1850 Kentucky

Kentucky, one of the United States, formerly a district of Virginia lies between 3630' and 3910' north latitude, and 8035' and 82 longitude west from Greenwich; and is bounded north by Ohio river, which separates it from Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, east by Virginia, south by Tennessee and west by Missouri.  Its superficial area is 40,500 square miles.

Physical Aspect--Kentucky lies entirely in the valley of the Ohio, and is a part of an immense inclined plain, more or less broken in its surface, descending from Cumberland mountain to the river Ohio.  The Cumberland range divides this state from Virginia on the southeast.  Descending from the foot of this mountain toward the northwest, to the distance of 100 miles, the country is hilly and rather mountainous.  This broken section includes at least one third part of the state, and extends from the Tennessee line to the river Ohio.  A tract along this river, from 5 to 25 miles wide, is also broken and hilly, stretching through the whole length of the state.  But these hills are gently rounded, and are fertile quite to their tops, having narrow valleys between them of great fertility.  Along the margin of this stream there are rich alluvial bottoms, of an average width of a mile, subject to periodical inundation between the hilly tract on the Ohio and the mountainous country on the Virginia line and Green river there is a tract, 100 miles long and 50 miles broad, beautifully undulating, with a black and rich soil, which has been denominated the "garden of Kentucky."  The whole state below the mountains rests on a bed of limestone, in general about eight feet below the surface.  The rivers have worn deep channels into this calcareous bed, forming stupendous precipices, particularly on Kentucky river, where the banks in many places are 300 feet high.

Mammoth Cave--In the southwest part of the state, between Green and Cumberland rivers, are several wonderful caverns.  The "Mammoth Cave" in Edmondson county, 130 miles from Lexington, near the road leading to Nashville, is some 9 or 10 miles in extent, with a great number of avenues and intricate windings.  Most of those caves yield an inexhaustible supply of nitrate of lime.  During the late war with Great Britain, 50 men were constantly employed in lixiviating the earth of the Mammoth Cave, to obtain the saltpeter it contained; and in about 3 years after the washed earth is said to have become as strongly impregnated with nitric acid as at first.

Mountains--The Cumberland range, before referred to, forms the southeast boundary of this state.

Rivers--The principle rivers are, the Ohio, Mississippi, Tennessee, Cumberland, Kentucky (Kutawa), Green, Licking, Salt, Rolling and Big Sandy.

Climate--The climate through most of the state is generally healthy.  The winters are mild, and usually of only two or three months' duration. Spring and Autumn are delightfully pleasant.  The extremes of season, however, are widened by the peculiar features of the country.  The rivers in their descent have abraded the plains, and flow in deep chasms or vales, which receive the rays of the sun in various inclinations.  In these situations the summers are hot and the winters mild.

Production Resources--The staple products of this state are, horses, mules, neat cattle, sheep, swine, poultry, eggs, butter, cheese, wine, wax, sugar, tobacco, wool, cotton, hemp, flax, hay, lumber, wheat, barley, rye, oats, buckwheat, rice, potatoes, and Indian corn.  Tobacco and hemp are the great staples of the state.  Among the mineral resources are, iron, coal, salt and lime.  The salt springs are numerous, and not only supply this state but a great part of Ohio and Tennessee, as well as other parts.

Manufactures--About half a million of dollars is invested in cotton and woolen manufactures in Kentucky, and about $200,000 in the manufacture of iron.  Other principle manufactures are cordage, cotton bagging, hardware, tobacco, spirits &c.  In 1850, the number of Manufacturing establishments in the state, producing $500 and over, each, annually was 3,471.

Railroads and Canals--The principal railroads at present in operation in Kentucky are, the Louisville and Frankfort, 65 miles, and the Frankfort and Lexington, 29 miles.  Several important railroads are projected, which when completed will render easily accessible all the important points in the state.

Commerce--In common with other inland states, Kentucky has no direct foreign commerce, but ships mostly at New Orleans.  The river trade of this state is considerable.  About 15,000 tons of shipping is owned in the state.

Education--There are several collegiate institutions in Kentucky; St Joseph's, Centre, Augusta, Georgetown and Bacon colleges; and Louisville and Transylvania universities, to both of which law and medical schools are attached.  There are also a theological institution at Covington and the Western Military college at Blue Lick Springs.  There are also asylums for the blind, the deaf and dumb, and the insane.  The state has a school fund of $1,300,000.

Government--The legislative power is vested in a senate and house of representatives, which together are styled the general assembly.  The senators are 38 in number, chosen by the people, from single districts, for four years.  Representatives, 100 in number, are chosen by the people for two years.  A governor and Lt governor are elected by the people for a term of four years.  The governor is ineligible the immediately succeeding term.  He may return a bill passed by the legislature, but a majority of the members elected to each house may pass the bill afterward and it then becomes a law notwithstanding his objections.  The general election first Monday in August biennially.  The state officers are elected by the people for a term of four years.  The judicial power is vested in a court of appeals, circuit and country courts; the judges of each are elected by the people.  Every free, white male citizen, 21 years of age or over, resident in the state two years, and in the county where he offers to vote one year, next preceding an election, may vote at such election.  Elections by the people are viva voce.

Population--In 1790 was 73,077; in 1800 was 220,955; in 1810 was 406,511; in 1820 was 564,317; in 1830 was 687,917; in 1840 was 779,828 and in 1850 was 982,405.  Number of Slaves in 1790 was 11,830; in 1800 was 40,343; in 1810 was 80,561; in 1820 was 126,372; in 1830 was 165,213; in 1840 was 182,258 and in 1850 was 210,981.

History--The first permanent settlement in Kentucky was made by Daniel Boone in 1775, though the country had been visited by John Finley, and others, as early as 1769.  In 1777, the legislature of Virginia made it a county, and in 1782, a supreme court was established. In about the year 1776, the region south of Kentucky river was purchased of the Cherokees, who called their domain "Transylvania" (beyond the woods).  In 1786, an act was passed by Congress, erecting the district of Kentucky into a new territory; but the separation from Virginia did not take place before 1792, when it was admitted into the Union as an independent state.  The first constitution was adopted in 1790, which was superseded by a new one in 1799, and that by the present one in 1850.  Motto of its seal, "United we stand, divided we fall."