The purpose of starting this website is to blog about Kentucky's 57 Governors during this Gubenatorial Election Year of 2011. As of the first of February, it is my intention to cover one to three past Governors of Kentucky each week for the 40 or so weeks until the November 2011 Election.
The week of Jan 31st through Feb 4th I intend to cover Governors Shelby, Garrard and Greenup.
Some interesting facts about Kentucky Governors--
Simon Bolivar Buckner-KY Militia; CSA
DIED IN OFFICE--4
Isaac Shelby -KY's First & Fifth Governor
Like the nation, Kentucky chose a war hero and someone whose name would be used for cities and counties throughout the United States to be its first Chief Executive. General Isaac Shelby was the hero of the Battle of King’s Mountain during the Revolutionary War. (King’s Mountain is near Blacksburg, South Carolina.) Shelby was unanimously elected Kentucky’s first Kentucky’s first Governor by the “electors” as set forth in the First Constitution of Kentucky two weeks prior to Kentucky’s admission to the Union on June 1, 1792 as the 15th State.
In addition to his military service, Shelby had served in the legislatures of Virginia and North Carolina.
During Shelby’s first term his major issues concerned protecting Kentucky from Indian attacks and financing the militia which provided that protection. It should be noted that the Jackson Purchase area of Kentucky. The Purchase area did not become part of Kentucky until 1818 Treaty with the Chickasaw Indian Nation.
After serving his first term, Shelby was elected to another term in 1812.
Other officials who served during Shelby’s first term include—
Secretary of State –James Brown 1792-93
Secretary of State—John Breckinridge 1794
Secretary of State—James Brown 1795
Secretary of State—Harry Toulmin 1796
Attorney General—George Nicholas (appointed) 1792
Attorney General—William Murray (appointed) 1793
Attorney General—James Brown (appointed) 1794
Attorney General—John Breckinridge (appointed) 1795-96
Auditor --William McDowell 1792-96
Treasurer—John Logan 1792-96; Per Article VI, Section 6—appointed by the General Assembly;
Clerk, Court of Appeals—Christopher Greenup 1792-95
Clerk, Court of Appeals—Thomas Todd--1796
SOME ISSUES DURING THE FIRST SHELBY ADMINISTRATION
During the last year of Shelby's term he authorized the widened of the Wilderness Road from Cumberland Gap to Crab Orchard (part of which is US 25 E). The purpose was to allow better access for wagon travel. Daniel Boone in February 1796 unsuccessfully sought the contract which was awarded to James Knox and Joseph Crockett. (Daniel Boone by Michael A. Lofaro)
There was dissatisfaction with the Kentucky's 1792 Constitution due to the opposition to the Kentucky "Electoral College" which elected the Governor and members of the Kentucky State Senate. This was one of the reasons for the adoption of the KY Constitution of 1799.
ISAAC SHELBY’S 2nd Term
Agitation for war with Britain was in the background with the Election for Governor in 1812. During the Congressional elections of 1810, Kentucky sent two “War Hawks” to the U.S. Congress—Henry Clay and Richard M. Johnson. Both wanted war with Britain not only to deal with British tyranny on the high seas but to end the threat posed by Great Britain and its Indian Allies in the Old Northwest. Kentuckians were concerned about the threats posed by the Indian nations in the Northwest (present day Indiana, Illinois and Western Ohio) as well the British in Canada. At the time, Clay and Johnson advocated U.S. takeover of Canada.
Henry Clay believed that it would be in the best interests of the United States to control not only the Mississippi but the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.
Shelby’s Term of Office
Kentucky wanted a proven warrior to serve as Governor and head of the militia during a time of war. Kentuckians elected the 62 year old Isaac Shelby to a second term as governor 16 years after leaving office as the Commonwealth’s first governor in 1812.
The War of 1812 dominated Shelby’s 2nd term. Kentucky’s population of about 400,000 supplied over 24,000 men towards the war effort. Governor Shelby himself in the summer of 1813 met over 3,000 militia volunteers from Newport to take part in the war in northern Ohio and Canada.
Governor Shelby was leader in the “Battle of the Thames” (Chatham, Ontario) a decisive battle in which the British and their Native American Allies including Shawnee Chief Tecumseh were defeated. Colonel Richard M. Johnson (the Congressman and later U.S. Vice President) is credited with the death of Tecumseh.
At the end of the war, Congress awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to Isaac Shelby for his role in the War of 1812.
Shelby returned to his home Traveler’s Rest in Lincoln County when his term was over in 1816. In 1818, he assisted General Andrew Jackson as a commissioner in the negotiations with the Chickasaw for the part of Kentucky now known as the Jackson Purchase.
Shelby died in 1826 at Traveler’s Rest. At the time of his death, he was the only settler living his original land claim from Virginia in Kentucky.
Counties in ten states have been named for KY Governor Isaac Shelby.
Below a copy of a painting of the death of Tecumseh by Richard Johnson at the Battle of the Thames.