Agrarian Kentucky

Agrarian Kentucky

THOMAS D. CLARK
Copyright Date: 1977
Pages: 152
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt130j940
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Agrarian Kentucky
    Book Description:

    For subsistence farmers in eastern Kentucky, wealthy horse owners in the central Bluegrass, and tobacco growers in Western Kentucky, land was, and continues to be, one of the commonwealth's greatest sources of economic growth. It is also a source of nostalgia for a people devoted to tradition, a characteristic that has significantly influenced Kentucky's culture, sometimes to the detriment of education and development.

    As timely now as when it was first published, Thomas D. Clark's classic history of agrarianism prepares readers for a new era that promises to bring rapid change to the land and the people of Kentucky.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-5874-7
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-x)
  4. 1 THE LAND, ITS PROMISE AND ITS PATTERN
    (pp. 1-23)

    The eastern kentucky woods bordering on the Rockcastle River were greening in mid-March 1775, when Daniel Boone and his trailblazing companions hacked their way through the massive tangle of “dead brush” along that stream. At the western edge of the deadening they burrowed their way through a vast canebrake which all but obscured the land from view. Crossing the narrow saddle gap which separated the hills of the Roundstone country from the Bluegrass savannah land, this advance party of the Transylvania Company was ready to set foot in the fertile promised land. The youthful North Carolinian, Felix Walker, grew poetic...

  5. 2 ARISTOCRATS AND COUNTRY COMMONERS
    (pp. 24-41)

    Long before settlers set foot inside the Cumberland Gap, the Kentucky region was destined to become famous for its livestock. The very trail the pioneers trod through the gap had been worn deep and smooth by the poundings of countless hooves of animals passing from eastern to western grazing lands. Throughout the region dense canebrakes were tunneled by deer and buffalo runs. The bold trails led from grazing grounds to salt licks, and all across the Kentucky country these saline oozes appeared as spreading pockmarks cropped and trampled bare by salt-hungry herbivorous animals. Felix Walker, a member of the Boone...

  6. 3 UNTO THIS LAND AND ITS PEOPLE
    (pp. 42-63)

    In the rich Bluegrass region farmers and stock breeders early created an image of prosperity. At home and abroad they won a reputation for breeding fine livestock and growing abundant field crops. They were aggressively concerned about free access to the western river system, and ultimately they had significant impact on the political and diplomatic resolutions of western problems. The prosperous farmers and merchants of the central counties held the important national and state offices, imported purebred livestock, exhibited their animals and produce at fairs, and were visited by foreign travelers who came to the Ohio Valley.

    There were, however,...

  7. 4 “BRINGING IN THE SHEAVES”
    (pp. 64-75)

    Hstorically kentuckians have had an English and Scottish zealousness for their institutions. Church, school, family, and counties have held their affections. Institutional formalities and conformities have cut deep grooves in the rural life of the commonwealth. Pioneers struggling westward brought nothing more important to their future social conditions than the seeds of cultural organization. From the outset embryo settlements had some form of religious expression, and as congregations began to form Kentucky countrymen built simple little church houses which served their basic needs as temples of worship. The first cabins were hardly raised before log sehoolhouses, churches, lodge rooms, and...

  8. 5 “PIT OF A FRENZIED COMMONWEALTH”
    (pp. 76-93)

    From the opening of the great settlement path through Cumberland Gap there have existed many “Kentuckys.” In the more academic language of geographical determinists, the state has been as sectionalized as any part of the Republic. Essentially, Anglo-Americans who populated the numerous sections of Kentucky were of kindred blood and had advanced westward upon the land in a common phalanx. Later they were reshaped by environmental forces into widely differing regional cultures. From the eastern Breaks of the Big Sandy River southwestward to the “Mississippi triangle” lie four or five distinctive regions.

    Where the soil was fertile and arable there...

  9. 6 “THEY WILL ARISE LIKE FIREFLIES AT SUMMER SUNSET”
    (pp. 94-114)

    John D. Taylor optimistically asserted in October 1849 that, as a result of writing an educational clause into the new constitution, Kentucky would in time be illuminated by the sparkle of one-room temples of intellectual light. A half century later Kentucky had become famous as home to thousands of one-room schools with hovering boards of district trustees. For the great mass of rural people these homely little structures became at once monuments to simple learning and symbols of limited opportunities. Like local churches, the schools were also focal centers of community life. For four or five months of split-school sessions...

  10. 7 THE CENTRAL THEME IN MYTH AND REALITY
    (pp. 115-130)

    The central theme of Kentucky history is politics. No aspect of life in the commonwealth has escaped its influence. In some areas the impact has been so subtle that historians have had to be alert to detect it. In more secular affairs the political impress has been made by bold and aggressive personalities and in the face of crisis issues. Masses of Kentuckians have revealed their reactions to politics half in deadly seriousness and half in whimsical jest. Over the span of two centuries Kentucky political personalities have ranged from dignified and mature statesmen to buffoons who campaigned for the...

  11. Bibliographical Note
    (pp. 131-138)