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9 > Image 9 of Inventory of the county archives of Kentucky. No. 34. Fayette County (Lexington). Vol. I

Part of Kentucky Works Progress Administration Publications

5 Historical Sketch ` hold its first com encement. "In the presence of a very respectable audience, several elegant speeches were de1ivered..., and in the evening a tragedy was . acted,...the whole concluded with a farce" (Kentucky Gazette, April 26, 1790, A _ quoted by R. H. Collins, Op. Cit., p. 193). On the eleventh day of August, 1787, the first newspaper west of the Allegheny Mountains, the Kentucke Gazette, was issued at Lexington. The u sheet rapidly became a dominant factor throughout the Fayette Countyrregion It was not until March, 1789, that the spelling "Kentucky" was definitely adopted, as the result of action on the part of the Virginia Legislature (Col- ' v lins, Op. Cit., PP- 180, 195). The paper has been out of existence for some l time, but the site of the cabin in which it was first printed is suitably marked. The first state constitution, adopted at Danville on April 19, 1792, re- quired the general assembly to meet at Lexington the following June 4 to pro- _ vide for a permanent seat of government. By June 18 the assembly had chosen five commissioners and granted them power to select the site. The following notice appeared in the Kentucky Gazette for July 28, 1792: "Notice is here- by given, that the commissioners for fixing the permanent seat of government, will attend at Brent & Love's Tavern in Lexington, on the first Monday in August next, and the succeeding day, to receive proposals from any persons authorized to make offers concerning the business of their cmmiission, and will proceed from thence to view any place or places which will be thought most eligible" (quoted by Collins, Op. Cit., pp. 181, 194; see also Reuben Durrett, The Centenary of Kentucky, a Filson Club Publication, p. 57). A significant petition was sent to the Virginia Assembly in 1787 by the citizens of Fayette County. It was requested that tobacco inspection be es- tablished in the county, as yet without warehouses or an established system of inspection, on the Kentucky River near Stone Lick. It was further stated that . the citizens were desirous of "making tobacco to pay taxes and for other pur- poses" (James Rood Robertson, Petitions of the Early Inhabitants of Kentucky, p. 102). A responsive Assembly passed an act "to enable the citizens of thc commonwealth to discharge certain taxes by the payment of tobacco" (Hening, Op. Cit., Vol. XII, p. 258). From the county's founding tobacco has played the chief part in its pros- , perity. Recent markets have been occasions of great interest to the state at large because of the high prices paid and the unusual profits accruing (Bf. The Lexington Leader, Dec. 19, 1956). White Burley is the variety most fre- quently grown. Fayette County is the heart of the Bluegrass region, which has long been known for the thoroughbred horses it produces. The first recorded public race meeting in the county was held at Lexington in August, 1789. The Lexington Jockey Club was formed twenty years later (1809) and has flourished ever since, under various names, always seeking "to improve the breed of horses by encour- aging the sports of the turf (Collins, Op. Cit., p. 171). Elmendorf, Calumet, _ Dixiana, Walnut Hill and Idle Hour are some of the numerous stock farms in the county. Several of these farms are open to visitors at certain hours, and are centers of great attraction to persons interested in thoroughbreds. A third important source of income for citizens of Fayette County, which was developed at an early date, is the manufacture of whiskey. The high per- centage of lime and phosphorus present in the springs of the region is generally considered a prime factor in the production of the Bourbon Whiskey for which it Fi 34-8