American History and Genealogy Project

State of Kentucky

Kentucky, one of the western United States, is bounded n. by Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, from which it is separated by the Ohio River; e. by Virginia; s. by Tennessee; and w. by the Mississippi, which separates it from Missouri. It is between 36 30' and 39 10' n. lat., and between 81 50' and 89 20' w. Ion., and between 5 and 10 w. lon. from w. Its greatest length is about 400 miles, and breadth 170 miles, containing 40,500 square miles, or 25,920,000 acres. The population in 1790 was 73,677; in 1800, 220,959; in 1810, 406,511; in 1820, 564,317; in 1830, 683,844; in 1840, 779,828, of which 182,253 were slaves. Of the free population, 305,323 were white males; 284,930 do. females; 3,761 were colored males; 3,556 do. females. Employed in agriculture, 197,733; in commerce, 3,448; in manufactures and trades, 23,217; navigating the ocean, 44; canals, lakes, and rivers, 968; in mining, 331; learned professions, 2,487.

There are 90 comities in this state, which with their population in 1840, and their capitals, were as follows:

County, Population, Capital

Adair, 8,466, Columbia Jefferson, 36,346, Louisville
Allen, 7,329, Scottsville Jessamine, 9,396, Nicholasville
Barren, 17,288, Glasgow Kenton, 7,816, Independence
Bath, 9,763, Owingsville Knox, 5,722, Barbourville
Boone, 10,034, Burlington Laurel, 3,079, London
Bourbon, 14,478, Paris Lawrence, 4,730, Louisa
Breathitt, 2,195, Breathitt Lewis, 6,306, Clarksburg
Bracken, 7,053, Augusta Lincoln, 10,187, Stanford
Breckenridge, 8,944, Hardingsburg Livingston, 9,025, Smithland
Bulitt, 6,334, Shepherdsville Logan, 13,615, Russelville
Butler, 3,898, Morgantown Madison, 16,355, Richmond
Caldwell, 10,365, Princeton Marion, 11,032, Lebanon
Calloway, 9,794, Wadesborough Mason, 15,719, Maysville
Campbell, 5,214, Newport McCracken, 4,745, Paducah
Carroll, 3,966, Carrollton Meade, 5,780, Brandenburg
Carter, 2,905, Grayson Mercer, 18,720, Harrodsburg
Casey, 4,939, Liberty Monroe, 6,526, Tompkinsville
Christian, 15,587, Hopkinsville Montgomery, 9,332, Mount Sterling
Clark, 10,802, Winchester Morgan, 4,603, West Liberty
Clay, 4,607, Manchester Muhlenburg, 6,964, Greenville
Clinton, 3,863, Albany Nelson, 13,637, Bardstown
Cumberland, 6,090, Burkesville Nicholas, 8,745, Carlisle
Davies, 8,331, Owensborough Ohio, 6,592, Hartford
Edmonston, 2,914, Brownsville Oldham, 7,380, La Grange
Estill, 5,535, Irvine Owen, 8,232, Owenton
Fayette, 22,194, Lexington Pendleton, 4,455, Falmouth
Fleming, 13,268, Flemingsburg Perry, 3,089, Hazard
Floyd, 6,302, Prestonburg Pike, 3,567, Pikeville
Franklin, 9,420, Frankfort Pulaski, 9,620, Somerset
Gallatin, 4,003, Warsaw Rockcastle, 3,409, Mount Vernon
Garrard, 10,480, Lancaster Russell, 4,238, Jamestown
Grant, 4,192, Williamstown Scott, 13,668, Georgetown
Graves, 7,465, Mayfield Shelby, 17,768, Shelbyville
Grayson, 4,461, Litchfield Simpson, 6,537, Franklin
Greene, 14,212, Greensburg Spencer, 6,581, Taylorsville
Greenup, 6,297, Greenupsburg Todd, 9,991, Elkton
Hancock, 2,581, Hawesville Trigg, 7,716, Cadiz
Hardin, 16,357, Elizabethtown Trimble, 4,480, Bedford
Harlan, 3,015, Mt. Pleasant Union, 6,673, Morganfield
Harrison, 12,472 Cynthiana Warren, 15,446, Bowling Green
Hart, 7,031, Munfordsville Washington, 10,596, Springfield
Henderson, 9,548, Henderson Wayne, 7,399, Monticello
Henry,10,015, New Castle Whitley, 4,673, Williamsburg
Hickman, 8,968, Clinton Woodford, 11,740, Versailles
Hopkins, 9,171, Madisonville ...

 Frankfort, on the e. bank of the Kentucky River, 60 miles above its entrance into the Ohio, is the seat of government.

The only mountains in this state are the Cumberland in the s. e. The eastern counties are mountainous. A tract from 5 to 20 miles wide, along the Ohio River, through the whole length of the state, is hilly and broken, but has a good soil. The margin of the Ohio for about a mile in width consists of bottom lands, which are overflowed when the river is high. Between this tract of hilly country, the more mountainous eastern counties, and Green river, is a fertile tract, frequently denominated the garden of the state. It is about 150 miles long, and from 50 to 100 wide. The soil is excellent; the surface is gently undulating, and the forest growth, black walnut, black cherry, buckeye, pawpaw, sugar maple, mulberry, elm, ash, cotton wood, white thorn, and an abundance of grapevines. The country in the s. w. part of the state, between Green and Cumberland rivers, is called "the barrens." In 1800, the legislature of the state made a gratuitous grant of this tract to actual settlers, under the idea that it was of little value; but it proves to be excellent grain land, and also well adapted to the raising of hogs and cattle. The whole state, below the mountains, has at the usual depth of 8 feet a bed of limestone, which has frequent apertures through which the waters of the rivers sink into the earth, causing some of them to disappear for a time, and others to be greatly diminished in the summer season. The banks have generally worn deep channels in the calcareous rocks over which they flow. The precipices formed by the Kentucky are in many places stupendous, presenting perpendicular banks of solid limestone 300 feet high, above which is a steep and difficult ascent several times as high. In the s. w. part of the state, between Green and Cumberland rivers, are several remarkable caves. One called the Mammoth cave, 130 miles from Lexington on the road to Nashville, is said to be 8 or 10 miles in length, with many diverging apartments. The earth at the bottom of it is strongly impregnated with nitre, which has been, to a considerable extent, manufactured from it.

Wheat, tobacco, and hemp are the staple productions; but Indian corn, rye, oats, barley, buckwheat, flax, and potatoes are extensively cultivated. Apples, pears, peaches, and plums are the most common fruits. Horses, horned cattle, pork, bacon, and lard are extensively exported.

In this state there were, in 1840, 395,853 horses and mules; 787,098 neat cattle; 1,008,240 sheep; 2,310,533 swine; poultry to the value of $536,439; there were produced 4,803,152 bushels of wheat; 17,491 of barley; 7,155,974 of oats; 1,321,373 of rye; 8,169 of buckwheat; 39,847,120 of Indian corn; 1,786,817 pounds of wool; 742 of hops; 38,445 of wax; 1,055,085 bushels of potatoes; 88,306 tons of hay; 9,992 of hemp and flax; 53,436,909 pounds of tobacco; 16,376 of rice; 691,456 of cotton; 737 of silk cocoons; 1,377,835 of sugar. The products of the dairy amounted to $931,363; of the orchard $434,935; of lumber $130,329. There were made 2,209 gallons of wine.

Among the mineral productions of Kentucky, are iron ore, coal, salt, and lime. The salt licks, as the springs are called, from the fact that cattle and wild animals have been fond of licking around them, are numerous, and salt is extensively manufactured, not only for home consumption, but for exportation. The greater part of the exports of this state pass down the Mississippi to New Orleans, and its chief imports are brought in steamboats through the same river and the Ohio, and other tributaries in this state.

The winters are mild, being only of 2 or 3 months continuance, but the atmosphere at that season is moist. Spring and autumn are delightful; and on the whole, the climate is salubrious.

The Ohio, by its various windings, borders this state on the N. for 637 miles. Cumberland and Tennessee rivers pass through the western part of this state as they approach their entrance into the Ohio. Cumberland River, also, rises in the eastern part of this state. The Big Sandy is 250 miles long, and, for a considerable distance, forms the boundary between this state and Virginia. It is navigable 50 miles for boats. The Kentucky River rises in the Cumberland Mountains, and after a course generally through a deep rocky bed, falls into the Ohio, 77 miles above Louisville. It is navigable by steamboats 60 miles to Frankfort. Licking, Green, and Salt, are other considerable rivers. The Mississippi runs on the western border of the state.

Louisville, on the Ohio, is much the largest and most commercial place in the state. Lexington, the oldest town in the state, is distinguished for its beauty and refinement as well as for its business. Maysville, on the Ohio, and Frankfort, on the Kentucky, are important places.

There were in the state, in 1840, 5 commercial and 50 commission houses engaged in foreign trade, with a capital of $620,700; 1,635 retail drygoods and other stores, with a cap. of $9,411,826; 571 persons employed in the lumber trade, with a capital of $105,925; 101 persons employed in internal transportation, who, with 183 butchers, packers, &c, employed a capital of $183,850.

The amount of homemade or family manufactures, was $2,622,462; there were 40 woolen manufactories, employing 200 persons, manufacturing articles to the amount of $151,246, with a capital of $138,000; 58 cotton manufactories, with 12,353 spindles, employing 523 persons, producing articles to the amount of $329,330, with a capital of $316,113; 17 furnaces, producing 29,206 tons of cast iron, and 13 forges, &c, producing 3,637 tons of bar iron, employing 1,108 persons, and a capital of $449,000; 27 persons produced 2,125 tons of anthracite coal, with a capital of $14,150; 213 persons produced 588,167 tons of bituminous coal, with a capital of $76,627; 291 persons produced 219,695 bushels of salt, with a capital of $163,585; 100 persons produced granite and marble to the amount of $19,592, with a capital of $6,212; 7 paper mills employed 47 persons, and produced articles to the amount of $44,000, employing a capital of $47,500; hats and caps were produced to the amount of $201,310, and straw bonnets to the amount of $4,483, employing 194 persons, with a capital of $118,850; 587 persons manufactured tobacco to the amount of $413,585, with a capital of $230,400; 387 tanneries employed 978 persons, and a capital of $567,954; 548 other manufactories of leather, as saddleries, &c, produced articles to the amount of $732,646, with a capital of $369,835; 1 glass house produced articles to the amount of $3,000, with a capital of $500; 16 potteries, employing 51 persons, produced articles to the amount of $24,090, with a capital of $9,670; 11 powder mills employed 58 persons, and produced 232,500 pounds of gunpowder, with a capital of $42,000; 25 persons produced paints and drugs to the amount of $26,994, and turpentine and varnish to the amount of $2,000, with a capital of $16,630; 28 persons produced confectionery to the amount of $36,050, with a capital of $14,250; 111 rope walks employed 1,888 persons, and produced cordage to the amount of $1,292,276, with a capital of $1,023,130; 6 persons produced musical instruments to the amount of $4,500, with a capital of $5,000; 149 persons produced machinery to the amount of $46,074; 30 persons produced hardware and cutlery to the amount of $22,350; 109 persons produced 2,341 small-arms, with a capital of $19,060; 21 persons manufactured the precious metals to the amount of $19,060; 657 persons produced bricks and lime to the amount of $240,919; 516 persons manufactured 2,282,426 pounds of soap, 563,635 do. of tallow candles, and 315 pounds of spermaceti or wax candles, with a capital of $28,765; 839 distilleries produced 1,763,685 gallons, and 50 breweries produced 214,539 gallons, the whole employing 1,092 persons, and a capital of $315,308; 533 persons produced carriages and wagons to the amount of $168,724, with a capital of $79,378; 258 flouring mills produced 273,088 barrels of flour, and with other mills employed 2,067 persons, producing articles to the amount of $2,437,937, with a capital of $1,650,689; 453 persons manufactured furniture to the amount of $273,350, with a capital of $139,295; 485 stone or brick houses, and 1,757 wooden houses employed 2,883 persons, and cost $1,039,172; 34 printing offices, 3 binderies, 5 daily, 7 semiweekly, and 26 weekly newspapers, and 8 periodicals, employed 226 persons, and a capital of $86,325. The whole amount of capital employed in manufactures was $5,945,259.

The Transylvania University, at Lexington, was founded in 1798, and is an important institution. Centre College, at Danville, was founded in 1822; St. Joseph's College, at Bardstown, (Catholic,) was founded in 1819; Augusta College, at Augusta, (Methodist,) was founded in 1825; Cumberland College, at Princetown, was founded in 1825; Georgetown College, at Georgetown, (Baptist,) was founded in 1829; Bacon College, at Harrodsburg, was founded in 1836; St. Mary's College, Marion county, (Catholic,) was founded in 1837. There is a flourishing medical department connected with the Transylvania University, and a medical institution at Louisville. In these institutions there were, in 1840, 1,419 students. There were in the state 116 academies and grammar schools, with 4,906 students; 952 common and primary schools, with 24,641 scholars; and 40,010 free white persons, over 20 years of age, who could neither read nor write.

In 1836, the Baptists, the most numerous denomination, had 500 churches, about 300 ministers, and 35,000 communicants; the Methodists 100 travelling preachers, and 31,369 communicants; the Presbyterians 120 churches and 8 or 10,000 communicants; the Episcopalians 1 bishop and 13 ministers; the Roman Catholics, 1 bishop and 34 ministers. There is also a considerable number of Cumberland Presbyterians, Reformed Baptists, 2 societies of Shakers, and 1 of Unitarians. At the commencement of 1840, this state had 14 banks and branches, with an aggregate capital of $7,739,003, and a circulation of $3,476,367. At the close of 1840, the state debt amounted to $4,665,000.

The first constitution was formed in 1790, and the present one in 1799. The governor is elected for 4 years by the people, and is ineligible for the next seven. A lieutenant-governor is chosen at the same time, who is president of the senate, and who, in case of the death or absence of the governor, succeeds to his duties. The senators are elected for 4 years, one quarter of them being chosen annually. Their number cannot exceed 33 nor be less than 24. The representatives are chosen annually, and apportioned every 4 years among the counties according to the number of electors. Every free white male citizen who is 21 years of age, and has resided 2 years in the state, or county in which he offers his vote, one year next preceding the election, has the right of suffrage. Votes are given openly, or viva voce, and not by ballot. The judges of the several courts hold their offices during good behavior.

A short but most important work of internal improvement is the Louisville and Portland canal, 2 miles long, around the rapids in the Ohio River at Louisville. It admits steamboats of the larger class, is excavated 10 feet deep, in solid limestone, and cost $730,000. The navigation of Kentucky, Licking, and Green rivers has been extensively improved by dams and locks. The Lexington and Ohio railroad extends from Lexington to Frankfort, and is intended to be continued to Louisville. Several other railroads have been projected.

This state was first explored by Daniel Boone, an enterprising hunter, in 1770. The first white family settled near Lexington in 1775. The first settlers were greatly annoyed by the Indians, until Gen. Clark took their posts and broke up their haunts, in 1778. This state originally belonged to Virginia, and in 1782, was erected into a separate district by the name of Kentucky. In 1739 it was separated from Virginia, and in 1792 was admitted into the Union.

Table of Contents

Source: A Complete Descriptive And Statistical Gazetteer Of The United States Of America, By Daniel Haskel, A. M and J. Calvin Smith, Published By Sherman & Smith, 1843

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