In 1776 Kentucky
was made a county of Virginia, and in 1777 the first court was held at Harrodsburg
Conventions held at Danville
in 1784-85 recommended a peaceable and constitutional separation from Virginia
In 1786 an act was passed by the Virginia legislature complying with the desires of Kentucky
There was delay in consummating the change.
Other conventions were held urging the matter.
In 1790 Kentucky
became a separate Territory, and on June 1, 1792, it was admitted into the Union
as a State.
Its population at that time was about 75,000.
For several years much uneasiness was felt among the people of Kentucky
on account of Indian depredations and the cloudiness of the political skies, for the great questions of the free navigation of the Mississippi River
and the ultimate possession of Louisiana
These were settled satisfactorily by the purchase of Louisiana
During the War
of 1812 Kentucky
took an active part, sending fully 7,000 men to the field; and after that war the State
was undisturbed by any stirring events until the breaking out of the Civil War
. Its progress was rapid.
A second constitution took effect in 1800, and continued in force until the adoption of the present one in 1850.
At the beginning of the Civil War Kentucky
assumed a position of neutrality, but it was really one of hostility to the Union
The governor refused to comply with the President
's requisition for troops; but Lieut. William Nelson
, of the navy, a native of the State
, and then on ordnance duty at Washington
, began to recruit for the National
army; and towards the close of July, 1861, he established Camp Dick Robinson
, in Garrard county
, for the organization of Kentucky volunteers.
These flocked to this camp and to other recruiting stations.
A great majority of the people were loyal to the Union
, but the governor was not, and the unfortunate position of neutrality which the latter, with the Confederates
, caused Kentucky
to assume brought upon her the miseries of civil war. Steps were taken for the secession of the State
, and for the organization of a Confederate State government, but failed.
The State was scarred by battles, invasions, and raids, and martial law was proclaimed by President Lincoln
, July 5, 1864.
The civil authority was restored Oct. 18, 1865.
The legislature refused to ratify the Fifteenth Amendment.
Population in 1890, 1,858,635; in 1900, 2,147,174.
See United States, Kentucky
In 1767 John Finley
, an Indian trader, explored the country beyond the mountains westward of North Carolina
In 1769 he returned to North Carolina
and gave glowing accounts of the fertile country he had left.
He persuaded Daniel Boone
and four others to go with him to explore it. Boone
had become a great hunter and expert in woodcraft.
They reached the headwaters of the Kentucky
, and, from lofty hills, beheld a vision of a magnificent valley, covered with forests, stretching towards the Ohio
, and abounding in game of the woods and waters of every kind.
They fought Indians
—some of the tribes who roamed over Kentucky
as a common hunting-ground.
was made a prisoner, but escaped.
He determined to settle in the beautiful country between the upper Kentucky
rivers, and, after remaining a while the sole white man in that region, he returned for his wife and children in 1771. Two years later he started with his own and five other families for the paradise in the wilderness.
Driven back upon settlements on the Clinch
, he was detained a year and a half longer.
He penetrated to the Kentucky
, and, on June 14, 1775, completed a log fort on the site of the present Boonesboro
He soon brought his family there, and planted the first permanent settlement in Kentucky
. Mrs. Boone
and her daughters were the first white women who ever stood on the banks of the Kentucky River
The precarious tenure by which places that were settled in Kentucky
and others were held, while the land was subjected to bloody incursions by Indians
, was changed after George Rogers Clarke
's operations in Ohio
had made the tribes there no longer invaders of the soil south of that river.
The number of “stations” began to multiply.
A blockhouse was built (April, 1779) on the site of the city of Lexington
By a law of Virginia
(May, 1779), all persons who had settled west of the mountains before June, 1778, were entitled to claim 400 acres of land, without any payment: and they had a right of pre-emption to an adjoining 1,000 acres for a very small sum of money, while the whole region between the Greene and Tennessee rivers
was reserved for military bounties.
Settlements quite rapidly increased under this liberal
land system, and fourteen years after its passage Kentucky
had a population that entitled it to admission into the Union
as a State.
In Civil War days.
The people were strongly attached to the Union
, but its
governor (Beriah Magoffin
) and leading politicians of his party in the State
sympathized with the Confederates
The action of Kentucky
was awaited with great anxiety throughout the Union
The governor at first opposed secession, for the people were decidedly hostile to revolutionary movements in the Gulf
region; yet they as decidedly opposed what was called the “coercion of a sovereign State.”
At a State convention of Union and Douglas
men, held on Jan. 8, 1861, it was resolved that the rights of Kentucky
should be maintained in the Union
. They were in favor of a convention of the free-labor and slave-labor border States to decide upon just compromises, and declared their willingness to support the national government, unless the incoming President
should attempt to “coerce a State or States.”
The legislature, which assembled about the same time, was asked by the governor to declare, by resolution, the “unconditional disapprobation” of the people of the State
of the employment of force against “seceding States.”
On Jan. 22 the legislature accordingly resolved that the Kentuckians, united with their brethren of the South
, would resist any invasion of the soil of that section at all hazards and to the last extremity.
This action was taken because the legislatures of several free-labor States had offered troops for the use of the national government in enforcing the laws in “seceding States.”
They decided against calling a convention, and appointed delegates to the Peace Congress.
On April 18 a great Union meeting was held in Louisville
, over which James Guthrie
and other leading politicians of the State
held controlling influence.
At that meeting it was resolved that Kentucky
reserved to herself “the right to choose her own position; and that, while her natural sympathies are with those who have a common interest in the protection of slavery, she still acknowledges her loyalty and fealty to the government of the United States
, which she will cheerfully render until that government becomes aggressive, tyrannical, and regardless of our rights in slave property
They declared that the States were the peers of the national government, and gave the world to understand that the latter should not be allowed to use “sanguinary or coercive measures to bring back the seceded States.”
They alluded to the Kentucky State Guard as the “bulwark of the safety of the commonwealth, . . . pledged equally to fidelity to the United States
and to Kentucky
Early in the summer the governor declared that arrangements had been made that neither National or Confederate troops should set foot on the soil of that State.
The neutrality of Kentucky
was respected many months.
had urged the seizure of the bluff at Columbus, in western Kentucky
, as an aid to him in his attempt to capture Cairo
and Bird's Point
, but the solemn assurance of the Confederate government that Kentucky
neutrality should be respected restrained him: but on Sept. 4, General (Bishop
, with a considerable force, seized the strong position at Columbus
, under the pretext that National forces were preparing to occupy that place.
The Confederate Secretary of War
publicly telegraphed to Polk
to withdraw his troops; President Davis
privately telegraphed to him to hold on, saying, “The end justifies the means.”
was held and fortified by the Confederates
, then in command of the district at Cairo
, took military possession of Paducah, in northern Kentucky
, with National troops, and the neutrality of Kentucky
was no longer respected.
The seizure of Columbus
opened the way for the infliction upon the people of that
State of the horrors of war. All Kentucky
, for 100 miles south of the Ohio River
, was made a military department, with Gen. Robert Anderson
, the hero of Fort Sumter
, for its commander.
Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston
, was in command of the Confederate
Western Department, which included southern
and western Kentucky
, then held by the Confederates
, and the State of Tennessee
, with his headquarters at Nashville
Under the shadow of his power the Confederates of Kentucky
met in convention at Russellville
, Oct. 29, 1861.
They drew up a manifesto in which the grievances of Kentucky
were recited, and the action of the loyal legislature was denounced.
They passed an ordinance of secession, declared the State
independent, organized a provisional government, chose George W. Johnston
provisional governor, appointed delegates to the Confederate Congress at Richmond
, and called Bowling Green
Fifty-one counties were
Site of the last Indian settlement in Kentucky.|
represented in that convention by about 200 men, without the sanction of the people.
Late in 1861, the Confederates
occupied a line of military posts across southern Kentucky
, from Cumberland Gap
, on the Mississippi River
, a distance of nearly 400 miles. Don Carlos Buell
, had been appointed commander of the Department of the Ohio, with his headquarters at Louisville
There he gathered a large force, with which he was enabled to strengthen various advanced posts and throw forward along the line of the Nashville and Louisville Railway a large force destined to break the Confederate
He had under his command 114,000 men, arranged in four columns, commanded respectively by Brig.-Gens. A. McDowell McCook
, O. M. Mitchel
, G. H. Thomas
, and T. L. Crittenden
, acting as major-generals, and aided by twenty brigade commanders.
These troops were from States northward of the Ohio
, and loyalists of Kentucky
They occupied an irregular line across Kentucky
, parallel with that of the Confederates
led 50,000 men down the railroad, and pushed the Confederate
line to Bowling Green
, after a sharp skirmish at Mumfordsville, on the south side of the Green River
In eastern Kentucky Col. James A. Garfield
struck (Jan. 7, 1862) the Confederates
, under Humphrey Marshall
, near Prestonburg
, on the Big Sandy River
, and dispersed them.
This ended Marshall
's military career, and Garfield
's services there won for him the commission of a brigadier-general.
On the 19th, General Thomas
defeated Gen. George B. Crittenden
near Mill Spring
, when General Zollicoffer
was slain and his troops driven into northwestern Tennessee
This latter blow effectually severed the Confederate
lines in Kentucky
, and opened
the way by which the Confederates
were soon driven out of the State
and also out of Tennessee
The Confederate line was paralyzed eastward of Bowling Green
, and their chief fortifications and the bulk of their troops were between Nashville
and Bowling Green
and the Mississippi
On that line was strong Fort Donelson
, on the Cumberland River
to be a more dashing officer than Johnston
, the Confederates
appointed him commander of the Western Department, late in January, 1862, and he was succeeded in the command at Manassas
by Gen. G. W. Smith
, formerly of New York City.