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15 > Image 15 of Fairs and fair makers of Kentucky. Volume I

Part of Kentucky Works Progress Administration Publications

@ 1 . OF KENTUCKY` I ` ` - 3 - IVG " tij ;-+--- 8;;; sheep shears, came from the seaboard. Not until after the arrival of the steam- hich boat on the Ohio between 1812-19, had lowered transportation costs and breakage the risks did the chinaware and period furniture, common in the later homes of Ken- ions tucky, come into general use. itg This picture of the equipment of the Kentucky farm and home holds good for the period beginning with the first settlements down to the end of the third de- cade of the nineteenth century. It will be noted how few and feeble were the the tools with which to subdue the richly timbered wilderness that became Kentu0ky i8S_ As a consequence, while the farms were usually large in area, the cleared acreage nas, on any given farm tended to remain small. This left wide, uncleared spaces that They afforded rich pasturago for "cattlo," a generic term used in that day to include gud all livestock except horses and mules; Beeehnuts and acorns furnished the mast _ tO_ on which hogs fhttened. Native grasses and legumes shared the rich limestone and Cum_ leafmold soil with the widely spaced ancient timber. Shortly after settlement t_ took place an early-ripening grass, native to the shores of the Baltic, arrived _hapS by way of seed carried in hay from the valleys of Virginia; This new grass found favorable environment and went out and possessed the land, giving the name by which it was known, "bluegrass," to the State of its adoption. Much later came {ting the clovers, alfalfa, and the present-day pasture grasses. But the fame of. the bluecrass outweighs them all. .rdly L * _&;: Another consideration that early turned the -mind of the farmer to stock QSGSS raising, rather than grain farming, was the problem of markets. The high prices the Obtalned by the earlier settlers for their products faded when, as soon happened, the a balance was struck between local supply and demand. New acreage was constantly ' added to that already under cultivation. Production went up. The surplus glut- ted the local markets, resulting in low prices. Attempts to move the surplus in >n Of its original form, chiefly grain and fibers, occasioned controversies that more V in_ than once brought the Nation perilously close to foreign war and to disunion. 3ntS_ Such dangers were partially removed when, in 1803, Jefferson bought Louisiana DtCh_ from Napoleon, and completely so in 1819, when Spain ceded to the United States at in the Floridas with their frecbooter nests, out of which swarmed the pirates that thg long had preyed upon the_commerce moving between the Mississippi, the West In- npOr_ dies, and the Atlantic coast. ghgig But the termination of foreign control of the Mississippi and later of pi- `racy did not solve the export problem of the earlyday Kentucky farmer. It con- tinued to be a problem, chiefly because of low prices in Europe, until after the War between the States. The general adoption of the reaper during the l860's and the opening of the Western prairies gave the Kentucky farmer a rival with which I that he could not hone to compete. More than ever he centered his efforts on hemp, I _ tobacco, and livestock. s in- *08 to Hemp, in demand for calking and rigging of America's fast-growing commercial r L and fleet, was one of the field crops to which the rich vegetable mold upland and al- Ias a luvial soils of Kentucky were especially adapted and, by 1787, it had become a n; Or leading product of the State. Incidentally, its culture tied in economic inter- "_tO- ost the farmers of Kentucky with the industrialists and ship owners of New Eng- 1 ;t?tU land and the States bwrdoring the Great Lakes; and had much to do with the drive 2 i;;;;; for a protective tariff and the formation of the Whig party, ancestor of the Re- I 3 the publican party. . I 1 3 WQVG _ Still another lasting effect of hemp culture, due to the absence of satis- I Bntlal Yantory breaking machinery, was te bring Kentucky inventors and farmers close to- I Kcthor effort to improve the methods used in hemp processing. The large n I I