In researching my ancestry I noticed that some individuals
and families moved from Kentucky
to other states during the Civil War (IL, IN, MO, AR & TX) and in the
decade following the end of the Civil War; sometimes a family would have
multiple moves. This movement was usually because families were seeking work
and some sort of financial stability due to the bad economy in Kentucky during and
immediately after the Civil War. Some of
these families returned to Kentucky
but some did not.
After the Civil War:
The end of the Civil War found Kentucky in a terrible
plight. The conflict had left behind its toll of physical destruction as well,
for crops had been lost, livestock taken, and property destroyed. There were
89,000 fewer horses, 37,000 fewer mules, and 172,000 fewer cattle in Kentucky in 1865 than at
the start of the war. The amount of land under cultivation had declined
drastically. Despite wartime inflation, land values in places like Lexington decreased
one-fourth between 1862 and 1872. A soldier returned to one Kentucky town and was welcomed by
"neglected farms .... roads and paths overgrown with weeds, and almost no
business of any kind being carried on." But that sense of economic setback
could be - and would be - easily overcome, for in truth Kentucky had not suffered as greatly as the
states farther south. The commonwealth thus emerged from the conflict hobbled, but strong enough
to move ahead, to grow rapidly, even to take a leadership role in a region
where other states had much greater handicaps and devastation to overcome. More
damaging than the economic costs was the war's effect on the psyche of the
populace. So much of what had once been was no more. The optimism that drove
settlers to frontier Kentucky
now seemed a rare commodity.
The return to peacetime normalcy,
often called Reconstruction or Readjustment, proved a formidable challenge. In
faced a number of problems: federal military rule had to be ended; the economy
had to be revived; labor problems accompanying the emancipation of the slaves
had to be resolved; and the freed Negro had to be integrated into the state's
political, economic and legal systems. Although the state was spared the trauma
of secession and the subsequent necessity of readmission to the Union, because
slave interests the years immediately following the war were as critical to
its residents as to those of the Confederate states. Lawlessness and violence abounded in Kentucky
during the decades after the war, continuing to the turn of the century and
beyond. The suspicion and animosity of the war did not end as soldiers returned
home to live, often side-by-side, in continuing hatred. Seething over real and
imagined injuries, lawless groups roamed
the countryside. Outrages occurred throughout the state; beatings, lynchings,
shootings, rape and arson created a dismal picture.
As the state's political situation stabilized, public
attention turned toward a long overdue reform of the public school system.
Between 1861-1865 education was the last thing on anyone's mind; the
legislature's one appropriation for schools was based on money confiscated from
illegal gambling enterprises and dog fees. With almost one-fourth of all
Kentuckians over the age of ten illiterate, the establishment of a state
education system proved an enormous task. Schools had to be reopened with
public support, and facilities for the children of freedmen had to be provided.
Unfortunately, there were few trained teachers, scant facilities for educating
them, no school commissioners or boards, and a lack of textbooks. Whether black or white, the Kentucky school child's education was far
from ideal. The Common School Report of 1871 described schools as having
"leaky roofs, filthy floors, smoked ceilings and walls defaced with
obscene images," and the 1874 survey stated that "foul air and
feculent odors" prevaded the school buildings. No wonder that schools
failed to attract more than 40% of the school age children. The state did not
even have an eight-week per annum compulsory school law until 1896. For those
who did attend, the McGuffey Readers, the Eclectic Spelling Book, and the
American Standard School Series provided instruction in the three R's,
spelling, grammar, composition, history, geography, and the laws of health. In
history was included in the curriculum.
The Panic of 1873 stands as the first global depression
brought about by industrial capitalism. It began a regular pattern of boom and
bust cycles that distinguish our current economic system and which continue to
this day. While the first of many such market "corrections," the
effects of the downturn were severe and, in 1873, unexpected; the Panic of 1873
spanned from October 1873 to March 1879. Numbers fail to convey the depth of the economy distress.
Average wages fell by nearly a quarter. Thousands of American companies
defaulted on over a billion dollars in debt, nine out of 10 U.S. railroad concerns failed, and
the country faced double-digit unemployment for over a decade. The worst effects of the downturn (unemployment,
homelessness, malnutrition) were concentrated in the industrial sectors, but
every region suffered and the economy continued to sputter. The long-term
effects were quite noticeable from today's perspective. While the northern U.S. economy
raged like a furnace from 1840 to 1860, averaging over six percent annual
growth per year, the country's overall economic productivity fell by over 24 percent
during the two decades that followed the Panic of 1873.
Hartford Herald 1875
The first issue of the Hartford Herald was published January
6, 1875 – it is listed as “Volume 1, Number 1.”
The publisher was John P Barnett & Co, Hartford, and the editor was Wallace
Gruelle. It was a four page newspaper
with the front page largely a reprint of a popular book titled Maria Saxonbury, authored by Mrs. Henry
Wood; plus short articles from out-of-state newspapers, a few bad jokes and an
article from the Detroit Free Press titled The
Model Wife (not exactly political correctness). Page 2 was “News of the Week” and was national and international news for the
past week. Page 3 was local and regional news (one story on page 3 was titled “The Trouble at the Render Coal Mines”).
Page 4 was dedicated to agricultural news. Advertisements were sprinkled
throughout the four pages. An annual subscription was $2.00.
I have spent a few hours reading all 52 issues from
1875 and I have picked out a few things that I found interesting. The following is from February 3, 1875 (sorry the two photos don't line up very well):
SAMUEL E. HILL was born January 30, 1844, in Morgantown, Ky., a son of
Daniel S. and Malinda (Ewing) Hill, of Butler
County, Ky. The
father was a carpenter by trade, and in 1850 moved to Ohio County. In 1862 he
was elected county judge, and died in May, 1865. The mother died in June, 1844.
There were six children born to them, of whom our subject is the sole survivor.
Samuel E. was principally reared in Hartford, where he received his education
at the old Hartford Seminary. When sixteen years old he began working on a
farm, and at the age of eighteen enlisted in Company G, Twelfth Kentucky Cavalry,
Federal service, and at organization of the company was appointed first
sergeant. His brother, John W., who was captain of the company and acting
major, was killed at Knoxville, Tenn., while leading his battalion in a charge
at the beginning of the siege. Samuel E., at the death of his brother, was
elected captain over the lieutenant of the company, with only two dissenting
votes, and was later breveted major. His commission as captain was issued January
18, 1864, a few days before he was twenty years of age; he was known as the
"boy captain." He was after Morgan on his raid in Indiana, was in the
east Tennessee campaign under Burnside; in the Atlanta campaign under Sherman,
and at the Saltville raid and other severe engagements. He never missed a
campaign with his company, or spent a day in the hospital. After his return
from the war he began the study of law under Hon. D. H. McHenry, and graduated,
in 1867, from the Louisville law school. He then returned to Hartford and
opened a law office in partnersnip with Judge J. W. Kincheloe; this partnership
terminated after five years. In 1873 he entered into partnership with D. H.
McHenry, who recently retired and gave place to his son, the firm now being
Hill & McHenry. In 1877 Mr. Hill was elected State senator, was chairman of
the joint committee on education, and was a member of two of the law committees
of the senate. In politics he is a Democrat. He is now and has been for many
years past a member of the State and county committee. October 12, 1869, he
married Naomi Baird, daughter of Alexander B. and Sallie M. (Barnett) Baird, of
this county. To them have been born three children: Effie, Mary, and Lizzie,
all at home. Mrs. Hill is a Methodist and Mr. Hill leans to the Cumberland
Presbyterian Church. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity, has been twice
high priest of his chapter and thrice master of his lodge.
Source:J. H. BATTLE, W H. PERRIN, & G.
C. KNIFFIN 1895
Note: Samuel Ewing Hill died 30 May 1904 in Lexington, Fayette County, KY in the Lexington Cemetery. Served as Adjutant General of Kentucky 1887-1891.