KENTUCKY (see 15.740).—The census of 1920 ranked Kentucky as 15th state with a pop. of 2,416,630; in 1910 the state was 14th with 2,289,905. The gain of 126,725, or 5.5%, was numerically the least since 1840 and per cent the least since 1790. There were 1,227,494 males and 1,189,136 females. The whites number 2,180,560, an increase since 1910 of 7.5%; the negroes 235,938, a decrease of 9.8%. Foreign-born whites numbered 30,780 or 1.3% of the total pop., as against 40,053, or 1.7% in 1910. There were also 57 Indians, 62 Chinese, 9 Japanese, and 4 others. White men 21 years of age and over numbered 584,721; white women, 560,804; total, including negroes, 1,289,496, most whom may vote under the new election laws of 1920. The density of pop. in 1920 was 60.1 to the sq. m.;, in 1910, 57. The state remained overwhelmingly rural, despite a rise of urban pop. from 24.3% in 1910 to 26.2% in 1920. Sixty-four counties widely scattered, lost pop. in the decade; while four in the eastern coal-fields gained 50% or more. In 1916 the Baptists claimed 367,731 members; Roman Catholics, 160,185; Methodists, 155,229; Disciples of Christ, 129,972; Presbyterians, 48,423; Church of Christ, 24,216; Episcopalians, 9,383. The eight cities with a pop. of over 10,000 in 1920 were:
|1920||1910|| Increase |
Education.—The large number of illiterates reported in 1910 (208,084) led to the creation of two illiteracy commissions in 1914 and 1918 respectively. In Rowan county in 1911 night schools for adult illiterates were inaugurated. Renewed educational campaign secured a compulsory attendance law, higher salaries, consolidated schools, better organization and more revenue, reducing illiteracy from 12.1% in 1910 to 8.4% in 1920. An Act of 1920 grants to counties and cities ample taxing powers to provide for their schools. The census reported 702,391 children of school age, of whom 519,093 were enrolled. High schools shared in this expansion, increasing from 83 in 1910 to 400 in 1920.
Agriculture.—The number of farms increased from 259,185 in 1910 to 270,626 in 1920, but the improved land decreased from 14,354,471 ac. to 13,975,746, despite the efforts of the reclamation
service, which expended $1,620,027 in the counties bordering on the great rivers and in the western coal area. This drainage and flood-prevention work involved 471,874 acres. No control has been perfected to meet floods, such as that of 1913. The number of farm owners increased from 170,332 in 1910 to 179,327 in 1920; the number of tenants decreased in the mining counties and increased in Mason 82% Boyle 76%, Mercer 68%, Fayette 63%, and Bourbon and Jessamine 60% each. Women who operated farms in 1920 numbered 11,399; negro farmers, 12,628. The average size of farms decreased from 85.6 acres in 1910 to 79.9 in 1920. The value of all farm property rose from $773,797,880 in 1910 to $1,511,901,077 in 1920. The average value of farms in 1910, $2,452, rose to $4,823 in 1920; the average value of the land from $21.83 per acre to $48.62. Of the farms which in 1920 were operated by their owners, 25.8% were mortgaged.
Live-stock figures are not closely comparable because the census of 1910 was taken April 15, that of 1920 on Jan. 1. Despite this change, however, mules increased from 216,915 to 292,857, cattle from 898,444 to 1,093,453, and chickens from 8 to 10 millions. A decrease is recorded in horses from 425,000 to 382,000, though the price of thoroughbreds did not decline; in sheep from 778,154 to 707,845. The number of swine in 1920 was 1,504,431, valued at $15,471,514. The total value of all live stock in 1920 was $148,125,506.
The value of the crops in 1919 and 1909 was:
|Other grains and seeds||1,660,745||765,903|
|Hay and forage||43,399,964||10,510,422|
|Fruits and nuts||4,989,367||5,019,231|
After 1915 there was a marked increase in farmers' unions, marketing associations, young people's clubs and agricultural extension courses. On the other hand, orchards revealed a distinct decline both in trees and fruit, apparently suffering from neglect.
Minerals.—The coal output in 1910 was 14,623,319 tons; in 1916 it was over 25,000,000 and in 1920, 38,892,044 tons, the increase being partly due to strikes in other regions. To provide for this increase, most of which was in the eastern counties, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad constructed 333 m. of track and expended $30,000,000 during the decade of 1910-20; the Baltimore and Ohio constructed 55 m. In Pike, Perry, Letcher and Harlan counties the pop. increased 50% or more, while the number of tenants in the agricultural districts decreased. New towns, such as Ravenna, Jenkins, McRoberts and Lynch, sprang into existence. Petroleum was marketed in small quantities, because of the low prices, prior to 1916. Stimulated by the war, prices rose from $2.05 per bar. on Jan. 1 1917 to $4.50 at the close of 1920. No trustworthy figures are available prior to the reports of the tax commission, according to which 17 counties produced as follows:
| No. of bar.
|1918 (8 months April-Dec.)||3,444,620||$ 8,906,422|
|1919 (12 months)||9,226,472||24,459,016|
|1920 (12 months)||8,552,877||33,556,241|
The greatest pool, Big Sinking, was opened in Lee county. A new field appeared in the south-western counties, centering about Allen and Warren. In many locations the drillers opened gas wells which have reduced the state's dependence on West Virginia's supply. Mt. Sterling, Winchester, Paris, Lexington, Frankfort and Louisville now obtain natural gas. The principal oil refinery is at Louisville. That city manufactured in 1919 various products to the value of $204,568,000 out of the state's total of $395,660,000.
Minerals.—From 1909 to 1919 capital invested in mines, quarries and wells rose from 26 to 201 millions, or 651%; value of products from 12 to 98 millions, or 713%.
Communications.—Railway facilities were, as already stated, enlarged to meet the increased coal production after 1910. Extension of existing pipe-lines provided for oil transportation, supplemented by river boats for which locks were built by the U.S. Government. But the largest expansion was in road-building and automobiles. Motor licenses increased from 2,808 in 1911 to 114,228 in 1920, bringing with them an insistent demand for better roads. To this end the state roads department receives a tax of $.01 per gal. on the sales of gasoline, and a tax of $.03 from state funds, with Federal aid for approved projects; it also shares with counties the cost of some inter-county roads.
Finance.—The old revenue system based on a general property tax proved inadequate to meet the cost of progressive legislation. After thorough investigation by a legislative committee in 1914, the Assembly at a special session in 1917 created a tax commission. The general tax was reduced from $.50 to $.40; the levy on bank deposits and live stock was fixed at $.10 per $100 of taxable property; a tax
of 1% of the market value of oil goes to the state, and half as much to the producing county. Increased by license and franchise revenues, the general fund is then apportioned to various purposes by the Act of 1918. Under the new law, bank deposits rose from $11,000,000 in 1916 to $179,000,000 in 1917; assessed values from $922,000,000 in 1917 to $1,912,343,940 in 1921; railway 'valuations from $70,000,000 in 1914 to $160,000,000 in 1917. The total revenues in 1920 were $11,628,336. The need of a budget is shown by a floating debt which is carried in the form of warrants.
Legislation.—The Acts of the General Assembly for the period 1910-20 contain many provisions in regard to labour, education, and public health. The Child Labor Act of 1908 was improved in 1910, 1912, 1914 and 1916. Other progressive laws cover the subjects of tax reform, prisoners, banking, insurance, vital statistics and sanitation. In general the Assembly has welcomed all tenders of Federal coöperation in matters of agricultural extension, road-building and public health. No appropriations were made to meet the exigencies of the war beyond the Act of 1918 creating the Council of Defense at a cost of $50,000 per annum. An Act of 1920 to prevent the sale of worthless securities was due to the speculation in oil shares after 1916. A series of Acts permits all cities to adopt the commission plan of government.
History.—The great changes in the political and economic life of Kentucky during the decade 1910-20 were due to three factors: a programme of social legislation carried over from the previous decade; the World War; and participation in national reforms. Of secondary importance were two other factors: the exceptionally severe winter of 1917-8 which was accompanied by pandemic influenza; and the active road-building induced by the increased use of the motor-car. While disease and war tended to check the growth of population as well as to prevent construction work of all sorts, the demand for war supplies and the rise of prices distributed new wealth, created new towns in the eastern counties and permanently enriched all who could assimilate their prosperity. Toward the close of the decade the Prohibition Amendment destroyed the distilling industry, which stood first in value of output in 1914, amounting to $48,862,526; but tobacco alone at war prices in 1919 yielded the unprecedented sum of $117,730,675. Two Democratic governors were elected, J. B. McCreary (1911-5) and A. O. Stanley (1915-9). The latter, however, had a plurality of only 471 votes over E. P. Morrow, Republican, and a Republican was elected secretary of state. Governor Stanley resigned to take his seat as U.S. senator on May 19 1919, Lieut.-Gov. J. B. Black succeeding him. In Nov. 1919 Edwin P. Morrow, Republican, defeated Black by the surprising plurality of 40,176. While the state cast all her electoral votes for Woodrow Wilson in 1912 and 1916 and for Cox in 1920, she chose a Republican senator, R. P. Ernst, in. 1920. Several changes were made in the state constitution by popular referendum: in 1915, to permit classification of property for taxation and to employ convicts on public roads; in 1917, to permit telephone companies to merge; in 1919, to adopt prohibition. The 120th county—McCreary—was organized in 1912 out of parts of Pulaski, Wayne and Whitley. In Nov. 1917 the U.S. Supreme Court declared void Louisville's race-segregation ordinance.
On April 3 1910 a night rider was convicted at Marion and in the same year certain farmers and residents of Grant county were convicted of violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act by conspiring to prevent the marketing of tobacco. In Aug. 1914 at Hartford, of 65 persons accused of &ldqo;regulating conduct” by coercing their neighbours, 2 were sentenced; Jan. 11 1917 Governor Stanley persuaded a mob at Murray to disperse after threatening the judge and state's attorney for safeguarding a negro prisoner; and in the same year at Providence a miners' outbreak was quelled by guards returning from the Mexican border. On March 13 1921 a negro prisoner was lynched at Versailles, but the gaoler was removed from office. The most serious outbreak occurred Feb. 9 1920 when at Lexington a mob, attempting to enter the Fayette county court-house to seize a negro during the progress of his trial, was fired upon by state troops after repeated warnings. Seven men were killed and 22 wounded. Soldiers from Camp Taylor arrived later in the day, averting further bloodshed. The negro was convicted and sentenced a few minutes after the firing ceased.
Kentucky furnished for the World War 91,821 men in all branches of the army and navy. Of these, 3,015 died and more than 4,000 were wounded, 300 remaining in hospitals in 1920. Camp Zachary Taylor at Louisville was one of the national cantonments for infantry, while artillerymen were trained at West Point in Jefferson county and at Camp Knox. Total subscriptions to the Liberty and Victory loans were $190,846,510.
- (E. T.*)