Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
A History of the Hemp Industry in Kentucky

A History of the Hemp Industry in Kentucky

JAMES F. HOPKINS
Foreword by Thomas D. Clark
Copyright Date: 1951
Edition: 1
Pages: 272
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt130jrdd
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    A History of the Hemp Industry in Kentucky
    Book Description:

    It is hard to believe that at one time burley tobacco was not the chief cash crop in Kentucky. Yet for more than half a century hemp dominated the state's agricultural production.

    James Hopkins surveys the hemp industry in Kentucky from its beginning through its complete demise at the end of World War II, describing the processes of seeding and harvesting the plant, and marketing manufactured goods made of the fiber.

    With debate presently raging over the legalization of industrial hemp, it is essential that an accurate portrait of this controversial resource be available. Although originally published in 1951, Hopkins's work remains remarkably current as hemp manufacturing today is little changed from the practices the author describes. This edition includes an updated bibliography of recent publications concerning the scientific, economic, and political facets of industrial hemp.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-4861-8
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. FOREWORD
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    Thomas D. Clark

    Paradoxically, there has lingered over the history of hemp growing in Kentucky an aura of romance and at the same time a cloud of evil. Except for the history of tobacco, no other Kentucky field crop has undergone so many frustrating turns of fortune, or come under such intensive scrutiny. In recent years, and in an era when Kentucky farmers are seeking so diligently for an alternative cash crop to tobacco, some attention has been focused on a renewal of hemp production. Proponents in Kentucky, Missouri, Colorado, and possibly other states have sought legislative sanctions to grow hemp. Some have...

  4. PREFACE
    (pp. xv-2)
    J.F.H.
  5. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 3-12)

    Kentucky, which lies below the sectional dividing line, is usually considered a part of the South. She was for the most part settled by southerners, she was formed from one of the original southern states, and she permitted slavery within her borders during the period when slaveholding, aside from climate, was the chief characteristic which distinguished the South from other sections of the country. It is true that she did not join her sisters when they left the Union in 1860-1861, but many of her sons and daughters sympathized openly with the seceders. Large numbers of Kentuckians joined the Confederate...

  6. CHAPTER I THE HEMP FARM
    (pp. 13-38)

    Hemp will grow after a fashion in almost every region of the United States, as Federal Narcotic Agents know all too well from their experience in the war on marihuana, but its successful cultivation for commercial purposes depends largely on a favorable climate and on fertile soil. An abundant rainfall, coming fairly regularly during the growing season, is desirable since the rapidly developing plants require a large amount of moisture. On the other hand, a water-logged soil will not produce a satisfactory crop. Prolonged periods of drought are detrimental to both the quality and quantity of the fiber, but if...

  7. CHAPTER II MANAGEMENT AND SALE OF THE CROP
    (pp. 39-67)

    During the entire period in which hemp was a crop of some importance in Kentucky, most of the processes connected with its culture remained unchanged. Enterprising farmers down through the years searched for improvement, trying by experimentation to devise more satisfactory methods of producing the staple and of preparing it for market. Many and varied machines, some of which were practical, were devised for facilitating the various processes necessary to bring the hemp from seed to fiber. Information was exchanged among farmers, meetings were held, favorite theories were expounded, tested, and proved or exploded. Some useful discoveries were made, although...

  8. Illustrations
    (pp. None)
  9. CHAPTER III PRICES AND PRODUCTION TO 1861
    (pp. 68-111)

    From the latter part of the eighteenth century to the outbreak of the Civil War hemp was a crop of considerable importance to the farmers and manufacturers of Kentucky. The price of the fiber was undependable, but during the period under consideration it was usually high enough to encourage production, which reached its greatest height around 1850. Hemp was important not only to Kentucky but to the United States as a whole. It helped speed the greatest export, cotton, to market; and potentially it was an important item in national defense. Statistics on the crop are not reliable, but it...

  10. CHAPTER IV MANUFACTURING TO 1861
    (pp. 112-150)

    Hemp early became one of the staple crops of Kentucky largely because of its suitability for home manufactures. The pioneers developed skill in manufacturing it as well as flax into cordage and cloth,¹ but in a short time cotton, owing to its greater suitability for weaving by machinery, largely supplanted other vegetable fibers in the manufacture of clothing. Meanwhile, cotton, by creating an enormous demand for bale rope and bagging, caused a rapid expansion of hemp manufacturing to a height which otherwise would not have been reached, since other products such as ship rigging, binder twine, plow lines, and bed...

  11. CHAPTER V PRODUCTION OF HEMP FOR MARINE USE
    (pp. 151-192)

    In addition to the market afforded by cotton bagging, bale rope, plow lines, and other manufactures of fiber for domestic use, there was another in the form of cordage and sails for the navy and for merchant shipping which attracted the attention of the grower and others connected with the hemp industry. This market was always limited in the quantity it could consume; yet it paid high prices for fiber of the best quality, and it seemed very attractive to farmers, particularly when the market value of dew rotted hemp dropped below the margin of profit. Moreover, from the point...

  12. CHAPTER VI THE DECLINE OF THE INDUSTRY
    (pp. 193-219)

    The hemp industry, at a standstill or already beginning to decline during the late 1850’s, suffered during the next decade a blow from which it never fully recovered. The roar of guns in Charleston harbor in the early morning of April 12, 1861, signalized the end of hemp production as one of the major pursuits of Blue-grass farmers. The fiber, manufactured into bagging and bale rope, had long been to a great degree dependent upon cotton for a market, and, when that market no longer was open, hemp growers found themselves with greatly restricted opportunities for sales of their commodity....

  13. BIBLIOGRAPHICAL NOTE
    (pp. 220-229)
  14. UPDATED BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 230-234)
  15. INDEX
    (pp. 235-244)