Condon and was registered as his slave. Charlotte and Aaron were married in and Charlotte was sold to the Clay family. In , the Clay family moved to Washington, D. Charlotte found a lawyer who filed papers for her and her children, suing for their freedom. Her petition was denied and Charlotte was jailed for refusing to return to Kentucky with the Clays.
She was later emancipated by Henry Clay in As the son of a slave-holding father, John Gregg Fee witnessed firsthand the benefits of having slaves and the profits that could be made from their labor. When he graduated from college and enrolled in Lane Theological Seminary, Fee began to understand the inherent wrong and destructiveness of slavery.
He was determined to become and Abolitionist and work for the immediate end to slavery. Fee committed his life and work to ending slavery and discrimination at home in Kentucky. Fee's dedication and passion for the abolishment of slavery gave him the strength to persevere through the wrath and disappointment of his father, financial hardship, and threats to his safety.
His work led to the founding of Union Church of Christ, an anti-slavery, non-denominational church, which planted the seeds for what would become Berea College. Roscoe Tarleton Goose was born on a Jeffersontown, Kentucky, farm in As a child, Roscoe took a job riding horses for a blacksmith in Louisville to help his family's finances. Fearless and slight of build, Goose was a natural horseman. While exercising horses at Churchill Downs, Goose was approached by trainer John Kuprion to ride as a jockey.
By autumn of , Roscoe Tarleton Goose was the leading money winning jockey at Churchill Downs and was one of the top riders in America. A few years later, he had attracted the attention of trainer and farm owner Thomas Patrick Hayes. Hayes had a horse called Donerail he wanted Goose to ride in the Kentucky Derby. The race odds were set at , the longest odds of a Derby winner, a record which still stands. When Governor Isaac Shelby was tasked with raising troops for a war with the British and the Indians, Kentuckians responded with fervor.
William Greathouse was one of more than 3, Kentuckians who answered Shelby's call to arms in Just a teenager, Greathouse joined the troops because he strongly opposed the British occupation and the Indian Confederacy. Greathouse mustered in on August 24, , in Nelson County. Greathouse took part in the Battle of Thames, considered the turning point of the war. In a battle that lasted less than an hour, the American troops, the majority of whom were from Kentucky, destroyed the Indian Confederacy and drove the British occupants out of Upper Canada. With humor and pride in his home state, Private Greathouse's story tells of his personal contributions to American history, and explains Kentucky's vital role in America's "Second War for Independence.
Johnny Green was 19 when the Civil War broke out. He was one of the few soldiers in the Orphan Brigade alive when it ended. Orphan Brigade soldiers were unable to return to their home state of Kentucky until the war was over — lest they be tried for treason — because they chose to fight for the Confederacy. Though he had learned to love the Union, as his mother was from Boston, Massachusetts, Green felt passionately that states should have the right to govern themselves.
And when President Abraham Lincoln called for men and arms, Green left his job in Florence, Alabama, to travel to Bowling Green, Kentucky, to join the Confederacy on the day before his 20th birthday. Green's story, as detailed in a journal he wrote for his daughters years later, provides extraordinary accounts of courage and bravery, and brings the story of the Orphan Brigade to life. Nancy Green became one of the first prosperous African American women in the U.
Green was born enslaved in Montgomery County, Kentucky, in While in Kentucky she worked for the Walker family and moved with them to Chicago just after the Great Fire, in Eight years later, Nancy Green became "Aunt Jemima. Davis had purchased a pre-mixed, self-rising recipe for pancakes and wanted an "Aunt Jemima," a character from minstrel shows which were popular at the time, to be the face of his pancakes.
Playing the role of "Aunt Jemima" gave Green financial independence few African Americans and few women experienced at the time. She used her wealth as a means to empower her community. She was particularly active in her church, leading missionary trips, investing in anti-poverty programs for African Americans, and advocating for equal rights.
During the 42 years he coached the University of Kentucky men's basketball team, Adolph Rupp raised the game to near-religious status in the Commonwealth. Rupp's teams won games, four national championships, and one Olympic gold medal. There was a flip side to all this success — the team was suspended for the season after a point-shaving scandal, and Rupp was heavily criticized for taking too long to integrate the Kentucky basketball program.
Adolph Rupp grew up in Kansas, the son of immigrant farmers. He played three years of varsity basketball at the University of Kansas, but never scored a point. He began his coaching career in Kansas, but soon moved on to high schools in Iowa and Illinois. The University of Kentucky hired him in Rupp's genius for public relations and his team's winning ways combined to make Kentucky basketball a statewide phenomenon, a point of pride around which Kentuckians of all stripes still rally.
Low tobacco prices caused the Black Patch War. The American Tobacco Company was paying less for dark tobacco than it cost farmers to grow it. Farmers fought back by forming the Planters' Protective Association, whose members withheld tobacco from the market. When this strategy did not produce higher prices, the Night Riders resorted to violence against farmers who refused to honor the boycott.
Feisty, funny, and completely fearless, Aunt Molly Jackson lived for nearly 50 years in the coal camps of Southeastern Kentucky, where her father, brothers, husband, and sons were miners. In the camps, Aunt Molly delivered babies, nursed the sick, and wrote and sang songs about the miners' lives. Her "Hungry Ragged Blues," for example, tells of miners during the Depression who regularly risked their lives underground, but did not earn enough to feed and clothe their children. Aunt Molly' songs, her eloquence, and her intimate knowledge of life in the camps impressed Theodore Dreiser and his committee of writers when they visited Kentucky in Dreiser encouraged Aunt Molly to move to New York City, where her heartfelt songs and lively stories made her a popular and well-known spokesperson for Kentucky miners.
Today, Aunt Molly's songs and stories take us back to the Eastern and Western Kentucky coalfields of the early 20th century. Jones, who had a repertoire of songs learned from his parents and the radio, won a talent contest that led to regular work on an Akron radio station. That launched a career that lasted more than 60 years. It was during tours with country music star Bradley Kincaid in the s that Jones developed the Grandpa persona he used the rest of his life.
Jones wrote many of his most popular songs. Like many old-time musicians, he struggled during the rock-and-roll craze of the s — he toured Canada and tried his hand at early television. Beginning in , television brought Jones fame as a member of the original cast of "Hee Haw," which showcased his skills as a vaudeville comic. He never retired, suffering a fatal stroke after a performance at the Grand Ole Opry in Although she arrived with personal obstacles that included single motherhood, Rose found her way around the plant, found her ambitions, and found temporary stardom when she met Walter Pidgeon and appeared on the big screen as "Rosie the Riveter.
Rose finally earned her pilot's wings in the early s, but her solo flying career sadly ended a few years later when a plane crash damaged her left eye and kidney. Her film portrayal as Rosie the Riveter has inspired many, but she was just one of the many women who faithfully served her country. His family moved to Indiana when he was 7, partly because of his father's opposition to slavery. But as his brilliance and burning political ambition carried him to the presidency and greatness, Lincoln always had connections with his native state.
His best friend in Springfield was Joshua Speed, a son of Louisville's prominent Speed family; and in Springfield he found a wife from Kentucky, Mary Todd, the daughter of a well-known Lexington family. Lincoln visited Kentucky to see the Speeds and his in-laws, and took the great Kentucky statesman Henry Clay as his political hero. Her way with words led to a career as a journalist, and later, as the editor of the first all-female newspaper staff in America.
Health problems forced Alice at age 40 to move to a warmer climate. She packed up her typewriter and headed by horse and buggy to the mountains of Kentucky. Acceptance from the people of Eastern Kentucky came slowly. Yet, Alice stayed and showed the good one person can do. She wanted to educate Appalachian children through college at little or no cost to them. On Christmas Day , 1, miles away from the nearest hospital and 35 years before the discovery of anesthesia, Dr.
Ephraim McDowell removed a pound ovarian tumor from the abdomen of a year-old woman. It was the world's first ovariotomy, and it eventually brought McDowell worldwide acclaim as the father of abdominal surgery. The patient, Jane Todd Crawford, had ridden three days on horseback to reach McDowell's home in Danville, Kentucky, to have the operation.
The medical authorities of the day were convinced that opening the abdomen meant certain death, so McDowell was far from sure that the surgery would succeed. He told Crawford he would proceed only if she "thought herself prepared to die. Crawford came through with flying colors and in less than a month was on the way home to Green County. Harold Henry Reese got his famous nickname Pee Wee from a marble he used when he was a boy.
The name fit because he turned out to be a man of modest stature, but by every measure you could apply to an athlete — teamwork, leadership, determination, winning, grace under pressure — Pee Wee Reese was a giant. At 19, he quit his job at the telephone company to play professional baseball for the Louisville Colonels. By , he was playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers. As captain, shortstop, and lead-off man, he led the Dodgers to seven pennants and, in , a World Series win. Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in , his plaque there also records the powerful example he set when Jackie Robinson joined the Dodgers in as the major leagues' first black player.
Reese's acceptance and support of Robinson were instrumental in breaking down baseball's color barrier. It survived about three months. Clay did not try to reestablish his paper in Kentucky, but he continued to speak out against slavery. Because they squabbled among themselves rather than uniting their energies, the efforts of the anti-slavery white population did little to rescue hapless victims from bondage. The bulk of those who escaped the system did so by their own efforts. A few won their freedom through meritorious acts or managed to find some means of earning money and saved enough to purchase their freedom.
Others fled: it is estimated that about slaves escaped from Kentucky into free states each year. Slave owners tried to convince themselves that most slaves were happy, but the number who ran away proved otherwise. Aided by a loosely organized network of agents and stations called the Underground Railroad, these runaways hid by day and traveled by night, hoping to cross the Ohio River.
But not until they got to Canada were they really free. Federal law instructed that fugitive slaves be returned to their masters. Those found guilty of aiding escapees could be sent to prison. Henson, his wife, and two children crossed the Ohio River near Owensboro and spent two weeks walking to Cincinnati, where they secured help and made travel arrangements to Canada. Henson later made numerous return visits to Kentucky, helping others escape.
Kentucky Republicans Worried Inviting AOC to Meet with Coal Miners Might Backfire
Despite the efforts of numerous well-intentioned Kentuckians who found slavery an offensive, undemocratic institution, none were effective in eradicating the system. Nevertheless, the proclamation foreshadowed the end to this system of human bondage. The Civil War not only split nation and family-it caused personal sacrifices off the battlefield as well as on it. In Program 6, a young boy experiences these effects firsthand as he watches his father and uncle feud and his nanny fear for her freedom and future.
Program Goal: Students will understand that the civil war affected both children and adults, even in the absence of actual battle, and will discuss some of those effects. As the sectional conflict pushed the fragile nation into war, Kentuckians found themselves divided in sympathies. The prevailing sentiment in the state upheld the preservation of the Union. Nevertheless, the commonwealth furnished outspoken suporters for both sides. A border state, Kentucky enjoyed strong ties with both the North and the South. Her slave labor system linked her to the South, yet her diversified agriculture provided products for both northern and southern markets.
Social and cultural traditions also were rooted in both sections, and the presidents of both sides were natives of Kentucky-Abraham Lincoln was born near Hodgenville and Jefferson Davis in Christian now Todd County. Attempting to extract the Commonwealth from a volatile situation, in the spring of the governor and legislature declared that Kentucky was neutral. Neutrality ended in September of when the Confederates seized Columbus, Kentucky.
Union troops immediately moved into Paducah and Louisville and spread across the northern portion of the state. The southern army commanded critical points between the Cumber-land Gap and the Mississippi River, with the center of their military operations at Bowling Green. In late autumn a convention held in Russellville established a Confederate state of Kentucky and proclaimed Bowling Green the capital.
The Confederate occupation of the southern sector of the commonwealth lasted five months. They returned in late summer, however, and pushed into the Bluegrass heartland, hoping to win recruits and perhaps the state for their cause. Brief encounters between the antagonists occurred at Munfordville, Cynthiana, Richmond and elsewhere, but the major clash in Kentucky came early in October at Perryville. Both sides suffered enormous losses. Realizing their casualties were greater than any gains netted from the invasion and disappointed because few Kentuckians joined their ranks, the Confederates retreated from Kentucky through the Cumberland Gap.
During the remainder of the conflict Kentuckians were plagued with brief visits from John Hunt Morgan and other raiders, but the Confederates attempted no major offensives into the commonwealth after In the early months of the hostilities a tremendous surge of patriotism and political furor swept thousands of young men into the armies.
This ardor waned, however, as the war dragged on, and by the summer of , both governments had instituted a draft, although the Confederate one could not be en-forced. Kentuckians loudly pro-tested the Federal draft, claiming that conscription was degrading, un-American and unconstitutional.
Nevertheless, during the war about , to , Kentuckians served in the armed forces 25,, in the Confederate army and 90, in the Union army, including 20, blacks. Perhaps as many as one-third of these soldiers died, either of battle wounds or from disease. Camp life quickly dispelled all illusions about the glories of military life. Union troops generally received better clothing and equipment than did the confederates, but by modern standards, neither army was well outfitted.
Housing consisted of tents and stick and mud huts-stifling in the summer, cold and wet during inclement weather. Rations were issued, but the men generally prepared their own food and thus ate much raw, charred, and putrid fare and frequently quenched their thirsts with polluted water.
Enteric diseases felled thousands. Training was haphazard at best. Marksmanship exercises were unknown, and soldiers generally regarded all activities on the drill field as tedious and boring; sham battles were considered merely amusing. Few civilians remained untouched by the war. Residents living in areas visited by armies suffered terrible economic losses, for the military marched across and bivouacked on private land, com- mandeering whatever its members needed. Soldiers drilled in clover fields, cut down trees that obstructed their view, burned fences for firewood, took food for themselves and forage for their animals, seized horses and livestock, paid for some things with worthless or inflated money or IOUs, simply stole other items, confiscated whatever buildings they required to house the sick and store supplies, over-taxed and wore out bridges and roadways, destroyed public and private buildings that might aid the enemy, and created major health and sanitation problems.
Guerillas also preyed on area inhabitants-especially on those unable to protect themselves-and committed brutal crimes in the name of Union and Confederate governments. To suppress activities by marauders who harbored southern sympathies, Union authorities instituted punishments and retaliations that included fines, jail sentences, banishments, and even the executions of a few secessionists.
Such policies inflamed hatreds against the Federal government that would remain for decades. Many families had one member in each army. The pitting of father against son and brother against brother split families and fostered bitterness that remained long after the war ended. Some returning soldiers experienced difficulties adjusting to life in close proximity to former foes, and for many civilians the presence of returned veterans became a constant reminder of those buried in faraway graves.
The Civil War inflicted physical and emotional scars on Kentuckians that required decades to erase. Divided families, guerilla acts, harsh treatment of loyal residents-all of these contributed to post-war rancor.
Economic changes resulting from trade restrictions, demands made by the military and the absence of a large portion of the wage-earning population also seriously affected the state and its citizens. Many historians have concluded that Kentucky joined the Confederacy after the war ended. Her appeals for broadmindedness fall on deaf ears at the local council meeting, and she is later driven from her home by hooded nightriders. Program Goal: Students will understand that education in Kentucky became segregated after the war and that prejudice, physical separation of races, and violence were commonplace.
For Kentucky, the last three-and-one-half decades of the 19th century were a study in inconsistencies. According to one authority, it was an age of change when much of life remained unchanging, a period of rapid growth also characterized by stagnation, a time of expanding educational opportunity in the midst of widespread illiteracy, a time of sophisticated, genteel culture amid continued lawlessness and violence, a period of rapid urbanization in a basically rural economy-in short, a complex and diverse period that was also simple and stereotypical.
Great stress, conflicting emotions, and myriad social problems relating to race, equality and democracy filled the years which social historians now call the Victorian era. The end of the Civil War found Kentucky in a terrible plight. In many ways the state, with native sons in both armies, had been a mini microcosm of the total conflict, a civil war. The return to peacetime normalcy, often called Reconstruction or Readjustment, proved a formidable challenge. Lawlessness and violence abounded in Kentucky during the decades after the war, continuing to the turn of the century and beyond.
The suspicion and animosity of the war did not end as soldiers returned home to live, often side-by-side, in continuing hatred. Outrages occurred throughout the state; beatings, lynchings, shootings, rape and arson created a dismal picture. In Eastern Kentucky, the tragic background of the Civil War spawned a number of clashes.
But undoubtedly the most famous struggle was the Hatfield-McCoy feud. This conflict ultimately involved, directly or indirectly, every person in Pike County, Kentucky, and Logan County, West Virginia; by implication it affected every Kentuckian, as it added to the creation of the feuding mountaineer stereotype held by many Americans. Civil War allegiances caused unfriendly relations between the two families.
Voting frauds, the ownership of a razorback hog, and a mountain Romeo and Juliet story added fuel to the already ignited flames. Murderous raids took place-with vows of continued fighting-until a particular Hatfield or McCoy had been killed. This epic clan war lasted seventy-odd years and resulted in a number of deaths and even, from time to time, the intervention of state militias.
In descendents of the two families finally ended the feud when they erected a monument to the slain on the banks of the Big Sandy River. Frightened blacks, however, fled from the rural setting. Many left the state in search of better opportunities. Others took refuge in towns. Not surprisingly, they soon begged the federal government for protection.
But to many partisan Kentuckians it was a thorn in the side for they saw it as a vehicle for organizing the Negroes for the Republican Party. Ex-Unionist and ex-Confederates in the General Assembly continued to try to restrict black rights and joined to reject the 14th and 15th amendments. Kentucky also had rejected the 13th Amendment, but since all three were ratified nationally, they became law in the state.
With the election of a new legislature in , comparative peace and order were restored. Kentucky Democrats had regained political power, as the Republicans failed to convert battlefield victories to post-war control. With almost one-fourth of all Kentuckians over the age of ten illiterate, the establishment of a state education system proved an enormous task. Schools had to be reopened with public support, and facilities for the children of freedmen had to be provided.
Unfortunately, there were few trained teachers, scant facilities for educating them, no school commissioners or boards, and a lack of textbooks. During the antebellum period, education for black Kentuckians, although not illegal under state law, was largely ignored. A very few free Negroes attended Berea , which had no race restrictions. After the Civil War, the situation began to change, and the education of blacks became a public concern. However, even this meager aid received a setback when the legislature decreed that black paupers had to be cared for from the school fund first.
In , the new state constitution continued to support existing separate and supposedly equal schools for the races. However, black schools received second priority, and Negroes knew it. Only outside philanthropies, like the Rosenwald and Slater funds, made any real effort to create educational opportunities for black children. White schools, however, faced many of the same problems. The legislature also enacted a bill requiring popular election of county school commissioners, county selection of textbooks, and the establishment of teacher training institutions.
In the General Assembly passed the Common School Law, which provided a uniform education system for the state. The measure regulated the length of the school year, duties of state and local officials, and the course of study. These measures were only a beginning, and such legal pro-visions were easily ignored. Each annual report on education between and stressed the need for more public support and expressed dissatisfaction with commissioners, boards, textbooks, poorly trained teachers and the location of schoolhouses.
In , Kentucky history was included in the curriculum. Spelling bees, ciphering competitions, and other contests enlivened the school day; at recess the students played ball, hide-and-seek, marbles, jump rope, and a host of singing games. Philanthropic organizations supported a number of schools. The Catholic Church developed an organized system of parochial institutions, and Protestant groups established schools in the eastern Kentucky mountains. In the field of higher education, Kentucky boasted a number of publicly supported institutions in the years after the Civil War. The University of Louisville had law and medical departments; Lexington had Kentucky University which, after various name changes, became the University of Kentucky in ; and Frankfort was the site of Kentucky Normal School for Colored People now Kentucky State , established in In , Bowling Green and Richmond established Western and Eastern State Normal schools from pre-existing institutions, and Morehead and Murray placed their colleges in the state system in There were also numerous colleges endowed by religious institutions.
Forced to close as the Civil War approached, Berea received a charter from the state in , opening its doors to 75 white students and three blacks. The next year enrollment included 96 Negroes and 91 whites. Blacks attended the school until the passage of a segregation law in While political and educational endeavors did not lead immediately to an ideal society, Victorian Kentucky did have its positive features.
Make a diorama or draw pictures of old schoolrooms. Stage a spelling bee. Old-fashioned spelling bees were exciting dress-up events, often attended by the whole family and the community at large. Rules were important since spelling bees taught discipline and morality as well as spelling; each word was enunciated twice, slowly and clearly. The student 1 pronounced the word properly, 2 spelled the first syllable, 3 pronounced the first syllable, 4 spelled and pronounced subsequent syllables, 5 pronounced the whole word again.
Rules might vary, but there were always rules. Why do students think that rules are so important? Was it fair for an excellent speller to fail because of a broken rule? What was the effect upon children who never learned to spell well despite years of try? Why are spelling bees less popular today? Ask them to list objects in their own classroom that were not available years ago or which existed only sometimes or in small quantities.
A partial list might include: pencil sharpener, erasers, thumb tacks, electric lights, floor tile, indoor plumbing, A -V equipment, etc. Then ask students to imagine how a school classroom will look in 20, 50 or years. What objects do they envision in the future classroom, which are not available now or which are little used? Talk about content, vocabulary, interest, questions. How are they similar? How are they different? Discuss the importance of education. How would your life be different if you could not read or write? How would this affect the jobs you would be qualified to do to earn a living?
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A short article in a Cincinnati newspaper — barely one paragraph long — signaled a revolution in Newport with repercussions throughout Northern Kentucky. The account on Aug. This was at a time when the public funding of schools was still a matter of debate. Most schools shortly after the Civil War were private academies where parents had to pay for children to attend.
The new school would become known as the Southgate Street School. The building remains today along Southgate Alley, between Washington and Saratoga streets.
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Newport Mayor R. McCracken served as school board treasurer. The board included business people, ministers and a housewife. All would not be smooth for the new board as the same account that noted the formation of the new board also mentioned a dispute between Adams and Beverly Lumpkin over the selection of officers. Rippleton later became active in local politics, serving in various capacities in the African-American chapter of the Republican Party.
Most blacks at the time who got involved in politics were Republicans, due to their loyalty to Abraham Lincoln. In the late s candidates were chosen at county conventions and Rippleton was among the delegates to a Republican county convention in Alexandria, held in July That same year Rippleton was appointed to the executive committee of the Colored Republican Party Club. The next year Rippleton was elected club president and as such he attended conventions throughout the state and across the Midwest. This would lead to opposition from some white Republicans, who were upset that an African-American was being sent to some out-of-town meetings representing both white and black voters.
The Newport-based Kentucky State Journal newspaper noted on July 19, , that the club had more than 80 members. That same year Rippleton and N. Lumpkin were appointed delegates to a convention of the state Republican Party in Lexington. Rippleton died in May at the age of While it was common at the time for local newspapers to note the deaths of white people, it was not as common to see notices of deaths of African-Americans.
Rippleton was an exception. The writer also noted he had been ill only a short time. The Newport school likely opened in September Ted Harris, a local historian who has done much research on the Newport school, said the exact location of the first school in Newport is not clear. Accounts, however, indicate there were 27 children attending in Newport. A major push for more state funding for schools for African-American students came in That Feb. Part of the reason for the rally was to select a local committee to attend an educational convention in February in Louisville. Washington Rippleton was among those chosen to attend.
Next to Rippleton, the best known of those early black pioneers was probably Johnson. Born in Hannibal, Mo. In politics he also was active in the Republican Party, being elected club vice president in Johnson also made headlines in the Kentucky State Journal on Jan. Protesters signed a letter opposing railway segregation.
In addition to Johnson, those signing the petition were George Ozler, N. Neblett, W. Moore, Thornton Davis, D. Johnson also gave the commencement address to the first graduating class at Southgate Street School. Johnson and his wife, Sarah, also lived on Southgate Street. She apparently taught all eight grades at the school from to Another teacher was added in with the faculty growing to three in and four in The first school commencement at which Johnson spoke did not come until , apparently because many students had to work to help support their families and could not afford the luxury of spending most of the day in classes.
He was followed by Francis M. Russell, who was principal from Blanton served as principal from , followed by Nora H. Ward from and Charles L. Harris from African-American students began transferring to other public schools in Newport in A Kentucky Post account on Sept. A Post account said Newport was among the first schools in the state to comply in response to a U. Supreme Court ruling.
Since Southgate Street School at the time did not have a high school unit, most of the high school transfers probably came from William Grant High School, which was the school for African-American students in Covington. William Grant High School would continue to operate until The high school section at Southgate Street School was begun in the early s and closed in for lack of enough students to offer a full range of courses.
After Newport schools were integrated, the building housing the former school became a site for meetings of Masonic Lodge No. In more recent times there have been efforts to refurbish the building. A state historical marker was dedicated at the school building site on Oct. Southgate Street would be the only public school for African-American students in Campbell County until integration. The original article is from The Kentucky Post and can be found here.
The economy and lifestyles of many Kentuckians underwent major changes as railroads opened up the state, and as the river trade subsequently faded. In this program, a former river captain learns something from his railroading grandson as the two contrast the economy and lifestyles which the two technologies embody. Although writers often make reference to Eastern, Western, Northern and Southern Kentucky plus hyphenated combinations of each , Kentucky can also be divided into six natural regions: the Purchase, the Pennroyal, the Western Coal Field, the Knobs, the Blue-grass and the Mountains or Eastern Coal Field.
The geographical features-rivers, gaps, hills or rolling terrain-of those areas played an important role in the early settlement of the state and then, during the 19th century, dictated economic development, transportation patterns, and the flow of commerce from and within the state.
On the Ohio, Big Sandy, Kentucky, Licking, Green, Tennessee and Cumberland rivers as well as on a score of lesser streams, early 19th century Kentuckians used birch canoes, poplar dugouts, and flatboats for travel and transportation. In time their riverside sons replaced these early modes with the pushboat. Loaded with furs, herbs, corn, tobacco, passengers, and livestock, the pushboats floated easily downstream but had to be poled or dragged upstream by sheer muscle power. Determined to be a part of all that was going on, they quickly took advantage of the potential of the railroad introduced from Europe , and numerous short lines were constructed as auxiliaries to the traffic troughs of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers.
The pioneer Lexington and Ohio Railroad started its sinuous course from Lexington to Louisville to intercept and benefit from the river traffic centered on that town, and the main stem of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad was built from the Falls City south for similar reasons. Likewise, the Mobile and Ohio planned to extend northward from Mobile, Alabama to a point near Columbus, Kentucky to secure the trade of the border states.
By , Kentucky had some miles of railway, which stood ready, as the Civil War approached, to challenge the steamboat for economic supremacy. However, changing national economic patterns now placed increased dependence upon overland transportation at the expense of inland waterways.
Railways sprung up everywhere, connecting even the smallest towns. No state highway system existed in Kentucky, and the counties had the responsibility for highway construction and maintenance. These roads, many of which were toll pikes, were so poor that residents traveled them only as a last resort; the era of better highways in Kentucky awaited the coming of the automobile.
The railroad greatly altered the lifestyles of all but the most isolated Kentuckians by stimulating the industrial development of the state. One of the greatest contributions came in the expansion of extractive mineral enterprises. Thanks to improved rail transportation, total coal production rose to a million tons in , and by the end of the century the output equaled more than 5,, tons. Although the eastern field continued to lag behind the west, it, too, welcomed the railroad as an alternative to the uncertainties of slackwater navigation. Ironically, however, due to geography, the mountain railroads had to follow the course of the waterways with tracks often clinging to riverbanks.
Oil and natural gas production also increased as did the mining of limestone, zinc, lead and flurspar. Overall the mining industry did not represent great wealth at the end of the 19th century, but it held great promise for the decades ahead and investment possibilities for outside interests. Kentucky also began to make notable gains in manufacturing.
Increased manufacturing activities centered in the Bluegrass, although the production of hard-ware, dry goods, and textbooks, the milling of flour, the distilling of whiskey and the processing of plug and smoking tobacco gave Louisville commercial domination in the state. Kentucky trailed behind much of the rest of the nation. Changes in transportation and the growth of industry brought the beginnings of organized labor to Kentucky.
But unions found few sympathizers among state leaders. The next day, police and state militia ended the affair, and public concern quickly vanished. None of these strikes caused much of a stir, however, for capitalistic-minded Louisville had little regard for the cause of labor. Outside of Louisville there was little union activity. After about thirty days of partial work stoppage, the union surrendered its charter and the workers returned to the mines.
In national statistics for , the state ranked first in tobacco, first in hemp, third in mules, fifth in swine, fifth in rye, sixth in corn, and eighth in wheat and flax. Declining average acreage per farm, increased tenant farming, escalating taxes, and decreasing prosperity, however, characterized the period and brought a heightening of interest in farm organizations. The Grange and similar groups spread throughout Kentucky, and farmers joined together in largely unsuccessful efforts to improve their lot.
Labor saving devices, both domestic and industrial, allowed more time to be spent in cultural and social pursuits. There were dances and hops, the theatre, indoor and outdoor musical entertainment, visits to spas, and boating and bicycling excursions. Holidays were important Confederate Memorial Day and the Fourth of July elicited stirring speeches from political hopefuls , and court day always brought a crowd to the population centers. In a fantastic dream about his up-coming birthday party, a Kentucky boy learns a good deal about changes in Kentucky life over the past years.
Other topics, such as food and games, are touched upon. Although political affairs and economic trends have made a great impact upon the history of Kentucky, social and cultural changes have played an equally important role in the development of the state.
From the days of the pioneers through the 19th century and down to the present, material culture objects and folkways customs have shaped Kentucky and Kentuckians. Over the years, environmental and technological factors greatly influenced styles of architecture, clothing, food, and even toys, but despite various physical changes, Kentuckians continued to hold home and family in deep regard.
The first settlers to Kentucky built one-room, floorless log cabins with a single door, no windows and a wood and mud chimney. The cracks between the notched logs were filled with chinking and moist clay.
Larger cabins often had lofts that could be used for storage or as an additional sleeping area. In time, the double log house with a roofed entry between its two parts called a dog-trot evolved on the frontier. In the mountains and more rural areas of the state, log cabin architecture continued throughout the 19th century.
However, by , framed houses of sawed and dressed lumber began to outnumber log cabins in the more urban areas. Called Plantation Plain style, these two-story frame houses, covered with weatherboard or clapboard, had a two-over-two room plan flanking a central hallway. Pillars with simple capitals supported the shed roof porch and narrow sash windows with as many as twelve panes graced the dwelling. Plantation Plain homes became very important in Kentucky architecture. With a few modifications, this style was the basic plan to which many residents later added Greek Revival porticos and Victorian decorative trim.
Greek Revival homes also featured high ceilings, tall mantels, large living rooms salons and carved woodwork. By the midth century, Gothic Revival architecture had arrived in Kentucky and was being used for everything from cottages to stone castles. It was characterized by steeply pitched roofs, large pointed windows, and gingerbread trim along eaves and gable edges. Later in the century, the Victorian Gothic style featured multi colored exterior finishes and towers with conical roofs, and the Second Empire style introduced the convex-sided mansard roof.
With an eye to the future, Louisville built its first ten-story skyscraper Sullivanesque style in The vast majority of houses have followed fairly well standardized floor plans, featuring three bedrooms and one-and-one-half baths. In recent years, escalating construction costs have led to the extensive use of mobile homes, and an increasing emphasis on social mobility has made apartment and condominium dwellings popular. The fuel-efficient home has also received favorable notice. Frontier Kentuckians dressed very simply. Men wore buckskin hunting shirts, breeches, leggings and moccasins plus an animal-skin cap, often with a furry tail attached.
When deer became scarce, linsey-woolsey cloth and other fabrics were used. Women dressed in these materials, too. In winter, they wore moccasins, and in warm weather they went bare-foot. As the 19th century progressed, clothing styles changed. Kentuckians engaged in manual labor discarded buckskin; high-waisted trousers, homespun shirts, boots, and large hats became the standard garb.
Held up by suspenders belts and belt loops belong in the 20th century , trousers were often of denim and were called jeans in other areas they were known as Kentucky jeans. During the 19th century, townsmen wore top hats, double-breasted frock coats with vests, high waisted uncreased trousers and cravats tied in a bow. Late in the century, the short lounge jacket or sack coat, void of a waist seam and similar to present day suit coats, came into vogue.
For many 19th century rural Kentucky women, dresses were still of homespun, but as circumstances improved, cotton calico, and muslin materials gained in popularity. Skirts gradually widened, and by the full skirt grew to ten yards in circumference, with any number of petticoats heighten the voluminous effect. After the Civil War skirts became slimmer, and the bustle appeared. By the 20th century the sack coat with padded shoulders and high waisted trousers had become fairly standard attire for men, varying only slightly from season to season.
After World War II, men dressed in three-button suits and, when war necessities created a dearth of cotton, the new nylon shirts became the sensation. For casual dress, denim jeans and cotton knit shirts, often with designer labels, have become popular. In , the chemise frock rose to just below the knee, and by the sleeveless dress worn by the boyish-figured flappers stopped at the knee.
By hems had plummeted to ten inches off the floor, and a combination outfit of dress and long coat became the order of the day. For sports, denim and cotton dominates casual wear, many of which have a unisex look. Throughout the centuries Kentucky children have almost always dressed like adults. As late as World War II, boys wore knickers until they reached high school. Large and small game abounded; streams teemed with fish, and wild fruits, nuts, and greens added variety to a monotonous protein diet.
Sometimes a medley of all ended up in the same kettle. A popular stew, burgoo, included every available animal, sage and red pepper and assorted vegetables; the diner could seek out and enjoy whatever meats and vegetables he relished. Sweetening came from honey and maple sugar, and salt needed for preserving and seasoning was obtained from springs and licks.
They dreamed of planted fields and grazing livestock. As the wild animals diminished, domesticated ones assumed greater importance. For many Kentuckians, pork became the favorite meat.