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General Information

Railroads: Baltimore & Ohio R.R. (B&O); Chesapeake & Ohio Ry. (C&O); Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago & St. Louis Ry. (Big Four, N. Y. Central System) ; Chicago, Indianapolis & Louisville Ry. (Monon Route); Frankfort & Cincinnati R.R. (F&C); Flemingsburg & Northern R.R. (F&N); Illinois Central R.R. (1C); Louisville & Nashville R.R. (L&N); Mobile & Ohio R.R. (M&O); Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Ry. (NC&St.L); Pennsylvania R.R. (PRR); Southern Ry. (Southern) (see Transportation map).

Bus Lines: Blue Ribbon Lines, Gibbs Bus Line, Greyhound Lines, Meadors & Allen, Mohawk Stages, and Southern Limited furnish scheduled interstate service. Many other lines furnish intrastate service.

Air Lines: American Airlines (Cleveland, Fort Worth, Los Angeles); Eastern Airlines (Chicago, Miami) (see Transportation map). Highways: Fifteen Federal highways. Even numbers run east and west; US 60 is transcontinental. Odd numbers run north and south. State highway patrolled. Gas tax 6#. (See State map for routes.) Motor Vehicle Laws (digest): Maximum speed, 40 m.p.h., not enforced; greater speed permitted when practicable; residential sections and curves, 20 m.p.h.; congested areas, 15 m.p.h. No licenses required for nonresidents over 16 yrs. of age provided driver has a home State license. Hand signals must be used.

Warning: Persons charged with operating motor vehicles in Louisville while drunk or under the influence of liquor upon conviction will be fined $19 and sentenced to nine days' imprisonment. From such penalties the law allows no appeals, age, sex, color or social pretensions notwithstanding. Sternly enforced.

Prohibited: Operation of automobiles by persons under 16 yrs. of age unaccompanied by person over 21 yrs. of age. Parking on highways (see General Information for large cities for local traffic regulations).

Recreational Areas and Accommodations: Mammoth Cave National Park (see Tours 7 and 6): two new modern hotels, rates from $1; guides compulsory, available day and night, fee of $2 covers admission, no tax; open all year; temperature in cave remains 54 F. throughout year. Cumberland Falls State Park (see Tours 3 and 4), open May 15-Oct. 1, overnight camping, 25 cents ; State-owned DuPont Lodge, rate per day from $2; Moonbow Inn, per day from $1.50; 15 cabins, rate per day per couple $2, 75 cents for extra lodgers; modern conveniences. Butler Memorial State Park (see Tour 12), May 15-Oct. 1, boating on Lake Butler 25 cents ; fishing 25 cents ; overnight camping 25 cents ; cabins. Columbus-Belmont State Park (see Tour 10): recreational facilities and cabins. Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park (see Tour 4): overnight camping 25 cents ; fishing and swimming 25 cents ; cabins, picnic grounds, camping, all improvements. Pine Mountain State Park (see Tour 4A): open-air auditorium, picnic grounds, observation tower. Natural Bridge State Park (see Tour 2): Hemlock Lodge, cabins, auto bridge. Audubon Memorial State Park (see Tours 8 and 16): shelter houses, picnic tables, tearoom and lake. Dawson Springs State Park (see Tour 14): picnic grounds, trails, shelter house. Blue and Gray State Park (see Tour 20): golf links, cabins, shelter houses, picnic tables and ovens, lake. Pioneer Memorial State Park (see Tours 5 and 15) : museum, cabins in the fort, Lincoln Chapel. Blue Licks Battlefield State Park (see Tour 15): overnight camping 25 cents , museum, open-air auditorium, trails. Cumberland National Forest: 992,605 acres; camps. Admission to recreational areas, adults 10cents , children S#, except Pioneer Memorial State Park adults 25 cents , children 10cents and Blue Licks Battlefield State Park adults 1S#, children 5#; Cumberland National Forest, no charge.

General Accommodations: Few in eastern Kentucky except in larger towns; adequate elsewhere in State.

General Service for Tourists: AAA in larger towns, also Courier-Journal in Louisville. When road conditions are doubtful, information should be obtained at nearest filling station, especially in eastern Kentucky.

Poisonous Snakes and Plants: Rattlesnakes, copperheads, and cottonmouth moccasins are uncommon except in southern and northwest section of the State and in cypress swamps. Poison ivy and poison sumac common in wooded areas.

Climate and Equipment: Summer travelers should be prepared for very warm weather, especially in July and August. Spring days are intermittently cool and warm, with frequent showers and late snow flurries. Topcoats needed. Winters generally cold, with heavy frosts and sometimes snow. In mountainous areas the snow glazes into dangerously slippery ice and extreme caution is necessary, especially on the north side of hills. Frozen dirt edges of mountain roads should be avoided. Fish and Game Laws (digest) : Game fish defined as black bass, trout, crappie, rock bass or goggle-eye.

Open Season for Fishing: All months except May. Fishing License: Nonresident, $2.50. Seven-day nonresident fishing, $1. Limits: Black bass and trout limit, 10 per day, not more than 20 in possession at one time; unlawful under 11 in. Crappie limit IS per day; not more than 30 in possession at one time; unlawful under eight in.

Open Season for Hunting (dates inclusive): Quail, Nov. 24-Jan. 9; wild turkey and imported pheasant protected at all times, no open season; doves, 12 M. to 6 P.M., Sept. 1-Dec. 15; woodcock, Nov. 15- Dec. 31; jacksnipe, wild duck, and wild geese, State law in conflict with Federal regulations comply with Federal regulations. English sparrows, great horned owl, sharp-shinned hawk, crow and crowblackbird, not protected; deer and elk protected at all times, no open season; rabbit, Nov. 25-Jan. 9; squirrels, Aug. 1-Nov. 1; woodchuck or ground hog, not protected; beaver, raccoon, mink, otter, skunk and opossum lawful to kill Nov. 15-Dec. 31.

Hunting License: Nonresident, $10.50. Resident, $1.00. Limits: Quail, 12 per day, season limit 75, penalty for violation $15 to $50 per quail; doves, 15 per day; woodcock, 6 per day, not over 24 in possession at one time.

Kentucky: The General Background


KENTUCKY is far from being a unified region. Though known as the Bluegrass State, it divides into three sections which differ as sharply in geography, culture, economic activity, and social habit as if they were widely separated areas. These are the Bluegrass, the Eastern Mountains, and Western Kentucky. Each is populated by people who have adjusted themselves to their environment, and who in the process have developed habits and attitudes differing markedly from those of their fellows in the other divisions. Literature concerning Kentucky often fails clearly to identify the section which forms its locale, and readers unacquainted with local conditions are apt to mistake a single section for the State as a whole.

Except for Louisville, Kentucky has no large industrial centers. Most of its 2,900,000 people dwell in small rural communities. Like other agrarian folk they bear the mark of their association with the soil. The rural Kentuckian, whether clad in faded overalls or imported woolens, is an individualist. The rustic lolling at the street corners of towns and villages may give every evidence of being lost or out of place; but try to get the better of him in a trade and often he will prove master of the situation. He may be ragged, dirty, and ignorant, but he is still endowed with something of the unawed self-reliance and resourceful wit of the pioneer.

Wherever a Kentuckian may be, he is more than willing to boast of the beauties and virtues of his native State. He believes without reservation that Kentucky is the garden spot of the world, and is ready to dispute with anyone who questions the claim. In his enthusiasm for his State he compares with the Methodist preacher whom Timothy Flint heard tell a congregation that "Heaven is a Kentucky of a place." After describing the material and cultural well-being of the State, the Kentuckian is likely to begin on its brilliant history. But, unless he is engaged in historical research, the native son's history of Kentucky does not chiefly refer to the part played by the State in the westward expansion of the Nation, to the frontier democracy established by pioneer statesmen on Kentucky soil, or to the State constitution that was framed at a time when it was difficult to gain majority approval for any act of polity. The native son has not pursued his subject through the trying decades of the nineteenth century, nor has he given much thought to the State's role in the twentieth. History, to him, centers on his family. When his ancestors crossed the Appalachians, the family was the core of community life, and the Kentuckian has never lost sight of the importance of his family attachment. His main personal concern is his family's welfare. Many Kentuckians., especially women, spend much time searching genealogical records, not to prove themselves descended from prominent persons, but from sheer love of becoming familiar with their personal pedigrees.

The Kentuckian's love of family is often illustrated in the way in which politicians elected to office give public jobs to their kinsmen. In many instances the victorious Kentucky politician honestly fails to understand why there is anything blamable in such conduct. When a kinsman needs a job, "nepotism" is only a word. And it is difficult to place a limit on a Kentuckian's sense of kinsmanship. Parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and cousins are part of any family pattern; but to the list of a Kentuckian's cousins there seems no end. There are not only first and second cousins ; there are cousins even to the tenth degree removed. It is sometimes said that every mountaineer is related to every other mountaineer; but the same observation applies to a considerable extent to people everywhere in the State.

Next to his family, a Kentuckian's home community occupies the place of importance in his fancy. When viewed from a national standpoint the State itself is of major importance, but on his home ground a Kentuckian never forgets his native county. He may move to Lexington, Bowling Green, or Louisville during his mature years, but he continuously looks with reverence upon the place of his birth. Visitors to many Kentucky communities will be impressed in finding there some of the important relics of American history. Not only have local historians and anthropologists collected important historical relics, but they have also armed themselves with much historical information concerning their community's place in history. A traveler can, if he is lucky, locate the places where "D. Boon cilled a bar on this tree in 1760"; where John Fitch "invented" the steamboat; where Kit Carson was born; where Joseph Bruen built a locomotive; where the first railroad of the West was built ; where scores of battles were fought ; where Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis were born; where "Uncle Tom" was sold; where courthouses were scarred by bullets from feudists' guns, and innumerable other points of interest. All of this colorful background is grist to the local historians' mill, and it is used to good advantage.

The average Kentuckian may appear a bit confused in his knowledge of history, but he is firmly certain about current politics. Kentucky cannot claim first place in political importance, but it tops the list in its keen enjoyment of politics for its own sake. It takes the average Kentuckian only a matter of moments to dispose of the weather and personal health, but he never tires of a political discussion. Perhaps the most obvious thing about Kentucky politics is the fact that there it is a continuous campaign. Telegraph poles, fence posts, and trees are seldom free of political posters. It is not at all unusual to see campaign workers pulling the tacks out of old posters and using them in nailing up new ones. If politics ceased to be practical, Kentuckians would lose an excellent excuse for having community picnics, fried chicken dinners, and fish fries. Even the famed Kentucky burgoo would lose much of its flavor. Perhaps few indoor pastimes yield such keen enjoyment as predicting the future turn of political affairs.

Notwithstanding the fact that its white population, like that of most Southern States, is "Nordic," Kentucky's course in the Civil War was unlike that of the South in general. The State persisted in remaining neutral, while at the same time it contributed many soldiers to both the Northern and the Southern armies. When the war ended, Kentucky was left in a sharply divided state of mind. Where other Southern States were unanimously Democratic, Kentucky's voters were divided between the Democratic and Republican parties. This division still prevails in varying degree, and at times lends an interesting complexion to State politics.

In matters of culture Kentucky has been forced, with other Southern States, to change its course completely. It was slow to adopt the idea of public education, and it was not until after the Civil War that the idea of common schools became thoroughly entrenched in the Kentucky mind. There was no real antagonism to this idea before the war, but a convincing precedent was lacking. When pioneer parents were rearing large families on the frontier, they accepted the idea that their family was solely their own responsibility, and that, if it was educated, they had to pay the bill individually. Even yet there is opposition to public schools on this ground. However, Kentucky has progressed to the point of accepting common schools as a necessity. Not only has the public school experienced its most progressive years since the war, but so, likewise, have institutions of higher learning. The University of Kentucky is a post-war institution, and so are teachers' colleges. During the past three decades the number of illiterates has been greatly reduced. Where communities were once denied the privilege of public education, they now have fairly well-equipped schools.

Where public schools have made rapid strides, other cultural agencies have thrived. Towns and villages are establishing libraries and are making available, through local and State agencies, literature which heretofore had been denied to isolated readers. There are several institutions engaged in collecting and preserving historical materials and Kentuckiana. These agencies are beginning to make up for the losses which Kentucky has experienced in the past. Never before have Kentuckians been so conscious of the cultural possibilities of their State.

Kentuckians have never neglected the pleasures of life. From the time when his forebears hunted through the woods by day and danced about the campfire at night, the Kentuckian has been a sporting, pleasure-loving individual. Following the Civil War, travelers through the State remarked that the trains were forever crowded with lighthearted passengers either going to, or coming from, a dance. Racing, baseball, and football have enjoyed considerable prestige. Horse racing is accepted as a matter of fact. When natives of other States see Kentuckians poring over racing forms on Saturday and crowding into churches on Sunday, it is hard for them to understand the apparent incongruity. Yet it is this devotion to both piety and pleasure which is, perhaps, the most distinguishing characteristic of the people of modern Kentucky.


KENTUCKY, lying on the western slope of the Alleghenies, is bounded on the north by the northern bank of the Ohio River, on the northeast and southeast by West Virginia and Virginia, on the south by Tennessee, and on the west by the Mississippi River. Its greatest length, east to west, is 425 miles; its greatest breadth 182 miles. The total area is 40,598 square miles, including 417 miles of water surface.

"A peculiar situation exists at the extreme southwest corner," the U. S. Geological Survey Bulletin 817 states, "where, owing to a double bend in the Mississippi River, there is an area of about 10 square miles belonging to Kentucky that cannot be reached from the rest of the State without passing through a part of Missouri or Tennessee." The State's topographic variations are mainly the result of slow or rapid erosion, according to the degree of resistance encountered in particular rock strata. The mountains in the sandstone region, the occasional deep gorges or underground drainage systems in the limestone area, and the swamp flats and oxbow lagoons in the far western part of the State, indicate the force, extent, and direction of erosive processes. Reelfoot Lake, in the far southwest, resulted from the earthquake of 1811-12. It is the only lake of importance in Kentucky, although the edge of the Highland Rim Plateau in the southwest is pocked with numerous small bodies of still water. These are sinkholes which have choked with vegetable matter and retained the water that drained into them.

The Ohio and Mississippi Rivers flow west and south, and form the State's main drainage channel. The Cumberland River, except for a small portion in the south-central region, the Big Sandy, the Licking, the Kentucky, the Green, the Tradewater, and the Tennessee Rivers follow the general northwest slope of the Allegheny Plateau. About 3,000 miles of river course are navigable.

Kentucky has six natural physiographic regions: (1) Mountain, (2) Knobs, (3) Bluegrass, (4) Pennyrile, (5) Western Coal Field, and (6) Purchase.

The Mountain region, containing 10,450 square miles, is the remains of a great westerly sloping plateau which has been cut by streams into a region of narrow valleys lying between sharp ridges. The Cumberland and Pine Mountain ranges, near the southeastern border, are "erosion" mountains carved from the upturned edges of hard sandstone. Between them lies the Middlesboro Basin, in which are the State's highest mountains. Here are the Cumberland and Pine Mountain ranges, with the Little and Big Black Mountain ranges between. The highest point in the State is at Big Black Mountain, 4,150 feet above sea level, in Harlan County on the southeastern boundary line.

To the west and northwest the mountain crests gradually lower until they merge with the uplands of the Bluegrass and the Pennyrile; the elevation drops from about 2,000 feet in the southeast to less than 800 feet along the western rim. The lowest point in the State is 257 feet above sea level, near Hickman in Fulton County, at the extreme southwest. The larger streams in the Mountain region have some wide flood plains with alluvial and rock terraces. Wind gaps, such as Cumberland Gap, and the water gaps, like the Breaks of Sandy, are of frequent occurrence. The surface rocks are sandstones and shales, with practically no limestones. The valley soils are deep and yield excellent crops. Soils on the ridges are thin and easily washed away during cultivation.

The Knobs region is bounded on the inner side by the rolling Bluegrass downs, and on the outer by the escarpments at the edge of the mountain region in the east, and of the Pennyrile in the west. It has the appearance of an irregular plain out of which rise many erosive remnants of the Mountain and Pennyrile plateaus. The knoblike shapes frequently seen in these remnants have suggested the name of the region. The escarpments, also considered part of the Knobs, rise from 200 to 500 feet above the drainage and cover an area of about 2,200 square miles. The Kentucky and the Ohio Rivers are the only navigable streams here. The soils, composed largely of weathered shales, erode rapidly when cultivated, and for this reason large areas remain wooded. While not rich, they will yield good crops under proper cultivation. The larger part of the Cumberland National Forest lies in the eastern Knobs.

Within the encircling arms of the Knobs on one side, and the Ohio River on the other, lies the Bluegrass region, about 8,000 square miles in extent. It is a gently rolling upland, from 800 to 1,000 feet above sea level. Almost everywhere it is cleared of its original forests and is either cultivated or in pasturage. A few open, grass-swarded woodlands remain, especially around the more pretentious manors ; and there are uncleared glens and dells where the smaller streams fall rapidly from the high downs to the main streams.

This region is divided into three sections, differentiated by their underlying Ordovician limestone : the inner Bluegrass, the Eden shale belt, and the outer Bluegrass. The first, about 2,400 square miles, has the richest soils due to the underlying limestones with their high phosphate content. Its surface is very gently rolling. The second, about 2,500 square miles, lies as a broad belt around the inner Bluegrass, and is underlain by limestone not so rich in phosphorus, and with a large shale and silica content. Its soils, while good, are easily eroded, producing steep slopes and V-shaped valleys. The third is like the first, but the soils on the whole are not quite so rich.

The large area lying at the southern end of the central plain, of which the Bluegrass region is the northern section, is known as the Pennyrile. Pennyrile takes its name from the local pronunciation of Pennyroyal, an annual plant of the mint family, which grows luxuriantly in this region. It comprises about 7,800 square miles, and is separated from the valleys of the western Knob and southern Mountain regions by an escarpment which, in the Knob area, is called Muldraugh's Hill. The eastern portions of the region rise 600 and 700 feet above sea level, but they drop gradually on the west to about 400 or 500 feet, as they approach the Purchase in the southwest and the western coal fields along the Ohio. The streams cut broad valleys except in the karst or sinkhole areas, where only the larger streams flow on the surface.

The scenery of the Pennyrile is varied from gently rolling farm lands to cliffs and scarps, and from open fields to forested rocky hillsides. The sinkhole part of the region was originally known as the Barrens, because the first settlers found it almost completely lacking in trees and were unable to discover water for themselves and their stock. The lack of trees was the result of continual forest burnings by the Indians to make grasslands upon which the buffalo might feed, and the water scarcity was caused by underground drainage. Neither condition resulted from any barrenness of soil. After white men gained control of the region, it was reforested.

Waters, either surface or underground, are abundant. In the underground drainage courses are thousands of miles of subterranean passages including Mammoth Cave. The soils are principally residual, varying from sandy and silt loams in the east to the limey, phosphorous soils in the west. Frequent coatings of loess or windblown deposits are found on the uplands, and alluvial clays or gravels along the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers.

The Western Coal Field, an area of about 4,680 square miles, is bounded on the north by the Ohio River and elsewhere by the Pennyrile. The region is characterized by sandstone and wooded ridges, rock shelters, and cliffs. However, the proportion of level lands is so much greater that the Western Coal Field in some places resembles the prairie States. Some valuable timber remains and there are large areas in which second growth timbers are flourishing. On the uplands the soil is a yellow silt loam, thin where hilly, but deeper elsewhere. Transported soils cover the bottom lands.

The Purchase (2,569 square miles), so named from the fact that it was bought from the Chickasaw Indians, is bounded by the Tennessee, Ohio, and Mississippi Rivers, and the Tennessee State Line. The general topographic relief is the lowest in the State. Gently rolling uplands and wide flood plains are the rule along the larger streams.

Stream bluffs, cypress swamps, oxbow lagoons, and an occasional deep erosive gully are common sights. The soft rocks of the region erode rapidly. Transported soils cover the Purchase except in a narrow strip, just west of the Tennessee River, where residual soils are found. Yellow-brown silt loam is prevalent.

The average annual rainfall in Kentucky is about 45 inches, which places the State within the humid belt so important for agriculture and manufacturing. The climatic changes from north to south account for a difference of approximately one week in the growing seasons. Periods of excessive rainfall or drought are rarely great enough to effect serious damage to crops.

The climate of the whole State is temperate and healthful. The mean annual temperature is around 60 F. In the summer months it ranges from 75 F. in eastern Kentucky to 78 F. in the west; and in the winter around 36 F. in all sections. Temperatures of 100 F. are very rare, but marks of 80 F. and above have occurred even in midwinter. Below-zero temperatures occur with moderate frequency in December, January, and February, and 28 F. has been experienced twice in the eastern half during the past 60 years.

The last killing frosts generally occur from April 15 to 23 and the first from October 13 to 21. The growing season is from 174 to 189 days. In the eastern part of Kentucky the average number of rainy days is about 118 a year 5 to 9 in each of the fall months from September to November, inclusive, and 10 to 13 for each of the other months. The average number of rainy days in the west is about 104, of which the months from September to November inclusive have 5 to 8, and the other months from 8 to 12.

Prevailing winds are from the south and southwest, with north and northwest winds frequent in winter. Seven to ten miles is the average hourly wind velocity.

Animal Life

The animal life of Kentucky is representative of areas as far apart as the marshes of Louisiana and the forests of New England and southern Canada.

Two large groups of fauna that once were common to the State have now disappeared: prehistoric, or Pleistocene mammals, skeletons of which have been found in various parts of the State but chiefly at Big Bone Lick in Boone County; and species that were killed off or driven away in the course of the settlement of the State. In the first class were mastodons, mammoths, giant wolves, beaver, elk, and moose.

Early travelers and explorers were greatly impressed by the giant bones, and often wrote extravagant stories about them. Even more interest attaches to the animals that were almost fabulously plentiful when the settlers came. The bison, or buffalo, grazed the central plains of the Barrens and Bluegrass in numbers comparable with those of the Great Plains west of the Mississippi. It is thought that this species disappeared from the State about 1820, soon after the settlement of the Jackson Purchase. The beaver was less abundant here than farther north, but it survived in small numbers until a generation ago. Hairraising stories are still told about the panther or puma (locally called "painter"), once fairly common but now extinct in the State. The wild turkey, still found in small numbers in remote places, particularly in the eastern mountains and other wooded sections, may be re-established in the State and National parks and the larger forests under proper protection. The area considered most suitable for this purpose in western Kentucky is the Coalings, a wild, wooded tract between the Tennessee and Cumberland Rivers, now taken over by the Federal Government.

Stories told about the passenger pigeon a hundred and more years ago sound impossible today although "pigeon roost" is found in place names in practically every part of the State. Alexander Wilson, in the Shelbyville area, estimated in 1810 that he saw millions of birds in one day. Audubon, in 1813, on his way to Louisville from Hardinsburg, counted 163 flocks in 23 minutes. Enormous areas in the various parts of the State were used by this species for nesting places. Wilson described one on the upper part of Green River, above the site of Greensburg; Audubon pictured another near the mouth of Green River not far from Henderson.

Another species, long a mark for hunters and therefore almost destroyed, was the Carolina Louisiana parrakeet, which the Audubon societies are protecting in the Everglades of Florida. In earlier days this beautiful little parrot was found in abundance around sycamore groves, salt licks, and fields of cockleburs. The ruffed grouse, hunted intensively from the very beginning of the settlement, still exists in small numbers. The prairie chicken, once found in many sections, disappeared after the Barrens and the Jackson Purchase were opened to settlement.

While game birds like the prairie chicken and the wild turkey soon became scarce around the settlements, most of the songbirds have increased enormously. In earlier days ravens also were common; now only the wildest areas of the mountains harbor them. The chimney swift and the nighthawk, on the other hand, have greatly profited by the coming of civilization. The swift, formerly nesting in hollow trees, has thoroughly adapted itself to chimneys, and the Kentucky Ornithological Society has no record of any nesting in trees within the memory of the present generation.

Almost 300 species of birds have been observed in Kentucky, most of them in land habitations. The great marsh country on the Kentucky- Tennessee border, north of Reelfoot Lake, is the breeding ground of American egrets, great blue herons, snakebirds, double-crested cormorants, and other waterfowl. Huge flocks of waterfowl pass over the State in their migrations, and can sometimes be seen on streams and ponds. On a "wet-weather lake" near Bowling Green, observers have counted 36 species of waterfowl.

Of the 150 to 175 species of birds found in Kentucky in an average year, about IS are winter residents, including the white-throated and white-crowned sparrows, the slate-colored junco, the golden-crowned kinglet, and the yellow-bellied sapsucker. Numbered among the summer residents are the catbird, brown thrasher, bronzed grackle, crested flycatcher, Bachman and grasshopper sparrows, and Kentucky and yellow warblers. The shy warblers are represented by more than a dozen types that spend the summer here. The mockingbird, bluebird, cardinal, bluejay, Carolina chickadee, tufted titmouse, and towhee are among the 35 to 40 well known species that remain throughout the year.

The United States Bureau of Biological Survey states that "observers in the Mississippi Valley probably witness the passage of greater numbers of varieties of birds than can be observed in any other river valley of the world." The area south of the mouth of the Ohio River is part of the great wintering grounds of the waterfowl; the Ohio River from Louisville up as far as Catlettsburg is another concentration area. Ornithologists at the Falls of the Ohio, at Louisville, have recorded in recent years nearly all the species of waterfowl that visit the State. The migration routes follow the Ohio, Mississippi, and Tennessee Rivers; land birds, particularly the warblers, have another great route through central Kentucky, a little to the east of Mammoth Cave, along what the geologists call the Dripping Springs Escarpment. Small mammals exist in surprisingly large numbers, especially in the rocky areas. Red and gray foxes, minks, muskrats, raccoons, opossums, red and gray squirrels, cottontail rabbits, marsh rabbits (in the Purchase), and hosts of smaller species are found nearly everywhere. In the Jackson Purchase the large marsh rabbit and an occasional otter are still seen and in central Kentucky the woodchuck is common. The caves are thickly populated with bats and many kinds of rodents. Over a hundred species of fish have been found in Kentucky. Of the game fishes, the one most closely identified with Kentucky (particularly the Barren and Green River section) is the muskallonge, known locally as jackfish or jack salmon. Three of the bass group, the largeand small-mouth and the Kentucky, are found throughout the State. Many other fishes are widely distributed: the crappie, bluegill, rock bass, drumfish or white perch, red horse, white sucker, and buffalo. Two kinds of catfish channel and blue are often taken; some are very large specimens. Among the species of interest principally to ichthyologists are the eel, the spoonbill, the sturgeon, minnows of many species, darters, and the several blind and semi-blind species of cave fish.

The efforts of the State game and fish commission to safeguard and restore wild life resources have met with much success. Stationed everywhere are vigilant wardens, who not only protect game, but also educate the people in the proper uses of woodland and streams. The State has introduced deer, quail, and fish wherever conditions seem favorable, and the Federal Bureau of Fisheries maintains a station and breeding pond at Louisville, from which thousands of fish are distributed annually throughout the State. In eastern Kentucky the State has 12 game refuges where deer, bear, fur bearers, turkey, ruffed grouse, and quail are propagated; and two fish hatcheries where the species best adapted for the region are produced. In central Kentucky are 22 game refuges for upland game birds, pheasants, and furbearing animals, and one fish hatchery for black bass. The bass hatchery at Herrington Lake was one of the first to produce black bass under artificial conditions. In the near-famine years fish are seined from the overflowed lands in the Purchase and distributed where needed.

Amphibians, numerous and widely distributed, include the congo snake or blind eel (Amphiuma means), several species of waterdogs and salamanders, including the wicked-looking hellbender; bullfrogs, green frogs, leopard frogs, many varieties of tree frogs, and two species of toads. Common turtles are numerous, as are the alligator, snapping, soft-shelled, pond, and land varieties, and the well-known box or Carolina terrapin. Only four poisonous species of snake have been recorded: the timber rattler, copperhead, cottonmouth, and coral. Of these, the first two are widely distributed; the cottonmouth is apparently confined to the Purchase, and the coral, a southern species, is found only along the Tennessee border. Nonpoisonous snakes are much more plentiful. The blacksnake and its near relatives, the pine, the bull, and the chicken snake abound, and this is true also of the king snake and several species of water snakes. The brown or fence lizard, like the six line lizard or scorpion, is known everywhere. Less known are the several varieties of skinks and the fabulous glass or joint snake, which can shed its tail when attacked. All the lizards are useful and harmless. Several species of crawfish, clams, and snails are known to most fishermen and hunters.

Plant Life

Kentucky flora ranges from sub-boreal in the Eastern Mountains to semi-tropical in the Mississippi River bottoms'. Each of the State's six topographic and geologic regions has its peculiar type of flora; and in each of these regions are minor floral divisions, resulting from variations in elevation, moisture, soils, exposure, and the work of man.

The most varied plant life occurs in the Eastern Mountains, where clearing and cultivation have not disturbed the native flora. Here are found the large-leafed rhododendron, azalea, blueberry, huckleberry, ferns in great profusion, and the magnolia. Throughout the highland region the rhododendron is at its loveliest in June; and in this month, over all the rockier parts of the mountains, the mountain laurel or calico-bush is in bloom. Perhaps the loveliest flower in the mountains is the great laurel, or mountain rosebay (Rhododendron catawbaiense) , which covers hill and cliff with bell-shaped, rose-purple flowers, seen in full bloom only in the protected ravines of the Pine Mountains.

Four species of magnolia the great-leafed, the small-leafed cucumber tree, the ear-leafed, and the umbrella tree bloom in late May or early June. The waxy gloss of their leaves and their huge, but delicate, pure white, sweet-scented blossoms give them a tropical appearance. Again in the fall they catch the eye with their crimson seed cones. An aberrant member of the magnolia family, the tulip tree, called yellow poplar in Kentucky, grows in all parts of the State. In May and June it produces dainty chalices of green, tinted with orange. Because of its value for lumber, the supply of larger specimens has been depleted.

In May and June the mountains bloom with trillium, bloodroot, bluebell, wildginger, dogtooth violet, sour-wood, firepink, mosspink, groundpink, violet, bluet, dogwood, crab apple, dwarf-iris, yellow and pink lady-slipper, and dozens of other species. From early summer to the first frosts, the long growing season brings from blossom to maturity the wild strawberry, serviceberry, haw, wild grape, persimmon, and papaw. Edible nuts for winter consumption include the chestnut, chinquapin (both rare today), beechnut, hazelnut, walnut, and hickorynut.

Visitors to the Bluegrass region who expect to find the color of its famous grass blue in the summer months are disappointed. Only in May do the blue anthers of its blossoms give the grass a distinctly steel-blue tint. It grows luxuriantly in the limestone phosphorus soils of the Bluegrass region and sporadically in the limestone soils of the Pennyrile but does not prosper elsewhere. In its chosen habitat bluegrass is unequaled as turf and for pasturage, but it is rarely cut for hay. On many farms in central Kentucky it is grazed every month of the year.

Few untouched wild spots are left in the Bluegrass region. Park-like lawns and open, grassy woodland patches surround the farm houses; but along steep banks and in the deep dells much of the original flora of the region survives. Here, in spring, are hidden the purple trillium, springbeauty, dwarf-iris, pink catchfly, bloodroot, stonecrop, columbine, and ferns of every sort. Dogwood and redbud spread their lacy, tinted draperies over the vernal slopes. Later in the summer, purple, white, and blue asters and hosts of other blossoms cover the rocks and find foothold in every pinch of soil between them. In the fields and open places goldenrod vies with bridal-wreath aster in the autumn. Along the streams the artichoke, a sunflower with edible roots, and the goldenglow, very like the artichoke in size and color, cover the bottom lands and banks with gold. Tall purple composites, the ironweed and meadow beauty (deer grass), grace the open woodlands or low meadows. In the Eden shale soils of the Bluegrass several species of red-haw flourish; these are white with blossoms in the spring, and in the fall are hung with the red berries that children string into long necklaces and belts. When unmolested the red-haw grows from ten to twenty feet high, but cattle browse it to the size of bushes, a fact that suggests their usefulness as hedges.

Old fields in the acid soils and even in the more alkaline soils of the Pennyrile are sometimes covered with clumps of broomsedge, a grasslike plant that grows green in the spring and brown in autumn. When growing thick, it looks like a field of grain and is eaten sparingly by the livestock. Farmers consider it a pest, however, and often burn over patches of the weed.

Everywhere are the climbing vines grapes, wistaria, trumpetvine, Virginia creeper, and poison ivy. Poison ivy, which smothers fence posts along the highways, grows rankly wherever it finds support. Its three-fingered compound leaves, greenish flowers, and white berries are easily identified, especially in the morning when the plant is covered with dew.

Western Kentucky may be divided into two broad floral grounds: the upland division, represented by hill or knob land; and the lowland or river valley division. The upland flora, although more widely distributed, is less luxuriant than that of the lowland. Extensive ranges of oak forests cover many of the knobs, their rich green foliage making a shady habitat for herbaceous plants. Early spring bedecks these forests with the golden yellow buttercup, the toothwort, springbeauty, and the delicate rue anemone. The birdsfoot violet, the most beautiful native kind, often carpets a gravelly knoll.

Deep, moist ravines are canopied by sugar maple and beech, where the rich humus yields the trim wake-robin, in tones of brown and green, and the ever popular Indian turnip (Jack-in-the-pulpit). The bloodroot, bellwort, Solomon's-seal, Greek valerian, waterleaf, wild sweet William, butterfly weed, trout lily, numerous violets, and other plants furnish a continuous sequence of blossom in the spring. Perhaps the greatest beauty of these woods is at the flowering time of the dogwood and redbud, everywhere abundant.

In summer the dryness of the soil in this area reduces the number of flowering plants. For the most part, plants either make their growth and flower in the spring, or wait until the approach of autumn. Then the roadsides are bordered with goldenrod, the royal purple ironweed, and the sky-blue wild ageratum. Entire fields are covered with a sea of gold as the yellow tickseed comes into flower. Several species of asters herald the approach of frost, as the hills are transformed almost overnight into masses of glowing color.

The overflow lands of the lowland area support a tropical luxuriance of vegetation, particularly in the wooded parts. Trees attain a larger growth here than in the uplands. Nearly all the eastern North American oaks are represented, even the southern willow oak, and there are, in addition, several varieties of hickory (including the pecan), species of ash, besides the maple, willow, cottonwood, sycamore, sweetgum, blackgum, and many others. The picturesque river birch, with its thin, papery bark hanging in shreds, stands out in bold contrast to the smooth silver maples with which it often grows.

Early spring flowers are not abundant, but summer and fall bring a wealth of color as the Indian pinks, the milkweeds, ruellia, cardinal flower, great blue lobelia, spider lily, and aster and goldenrod come into prolific flower. Marshy places are fringed with the swamp rose, halberd- leafed hibiscus, swamp privet, and button bush, and covered with yellow pond lily and lotus. The Ohio, Mississippi, and lesser rivers, by their meanderings, have formed numerous oxbow lakes that furnish ideal conditions for the spread of the bald cypress. These beautiful trees, with their "knees" protruding from the surface of the water, often cover large areas. Festoons of catbird grape hang from the lower branches and climb over the smaller shrubs, extending to the water's edge.

Kentucky lies in the great hardwood forest region between the Alleghenies and the western prairies. Before white settlement, three-fourths of the State was covered with forests unsurpassed in eastern North America for the size of individual trees and the density of the cover. Giants six, eight, and ten feet in diameter were not uncommon. The larger varieties were yellow poplar (tulip tree), sycamore, oak, chestnut, and walnut. It is told that some of the hollow sycamores were so large that families were known to have camped in them until they could build cabins. Today not over one-fourth of the State can be called forested and very little of this is primeval, nearly all having been cut over for timber.

Their attractiveness and the ease of settlement upon them led to the early clearing of limestone lands in the Bluegrass region. Today about 90 percent of these lands are denuded. The western limestone lands of the Pennyrile and the delta lands of the Purchase are about 30 percent forested. The most densely forested areas, amounting to 60 or 70 percent of the area, are in the valleys of the Big Sandy, Upper Licking, Kentucky, and Cumberland Rivers, all in eastern Kentucky. In the latter area the timber is chiefly composed of oak, chestnut, and yellow poplar; in the rest of the State it runs to oak and hickory, except along the lower Ohio and the Mississippi flood plains, where hardwoods peculiar to river bottoms prevail.

Kentucky's forests have brought their owners considerable wealth, but commercial exploitation was practically at an end by the close of the last century. Today the State's forests are still producing moderately, but not as they did when great sawmills stood on all the larger streams and logs by the millions floated down in the spring and fall freshets. As most of the steeper land in Kentucky is better adapted to the production of trees than to other uses, the tendency is to conserve forest stands and to cut the timber scientifically, but no thorough State-wide system of conservation has been adopted. Only in one or two small areas is reforestation being attempted, where some of the private landholding companies and individual owners have begun to reforest their cut-over lands. The establishment of the Cumberland National Park in eastern Kentucky offers the greatest promise of forest conservation. This park will contain over a million acres, of which much is forested, and the rest already is being replanted. The Federal example points to the necessity for a State forest policy that will increase timber resources, offer a measure of protection against the too rapid run-off of storm water, and restore the natural balance in wild life which reckless exploitation has destroyed.

Geology and Paleontology

The oldest outcropping rock formations in Kentucky are of the Mid-Ordovician period, an early division of the Paleozoic era, hundreds of millions of years ago when only the simplest forms of marine life existed. Cambrian rocks, those from the earliest period of the Paleozoic, are exposed nowhere in the State, but from a deep well drilled at Nicholasville in Jessamine County fossil remains of trilobites, small oval-shaped marine animals, known to have lived in the Cambrian, have been taken.

The Ordovician period, when shell-forming sea animals flourished, is well represented in both surface and subsurface formations. In the vast ocean covering this region lived sponges, corals, moss animals, brachiopods, sea lilies, chambered shells (cephalopods), primitive forms of snails (gastropods), clams (pelecyrods), and buglike creatures, the trilobites. Tiny gastropods, Cyclora minuta, were so numerous that their fossil remains in the limestone have been mined as phosphate rock. The lime and phosphorus of these shell-forming sea creatures account in large measure for the fertility of Kentucky soils, especially of the Bluegrass region, with which the Ordovician deposits are practically co-extensive. The limestone and shales of this area are estimated to be half a billion years old.

Through the massive limestone of Central Kentucky the Kentucky River and its tributary, the Dix River, have cut deep gorges. Gently rolling hills, occasional caverns, sinkholes, and countless springs are phenomena resulting from erosion and internal water drainage. At the beginning of Silurian time following the Ordovician age and lasting a relatively brief twenty-five million years an ancient sea invaded Kentucky from the Gulf of Mexico, permitting the immigration of southern types of corals, crinoids (a class to which sea lilies belong), and simple shellfish. About the middle of that age the waters of the North Atlantic invaded the area, bringing many new forms. In this complex of older life forms and newer developing ones are found chain corals, honeycomb corals, cup corals, and organ-pipe corals all named for peculiarities of shape, crinoids of many kinds, and new species of shellfish. Trilobites were on the decline and disappeared during the Pennsylvanian period.

The limestones of the Devonian, the next period, have preserved about the same number of genera of corals, crinoids, and brachiopods as are found in the Silurian. Cephalopods, with chambered shells, and the mosslike and branching bryozoans are common. During this age, which is marked by the rise of fishes and the appearance of amphibians, there were sharks in Kentucky's waters; the ostracoderm, a great fishlike creature, has left its remains. The oldest known land flora also made its appearance on Devonian lands.

Considerably more than a fourth of Kentucky is underlaid by limestones, shales, and sandstones of the Mississippian system. These formations date from the beginning of the Carboniferous period, which was to last somewhat over one hundred million years and exhibit a flora of primitive scale trees, tree ferns, huge mosses, early forms of flowering plants and, from this world of luxuriant vegetation, the development of amphibians. Among the new creatures was a genus called Archimedes, so named from its resemblance to the screw of Archimedes. From the stem of this living screw, lacy curtains extended, inhabited by thousands of microscopic bryozoan animals. Fossils of the decorative Pentremites, the so-called fossil "hickory nut," are found in abundance in some of the limestones in the Pennyrile. Fossil sharks' teeth are the only evidence of vertebrates of the period in Kentucky.

The limestones of the Mississippian period are responsible for the odd feature of the landscape known as the Land of Ten Thousand Sinks, with its extensive subterranean drainage. From the evidence of existing river channels, cutting deeply through Mississippian strata and subsequently filled with sandstone of the Pennsylvanian period, it may be deduced that the Mississippian period witnessed a vast uplift followed by a subsidence of the region.

The Pennsylvanian, or great coal age, is represented in the surface formations of both the eastern and western coal fields of Kentucky. These are sandstones, shales, occasional limestones, and numerous coal seams. The lower sandstone outcrops along the outer edges of both areas and has been sculptured by erosion into natural bridges, rock castles, and water falls. Natural Bridge and Cumberland Falls are notable among these. The Pennsylvanian shales in places bear the imprint of the abundant plant life of the period. The shale roofs of some of the coal mines are decorated with fossil tree trunks, showing bark patterns and the traces of leaves. The sandstones also exhibit the Lepidodendrons, Sigillaria, and other coal-forming trees, a flora that vanished with the end of the Carboniferous period in its last stage, the Permian. The animal fossils of the Pennsylvanian resembles those of the Mississipian.

The close of the Paleozoic era, an eon of some 350 million years, saw the rise of the ancient lofty Appalachian Mountains, of which the ancestral Pine and Cumberland Mountains formed western outposts. So far as Kentucky is concerned, there is a hiatus in the rock record, extending from the end of the Paleozoic to the last period of the Mesozoic. Triassic, Jurassic, and Commanchean rocks do not occur, and those of the Cretaceous period show no marine fossils. Dinosaurs or other spectacular creatures of this age of reptiles may have wandered into the area during this time, but neither fossil remains nor footprints have been found.

The Tertiary period, which introduced the age of mammals, found the Purchase Region of coastal plain bordering an enlarged Gulf of Mexico. Cassias, figs, maples, laurels, oaks, walnuts, willows, papaws, gums, yews, hickories, and other contemporary flora thrived. In these forests roamed the giant ground sloth, giant wolves, and other carnivora.

The Quaternary includes the quite recent glacial period, traces of which (in the Illinoian stage) are found ten to twenty miles south of the Ohio, from the Big Sandy to the Kentucky Rivers. Louisville, in part, and other cities of the northern border are built on a glacial Ohio River outwash of sand and gravel. Big Bone Lick in Boone County is named from the leg bones of mammoth and mastodon that mired down at this place. It is possible that cave dwellers lived and hunted at the edge of the slowly retreating ice cap. In any event, within a few thousand years man made his appearance in the forests of this region and the modern era was ushered in. There are geological and paleontological collections in the University of Kentucky at Lexington, in the Louisville Free Public Library, and in many other Kentucky institutions of higher learning.


THE MANY mounds, forts, cave shelters, and burial fields in Kentucky show that the prehistoric population must have been fairly large for savages. It was diverse in culture and probably had many separate origins. Aboriginal remains are found in every county in the State. The eastern mound area covers the heart of the Bluegrass region and extends northeastward to the Ohio River. This fertile and well watered land was heavily timbered in prehistoric times. It is characterized archeologically by the great number and large size of its Indian mounds, many of them associated with village sites, and by other structures which have been called forts. The popular notion that the mound builders were a race differing from the American Indians has no facts to support it. They were doubtless the ancestors of some of the historic Indians.

The mounds were originally of various shapes and sizes but have been altered through weathering and the changes caused by agriculture. This is especially true of mounds which were not high and stand in cultivated fields. With each plowing the earth has been removed from the top and spread out at the base until the original shape has been destroyed. Often the surface for many yards around is strewn with flints, bones, and broken pottery upturned by plow and harrow. Some of these mounds were constructed centuries ago; others are quite recent. Certain tribes of modern Indians were building mounds when the first whites arrived. Sometimes intrusive burials indicate that later tribes used the mounds after the original builders had disappeared. All mounds were not used for the same purpose they were erected for ceremonial or sacrificial purposes, or for the burial of the dead; and some perhaps represent nothing more than the dirt roof of a lodge or the gradual accumulation of camp refuse.

The remains of camp and village sites, usually found in the vicinity of mounds, are often extensive and show long occupancy. The features by which a site is recognized is the sporadic occurrence of broken bits of flint artifacts, potsherds, or bone fragments scattered over the surface. The midden of a village is usually one foot deep, though it may attain a depth of several feet.

The life of the mound builders may be reconstructed, to some extent, from the artifacts found in the mounds. Agriculture is shown in the hoes; fishing in the fishhooks and fish scales; hunting in the bones of many a beast; sports in the almost obliterated race tracks and playgrounds; child-like vanities in the personal ornaments; industry in the laboriously fashioned tools and in the carved pipes and gorgets.

The rock shelter area extends throughout the knobs and eastern mountains and swings south and west of the Bluegrass to portions of west central Kentucky having a similar topography. In this area erosion has formed many vertical cliffs from 50 to 200 feet high in which are rock shelters, known locally as rock houses. Numbers of these shelters are several hundred feet long and from 30 to 60 feet high, and many are quite dry. Into these, primitive man carried wood for fire and animals for food. Ashes and bones have accumulated in layers sometimes 10 feet deep. Each layer contains a record of contemporary life and is well preserved, for no water has entered the shelters and the dry ashes have prevented bacterial action. Bone, shell, gourd shards, textiles and leather have been found in excellent condition.

Not all the sites are of the same age, nor do all have the same amount of accumulated debris; but the series of artifacts, burial customs, and apparent steps in the development of culture are so nearly identical in the shelters investigated that it is reasonable to suppose that all have a similar story of occupancy.

The western Kentucky rock shelter area embraces the headwaters of the Green River and extends northward to the Ohio River. The cliff shelters found here differ from those in the cliff dwelling area. They are merely overhanging rock strata or ledges of sandstone or limestone, offering protection over a relatively small space. The cliffs are usually not more than 30 feet high, and the actual shelters, while numerous, are individually small no larger than would meet the need of a single family. The shelters were often so small that the ashes had to be periodically swept out, and their accumulation formed a talus at the foot of the cliff below, which grew deeper and broader as occupancy continued. Burials of men, women, and children were often made in the ashes and debris swept from the shelter. There is no known evidence of cremation. Bone and shell were used extensively; a few slate pendants, shell and bone beads, and other ornaments have been found.

The distinguishing feature of the sandstone sites is the hominy hole used for grinding corn. At every site, from one tocents five or six of these conical holes are found either in the shelter floors or in large sandstone boulders. A hominy hole is from four to ten inches in diameter at the top, tapering to perhaps three inches at the bottom and varying in depth from one to three feet. Associated with the hominy hole is a bell-shaped pestle, lashed to a staff several feet long, and used pointed end downward, with which the corn was ground by percussion. A number of pestles were left in these hominy holes by their users. Crude hoes, the hominy holes, and pestles suggest a horticultural people.

They are not to be distinguished from the rock shelter dwellers of the eastern mountains, and their cultural connections are uncertain. The cliff dwellings were in continuous use from a remote period until the advent of white men. The lowest ash beds have no pottery of any kind, no flint implements, and only the crudest forms of hammerstones; large broken animal bones, mingled with mussel shells, nut hulls, and fish scales, form a considerable portion of the refuse. Upper or later levels show gourd shards, grooved axes, and very crude limestone hoes, indicating the beginning of agriculture. Woven textiles and moccasins of both textiles and leather have also been found in the upper layers. Crude potsherds occur only in the top six inches of the ash, and a few sites have yielded paddle-marked shards. The cliff dwellers used shells as spoons and scrapers, and made a characteristic bone awl from the shoulder blade of the deer.

Many burials of women and children occur in the ash beds, but such burials did not prevent later occupancy of the site. Although dozens of ash beds have been investigated and scores of bodies of women and children have been found, there is no evidence of a burial of an adult male. The question of what was done with deceased adult males may have been answered by the discovery, in one site in Wolfe County, of some 57 artifacts associated with the almost entirely burned bones of what appears to have been an adult male. These bones and artifacts are preserved, just as found, in the museum of the University of Kentucky.

Future investigation may show that adult males were cremated. In the southeastern mountain area are many mounds, but they are not as numerous as in the neighboring central mound area. Here, too, are rock shelters in which the aboriginal people lived and left artifacts. Plowed fields have yielded artifacts of flint and other stones and vestiges of villages may be seen in a few places. The soil was capable of producing maize abundantly but the roughness of the country doubtless interfered with settlement.

An area embracing a portion of north central Kentucky includes evidence of aborigines of unknown cultural affinities. This occupation is indicated by burial sites containing stone cists of two to six burials, usually situated on high hill crests. The graves are covered with a double row of flat stones set on edge and touching each other at the top. Other stones are then leaned against this first row, and sometimes an area of 10 feet square is covered with sloping stones. Along part of the Ohio River in Kentucky are a few larger mounds associated with village sites, some of which have yielded material of Fort Ancient culture; this would be expected from its contact with the Fort Ancient area in Ohio and with the eastern mound area in Kentucky, to the eastward. The Fort Ancient culture is probably Siouan.

Kentucky caves were inhabited by prehistoric man, but how far he dates back in time is, at present, an unanswerable question. The term "cave dwellers" is used to designate those ancient people whose remains are found in caves and who apparently lived in them. Primitive man could hardly have found a more satisfactory type of shelter. The part of the cave near the mouth was commonly occupied, and caves which had good rooms close to the entrance were favorite dwelling places. The inhabitants also used the most remote passages, for in the deepest and most inaccessible chambers they left evidence of their presence. The caves, like the mounds, represent more than one group of people. After one group deserted them, a new group would move in.

The reason for burial in the caves may have been religious belief, or long-established custom, or a desire to protect the graves, or merely the fact that the floor of the cave was never hard or frozen, and was easy to excavate when the outside ground was not. Whatever the reason, its existence is fortunate, for cave burials have proven conducive to preservation of remains, and thus they give illuminating glimpses of ancient life.

Ash beds are found on the floors of caves, but it is often difficult to tell whether they were made by ancient residents or modern hunters. On the walls are marks and decorations; since weathering is very slow in such protected places, these marks may be ten or a thousand years old. Hidden in crevices are pots containing paint or pigment, but little is known of the men who left them there.

South and west of the western Kentucky rock shelter area, along Green River in its passage through McLean, Muhlenberg, Ohio, and Butler Counties, is the Shell Mound area. It is distinguished by great shell heaps near the riverbanks, consisting of gastropod and mussel shells mixed with animal bones and camp refuse. The size and number of these mounds suggest a large population or a long-continued occupation. The shell beds are often ten to twelve feet deep, and many of them are several acres in extent. The most important archeological investigation within this area was made by C. B. Moore at Indian Knoll, where many skeletons and certain characteristic artifacts were discovered. The circular pattern of graves at this site is unlike that in the surrounding territory. The artifacts indicate a people living wholly by fishing and hunting. There is no evidence of agriculture and, beyond the mounds themselves, no evidence of permanent occupation. It is possible that these shell mounds are evidences of the oldest human occupancy in this area of the State.

The stone grave area, lying between the Tennessee and Green Rivers, is very rich in prehistoric remains earth mounds, large village sites, and cemeteries. Stone grave cemeteries are fairly numerous, and some are fairly extensive. A stone grave is made by setting six to eight stones on edge, carefully joined to form a box; in this the body in the flesh is buried at full length. Usually the stone graves were lined at the bottom and covered at the top with flat stones. At one site they were found under mounds which contained crematory pits and ossuaries of a group of unknown culture.

These stone graves are generally devoid of artifacts, although sometimes they contain small mortuary vessels of pottery. At the head or foot of the individual within the stone grave are extended burials and many burials of bones. Thus on such sites there is evidence of at least two methods of disposal of the dead. Because of a dearth of artifacts the cultural connections of these people are uncertain.

Within this area, built upon a stone grave cemetery seemingly at a later date, a village site has been found and a group of sixty or more mounds, many of which have proven to be crematory pits for burning the bones of the dead. Remains show the practice of cremation, strongly suggestive of some members of the Siouan linguistic stock, and collections of jumbled human bones are found, often within the same mound. Such ossuaries often contain the bones of hundreds of individuals, packed into small, stone, chimney-like vaults, similar to the crematory pits. Here again were two methods of dealing with the dead. Artifacts found in this association are few, the most characteristic being pottery "elbow" pipes. These pipes and burial customs are similar to those described by Gerard Fowke in Missouri. The third culture within this area has been called the Gordon or Tennessee-Cumberland aspect, first described by Meyer in the Cumberland River region of Tennessee. This culture is distinguished by the erection of earth mounds over the sites of buildings or temples. The remains of these buildings, which were made of wattlework between posts driven into the earth, show that they were destroyed by fire and covered with earth while the fire was yet burning. Over this a new structure was erected which, in time, went the way of the first. Generally the mounds show several levels of occupation. Remains of maize are found in the temple sites, indicating that the people of this culture practiced agriculture. They made pottery, producing distinct and attractive types, many of which show outside influence. One characteristic form is a textile-marked vessel of large size, commonly called a salt pan. Shards of such vessels are found in great number in the dirt forming the mounds that cover the sites of burned buildings. While, in places, these earth mounds are found near the stone grave cemeteries, not all are so situated. Some of the larger sites show fulllength burials in the flesh, accompanied by a variety of artifacts. The occupancy of this area by so many different peoples complicates the problem of identification; on the other hand it has increased the stratification of artifacts and culture customs.

The Jesuit Relations recounts that the Five Nations, or Iroquois, in New York, got guns from the Dutch about 1630 and turned on their less advanced neighbors to the north, south, and west with such fury that by 1690 the present States of Ohio and Kentucky were depopulated, their inhabitants having fled across the Mississippi River or to the southeast.

About 1645-1650 a group of these fugitives from the upper Ohio began to cross the present State by the Athiomiowee, or Warriors' Trace. They were overtaken by their Iroquoian foes, but fortified themselves and drove them back. In Virginia they defeated Colonel Howard Hill and killed the chief of his Indian allies, Totopottomoi, a successor to Powhatan. The Virginia records call these fugitives Rickohockans and later Occaneechos. Others of these same people turned down the Ohio called the Acansea River on early French maps and the Mississippi, and finally settled on the Missouri and Arkansas Rivers.

Between 1715 and 1725 a number of the Piqua band of Shawnee returned from the South and built a town, Eskippakithiki, in the southeastern part of Clark County. There they remained for some time until they moved to Ohio and took sides with the French in the campaign against Braddock.

In 1736 the French took a census of the Ohio Valley and credited the Shawnees, in the Carolina region, with a strength of 200 men. This was probably only for the Shawnee town of Eskippakithiki, for the Van Keulen map of 1720 shows a trail from the present Illinois, crossing the Ohio near the mouth of the Kentucky River, and passing by the site of Eskippakithiki, to Cumberland Gap, which is labeled, "The route which the French take to trade with Carolina." Peter Chartier, a half-breed Shawnee trader, the son of Martin Chartier, was in Kentucky in the late seventeenth century. He had his chief post at the Shawnee town on the Pequea Creek in Pennsylvania, and probably reached out for trade with his Shawnee kinsmen in Kentucky. In 1745, he was reprimanded by the Governor for selling liquor to the Indians, and accepted a captaincy in the French service and fled down the Ohio River, taking with him 400 Shawnee warriors and their families. Having robbed all the English traders they met, they went to their kinsmen at Eskippakithiki, where they stopped until the fall of 1747. After making trouble in the South for several years, they drifted back, stopping at the present Shawneetown, Illinois, until they were allowed to return to their British allegiance and their old homes. Chartier fled to the French in Illinois.

About 1729 Shawnees, Delawares, and Mingoes built Lower Shawneetown on the western side of the Scioto River at its mouth. A suburb of this backwoods capital was built on the Kentucky side, now Fullerton, and some trading posts were established there by Colonel George Croghan, and others. This town and its Kentucky suburb were deserted just before the French and Indian War. Eskippakithiki and Lower Shawneetown were the last Indian settlements in Kentucky.

This information was Compiled and Written by the Federal Writers' Project
of the Work Projects Administration for the State of Kentucky - 1939


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