Kentucky History - the history of Kentucky
   
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Vacation 2 USA   >   Kentucky   >   History
Vacation 2 USA   >   History   >   Kentucky History

   
 

Kentucky History


Although Kentucky had been inhabited by Native American peoples since prehistoric times, when white settlers began to first arrive in the mid 18th century, there were no permanent Native American settlements in the area. The territory was instead used as hunting grounds by the Cherokees and Shawnees

The first documented expedition to Kentucky was by Dr. Thomas Walker in 1750, but the most famous of the early explorers was Daniel Boone who visited the region on hunting expeditions in 1767, 1769, 1771 and 1772, and in 1773 began the first attempt by British colonists to establish a settlement in Kentucky.

Most of Kentucky was purchased from the Native Americans in the treaties of 1768 and 1775, the latter coming after a brief war (Dunmore's War) between the Shawnee and the colonists. During the American Revolution (1775 to 1783), there were relatively few white settlers in the region, and the Shawnee allied with the British in an attempt to drive them out.

The Kentucky settlements were originally parts of Virginia, but following the American Revolution (1775 to 1783), the residents petitioned for separation from Virginia. Agreement on the terms of separation was reach in 1790, and on June 1st 1792, Kentucky was admitted as the 15th state of the Union.

During the American Civil War (1861 to 1865), Kentucky while loyal to the Union, found itself in a difficult position as a border state. The state did not secede and initially declared itself neutral. However the state was invaded by Confederate forces in September 1861, and the State Legislature responded by declaring its allegiance to the Union. During the war, southern sympathesizers attempted to establish an alternative state government (which was in fact recognized by, and admitted into the Confederacy), and Kentucky contributed troops to both the Union and Confederate armies.

Following the war, Kentucky, as a former slave state, was subject to military occupation and Reconstruction. During this period, the Ku Klux Klan became active in the state.

In the first half of the 20th century, Kentucky began to industrialize with the establishment of a coal mining industry, the creation of roads to accommodate automobiles, and the building of the Kentucky Dam on the Tennessee River. Industrialization was further boosted during World War II, with Ford's Louisville plant producing more than 100,000 jeeps, and the growth of the artificial rubber industry and establishment of an ordinance plant (both also in Louisville).


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Days of Darkness: The Feuds of Eastern Kentucky

By John Ed Pearce

Brand: The University Press of Kentucky
Paperback (240 pages)

Days of Darkness: The Feuds of Eastern Kentucky
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" Among the darkest corners of Kentucky's past are the grisly feuds that tore apart the hills of Eastern Kentucky from the late nineteenth century until well into the twentieth. Now, from the tangled threads of conflicting testimony, John Ed Pearce, Kentucky's best known journalist, weaves engrossing accounts of six of the most notorior accounts to uncover what really happened and why. His story of those days of darkness brings to light new evidence, questions commonly held beliefs about the feuds, and us and long-running feuds―those in Breathitt, Clay Harlan, Perry, Pike, and Rowan counties. What caused the feuds that left Kentucky with its lingering reputation for violence? Who were the feudists, and what forces―social, political, financial―hurled them at each other? Did Big Jim Howard really kill Governor William Goebel? Did Joe Eversole die trying to protect small mountain landowners from ruthless Eastern mineral exploiters? Did the Hatfield-McCoy fight start over a hog? For years, Pearce has interviewed descendants of feuding families and examined skimpy court records and often fictional newspapeputs to rest some of the more popular legends.

A Concise History of Kentucky

By James C. Klotter

Brand: The University Press of Kentucky
Released: 2008-03-01
Paperback (256 pages)

A Concise History of Kentucky
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Kentucky is most commonly associated with horses, tobacco fields, bourbon, and coal mines. There is much more to the state, though, than stories of feuding families and Colonel Sanders' famous fried chicken. Kentucky has a rich and often compelling history, and James C. Klotter and Freda C. Klotter introduce readers to an exciting story that spans 12,000 years, looking at the lives of Kentuckians from Native Americans to astronauts. The Klotters examine all aspects of the state's history―its geography, government, social life, cultural achievements, education, and economy. A Concise History of Kentucky recounts the events of the deadly frontier wars of the state's early history, the divisive Civil War, and the shocking assassination of a governor in 1900. The book tells of Kentucky's leaders from Daniel Boone and Henry Clay to Abraham Lincoln, Mary Breckinridge, and Muhammad Ali. The authors also highlight the lives of Kentuckians, both famous and ordinary, to give a voice to history. The Klotters explore Kentuckians' accomplishments in government, medicine, politics, and the arts. They describe the writing and music that flowered across the state, and they profile the individuals who worked to secure equal rights for women and African Americans. The book explains what it was like to work in the coal mines and explains the daily routine on a nineteenth-century farm. The authors bring Kentucky's story to the twenty-first century and talk about the state's modern economy, where auto manufacturing jobs are replacing traditional agricultural work. A collaboration of the state historian and an experienced educator, A Concise History of Kentucky is the best single resource for Kentuckians new and old who want to learn more about the past, present, and future of the Bluegrass State.

A New History of Kentucky

By Lowell H. Harrison

Brand: The University Press of Kentucky
Hardcover (552 pages)

A New History of Kentucky
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The first comprehensive history of the state since the publication of Thomas D. Clark's landmark History of Kentucky over sixty years ago. A New History of Kentucky brings the Commonwealth to life, from Pikeville to the Purchase, from Covington to Corbin, this account reveals Kentucky's many faces and deep traditions. Lowell Harrison, professor emeritus of history at Western Kentucky University, is the author of many books, including George Rogers Clark and the War in the West, The Civil War in Kentucky, Kentucky's Road to Statehood, Lincoln of Kentucky, and Kentucky's Governors.

Hidden History of Kentucky in the Civil War

By Berry Craig

Brand: The History Press
Released: 2010-02-19
Paperback (128 pages)

Hidden History of Kentucky in the Civil War
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"United We Stand, Divided We Fall" is Kentucky's motto. Yet the Civil War sharply split the Bluegrass State. Kentuckians fought Kentuckians in some of the bloodiest battles of America's bloodiest war. The names and faces of the winning and losing generals of those battles are in most history books. But this book is not like most history books; it is about hidden history. Most of the stories are not found in other books. Some are proof that the Civil War was truly "a brother's war" in the home state of Lincoln and Davis. From the Graves County gun grab to pirates in Paducah to dueling gunboats on the Mississippi, this one-of-a-kind collection of little-known tales by Kentucky historian Berry Craig will captivate Civil War enthusiasts and casual readers alike.

The Hunters of Kentucky: A Narrative History of America's First Far West, 1750-1792

By Ted Franklin Belue

Stackpole Books
Paperback (336 pages)

The Hunters of Kentucky: A Narrative History of America s First Far West, 1750-1792
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The Hunters of Kentucky covers a wide range of frontier existence, from daily life and survival to wars, exploits, and even flora and fauna. the pioneers and their lives are profiled in biographical sketches, giving a rich sampling of the personalities involved in the United States' westward expansion. Author Ted Franklin Belue's colorful, vivid prose brings these long-forgotten frontiersmen to life.

  • Covers the American invasion and settling of the Kentucky frontier
  • Includes such frontier personalities as Daniel Boone, John Redd, Michael Cassidy, and Nicholas Cresswell
  • A History of Kentucky

    By Thomas Dionysius Clark

    Brand: J. Stuart Foundation
    Hardcover (531 pages)

    A History of Kentucky
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    New edition of original 1937 publication. Clark writes about Kentucky in her proper setting in the national picture. This standard college history text includes bibliographical references and index.

    Hidden History of Western Kentucky

    By Berry Craig

    The History Press
    Released: 2011-10-25
    Paperback (144 pages)

    Hidden History of Western Kentucky
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    What makes western Kentucky so unique? Sometimes it seems as if the history of this distinctive region lies buried deep within its awe-inspiring cave systems. Join western Kentucky historian Berry Craig as he penetrates the depths of the region's lesser-known history and brings to light the people, places and events that have shaped Kentucky's west. People like Fate Marable, the Paducah-born jazz innovator whose roving Kentucky Jazz Band featured a young Louis Armstrong. Places like Wheel, the tiny town in Graves County that gave birth to a vice president. And forgotten feuds like the 1900 Christmas Eve shootout in Mayfield that left a deputy dead. These stories, and many others, ensure that western Kentucky's hidden history will no longer linger in the shadows.

    Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage

    By Michael R. Veach

    University Press of Kentucky
    Hardcover (224 pages)

    Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey: An American Heritage
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    On May 4, 1964, Congress designated bourbon as a distinctive product of the United States, and it remains the only spirit produced in this country to enjoy such protection. Its history stretches back almost to the founding of the nation and includes many colorful characters, both well known and obscure, from the hatchet-wielding prohibitionist Carry Nation to George Garvin Brown, who in 1872 created Old Forester, the first bourbon to be sold only by the bottle. Although obscured by myth, the history of bourbon reflects the history of our nation.

    Historian Michael R. Veach reveals the true story of bourbon in Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey. Starting with the Whiskey Rebellion of the 1790s, he traces the history of this unique beverage through the Industrial Revolution, the Civil War, Prohibition, the Great Depression, and up to the present. Veach explores aspects of bourbon that have been ignored by others, including the technology behind its production, the effects of the Pure Food and Drug Act, and how Prohibition contributed to the Great Depression. The myths surrounding bourbon are legion, but Veach separates fact from legend. While the true origin of the spirit may never be known for certain, he proposes a compelling new theory.

    With the explosion of super-premium bourbons and craft distilleries and the establishment of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, interest in bourbon has never been higher. Veach shines a light on its pivotal place in our national heritage, presenting the most complete and wide-ranging history of bourbon available.

    Kentucky's Frontier Highway: Historical Landscapes along the Maysville Road

    By Karl Raitz

    Brand: The University Press of Kentucky
    Hardcover (424 pages)

    Kentucky s Frontier Highway: Historical Landscapes along the Maysville Road
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    Eighteenth-century Kentucky beckoned to hunters, surveyors, and settlers from the mid-Atlantic coast colonies as a source of game, land, and new trade opportunities. Unfortunately, the Appalachian Mountains formed a daunting barrier that left only two primary roads to this fertile Eden. The steep grades and dense forests of the Cumberland Gap rendered the Wilderness Road impassable to wagons, and the northern route extending from southeastern Pennsylvania became the first main thoroughfare to the rugged West, winding along the Ohio River and linking Maysville to Lexington in the heart of the Bluegrass.

    Kentucky's Frontier Highway reveals the astounding history of the Maysville Road, a route that served as a theater of local settlement, an engine of economic development, a symbol of the national political process, and an essential part of the Underground Railroad. Authors Karl Raitz and Nancy O'Malley chart its transformation from an ancient footpath used by Native Americans and early settlers to a central highway, examining the effect that its development had on the evolution of transportation technology as well as the usage and abandonment of other thoroughfares, and illustrating how this historic road shaped the wider American landscape.

    CrimeSong: True Crime Stories From Southern Murder Ballads

    By Richard H. Underwood

    Shadelandhouse Modern Press
    Hardcover (328 pages)

    CrimeSong: True Crime Stories From Southern Murder Ballads
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    A 2016 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award Winner and a 2017 IPPY Book of the Year Awards Silver medalist in Southeast Best Regional Non-Fiction and a Bronze medalist in National Cover Design Nonfiction!
    CrimeSong plunges readers into a world of violence against women, murders, familicide, suicides, brutal mob action, and many examples of a failed justice system. This compelling investigation of the gripping true crimes behind American ballads dispels myths and legends and brings to life a cast of characters both loathsome and innocent shadowy history, courtroom dramas, murders, mayhem and music.

    Although these ballads and stories are set in specific times, cultures, and places, they present timeless, universal themes of love, betrayal, jealousy, and madness through true-life tales that are both terrifying and familiar stories that could be ripped from today s headlines.

    In CrimeSong, law professor and authentic storyteller Richard H. Underwood recreates in engaging and folksy prose the true facts behind twenty-four Southern murder ballads. Underwood has resurrected these stories and shares them with the reader through his old lawyer trifocals.

    He presents his case studies, documented through contemporary news accounts and court records, as a series of dramas filled with jump-off-the-page real and memorable characters.

    Some of the murder ballads more familiar to readers, musicians, and fans of traditional, Appalachian, Bluegrass, and folk music include "Omie Wise," "Ellen Smith," "Frankie Silver," "Frankie and Albert" (or "Frankie and Johnny)," "Delia," "Tom Dula," "The Lawson Family Murders," and "Freda Bolt." Among the more obscure is the story of "General Denhardt" and the death of the widow Verna Garr Taylor, "who was known as the most beautiful woman in Oldham County, [Kentucky]." Also included, among others, is "Henry Clay Beattie," the 1911 murder in Richmond, Virginia, that "brought New York-style newspaper sensationalism to the South, like the coverage of the 1836 case of Helen Jewett and the 1841 case of Mary Rogers.



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