xt7djh3d0189 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7djh3d0189/data/mets.xml Federal Writers' Project of the Work Projects Administration for the State of Kentucky 1942 I. Agricultural societies.--II. Kentucky state fair. books Kentucky Department of Agriculture This digital resource may be freely searched and displayed in accordance with U. S. copyright laws. Kentucky Works Progress Administration Publications Kentucky State Fair Agricultural exhibitions Kentucky--Fairs Fairs and fair makers of Kentucky. Volume I text Fairs and fair makers of Kentucky. Volume I 1942 1942 2012 true xt7djh3d0189 section xt7djh3d0189 I   A   EE     I E   4 .         I   l  ”¤S .
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Compiled by `Vorkers of the Ke:1tucky"AIIri.I;ers' Project
of the Work Projects Adztxinistration in Kentucky
Sponsored by the Kentucky Department of :.xF;T`iCT.1].`tZI.l1"S

 First Published in April, 1942
Brig,. Gen. Philip B. Fleming, Administrator
V tl
Howard O. Hunter, Commissioner
Florence Kerr, Assistant Commissioner GC
George H. Goodman, Stete Administrator
t er
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Copyright l942 by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture
Printed in U. S. A.
Reproduction of this book, or any parts thereof, except short excerpts for
inclusion in newspaper or magazine reviews, is expressly forbidden

Seldom does it become the privilege of a state official to participate in
the publication of so splendid a work as FAIRS AND FAIR EAKERS OF KENTUCKY.
In these pages is contained a factual account of the trials and tribulations
experienced by our early Kentucky agriculturists, and the gradual rise to promi-
nence of Kentucky as an agricultural state. In its pages also is found all of
the glamour and romance surrounding the breeding and development of thoroughbred
race horses in Kentucky, a comprehensive background of blood lines and breeding
stock and a historical record of the ever increasing predominance of the Kentucky
thoroughbred on the race courses of America.
The interested reader may follow the rise of Kentucky pure bred live stock
to its present high place in the Nation's agricultural picture, and may find the
contributions made by famous Kentucky breeders throughout a century and a half.
The Work Projects Administration and the Kentucky Department of Agriculture
are proud to jointly sponsor such a work, and we feel that the time and resources
spent in marshaling the material will be justified by the reception which will be
given the publication upon its release.
For years Kentucky has needed a complete study of its agriculture over the
long and glorious period covered by this book and it is with a deep feeling of
pride that we now present it to the agricultural leaders of the State as a monu-
ment to their efforts and the efforts of their predecessors in bringing about the
position of leadership now generally accorded to our State by agricultural au-
thorities throughout the Nation.
-7/ .
/ , l //{z.
{ 444..%, J T
? ate Commissioner of Agri‘ulture

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The fairs of Kentucky, like those of other States and those of earlier times
from which contemporary fairs are descended, have borne since their inception a
close relationship to the economy of their region. For that reason, this book
contains more than its title suggests; contains, by more than implication, the
story of Ventucky's agricultural development in addition to the recital of the
rise of the fairs in this State.
It is appropriate, therefore, that these two volumes of Fairs and Fair
Makers of Kentucky should appear under the sponsorship of the State Department of
Agriculture. `Fa—inish to thank`William H. May, Commissioner of Agriculture, and
William G. Harris, his administrative assistant, for their cooperation which made
publication of the book possible.
In assembling the material for Fairs and Fair Hakers of Kentucky, the Writ-
ers' Project received the unstinted asszgsazzstsrisssgoVOiu¤e€€r workers through-
` out the State. The list of these workers is too long for personal mention, but
their part is not forgotten. Especial thanks is due to L. B. Shropshire of the
Kentucky State Fair for his part in the conception and early planning of the
work; To Otto H. Rothert and Ludie J. Kinkead of the Filson Club; Edna Jeanette
Grauman and Ellen Temple Harding of the Louisville Free Public Library; Carrie L.
Hunt of the Lexington Public Library; Hrs. Jouett Taylor Cannon of the State His-
torical Society Library, Frankfort; members of the staff of the University of
Kentucky Library, Lexington; J. C. Wehrley, assistant manager of the State Fair;
Anne MoCrocklin, secretary to the Fair Board; Col. Lucien Beckner of Louisville,
and the secretaries of the national breed associations.
Fairs and Fair Kakers of Kentucky was prepared under the direction of Hugh
J. Hughes who wrote Volume I of the book. Frederick L. A. Eichelberger collabo-
rated in the writing of Volume ll. Data for the book was gathered by a research
staff of‘Nriters' Project workers under their supervision.
State Supervisor,
Kentucky Writers' Project

Volume I
Soils and Climate, Men and Breeds —-—-—·—- 1
Early Organizations and Stock Shows --——-—- 27
_ Kentucky Comes of Age -—-———--—--—-- 60
The Decisive Era--1850-5O --————-—--—— 77
The Golden Years ——-- - -·--——----- lll
Third Kentucky State Agricultural Society -—-— 156
Modern Kentucky Arrives --————-—-—-·- 158

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Soils, climate, the people and the stock they brought with them are the ma-
terials out of which Kentucky was-created. Nature gave generously of soil and
climate. These came into the possession, more than a century and a half ago, of
a people with a strong agrarian tradition and a love of the domestic arts. What
follows is the story of the use made by the people of Kentucky of the gifts na-
ture entrusted to their keeping.
The soils of Kentucky vary in character from the highly productive lands of
the Bluegrass, the Pennyrile, and the numerous valleys of the State to the sandy
or weather—worn soils of the more rugged and otherwise less fortunate sections.
The topography, in general, is that of a high-rolling plain, crossed again and
again by river valleys, from which extend arms that give to the traveler the im-
pression of traveling over.a mountainous country. Actually, the only real moun-
tains of the State are in the extreme southeastern section along the Virginia
border. - - ,
Originally this rugged terrain, except for a region in the south—central
part of the State known as "the Barrens,W a region kept burned off by the Indi-
ans as pasture ground for buffalo and other game they protected, was heavily tim-
bered. This timber was largely oak, beech, maple, sycamore, tulip, pine and many
others less common. Native grasses and legumes filled in the space vacant of
trees. The Bluegrass, a practically level and nearly circular area extending
from Louisville in the west to`Tinchester in the east,was covered with canebrake,
except spots where, like islands, rose clumps of giant oak and other trees.
Survivors of this old forest may still he seen standing, beaten and scarred by
storms, in the pastures throughout the region.
A deep and rich vegetable mold originally covered the entire area. of the
State. This gave to the settler an illusive idea of inexhaustible soil fertil- A
ity that, during the l830’s, began to be dispelled. Cultivated fields began to
erode and crop yields diminished. Such evidences of the coming exhaustion of the
soil¤vere closely associated in time with the rise of the agricultural associa— L
tions. `Vith the work of these associations came general recognition that upon T
stock breeding and the development of a varied livestock industry, rather than E
upon grain farming, depended the economic welfare of the State. K

The climate of Kentucky favored such a shift in emphasis from grain to live- QE
stock. The grazing season is long. The winters are comparatively mild. The
rainfall is usually sufficient and well distributed throughout the year. Extremes Sh
of heat or cold are uncommon. Pure water is abundant. The materials out of which b?
rn make shelter for stock were close at hand. Markets ·were developed before the rl
ijricultural associations and their fairs entered the picture. These associations tu
_ effected no drastic change in the manner of living. They were conservative in
l _ character, merely seeking through united action to adapt the existing agricultu-
ral order more closely to the resources nature had provided. th
The people of Kentucky are twice removed in culture from those who ruled the KO
` great estates of rural England during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. AS
The cavalier settlers brought with them to the Virginia Tidewater, the Carolinas, On
and Maryland traditions and memories of the baronial style of living. They aff
transplanted the laws and customs of England. They imported both the virtues and al.
vices of their forbears.; They possessed an innate, high courtesy, especially to- On
i ward women; they were quick to resent an insult. They looked for ease of circum- ig;
stances rather than for large wealth. They enjoyed a horse race or a camp meet- bO(
ing with equal zest. Being tolerant, they.saw no particular harm and perhaps fg;
V much of good in both. Wh,
By the time their grandsons had removed from. the seacoast into the hunting 22E
grounds of Kentucky, they had changed but little inwardly even though outwardly l
they wore the rough trappings of the frontiersman. Their numbers had been aug-
*mented by Scotch, Irish, a few French, and a few Pennsylvania Germans. These ad- _
ditions conformed to the original English pattern in their ambition: to possess ra]
an estate the wide acres of which would assure to them and their children the Obi
good things of life without too much labor. Such was, and such is today, the S T
° Kentucky ideal. Zig
·Later immigration has altered but little the original racial composition of lts
the State outside of the Ohio River cities, where there was, during the early in- tha
dustrial period, a large influx of German and, later on, other racial elements. p Suc
However, the racial stock of the State is still predominantly English and Scotch- frc
Irish. The ratio of Negro to white population has lessened from 20 per cent in thg
l8lO to about 8 per cent in lQ40. There is a friendly adjustment between the ISK
races. Kentucky today is a busy agricultural and industrial State, with impor- dlg
I tant developments since lB8O in the fields of mining and transportation; while I
the noncommercial pursuits of education, religion, and social intercourse are
undergoing constant development. _ §§§
_` ‘ W ` War
` The equipment of the farmer arriving in Kentucky differed little from that Eib
used by his relatives and friends east of the Alleghenies. His necessities in-
cluded the essential land-clearing tools-- axes, saws, and wedges; a heavy hoe to
serve as a spading tool, an iron plow point to be fitted to a wooden beam and fle
moldboard; a scythe, a reaping hook, and a fork. His harrow, or drag, was a luv
simple device of brush, drawn over the surface to cover the broadcasted grain; or lga
later, of iron pegs set into a wooden framework easily made at home. These, to- Gst
gether with a flail and a sieve for threshing and winnowing the grain, constitu- lan
ted the average farm machinery. Cart, wagon, sleigh, ox yoke, harness, pails, for
churn, and the lesser equipment of the farm and home were made in the neighbor- Pub
hood. The spinning wheel and loom, essential alike to the domestic and to the
. industrial picture, were either brought over the trails or, after the first wave
of migration, manufactured by local artisans. Cutlery, including the essential ‘ fac

 @ 1
. OF KENTUCKY` I ` ‘ ` - 3 -
IVG " ···· ···t··i··········j······ —···—·;-+·-————-·-· 
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 early—day 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 Jn.an effort to improve the methods used in hemp processing. The large
n I

 V 95
part the_fhrmcr played in the preparation of the fiber made every grower a semi—
manufacturer, keenly aware of the vital economic interest shared by the grower,
the manufacturer, and the user 0f the final prodpct. This alliance between agri-
culture and industry was extended ir the 1830's and later to the development and
perfecting 0f all lines of arricultural machinery and farm, equipment, as well as COT
to their manufacture and use. Thé close relationship found expression in the SP€
ii name "Agricultural and M@chanic&1," applied to the societies organized during and m€T
A `aftcr the third decade of the nineteenth century.
Tobacco was another crop that eargr c&m@ into the Kentucky agricultural and br*
Y industrial picture. Like hemp it required muph labor and gave correspondingly roc
largcfinancial returns per acre under cultivation. Unlike hemp, which reached Tu]
the peak of its industrial importance in the day of the sailing ship, tobacco did b&(
not assume its pr0scnt—day major role until it was brought int0_pr¤mincncc by the Am?
pressing nconomic nccd of the State as a whole after 1865 and the gradual decline Va·
of hemp grcwing. br?
. th:
Flax, a leading fiber crop of the early years, followed closely the fortunes f°‘
of hemp, and the linens of Kentucky hclpcd bind still closer the alliance between Wa:
farmer and manufacturer. Corn, a crop easily grwwn under pioneer conditions and tO
a basis of one of Kantucky's greatest industries, the manufacture of whisky, has t€°
never achieved any more than local marketing importance. Wheat, rye, awd barley,
the other leading grains, have entered into the manufacturing and marketing pic- lil
ture with varying degrees of intensity. With the possible exception of wheat, ht
these grain crops were geared to the home demand and only pressed upon the Na- q7é
ti0n's markets after the adoption, in the l850's, of modern farm machinery. dax
, _c0Mi1;g OF mlgmms - J°h’
The pioneer of the late eighteenth century, along with the meager equipment
hc céuld transport across the mountains, brought his greatest possessions, his ?&I
horses and his cattle. N0 introduction [to the story cf the fairs cf Kentucky 1aI
would be complete, and no such story would be understandable, without some men- Cl(
ticn 0f what hai taken place in the pastures and breeding lots of Virginia, M&ry- Of
land, and, porhapé, Rhode Island and New York. Certainly those sections and the
counties 0f England and Scotland whence the great brcgds came cannot be forgotten 8V(
— Holdernsss and Durham, Berkshire and Yorkshire, Hereford aud ·`_· Devon in England;
Ayr, Aberdeen, Galloway, and Angus in Scotland-- all these for "hcrncd c&ttl@," _
as Our ancestors called them; Shropshire, Essex‘ and Lincoln, the Cotswold and ¥&]
Chcviot hills, and the downs of Southampton for shegp; the dry Spanish platcaus " d;
for Spanish Merino sheep; also for jacks and jcnnets, foundation of the mule ` “
industry. A `
First mentioned are the great rural counties of southern and central England E;
where, in the days after the Crusades, managers of great estates, while directing fi
their tenants, rode horses known simply as thc "English brcad." Those horses al
_ possessed, very c0n0@i*&bly, more than a little 0f the blood 0f the Barb 0r Turk.
They are described by Thomas Blundeville, writing in 1580, as "& race of swift
runners to run for wagers or to gallop the buck." A smaller, gentler type fT@— mg
qucntly spoken of in literature as the "p&lfrey" was also in common usc, purticu- bg
lnrly by women and children. In the ballad 0f "Fair An;©t," the ambling 0r pac- Jé
E ing gait charwctcristic 0f the palfrcy is thus mentioned: Ca

 OF KENTUCKY A ___ - 5 -
""““ A. The horse fair Annet rade upon
€mi-_ . 4 _' ` He amblet like the wind;
WOT, _ _ Wi' siller he was shod before,
Sri- 'Wi’ gleaming gowd behind ....
1 QS Compared with the Thoroughbred of today, either breed was smaller and less
thg speedy, but notable for sureness of foot and the staying power known to horse-
and men as "bottom." . _
During the seventeenth.century marked attention was given to improving the
and breed; and in 1689 Captain_ Byerly, an officer of the English army in Ireland,
Ugly rode at the Battle of the Boyne a Turk stallion, which afterward, as Byerly's
Zhgd Turk, stood in England as the first in point of time of the three great stallions
did back to which all present-day registered Thoroughbreds, both in England and in
tha America, trace their lineage. In 1709 the Darley Arabian, second in time of arri-
ling val in England of the three progenitors of the Thoroughbred, was imported by a
brother of Mr. Darley of Oldbey Park, midway between York and Malton. In 1728 the
third of the great trio, the Godolphin Barb, either an Arabian or a Barb, was
lngg found, according to tradition, on a water cart in the city of Paris. The finder
VOQU was a Mr. Coke of Norfolk, who presented him to R.`Williams who in turn gave him
and to the Earl of Godolphin. uHe was a brown bay, large for the time, standing fif-
has teen hands. He stood at service until his death in 1755. »
gig; The blood of these three sires, mingled with the best blood of native Eng-
gat lish stock, is notable for the fact that after two centuries it still survives,
Na; while of the 174 sires mentioned in the first General Stud Book, published in
1781, the blood lines_of all the rest have been broken. -The Thoroughbred of to-
day in all pedigrees traces back in the direct male line to one or more of the
. three. . l
lent The intermingled blood of these founding sires appears in _the three great _
his families_founded by Eclipse, foaled in 1764, a great-grandson of the Darley Arab-
Lckv ian and of The Godolphin, by Herod, great-great—grandson of the Byerly Turk and
len; closely related on the side of his dam to the_Uarley Arabian. Watchem, grandson
_ry_ of The Godolphin and descended on his dam’s side from the Byerly Turk, completes
and the seccnd_trio of great‘sires. To one or possibly to all of these the blood of
ytgn every American Thoroughbred traces. _
i§?d The most famous sire of the three was Eclipse, never beaten in a race, and
and winner of twenty-six races and matches. He won eleven King's Plates. In twenty-
aus 4 three years at stud he sired 544 race winners. His earnings amounted, in present-
MIG . day American money, to approximately $750,000. 4 .
The first English horses imported into America came to New_England in 1629.
and Later in the same century, Rhode Island became a horse-breeding center from which
ing the stock, English of the period prior to the infusion of Eastern blood, spread
SCS first to Long Island where a race track was built in 1665, and later (c.l690), to
rk. all the other English Colonies along the.At1antic coast.
Eg? The first horses imported to Virginia, shortly after Jamestown was settled
CU- met an ignominious_fate. They were eaten. A_ later importation fared little
p` better, In 1659 the_Privy Council approved an order permitting "Thomas Stegg and
TO- Jeremy Blackman to furnish Virginia with horses, mares, and such. like beasts of
carriage, and to export from thence the like number of neat cattle..." In 1646 a

total of between two and three hundred horses were in the colony. Later the ex- DGy·
nortation of mares was prohibited. This exportation ban was lifted in l667. By {hg
the middle of the eighteenth century racing was an established sport. During this
period it is supposed that there was_an infusion of Andalusian blood by way of
horses owned by the southern Indians; horses descended from those possibly left to
behind by early Spanish explorers. _ gil
. · S
‘ In l702 a Swiss traveler visited Virginia. His eyewitness account follows: t§;
"Going to church means at_some places =a trip of more than thirty ;;;
miles, but, as can be seen from what follows, it is not a great hard- -‘
~ ship, because people are well mounted there. Horses, which are hardly V
used for anything else but riding, are half deers. They run always Sta
in a fast gallop. `When services are held on Sundays or on other days MST
- none goes to church except on horseback .... _
— VThe-horses, like the English breed, are very lightfooted.w.. They are -_ tcg
very common.‘ It must be a poor man who cannot afford one. Not many Val
people can be seen traveling on foot, even if it is only an hour‘s_ - tha
distance. ‘They are seldom used to draw ‘wagons or plows, because the V Car
·nature of the country does not demand it. They cost from three to V e tha
eight pounds of sterling ....
.. "The wild horses are hunted in April and May, at the time of the year ini
_ when, being famished after the winter, they fill themselves with the - to
fresh grass to such an extent that they become lazy and are unable to TGC
. run. The English place their best horses for four or five weeks into Wyj
the stable, feed them with oats. Then they mount and ride their horses
° in companies while they hunt them. They are soon found, because they
run about in large numbers. As soon as they are sighted, they are
chased. They can stand running for some time, but are finally over-
taken by the horses that have been fed with‘ oats. They are ·then
caught, kept for a time with- the tame »horses and broken in. They
develop great _endurance. They are grey, but not quite as tall as the
others.. Their meat is good to eat. They are also caught _in Apits.
When it is known which way they go to water, a deep pit is dug, which
is covered slightly. When the horse passes over it, it falls down and .
can't get out again, until it is bound with ropes and pulled out.
l There are people who make their living by this practice."
. Toward the end of the seventeenth century, laws intended to improve the
breed were passed. A minimum of thirteen and one·half hands was set for stal-
licns and continued as the legal requirement up to l792. In l7l6 the "Knights of
the Tolden Horse Shoe," a racing organization, was in being. From this time
forward rapid advance in uquality became apparent." The ideal of the day was a
hardy, fleet, strong, easy-riding animal. Such were the Virginia horses, English
stock, bred along lines similar to those followed in England up to the importa-
tion of the founding sires of the Thoroughbred.
In 1730 Samuel Gist, of Hanover-County, Virginia, brought from England the
stallion Bulle Rock, of the mingled blood of Darley's Arabian and Byerley's Turk,
first ofva series of thirty—nine-great English stallions imported to America and
bred upon the pick of Virginia's mares. This was but three decades after the
Turk had reached England; and The Godolphin did not cross the English Channel un-
til the year after Bulle Rockis crossing of the Atlantic. The point is that the
effort at breed improvement came, both in England and America, within the .same

 KERS OF zq=:mrUc1