Maysville Kentucky Blog

The Maysville Kentucky Blog is your guide to the beautiful and historic small town of Maysville Kentucky, snuggled into the rolling hills along the Ohio River. Though this blog has been discontinued, you can get your Maysville Kentucky fix over at Ken Downing's Mason County Kentucky Blog @

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Border State

Kentucky is well known for being a border state during the Civil War, but really it is the border state, both then and now. Today, Kentucky is the place where the South, Appalachia and the Midwest all come together to form a melting pot of culture. Local accent is even the Appalachian Twang, not the Southern Drawl. It's not as Southern as Tennessee. It's not as Midwestern as Ohio. It's not as Appalachian as West Virginia. Instead, Kentucky is a combination of all of these regional identities rolled into a distinct identitity that can only be called Kentuckian.

Even during the Civil War, Kentucky was so neither here nor there that past Kentuckians spent the first two years of the Civil War playing the Union and the Confederacy off each other (before the Union eventually occupied the state). Most of Mason County was pro-slavery, and nearby Lewis County was a hotbed of the abolitionist movement. Struggles between just these two neighboring counties often turned violent.

Although Kentucky was officially a neutral state, nearly every able-bodied man participated in the war. Brother often fought against brother as Kentucky supplied approximately 100,000 troops to the North and 40,000 troops to the South. Ironically, Kentucky was the birthplace of the Union president, Abraham Lincoln, and the Confederate president, Jefferson Davis. The two opposing leaders were born in log cabins within one year and 100 miles of each other.

Fast forward a few decades and Kentucky is still partly North (or more truly Midwestern), and partly South. If you think about it, there are really only three large urban areas in the state: Louisville, Lexington, and "Northern Kentucky." Northern Kentucky is the spill over from Cincinnati, and Louisville, bordering on Indiana, is a cultural invasion from its northern neighbor as well. While both areas are legally in Kentucky and paying taxes to Frankfort, they're culturally Midwestern.


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