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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 were unsettled. These were settled satisfactorily by the purchase of Louisiana in 1803. 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

State seal of Kentucky.

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, vol. IX.


Isaac Shelby1792 to 1796
James Garrard1796 to 1804
Christopher Greenup1804 to 1808
Charles Scott1808 to 1812
Isaac Shelby1812 to 1816
George Madison1816
Gabriel Slaughter1816 to 1820
John Adair1820 to 1824
Joseph Desha1824 to 1828



Thomas Metcalfe1828 to 1832
John Breathitt1832 to 1834
J. T. Morehead1834 to 1836
James Clark1836 to 1837
C. A. Wickliffe1837 to 1840
Robert P. Letcher1840 to 1844
William Owsley1844 to 1848
John J. Crittenden1848 to 1850
John L. Helm1850 to 1851
Lazarus W. Powell1851 to 1855
Charles S. Morehead1855 to 1859
Beriah Magoffin1859 to 1861
J. F. Robinson1861 to 1863
Thomas E. Bramulette1863 to 1867
John L. Helm1867
John W. Stevenson1868 to 1871
Preston H. Leslie1871 to 1875
James B. McCreary1875 to 1879
Luke P. Blackburn1879 to 1883
J. Proctor Knott1883 to 1887
Simon B. Buckner1887 to 1891
J. Y. Brown1891 to 1895
William O. Bradley1896 to 1900
William S. Taylor1900
William Goebel1900
J. C. W. Beckham1900 to —

United States Senators.

Name.No. of Congress.Term.
John Brown2d to 9th1792 to 1805
John Edwards2d to 4th1792 to 1795
Humphrey Marshall4th to 7th1795 to 1801
John Breckinridge7th to 9th1801 to 1805
John Adair9th1805 to 1806
Henry Clay9th1806 to 1807
John B. Thurston9th to 11th1806 to 1809
John Pope10th to 13th1807 to 1813
Henry Clay11th1810 to 1811
George M. Bibb12th to 13th1811 to 1814
George Walker13th1814
William T. Barry13th to 14th1815 to 1816
Jessie Bledsoe13th to 14th1813 to 1815
Isham Talbot14th to 19th1815 to 1825
Martin D. Hardin14th1816 to 1817
John J. Crittenden15th1817 to 1819
Richard M. Johnson16th to 21st1819 to 1829
William Logan16th1819 to 1820
John Rowan19th1825
George M. Bibb21st to 24th1829 to 1835
Henry Clay22d to 27th1831 to 1842
John J. Crittenden24th to 30th1835 to 1848
James T. Morehead27th1842
Thomas Metcalfe30th1848 to 1849
Joseph R. Underwood30th to 32d1847 to 1852
Henry Clay31st to 32d1849 to 1852
David Meriwether32d1852
Archibald Dixon32d to 33d1852 to 1855
John B. Thompson33d1853
John J. Crittenden34th to 37th1855 to 1861
Lazarus W. Powell36th to 39th1859 to 1865
John C. Breckinridge37th1861
Garrett Davis37th to 42d1861 to 1872
James Guthrie39th to 40th1865 to 1868
Thomas C. McCreery40th1868 to 1871
Willis B. Machen42d1872 to 1873
John W. Stevenson42d to 45th1871 to 1877
Thomas C. McCreery43d to 46th1873 to 1879
James B. Beck45th to 51st1877 to 1890
John S. Williams46th to 49th1879 to 1885
Joseph C. S. Blackburn49th to 55th1885 to 1897
John G. Carlisle51st to 52d1890 to 1893
William Lindsey53d to —1893 to —
William J. Deboe55th to —1897 to —

Early settlements.

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. Boone was made a prisoner, but escaped. He determined to settle in the beautiful country between the upper Kentucky and Tennessee 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 by Boone 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 [237] Virginia 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

Daniel Boone's first sight of Kentucky.

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.” [238] 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. Pillow 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) Polk, 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.” So Columbus was held and fortified by the Confederates. General Grant, 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

First (permanent) State-House, Frankfort, Ky.


Kentucky River, from high Bridge.

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 the State capital. Fifty-one counties were [240]

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 to Columbus, on the Mississippi River, a distance of nearly 400 miles. Don Carlos Buell, major-general, 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 line. 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 and Tennessee. They occupied an irregular line across Kentucky, parallel with that of the Confederates. General McCook 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 [241] 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. Believing Beauregard 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.

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