals, perfectly preserved in minutest structure, and of exquisite beauty. The soils derived from these rocks are of almost equal fertility to the best soils of the blue limestone, and the topography is equally pleasing to the eye. The next formation in order is the black shale (10c of Dana) of the Devonian, with a thickness of about 150 feet in the north-east, and decreasing gradually to the south and west. This formation is peculiar from the high percentage of petroleum contained in the shale. Before the discovery of oil-wells oil was distilled from these shales, and the oil in the productive wells of Kentucky is derived from the same source. Where this shale determines the topography the lands are generally flat, often with insufficient drainage, and are not so productive as analyses would seem to warrant. Doubtless underdraining will increase the yield.
The Subcarboniferous rocks, consisting of the several groups identified by fossil remains with the Waverly, Keokuk, Warsaw, St Louis, and Chester groups (13a, 13b, and 13c of Dana), composed of sandstones, shales, and limestones, with a total thickness of over 1000 feet, cannot here be described in detail. Muldrows Hill, representing the retreating escarpment of formations which formerly extended over the central Blue Grass region, is composed of these rocks, capped at Big Hill in Madison county with the carboniferous conglomerate. The subcarboniferous limestone region of western and southern Kentucky, drained by the Green and Cumberland rivers, is characterized for the most part by an excellent soil, well adapted to the growth of Indian corn, wheat, barley, and other cereals, producing a very fine quality of tobacco, and certain grasses in great perfection. This formation is noted for the numerous caverns of large size and great beauty,—the best known being the celebrated Mammoth Cave in Edmonson county, which is the largest known cavern in the world. Here many miles of subterranean passages have been excavated by the eroding action of water charged with carbonic acid, assisted in places by the action of the atmosphere. The caverns are beautified by columns and stalagmites formed by the deposition of carbonate of lime from the percolating waters, and by exfoliation of sulphate of lime, taking the form of flowers, rosettes, and other shapes, rendered more beautiful by their power of reflecting light. See Mammoth Cave.
The detailed survey of the Carboniferous strata of Kentucky is not yet completed, but enough is known to justify the assertion that the total area in the State is over 14,000 square miles,—10,000 square miles of the Appalachian coal-field and 4000 square miles of the western or Illinois coal-field. In the eastern field two workable coals are found below and twelve above the carboniferous conglomerate. The eastern field is remarkable for the thickness of some of the coal strata and the purity of coals, for the large area of excellent cannel coals, and for the ease with which the coals may be mined, being mostly elevated above the drainage level. The thickest portion of the measures is in the synclinal trough between the Pine and Cumberland Mountains,—there being a vertical thickness of over 2200 feet of Coal-measure rocks above the drainage level. In the south-eastern portion of the eastern field an excellent coking coal has been traced over a wide area. This coal ranges from 4 feet to 8 feet in thickness, can be mined cheaply, and has a very low percentage of ash and sulphur. The western coal-field is a broad synclinal, its axis almost parallel to the general direction of Green river, crossed by undulations the axes of which extend from north-east to south-west. No workable coal has been opened below the conglomerate, which is thinner than in eastern Kentucky. Twelve coals are present in the measures above the conglomerate. Some of these coals are of excellent quality, although the percentage of sulphur is larger than in the best of the eastern Kentucky coals. The soils of the Coal-measures are variable in quality. Some of the most productive lands in the State are in the western coal-field. In the eastern field are very fertile valleys, and the uplands in the Cumberland valley are quite productive. Even the poorest of the Coal-measure soils are well adapted to certain grasses and fruits, and will yield good returns from intelligent culture.
There only remain to be noticed the Quaternary strata. The region west of the Tennessee river, and the level plains bordering the principal rivers and above high-water level, are composed of a homogeneous buff-coloured silicious loam known as the “bluff” or loess formation (20b of Dana). This is, with the exception of the alluvial “bottoms” along the rivers, the most recent formation in Kentucky. The deposit has a thickness of from 40 to 50 feet. Owing partly to the presence of numerous land and freshwater shells (Helix, Cyclostoma, Pupa, Cyclas, &c.), this formation is highly calcareous, giving from an average sample 9.6 per cent. of lime, and the soils are of marked fertility. This bluff loam rests upon a coarse gravel, varying in thickness from a few inches to 30 feet, composed mainly of water-worn pebbles from the carboniferous conglomerate, and slightly water-worn angular pebbles of chert and hornstone from the lower Subcarboniferous and corniferous groups, and coarse angular sand. Intermingled throughout are silicified fragments of many of the Palæozoic fossils
to be found in the Ohio valley. In descending order are beds of white sand and clay and shales of the Eocene (Tertiary), only slightly exposed in the extreme western part of the State, where the streams have cut deepest. Nowhere in the State have evidences of glacial action been found. Over the uplifted Blue Grass region are often thick deposits of what has been called drift material; but such deposits are composed altogether of silicified remains from the several formations above the Lower Silurian, and the evidences are conclusive that they are the remains of rocks decomposed in situ.
Minerals.—No precious metals have been discovered in Kentucky. The amount of coal hitherto mined has not been as large as the quantity and quality in the State would justify, but the increased facilities of transport have stimulated production, and the output will increase from year to year. In 1870 the amount mined was 150,582 tons, and in 1880 1,050,095 tons, a larger percentage of increase than in any other State in the Union. Iron ores of good quality abound in various parts of the State. In Bath county is a large deposit of Clinton ore similar to the red fossil ore occurring in this formation from New York to Alabama. The same ore probably is in position along the western base of Pine Mountain. Along the south-eastern border of the State it extends for many miles in Tennessee and Virginia with a thickness of from 18 inches to 7 feet, where the very near proximity to the excellent coking coal of Kentucky renders it of peculiar value in determining the future development of that portion of the State. In the Cumberland valley of western Kentucky a high grade limonite is abundant in the subcarboniferous limestone, and in eastern Kentucky a superior iron-ore rests upon the top of the St Louis group of this formation. Excellent carbonates and limonites abound in the eastern Coal-measures, and have been mined extensively in the north-eastern part of the State. In the Lower Coal-measures of western Kentucky are a number of iron-ore strata ranging in thickness from a few inches to 5 feet.
Galena associated with sulphate of baryta occurs in veins in the lower members of the blue limestone of central Kentucky, and also in the subcarboniferous strata in the lower Cumberland valley, where it is associated with valuable deposits of fluor-spar.
Petroleum has been produced from wells in Barren county for a number of years. The oil is here derived from the Devonian black shale. Heavy lubricating oil is produced from the same formation in Wayne county. There is a wide area in the State where petroleum may be obtained by boring.
Salt-brine is obtained from wells in the eastern coal-field, and in the subcarboniferous limestone of western Kentucky.
Fire and pottery clays abound in the Coal-measures; potteiy clays occur in the surface deposits in valleys of central Kentucky, and in the flat lands where the soil is derived from the decomposition of the Devonian black shale, and the argillaceous shales of the Waverly group. In the Tertiary shales, below the gravel bed west of the Tennessee river, are pottery-clays, and fire-clays occur in great abundance.
Building stones of great variety abound in almost every section.
Forests.—Probably two-thirds of the State is yet covered by virgin forests of valuable timbers. At the time of the settlement of the State by the whites it was covered by forests excepting a por tion of the south-western part known as the “Barrens,” which was a prairie covered by tall grass known as “barren-grass.” Here only the roots of certain hardy trees had withstood the annual burning of the dry grasses; from these roots “sprouts” grew every year, only to be destroyed by fire, and the roots or base grew horizontally under the soil. When the country was settled and the fires checked, the saplings springing from these roots soon grew into trees, and the region was speedily covered with a dense growth,—the prevailing timbers being black-jack oak (Quercus nigra), post oak (Q. obtusiloba), and black oak (Q. tinctoria). The outline of these barrens was almost identical with the outline of the cavernous group of the subcarboniferous limestone. On the lower limestones and shales of the Subcarboniferous, the most valuable timbers remaining are yellow poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), white oak (Q. alba), the hickories, and some black walnut (Juglans nigra). The several divisions of the Lower Silurian are characterized by a variation in the forest growth. On the lower rocks the most characteristic timbers are over-cup oak (Q. macrocarpa), white oak, shell bark hickory (Carya alba), black walnut, and black ash (Fraxinus sambucifolia). The prevalent timbers on the best soils of this region are—sugar maple (Acer sacchorinum), blue ash (Fr. quadrangulata), black walnut, pig-nut hickory (C. glabra), hackberry (Celtis occidentalis), mulberry (Mors rubra), buckeye (Æsculus glabra), honey-locust (Gleditschia triacanthos), box elder (Negundo aceroides), and Kentucky coffee-tree (Gymnocladus). On the soils derived from the silicious member of the Cincinnati group, the prevalent timbers are yellow poplar, beech, white and red oak, and hickory. White oak is the prevailing timber on the upper portion. On the Upper Silurian lands the timbers are mainly white oak, of superior
quality, sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua), and water maple (A. rubrum). The growth on the corniferous limestone is very similar to that on the best soils of the blue limestone, with the exception that beeches and yellow poplars are more numerous. On the black shale of the Devonian are over-cup oak, black oak, sweet gum, beech, and elm, and, in places where the soil is well drained, yellow poplar, wild cherry, and black walnut. The growth on the flat lauds of the Waverly is elm, beech, sweet gum, and white oak; on the uplands chestnut, oak (Q. Prinus), and small hickories, and on the thin uplands the above timbers and yellow pine (Pinus mitis). The great stores of valuable timbers are in the Coal-measures. In eastern Kentucky there is an area of 10,000 square miles of virgin forests of white oak, ash, hickory, wild cherry, and other valuable timbers. On the outcrop of the conglomerate sandstone, on the western edge of the coal-field, and on the top and eastern slope of Pine Mountain, and the western slope of Cumberland Mountain, the prevailing timbers are chestnut, oak, and yellow pine, and hemlock (Abies canadensis) where the streams have cut deep in the rocks, with an undergrowth of rhododendrons and kalmias, and on the drier slopes azaleas. The above is also the growth where the conglomerate is thick on the eastern outcrop of the western coal-field. In the valley of Red river, on the conglomerate series, there is an area of about 40,000 acres where the prevalent timber is white pine (P. strobus). There are fine forests remaining on the Quaternary west of the Tennessee river. On the lowlands are forests of large cypress (Taxodium distychum). In this region the Catalpa speciosa and pecan (Carya olivæformis) abound, and cotton-wood (Populus angulata) on the banks of streams. Many valuable timbers, in addition to the above, are to be had in various parts of the State. Owing to the large demands for timber on the treeless prairies, and the rapid exhaustion of timbers in the States north of the Ohio river, the extensive forests of Kentucky have an especial value.
Soils and Agriculture.—With, the exception of the area west of the Tennessee river, all the soils are derived from the decomposition of rocks in situ. The soils over an area of about 22,000 square miles are derived from the decomposition of limestones of various geological horizons. The soils of the Blue Grass region, derived from the decomposition of phosphatic limestone and shales, and the soils of a portion of the subcarboniferous limestone groups, are of great fertility, and are easily restored by a judicious rotation with clover and grasses.
The State was peopled almost exclusively with agriculturists from Virginia and Maryland, and agriculture has remained the favourite occupation. Out of a total population of 1,321,011 in 1870 only 44,197 were engaged in manufacturing, mechanical, and mining industries. The peculiarity of Kentucky agriculture is its great diversity. It will be seen from the United States census that in each decade from 1810 to the present time the State ranked first in the production of one or more staple articles. Thus in 1840, though sixth in rank of population, it was the first in the production of wheat and hemp, and the second in the production of swine, Indian corn, and tobacco. In 1850 it ranked first in the production of Indian corn, flax, and hemp, and second in swine, mules, and tobacco. In 1870, when it was the eighth State in population, and the eighth in the total value of agricultural products (notwithstanding over one-half the area of the State was in virgin forests), it ranked first in the production of hemp and tobacco, sixth in Indian corn, and eighth in wheat. In 1880 it ranked first in the production of hemp and tobacco, and seventh in Indian corn and rye. The decline in the relative position in the production of Indian corn and wheat was not caused by a decreased production, but by the increased production of those cereals by States in the west where these are almost the exclusive crops. In Kentucky a more diversified agriculture is found to be more profitable. Especial care has been devoted to the importation and improvement of domestic animals, until the State has become the great centre for fine stock of all kinds. In arriving at this pre-eminence, the breeders have doubtless been assisted by the climate, the water, and the perfection of pasturage. The blue grass (Poa pratensis) attains perfection in this region, making a beautiful turf; it grows in the shade of woodlands, and affords an excellent winter pasture. Virginia, in early times, imported choice horses from England (when the breeders there paid attention to endurance). The Kentucky breeders have kept those strains pure, and have from time to time added by importations from England, until a race horse having endurance and speed is the result. Probably over 75 per cent. of the winnings on the American turf is by Kentucky-bred horses. The attention of many of the Kentucky stock breeders of late years has been turned to breeding trotting horses, with very marked results. The production of the very fleet trotting horses of Kentucky is the result of intelligent breeding, under favourable conditions.
Kentucky is the principal tobacco-growing State in the Union. In 1870, of the total of 262,735,371 ℔ produced in the United States, Kentucky produced 105,305,869 ℔; and in 1880, out of the total of 473,107,573 ℔, Kentucky produced 171,121,134 ℔. The ten principal tobacco-growing counties are:—
The production of the principal cereals in Kentucky was as follows in 1870 and 1880:—
Hemp, since the early settlement of the State, has been a favourite crop, more especially in the Blue Grass region, contrary to an accepted opinion it has not here proved an exhausting crop where retted upon the land. Wheat succeeds almost as well after hemp as after clover sod. The yield of hemp for the year 1880 was about 15,000 tons. Cotton is grown only to a limited extent west of the Tennessee river, the total production amounting in 1880 to 1367 bales. The total number of farms in 1870 was 118,422, the average size being 158 acres. In 1850 the average size of farms was 227 acres, and in 1860 211 acres. Over 60 per cent. of the area returned as farms was unimproved or in timber. The area returned as improved or under fence was less than one-third the area of the State.
Manufactures.—Before the freeing of the slaves, domestic manufacturing on the farm was carried on to a large extent, and as late as 1870 the State ranked second in the value of domestic or home manufactures. The total value of manufactures was in 1850 $21,712,210; in 1860, $37,931,240; and in 1870, 54,625,809. The increase since 1870 has been larger than before, and the State will soon rank high as a manufacturing State. There has been a great increase in the manufacture of corn whisky in the past few years. The total production for the year ending June 30, 1881, was 31,869,047 gallons. The amount of iron manufactured was 86,732 tons in 1870, and 123,751 tons in 1880.
Government, Taxation, &c.—The State government was modelled after that of Virginia. The governor is elected for four years, and cannot be his own successor. One-half of the senate is elected every two years, and the members of the lower house are elected for two years. There are 117 counties, each presided over by a judge and a board of magistrates. The gross receipts for the fiscal year ending October 10, 1880, were $2,445,404, and the gross expenditure $2,379,343. About one million dollars per annum is given to public schools, which amount can be supplemented by local taxation in counties or school districts. The State tax is 45½ cents on each $100 worth of property, and as property is rated at a low valuation taxes are light. Of the above amount 25 cents are for the purposes of revenue, 20 cents for the public schools, and ½ cent for the State agricultural and mechanical college. The State is practically free from debt, owing but $180,000, and having on deposit an amount more than enough to pay that sum when the State bonds may fall due. The State has in addition about $750,000 worth of productive assets.
The population in 1880 was 1,648,708 (832,616 males, 815,983 females), and of this number 59,468 were foreign born. There were 41 persons to the square mile. The following table shows the population at each census, 1790-1880:—
- Including 10 Chinese and 50 Indians.
The following cities had in 1880 a population exceeding 5000:—
|Frankfort (State capital)||6,958|
Railways.—In 1831-35 a railway was made from Frankfort to Lexington, being one of the earliest lines constructed west of the Alleghames. On January 1, 1881, there were 1598 miles of railway in operation in the State. The number of miles constructed since 1870 has been greater than before for the same length of time, and many new roads are projected.
History.—The region now known as Kentucky was embraced in the grant to the colony of Virginia by the British crown, and in the early part of the last century was an unknown region “beyond the mountains,” included in Augusta county, Virginia. This region was in 1776 formed into a separate county called Kentucky county. Previous to this the land had been somewhat explored by adventurous hunters, the most notable being Daniel Boone, who led a small party from North Carolina in 1769. Virginia had given bounties of lands to her troops for services in the French Indian wars, and the glowing accounts brought from beyond the mountains induced many expeditions for surveying and locating lands. Kentucky was at this time a favourite hunting ground for the various tribes of Indians of the north and south, and the occupation by the whites was resisted by all the means known to Indian warfare. The first settlement was made at Harrod's station, now Harrodsburg, in 1774. In the year following Boone and party built a group of rude block houses, called a fort, on the banks of the Kentucky river, at Boonesboro, and in 1776 other “stations” were built in central Kentucky, and the work of clearing and cultivating the land began. In the midst of Indian forays and border wars, the traditions of law prevailed, and a court of quarter sessions was established at Harrodsburg in 1776. Col. G. Rogers Clark, the hero of early Kentucky, planned an expedition in 1778 against the British forts in the north-west; marching swiftly, with less than 200 men, through miles of wilderness, he captured Kaskaskia and Vincennes, and secured to Virginia the imperial territory of Illinois.
Separated by several hundred miles of uninhabited forest from the “settlements” in Virginia, and feeling the necessity of a government that would enable them to make a vigorous defence against the Indians, the people held many conventions and petitioned for a separate government, which was granted by Virginia, and in 1792 Kentucky was admitted as a State into the Federal Union. Virginia had granted large bounties of land to her soldiers of the war for independence, and also treasury land warrants in redemption for her depreciated currency. The lands were located in Kentucky, and a large emigration from Virginia and Maryland was the result. The population in 1790 was 73,667, of whom 61,133 were white, 114 free coloured, and 12,430 slaves. From 1790 to 1800 the population increased 300 per cent. In the second war with England, which broke out in 1812, the Kentuckians marched to the defence of the north-west, and suffered heavy loss in the reverse at the river Rasin; but afterwards 4000 volunteers, under Governor Shelby, participated in the victory on the banks of the Thames. As early as 1827 the State began a system of internal improvements under which many miles of macadamized roads were made, and the navigation of the rivers improved. The State expenditure for these purposes, independent of the county and individual subscriptions, amounted to more than $5,000,000.
On the outbreak of the war with Mexico in 1846, the governor of Kentucky called for 5000 men, and 13,700 quickly answered the call. In that war the Kentucky troops bore a conspicuous and honourable part. The finding of gold in California, the granting of lands in the west, the aid in the construction of railways, and the consequent fever for speculation in western lands, were a severe drain on the productiveness of the State. The lines of railway connecting the sea-board cities with the great west crossed the mountains north of Kentucky. This and the disinclination to compete with slave labour carried the great tide of immigration and commerce north of Kentucky. When the great civil war began in 1861, Kentucky was a slave State; most of the productions of the State found remunerative markets in the cotton-growing States, and there were many business and social ties binding the State with the south. Whilst sympathizing with the Southern States, the majority of the people loved the Union, and the State determined to assume a position of armed neutrality, and if possible act as a mediator between the sections. The governor of the State refused (April 1861) to furnish the quota of men demanded by the Federal Government, a refusal approved by the State legislature by an almost unanimous vote. Arms were sent into Kentucky by the Federal Government, and camps established. The Confederate forces moved into the State on Septembers, and the Federal on September 7. The governor, in obedience to a resolution of the legislature, demanded the withdrawal of the Confederates, as violators of the neutrality of the State. Their refusal to do so except on condition that the Federals should also withdraw, led to an outbreak of hostilities, in which the people of the State were divided, many joining both armies. The Federal forces held the State almost continuously during the war, and 91,900 men were recruited in it for the Union armies, including 8704 home guards or militia called into active service, and about 11,000 coloured volunteers. On the other hand, about 40,000 Kentuckians went south and joined the Confederate forces. When the war ended, and the Kentucky soldiers from the two armies returned to their homes, laws passed under the excitement of civil war were repealed; fraternal peace followed quickly, and the people of the State, accepting the new conditions, entered upon a new era, with hope for a peaceful and prosperous future. (J. R. P.)
|VOL. XIV||KENTUCKY||PLATE II|
|ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, NINTH EDITION|