Happy 223rd Birthday, Kentucky!


Time flies when you’re having fun! For a quick glance back at this great day 223 years ago, we’ve turned to James C. Klotter and Freda C. Klotter’s wonderful A Concise History of Kentucky for a peek back in time.

On June 1, 1792, Kentucky became the fifteenth state in the new United States and the first state west of the mountains. The people chose as their first governor a man named Isaac Shelby. Of medium height and only a fair speaker, the forty-one-year-old Shelby was originally from Maryland; he had been a war hero and moved to Lincoln County, Kentucky, at the end of the conflict. He started out from Danville that June day, with horsemen around him, and headed for the temporary capital at Lexington. When he arrived, people fired rifles and cannon in the air to honor him. Then he took the oath of office as governor. Three days later, legislators met in a two-story log cabin. One of the first orders of business was to decide where the permanent capital would be located. Groups of people from various towns vied for that honor, but Frankfort made the best offer. It promised land in town to build on, money for construction, and building materials—glass, nails, locks, stone, and timber. The new state had a new capital and now faced a new future.

We’re not firing any rifles or cannons but we’re still pretty excited about what the commonwealth will do next!

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About University Press of Kentucky

The University Press of Kentucky has a dual mission—the publication of books of high scholarly merit in a variety of fields for a largely academic audience and the publication of books about the history and culture of Kentucky, the Ohio Valley region, the Upper South, and Appalachia. The Press is the statewide mandated nonprofit scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, operated as an agency of the University of Kentucky and serving all state institutions of higher learning, plus five private colleges and Kentucky's two major historical societies.

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