Bluegrass Cavalcade

Bluegrass Cavalcade

Edited by THOMAS D. CLARK
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: 1
Pages: 398
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt130jb0d
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  • Book Info
    Bluegrass Cavalcade
    Book Description:

    Kentucky history centers on the Bluegrass; this is not to say that the rest of Kentucky does not have a rich story, but chronologically, the beginning was here. Too, Bluegrass history can scarcely be separated from the rest of the state. Boonesboro and Harrodsburg, Henry Clay and Elizabeth Madox Roberts are the cherished possessions of all Kentuckians. Jane Todd Crawford and Dr. Ephraim McDowell stood in for humanity. It is a great matter of local pride that they did so in Kentucky.

    Bluegrass Cavalcadebrings together fifty-five Kentucky writers to write about their home state and to capture a taste of the rich regional flavor of the Bluegrass as an introduction to Kentucky history. Among the selections included in this volume is represented a small army of distinguished authors who have viewed Kentucky from various perspectives. Edited by revered state historian Thomas D. Clark,Bluegrass Cavalcadeis meant to be a literary and historical reception where these esteemed Kentucky writers meet their readers.

    Featuring Contributions from:John FilsonBasil DukeCassius Marcellus ClayJohn Fox, Jr.Robert Penn WarrenHarriet Beecher StoweElizabeth Madox RobertsJames Lane AllenandHenry Watterson

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-5046-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Editor’s Introduction
    (pp. xi-xvi)

    Once Bluegrass Kentucky was an Indian hunting ground. Here buffalo, elk, and deer flocked to its grassy meadows. In the latter half of the eighteenth century longhunters from the Carolinas and Virginia came seeking adventure in the country which both Indians and adventurers had described. Following them came settlers displaying energy never before seen in a new country. For almost fifty years after 1775, people climbed through Cumberland Gap and trudged up the Wilderness Road to the rich meadowland across the Kentucky River. Flatboats drifted homeseekers downriver from the northeast to spread over the Bluegrass. Here was a land where...

  4. BOOK ONE: THE PROMISED LAND

    • [BOOK ONE: Introduction]
      (pp. 2-4)

      Thomas Walker saw in the woods of eastern Kentucky some hint of the promised land, though he failed to come within eyeshot of the Bluegrass. Boone went home from his lonely wanderings twenty years after Walker’s visit to tell his North Carolina neighbors of the rich Eden which awaited their exploitation. In 1775 when Daniel led his trailblazing party to Boonesboro to begin settlement, he had as a companion young Felix Walker from Virginia. In language which portended the writings of James Lane Allen, young Walker gave a glowing account of the vaulted forest land.

      Eden was to become a...

    • With Joy and Wonder
      (pp. 4-5)
      JOHN FILSON

      The first white man we have certain accounts of, who discovered this province, was one James M‘Bride, who, in company with some others, in the year 1754, passing down the Ohio in Canoes, landed at the mouth of Kentucke river, and there marked a tree, with the first letters of his name, and the date, which remain to this day. These men reconnoitred the country, and returned home with the pleasing news of their discovery of the best tract of land in North-America, and probably in the world. From this period it remained concealed till about the year 1767, when...

    • A New Sky and Strange Earth
      (pp. 5-9)
      FELIX WALKER

      On leaving that [Rockcastle] river, we had to encounter and cut our way through a country of about 20 miles, entirely covered with dead brush, which we found a difficult and laborious task. At the end of which we arrived at the commencement of a cane country, traveled about 30 miles through thick cane and reed, and as the cane ceased, we began to discover the pleasing and rapturous appearance of the plains of Kentucky. A new sky and strange earth seemed to be presented to our view. So rich a soil we had never seen before; covered with clover...

    • This Delectable Region
      (pp. 9-13)
      GILBERT IMLAY

      In some of my first letters I gave you an account of the first settlement of this country. The perturbed state of that period, and the savage state of the country, which was one entire wilderness, made the object of the first emigrants that of security and sustenance, which produced the scheme of several families living together in what were called Stations. These stations were a kind of quadrangular, or sometimes oblong forts, formed by building log-houses connectedly only leaving openings for gate-ways to pass as they might have occasion. They were generally fixed in a favourable situation for water,...

    • Goshen of the Western World
      (pp. 13-23)
      BERNARD MAYO

      In hearty agreement were Henry and his father-in-law with the preacher who, exhorting outside the state and finding himself at a loss to describe the joys of the hereafter, thus concluded his sermon: “In short, my brethren, to say it all in a word, heaven is a Kentuck of a place.” Kentucky was the garden spot of the frontier, and Lexington, according to fulsome accounts in the Gazette, was truly “the Goshen of this Western World.”

      Henry’s friends later recalled these flush times as a golden age, when “every independent farmer’s house was a house for all, and a temple...

    • God’s Very Footstool
      (pp. 24-29)
      GRANT C. KNIGHT

      In 1849 it would not have been much of an exaggeration to have said that all good Kentuckians hoped to go to the Bluegrass region of their native state when they died. That broad central plateau in Kentucky was to them literally, as it had been to their pioneer fathers, a promised land upon which their hearts were set with an affection that admitted no change. To be born anywhere in Kentucky was a privilege, but to be born in the Bluegrass was to be especially favored of providence, and though destiny might arrange one’s birth in another section of...

    • A Very Pretty Place
      (pp. 30-34)
      ANTHONY TROLLOPE

      I visited the little towns of Lexington and Frankfort, in Kentucky. At the former I found in the hotel to which I went seventy-five teamsters belonging to the army. They were hanging about the great hall when I entered, and clustering round the stove in the middle of the chamber;—a dirty, rough, quaint set of men, clothed in a wonderful variety of garbs, but not disorderly or loud. The landlord apologized for their presence, alleging that other accommodation could not be found for them in the town. He received, he said, a dollar a day for feeding them, and...

    • An Orthodox and a Moral Region
      (pp. 34-40)
      CHARLES DUDLEY WARNER

      This incoming of the commercial spirit will change Kentucky for the better and for the worse, will change even the tone of the blue-grass country, and perhaps take away something of that charm about which so much has been written. So thoroughly has this region been set forth by the pen and the pencil and the lens that I am relieved of the necessity of describing it. But I must confess that all I had read of it, all the pictures I had seen, gave me an inadequate idea of its beauty and richness. So far as I know, there...

    • Near to Heaven
      (pp. 40-49)
      J. SOULE SMITH

      The Bluegrass region of Kentucky is a land famous in song and story, and loved by its people with a proud affection beyond what the stranger can conceive. It is a remarkable land; inhabited by a people who are as unique in their individuality as the land itself is unlike any other. It is a poem in itself, and its men and women have the distinct outlines of figures in a Shakespearian drama. It is unlike any other land; its people are unlike any other people. No matter how deeply the snow lies upon the landscape, the Bluegrass is green...

    • That Particular “It”
      (pp. 49-52)
      ULRIC BELL

      If women are the prettiest, horses the swiftest and liquor the fieriest in Kentucky, it must be because of the soil.

      Providence gave to the very earth of this superlative old commonwealth a racy richness of quality not to be found elsewhere. It is this vitality that makes the bluegrass blue—and nutritious blue bluegrass encourages thoroughbreds to be swift. Out of the same soil is derived that difference which causes that nectar known as Bourbon whisky to stand out among the gifts of the gods. Surely it makes the weed called Burley as smooth as the Bourbon.

      There must...

  5. BOOK TWO: THE LAND AND ITS HEROES

    • [BOOK TWO: Introduction]
      (pp. 54-56)

      The roll of the great westward movement across Kentucky left a generous number of landmarks of pioneering. Bryan’s Station, Harrodsburg, Boonesboro, Ruddle’s Mill, Hinkston’s Blockhouse, and scores of other places outline this path in America’s expansion. Every pioneer was some sort of a hero, if to no one but himself. Boone, Kenton, Patterson, Todd, Trigg, Harrod, Calloway, Howard, Hart were colorful men in an age of color. Breaking into a new country was hard work, but the fertile land, the generous streams, and the hospitable climate soon enabled Bluegrass Kentuckians to slow their pace.

      As the frontier rolled on, and...

    • Bluegrass Kentuckians
      (pp. 56-61)
      JAMES LANE ALLEN

      “In Kentucky,” writes Professor Shaler, in his recent history, “we shall find nearly pure English blood. It is, moreover, the largest body of pure English folk that has, speaking generally, been separated from the mother-country for two hundred years.” They, the blue-grass Kentuckians, are the descendants of those hardy, high-spirited, picked Englishmen, largely of the squire and yeoman class, whose absorbing passion was not religious disputation, nor the intellectual purpose of founding a State, but the ownership of land and the pursuits and pleasures of rural life, close to the rich soil, and full of its strength and sunlight. They...

    • A Most Singular Circumstance
      (pp. 62-64)
      JOHN BRADFORD

      In the month of October 1779, as two keel boats were ascending the Ohio river some small distance above the mouth of Licking, the men on board discovered Indians standing on a sand bar on the South side of the river, & a canoe coming across to meet them with three or four in it. Capt. Rodgers who commanded the boats ordered the men to land and make their boats fast to the same shore near which they were, which was immediately done, when the party, consisting of about seventy marched through the woods up until opposite to the sand bar...

    • After Anxious Reflection
      (pp. 65-68)
      JOHN A. McCLUNG

      Early in the spring of 1780, Mr. Alexander McConnel, of Lexington, Ky. went into the woods on foot, to hunt deer. He soon killed a large buck, and returned home for a horse, in order to bring it in. During his absence, a party of five Indians, on one of their usual skulking expeditions, accidentally stumbled on the body of the deer, and perceiving that it had been recently killed, they naturally supposed that the hunter would speedily return to secure the flesh. Three of them, therefore, took their stations within close rifle shot of the deer, while the other...

    • The Covenanting Spirit
      (pp. 68-70)
      THEODORE ROOSEVELT

      Fayette lay between the Kentucky and the Ohio rivers, and was then the least populous and most exposed of the three counties into which the growing young commonwealth was divided. In 1782 it contained but five of the small stockaded towns in which all the early settlers were obliged to gather. The best defended and most central was Lexington, round which were grouped the other four—Bryan’s (which was the largest), McGee’s, McConnell’s, and Boon’s. Boon’s Station, sometimes called Boon’s new station, where the tranquil, resolute old pioneer at that time dwelt, must not be confounded with his former fort...

    • I Well Recollect
      (pp. 71-82)
      DANIEL DRAKE

      The first event I can remember … occurred in the autumn or beginning of the winter of 1788 when I had entered my 4th year. For the next 6 years my father continued to reside at the same place, in the same original log cabin, which in due course of time acquired a roof, a puncheon floor below and a clap board floor above, a small square window without glass, and a chimney, carried up withcats&clayto the height of the ridge pole. Thesecats&claywere pieces of small poles, well imbedded in mortar. The rifle, indespensable both for...

    • Bottle Fever
      (pp. 82-86)
      JOHN ROBERT SHAW

      After recovering from my indisposition I commenced digging a well for John Boswell, four miles from Mr. Scott’s ferry; a storm coming on prevented me from progressing, therefore turned to my old trade of frolicing, the result as usual, (the bottle-fever). Afflicted with it, I was one night lying in the tavern before the fire, when I was disturbed by a parcel of ruffians, consisting of major Mastin Clay, lieutenant Spence, a Mr. Moss and Sow. They entered the house and had not been long there, before making inquiry of the landlord who I was? Answered “old Shaw the well-digger,...

    • Actors Were Funny People
      (pp. 86-90)
      NOAH M. LUDLOW

      After landing at Limestone, I was requested by Mr. Drake to go up into the village and endeavor to procure a large wagon, that might be engaged to transport our trunks and other things to Frankfort; the distance I do not recollect, but think it less than a hundred miles. As soon as I had reached the level ground at the top of the slope leading to the river, I beheld a four-horse team attached to a covered wagon standing in front of a store. As I approached the wagon, I observed a stout, rough-looking man coming towards me. When...

    • Nothing for Profit
      (pp. 90-92)
      HORACE HOLLEY

      I went with a party of ladies and gentlemen, nine miles into the country to the seat of Colonel Mead, where we dined and passed the day. This gentleman, who is near seventy, is a Virginian of the old school. He has been a good deal in England, in his youth, and brought home with him English notions of a country seat, though he is a great republican in politics. He and his wife dress in the costume of the olden time. He has the square coat and great cuffs, the vest of the court, short breeches, and white stockings,...

    • The Appearance of a Gentleman
      (pp. 93-101)
      HARRIET BEECHER STOWE

      Late in the afternoon of a chilly day in February, two gentlemen were sitting alone over their wine, in a well-furnished dining parlor, in the town of P——, in Kentucky. There were no servants present, and the gentlemen, with chairs closely approaching, seemed to be discussing some subject with great earnestness.

      For convenience sake, we have said, hitherto, twogentlemen. One of the parties, however, when critically examined, did not seem, strictly speaking, to come under the species. He was a short, thick-set man, with coarse, commonplace features, and that swaggering air of pretension which marks a low man...

    • The Bearing of a Soldier
      (pp. 101-103)
      BASIL DUKE

      The regiments had been carefully inspected by the Surgeons and Inspectors, and every sick soldier and disabled horse had been taken from their regiments, and the stout men and serviceable horses only were permitted to accompany the expedition. The men were never in higher spirits or more joyous humor; well armed, well mounted, in good discipline, with perfect confidence in their commander, and with hearts longing for the hills and valleys, the blue-grass and woods of dear old Kentucky; they made the air vocal with their cheers and laughter and songs and sallies of wit. The division had never operated...

    • Belated, Fruitless Efflorescence
      (pp. 103-110)
      JAMES LANE ALLEN

      About two years after the close of the war, therefore, the colonel and Peter were to be found in Lexington, ready to turn over a new leaf in the volumes of their lives, which already had an old-fashioned binding, a somewhat musty odor, and but few unwritten leaves remaining.

      After a long, dry summer you may have seen two gnarled old apple-trees, that stood with interlocked arms on the western slope of some quiet hill-side, make a melancholy show of blooming out again in the autumn of the year and dallying with the idle buds that mock their sapless branches....

    • Something Never Forgotten
      (pp. 110-116)
      GEORGE B. LEACH

      Of the people connected with the old Lexington track none seemed to come up to Price McGrath and Riley Grannan for color. Both were Kentuckians born in counties adjoining Fayette; both were gamblers. While McGrath was a great plunger he never measured up to Grannan in that respect. It is doubtful that anyone ever did. McGrath also was a breeder of note. He was born of poor parentage in Woodford county, and the first dime he ever made he gave to a wealthy landowner going into Versailles with the request that he purchase him a blue-back spelling book. All day...

    • This Appreciation of Leisure
      (pp. 117-120)
      CLEMENT EATON

      On a recent trip to Kentucky I had an opportunity to observe the 1940-41 style of Kentucky Colonels. Driving south from Cincinnati, I approached the fertile limestone basin of Lexington and was immediately conscious of being in a “fency” country, with white rails to confine the spirited race horses and quaint stone fences that were unlike those of New England. As I approached the home of the squire, I was reminded of the childhood story of “The Little Colonel” who rode on her pony, “Tar Baby,” down a long avenue of locust trees.

      The squire of Winburn Farm was proud...

    • The Finger of Providence
      (pp. 120-123)
      JOE H. PALMER

      During the closing days of the Hialeah meeting, this department was prowling the grounds looking for tapped wires and transmitting stations, when a familiar face appeared in the picture. There is a certain nicety of complexion which can be produced only by fried chicken, country ham and corn muffins, and when I see it I know someone has dropped in from the horse country.

      Since Circus Clown had just won a race and both he and the face are owned by W. Julian Walden, it seemed the thing to do to say congratulations and how were things in Midway, Ky....

  6. BOOK THREE: A JOY TO MAN

    • [BOOK THREE: Introduction]
      (pp. 125-127)

      From that far-off day when Rebekah and Jemima Boone ended their lonely wilderness journey on the south bank of the Kentucky River, woman has played a central role in Bluegrass history. Kentucky woman has been no shrinking violet who like a Hindu matron sat concealed behind a screen while her husband entertained visitors; she has sat in honored position at the family board, expressed political views, and made her menfolks come to time. She helped to clear the trees away from the land, raised the cabin, tended the sheep, spun and wove the family clothing. She bore the children, wiped...

    • Buckskin Petticoat
      (pp. 127-136)
      ELIZABETH MADOX ROBERTS

      The clothing of those who had been in the fort for a year or more was falling into rags and there was nothing out of which to sew more garments for winter wear. The women took continual thought of how they would find clothing to save them from the cold and of how they would clothe their children. The nettle cloth was not sufficient.

      “The men can wear buckskin. A man-person, seems, can make out with a buckskin suit,” they said, one or another speaking the thought. “But I couldn’t content myself to wear a buckskin petticoat.”

      There were no...

    • A Heroic Choice
      (pp. 136-145)
      JAMES T. FLEXNER

      At the sound of hoofs the door flew open, disgorging a flood of people. A huddled crowd in a forest clearing, they stared over the hill. Behind them a cabin smoked, its black walls varied by white stripes where the logs were chinked with lime. The crowd waited silently while the hoofbeats grew louder on the frozen earth, and then a rider appeared over the crest of the slope. He was so tall that his legs almost touched the ground. As he approached, the knot of people moved forward to meet him, and a dozen hands reached out to hold...

    • Love Entered into Me
      (pp. 145-149)
      JEFFERSON J. POLK

      It is not perhaps known to one in a hundred of the youth of the present time (1867) that this wonder-working medicine was ever used by the fathers at the first of the present century. It was discovered by a poor mechanic of G——, a native Kentuckian. Notwithstanding he enjoined great secrecy on those who purchased and used it, yet his fame and the utility of his medicine got abroad, and he had many customers.

      I was so fortunate as to be indentured as an apprentice in the very town in which he lived. I was a well-grown boy,...

    • A Moment of Supreme Bliss
      (pp. 150-154)
      CASSIUS MARCELLUS CLAY

      Mary Jane had not yet reached her eighteenth year, and was still going to school in Lexington. Her house was already open to her young friends. Her elder sister, Anne, about this time had returned from an Eastern school, and made her entrance into society. She imported all the follies and habitudes of such academies; and aspired to lead the elegant society for which Lexington has ever been noted. She was dark-skinned, slightly freckled, with thin hair and person, and “jimber-jawed.” So that, in early life, “her nose and chin did threaten ’ither!” She had what was then, in cant...

    • Emergency
      (pp. 155-156)
      J. WINSTON COLEMAN JR.

      One early autumn afternoon in the ante-bellum days, the veteran stage driver, Thomas H. Irvine, drove his horses at a brisk gallop along the winding highway from Lexington to Maysville. Black, ominous clouds were piling up over the horizon north of the Licking River. Three passengers sat inside the dusty, swaying vehicle, a man, an elderly woman, and her daughter. About nightfall, near the Blue Licks, the storm broke with a deluge of rain, heavy gusts of wind, and terrific thunder and lightning.

      For several hours Irvine’s drenched horses plodded wearily along the rutted road, steadily losing time, utterly heedless...

    • Belle of the Elkhorn
      (pp. 157-161)
      THOMAS D. CLARK

      It was on the North Elkhorn that Sally Ward’s father and mother settled when their families pushed through the mountains from the Huguenot settlements in low-country South Carolina and from Virginia. Robert Ward became an influential planter, then he moved away to Louisville to become a lawyer, capitalist, and politician.

      Colonel Ward was a successful man. He grew wealthy and tremendously influential. It seems that he was entirely too influential never to have been more outstanding in the state’s services than he was. Perhaps he could have wielded almost as much power in Kentucky as Clay, Breckinridge, or Crittenden. He...

    • Morning Star
      (pp. 161-173)
      ELIZABETH MADOX ROBERTS

      One evening late in May Henry failed to come home from the field. Nellie fretted over the uneaten supper and Ellen worked among the stock. When he had not come at nightfall, Nellie and Ellen went across the farm, calling with uneasy voices, and after a search through the lower field they heard his groan coming weakly from the direction of the quarry. They found him in one of the stone pits, fallen among the stones, and when they lifted him one of his legs fell limp from the thigh. Ellen went to Mrs. Donahue’s house for help and Pius...

    • Unreconstructed Rebel
      (pp. 173-181)
      IRVIN S. COBB

      Somehow the figure of Lincoln, when done in bronze or even in marble, seems to take on a majesty and a splendor which is denied to others among our great men—contemporaries of Lincoln—who in their day and time surely were regarded as being infinitely more comely than the Rail Splitter was. Perhaps it is his tall shape, gaunt but, so they claim, not ungainly which, with its huge, powerful hands and its heavy, angular feet, lends itself so well to the sculptor’s art. Not even the hideous garments of the period—the bee-gum hat, the square-toed boots and...

  7. BOOK FOUR: THE SPORTS OF GENTLEMEN

    • [BOOK FOUR: Introduction]
      (pp. 183-185)

      Conquering a wilderness empire was a challenge to the Kentucky pioneers. Had they taken the task as seriously as Moses did in leading the Children of Israel across the great Wilderness, it might not have been accomplished so easily. Every advance made into the Kentucky backwoods had the flavor of adventure, and every incident was another experience. With ax, rifle, and horse the storied pioneers crossed the Appalachians and laid the mudsill for a new society and a new state.

      The ax was effective in bringing the forest low, while the rifle stood off the Indian and fetched home meat...

    • Too Much Spirit
      (pp. 186-191)
      WILLIAM LITTELL

      The Petition ofGregory Woodcockmost humbly sheweth—

      That your petitioner hath grown grey and poor, and become an idler and a drunkard, in attempting to serve his country in the capacity of a legislator. He has been six times a candidate for a seat in the Assembly, and twice for one in the Senate, but never had the good fortune to be elected: He would now willingly live a private life, if he had any thing to live on—but his fortune, which was at the first but small, has been entirely swallowed up in prosecuting ways and means...

    • A Genuine American Policy
      (pp. 191-201)
      HENRY CLAY

      In casting our eyes around us, the most prominent circumstance which fixes our attention, and challenges our deepest regret, is, the general distress which pervades the whole country. It is forced upon us by numerous facts of the most incontestable character. It is indicated by the diminished exports of native produce; by the depressed and reduced state of our foreign navigation; by our diminished commerce; by successive unthreshed crops of grain, perishing in our barns and barnyards for the want of a market; by the alarming diminution of the circulating medium; by the numerous bankruptcies, not limited to the trading...

    • The 4th of July
      (pp. 201-209)
      THOMAS N. ALLEN

      The year after the memorable contest between Henry Clay and Andrew Jackson, Bill Bassett and Randolph Jones ran for the legislature. Bill is a Whig and Randolph is a Democrat. The hot fires of the presidential election had simmered down but still retained live coals in abundance, and the campaign waxed warm.

      The candidates stumped the county, making speeches in every precinct. A big barbecue took place on the 4th of July in Doc Humes’ woods pasture. Hand-bills on gate posts and barn-doors throughout the county giving notice of public speaking arrested the attention of the passers-by; and by the...

    • Left-Hand Doin’s
      (pp. 209-212)
      ANONYMOUS

      Insure me a brass band and I’ll insure your election. And so widely during the last election was music called in to aid oratory that this answer serves as a good endorsement to the poet’s note that “Music hath charms to soothe the savage breast,” and attractions to “go to the polls and Vote Early.”

      The forty horsepower music on elections being thus settled by common consent, leads us to believe that “too much credit cannot be awarded” to the Kentuckian who faced his political opponent’s music as follows:

      Both were candidates for the office of Governor of Kentucky, and...

    • Sonny Boy
      (pp. 213-215)
      A. B. GUTHRIE JR.

      Kentucky had a new governor today, a smiling, somewhat florid 37-year-old who won his first political campaign by singing “Sonny Boy” in the country school houses of Woodford, Scott and Jessamine counties.

      In the Albert Benjamin Chandler who squeezed through a packed inaugural stand Tuesday afternoon to take the oath of office there were still some signs of the old “Happy” Chandler, the youthful state senator who delighted rural school marms and their juvenile charges by crooning in the corridors of the capitol, who took the floor too often for a first-termer, who was so hail-fellow-well-met that more restrained associates...

    • Let the Folks See You
      (pp. 216-220)
      PATRICK O’DONOVAN

      A foreign correspondent in Washington is continually assaulted with a cliché whose variations are known in every capital in the world. You must get out of Washington, they say, and see the country, or you will never understand America. So I went to Kentucky, and in a way they were perfectly right. At the time there was much talk of an election for governor, and of how the local Democratic Party had torn itself apart in the process.

      In a British election, if you followed, say, Clement Attlee, you had first to find him in a maze of deserted back...

    • County Court Day
      (pp. 220-236)
      JAMES LANE ALLEN

      The institutions of the Kentuckian have deep root in his rich social nature. He loves the swarm. The very motto of the State is a declaration of good-fellowship, and the seal of the commonwealth the act of shaking hands. Divided, he falls. The Kentuckian must be one of many; must assert himself, not through the solitary exercise of his intellect, but the senses; must see men about him who are fat, grip his friend, hear cordial, hearty conversation, realize the play of his emotions. Society is the multiple of himself.

      Hence his fondness for large gatherings: open-air assemblies of the...

    • The Sale of Eliza
      (pp. 237-240)
      WILLIAM H. TOWNSEND

      Then there came an afternoon in early May, 1843. Nearly two thousand people were assembled on Cheapside. The wealth and culture of the Bluegrass were there, as well as ladies and gentlemen from Cincinnati, Louisville, Frankfort, and as far south as New Orleans. Ordinarily a slave sale was an event that attracted only casual interest, usually attended by prospective purchasers and a few idle bystanders. But today a dense mass of humanity swarmed about the old, rickety auction block at the southwest corner of the courthouse yard, and the public square was filled to overflowing with men and women in...

    • The Mystery of Quarter-Racing
      (pp. 240-250)
      ANONYMOUS

      Nothing would start against the Old Mare; and after more formal preparation in making weight and posting judges than is customary when there is a contest, “the sateful old kritter” went off crippling as if she was not fit to run for sour cider, and any thing could take the shine out of her that had the audacity to try it. The muster at the stand was slim, it having been understood up town, that as to sport to-day the races would prove awater-haul. I missed all that class of old and young gentlemen who annoy owners, trainers, and...

    • The Fastest Time Made
      (pp. 250-255)
      ANONYMOUS

      The most brilliant event in the sporting annals of the American turf, giving, as it has, the palm to the renowned Lexington, came off yesterday, over the Metairie Course, and its result greatly surpassed the most ardent hopes and enthusiastic expectations of the friends of the winner, and the lovers of turf sports.

      The day was the loveliest of the whole season. As the hour appointed for the great contest approached, the town was all astir with excitement incident to the occasion. Vehicles of all sorts were in requisition, and our beautiful level shell roads were filled with them from...

    • The Art of “Horse-Pressing”
      (pp. 255-257)
      BASIL DUKE

      One special cause of the degeneracy of the Southern cavalry, in the latter part of the war, was the great scarcity of horses and the great difficulty of obtaining forage within the Confederate lines, and consequently, of keeping the horses which we had in good condition. Morgan’s men had the reputation, and not unjustly, of procuring horses with great facility and economy. Adepts as we were, in the art of “horse-pressing,” there was this fact nevertheless to be said in favor of the system which we adopted: while making very free with the horse-flesh of the country into which we...

    • The Management of the Rifle
      (pp. 258-262)
      JOHN JAMES AUDUBON

      We have individuals in Kentucky, that even there are considered wonderful adepts in the management of the rifle. Todrive a nailis a common feat, not more thought of by the Kentuckians than to cut off a wild turkey’s head, at a distance of a hundred yards. Others willbarkoff squirrels one after another, until satisfied with the number procured. Some, less intent on destroying game, may be seen under nightsnuffing a candleat the distance of fifty yards, off-hand, without extinguishing it. I have been told that some have proved so expert and cool, as to...

    • A Trial of Strength
      (pp. 262-264)
      GEORGE DENNISON PRENTICE

      Dear Sirs: I have just witnessed a strange thing—a Kentucky election—and am disposed to give you an account of it. An election in Kentucky lasts three days, and during that period whisky and apple toddy flow through our cities and villages like the Euphrates through ancient Babylon. I must do Lexington the justice to say that matters were conducted here with tolerable propriety; but in Frankfort, a place which I had the curiosity to visit on the last day of the election, Jacksonism and drunkenness stalked triumphant—“an unclean pair of lubberly giants.” A number of runners, each...

    • The Sign of the Cockpit
      (pp. 265-269)
      THOMAS D. CLARK

      There is an old pastime in the Bluegrass which has been practiced from the time the first settlement was made. Cooped up in many of the panniers which rocked back and forth from the sides of pack horses were gamecocks and hens. Old Virginia bloodstock was being brought across the mountains to entertain the Kentuckians in their moments of relaxation from the fight against the raw frontier environment. Since “cocking” is a bloody business, it made a ready appeal to the vigorous frontiersman. Likewise its gory aspects have caused it to be under a ban from certain elements in the...

    • Zenith of Man’s Pleasure
      (pp. 269-271)
      J. SOULE SMITH

      But in the Blue Grass land there is a softer sentiment—a gentler soul. There where the wind makes waves of the wheat and scents itself with the aroma of new-mown hay, there is no contest with the world outside. On summer days when, from his throne, the great sun dictates his commands, one may look forth across broad acres where the long grass falls and rises as the winds may blow it. He can see the billowy slopes far off, each heaving as the zephyrs touch it with caressing hand. Sigh of the earth with never a sob, the...

    • The Bottom of the Glass
      (pp. 271-276)
      HENRY WATTERSON

      I should not like to take the hand of a prohibitionist, if I knew him to be a prohibitionist. I should not like it because in the event that he be not a fool outright who could nowise have my respect or interest, or concern me, he must be sterile of mind and heart as well as a traitor to the institutions of his country.

      The Constitution of the United States assures to each citizen the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. These are essential to freedom, to a free country and to free men. In the...

    • An Air of Mystery
      (pp. 276-278)
      THOMAS D. CLARK

      In the very beginning of the white man’s history in the Kentucky River valley some ingenious soul created a political dish which remains even yet a unique American food. Some dabbler in history has said that this famous stew was first concocted by John Hunt Morgan’s men. Long before Morgan was born they were serving burgoo at political gatherings under the shade of huge oaks around Maxwell Springs. An earlier Kentuckian, writing to a friend in the East, invited him to come to Kentucky where he would give him a cup of hot burgoo and a glass of raw whisky....

    • Abundant Life
      (pp. 278-280)
      ALLAN TROUT

      At hand is a valued inquiry from J. T. Wellman, of Louisville,

      “Ham gravy is mighty good on cornbread or hot biscuits,” Mr. Wellman writes. “Why not have it bottled for sale to gravy lovers?”

      Thank you, Mr. Wellman. Your proposition to bottle ham gravy moves me to exclaim with Browning: “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?”

      Man, sir, has hankered after food in combination ever since the Lord promised Moses to deliver the children of Israel into a land flowing with milk and honey. That promise from heaven has been succeeded...

    • Jelly on Her Biscuit
      (pp. 281-284)
      JOE H. PALMER

      Many people who want to learn about horses go at it the wrong way. They go to Cornell, where the animal husbandry department is considered very good. The proper thing to do is to sit in one of the four chairs which occupy the corner between the grill room and the elevators at the Lafayette Hotel here, say from 9 to 12 in the morning and in the early evening, and listen. After that you can go to Cornell and fill in the gaps, and you will know things the rest of the graduating class have not been taught.

      It...

  8. BOOK FIVE: THE TREADMILL OF LIFE

    • [BOOK FIVE: Introduction]
      (pp. 286-288)

      Religion has been one of the themes of Kentucky life. From the days when pioneers first knelt in prayer at Boonesboro to the present, religion has played a central role. The Craig brothers marching through the wilderness with a traveling congregation at their heels, that lone wanderer Francis Asbury, John Taylor, and Father David Rice, all were pioneers writing the first chapter of a long and colorful history.

      By the turn of the century Kentuckians were sure of their land and homes. The Indians were gone, the woods were disappearing, and already the state was living under its second constitution....

    • Awful beyond Description
      (pp. 289-291)
      JAMES B. FINLEY

      On the way I said to my companions, “Now, if I fall it must be by physical power and not by singing and praying;” and as I prided myself upon my manhood and courage, I had no fear of being overcome by any nervous excitability, or being frightened into religion. We arrived upon the ground, and here a scene presented itself to my mind not only novel and unaccountable, but awful beyond description. A vast crowd, supposed by some to have amounted to twenty-five thousand, was collected together. The noise was like the roar of Niagara. The vast sea of...

    • Shouts of Triumph
      (pp. 292-293)
      WILLIAM BURKE

      On Sunday morning, when I came on the ground, I was met by my friends, to know if I was going to preach for them on that day. I told them I had not been invited; if I was, I should certainly do so. The morning passed off, but no invitation. Between ten and eleven I found a convenient place on the body of a fallen tree, about fifteen feet from the ground, where I fixed my stand in the open sun, with an umbrella affixed to a long pole and held over my head by brother Hugh Barnes. I...

    • Perfect Harmony
      (pp. 293-297)
      RICHARD McNEMAR

      No one, who has not been an eye witness, can possibly paint in their imagination the striking solemnity of those occasions, on which the thousands of Kentuckians were convened in one vast assembly, under the auspicious influence of the above faith. How striking to see hundreds who never saw each other in the face before, moving uniformly into action, without any pre-concerted plan, and each, without intruding upon another, taking that part assigned him by a conscious feeling, and in this manner, dividing into bands over a large extent of ground, interspersed with tents and waggons: some uniting their voices...

    • The Said Distemper
      (pp. 298-299)
      WILLIAM LITTELL

      Be it enactedby the General Assembly, That if any person or persons whatsoever, shall wilfully or designedly presume to import or bring into this commonwealth, from any country or place whatever, the small-pox, or any variolous or infectious matter of the said distemper, with a purpose to inoculate any person or persons whatsoever, or by any means to propagate the said distemper within this commonwealth, he or she so offending shall forfeit and pay the sum of one thousand pounds for every offence so committed; one moiety thereof shall be to the informer, and the other moiety to the...

    • Morning, Noon, and Night
      (pp. 299-303)
      RICHARD CARTER

      Receipt the 22nd: Fill a twenty gallon kettle with sliced elecampane roots, and boil them well in water, pour off the sirop and fill the kettle with water again, and boil the same roots the second time, pour off the sirop as before, then clean your kettle and strain all your sirop through a flannel cloth, into it, and boil it down to about eight gallons and a half, then strain it into your barrel. Then get green comphry slice fine and fill a ten gallon pot with it, and boil it down in the same way, until you have...

    • That Awful Scourge
      (pp. 303-305)
      C. W. SHORT

      You may probably have heard before this that we have been visited by that awful scourge of the human race—the cholera. It is but too true, that it has proved more malignant, fatal and indiscriminate in the selection of its victims in Lexington than in any other town in the union—perhaps of the world. We rested in supposed security, relying too much on the high and elevated situation of the place, its far inland position, general healthfulness and total exemption from all the common causes of disease. But as if to mock the calculations of man, and set...

    • Lie for Lie
      (pp. 306-326)
      ROBERT PENN WARREN

      The trial began on June 6, 1826.

      It was a brilliant, sweltering morning, unseasonably hot, and the courtroom was jammed, and the crowd—a restless, uncertain crowd streaked with violence and guffawing humor like fresh butchered bear meat with gristle and sweet fat—spilled out into the yard and into the street, waiting.

      At ten o’clock the clerk said, “Jeremiah Beaumont, hold up your hand!” …

      “Jeremiah Beaumont,” the clerk began again, “I will read you the charge.”

      Then he read: “The Grand Jurors of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, empaneled in the County of Franklin … in the name and...

    • Prisoner on This Blessed Day
      (pp. 326-331)
      CALVIN COLTON

      In the case of the commonwealth of Kentucky against Charles Wickliffe, for killing Mr. Benning, editor of the KentuckyGazette, in Lexington, tried in 1829, Mr. Clay and the Hon. J. J. Crittenden were counsel for the defendant. The case arose from the following facts: Robert Wickliffe, Esq., the father of Charles, had been running for the legislature against John M. M‘Calla, both of Lexington, during which time the latter had published in theGazettean article defamatory of his opponent, over the signature of “Dentatus,” which Charles proposed to resent for his father, but, being a minor by a...

    • The Right Age for Neutrality
      (pp. 331-344)
      JOSEPH HERGESHEIMER

      On the third anniversary of the death of her husband, Manoah Abel, Susan Abel put on a white dress. She was preparing for the evening—it was an excessively hot day at the end of July—and the cool white India muslin was an enormous relief after the quantities of black clothes she had worn. The change, so soon after Manoah’s death, must, she realized, cause a great deal of comment in Frankfort; all the women of her husband’s numerous family and connections would resent it; but they would keep the comments, the resentment, to themselves; she would never hear...

    • The Low Sound of Sobbing
      (pp. 344-351)
      JOHN FOX JR.

      Throughout that summer Chad fought his fight, daily swaying this way and that—fought it in secret until the phantom of neutrality faded and gave place to the grim spectre of war—until with each hand Kentucky drew a sword and made ready to plunge both into her own stout heart. When Sumter fell, she shook her head resolutely to both North and South. Crittenden, in the name of Union lovers and the dead Clay, pleaded with the State to take no part in the fratricidal crime. From the mothers, wives, sisters and daughters of thirty-one counties came piteously the...

    • These Noble Sentiments
      (pp. 352-355)
      HENRY WATTERSON

      A little after mid-day on the 25th of December, 1778, a group of ten or a dozen pioneers in buckskin knee-breeches and linsey-woolsey hunting-shirts gathered around a log heap in front of a cabin, which, from a high cliff, overlooked the frozen bed and snowy banks of the Kentucky River. It was very bleak and cold. The sun had not shone out since the second day of the month. The streams were everywhere choked with ice. The very springs were inaccessible, and game was scarce and powder scarcer still. Foremost among the little knot of woodsmen were Daniel Boone and...

    • Awful Deed of Wrath
      (pp. 356-359)
      HUGHES, SCHAEFER and WILLIAMS

      “Goebel has been assassinated!”

      Never did news travel so fast over Kentucky as did this brief, sharp announcement on the morning of January 30, [1900] that told in a flash that the strain had been broken with a crime.

      The bare mention of the fact conveyed almost a picture to one’s imagination—Goebel, within hand’s reach of his prize; composed, wary and steeled to act relentlessly at the proper moment—some one with his brain on fire—the shot!

      The whole country had been keyed up to the news of the awful deed of wrath by the fascination that attends...

    • The Folly of a Few
      (pp. 359-376)
      JOE JORDAN

      Twenty-six years ago, on February 9, 1920, a mob at Lexington, Kentucky, bent upon lynching a Negro who was on trial for murdering a white child, charged the Fayette County courthouse. The members of the mob, all white men, were fired upon and repulsed by white soldiers and white civil officers. Six men were killed and fifty or more were wounded. Of the hundreds of newspapers throughout the United States which hastened to praise Fayette County officials for their somewhat astonishing stand against mob violence, many pointed out, as did theBrooklyn Eaglein a typical comment, that the Lexington...

    • To Hell
      (pp. 377-378)
      HENRY WATTERSON

      Herman Ridder flings Japan at us. Then he adduces Russia. What does he think now of Turkey? How can he reconcile the Kaiser’s ostentatious appeal to the Children of Christ and his pretentious partnership with God—“Meinself und Gott”—with his calling the hordes of Mahomet to his aid? Will not this unite all Christendom against the unholy combine? May Heaven protect the Vaterland from contamination and give the German people a chance! To Hell with the Hohenzollerns and the Hapsburgs!...

  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 379-381)