History of Kentucky Governors

Kentucky Governors and Elections


ISSUES OF 1816-1824

             There were two high profile issues during this period.  The first one was the issue of “faulty land titles.  This issue impacted many famous Kentuckians.  Daniel Boone ended up leaving Kentucky in September 1799 for Missouri and the family of Thomas Lincoln (Abraham Lincoln’s dad) left Kentucky for Indiana in 1816 due in part to problems with faulty titles to real property. 

 One of the first American depressions was the “Panic of 1819” which to some extent was a result of economic problems reaching back to the War of 1812.

The “Panic of 1819”  officially extended until 1821. 



            The seventh person and third general to serve as Kentucky Governor was John Adair, who saw service in the South Carolina Militia in the American Revolution prior to moving to Kentucky.  During the Indian Wars of the northwest during the 1790s, Adair served in the Kentucky Militia and rose to the Brigadier General.  He was elected 13 times by the voters of Mercer County to the Kentucky House of Representatives beginning in 1793 including 2 years as Speaker.  He briefly served in the U.S. Senate in 1805-1806 to fill the vacancy when Senator John Breckinridge became US Attorney General under President Jefferson.

            Elected Governor in 1820 during the economic panic, he emphasized better state funding for education and prison reform.  The major concern of his administration was “debtor relief”.  Part of his relief plan was the state’s creation of the Bank of the Commonwealth which issued $3 million in paper money.

            After leaving office, Adair was elected to one term in the U.S. House of Representatives.

            Adair Counties in Kentucky, Missouri and Iowa are named for Kentucky Governor John Adair.