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1. COUNTRY AND TOWN.
ENTUCKY is a land of rural homes. The people are out in the country with a perennial appetite and passion for the soil. Like Englishmen, they are by nature no dwellers in cities; like older Saxon forefathers, they have a strong feeling for a habitation even no better than a onestory log house, with furniture of the rudest kind, and cooking in the open air, if only it be surrounded by a plot of ground and individualized by all-encompassing fences. They are gregarious at respectful distances, dear to them being that sense of personal worth and importance which comes from territorial aloofness, from domestic privacy, and from a certain lordship over all they survey.
The land that Kentuckians hold has a singular charm and power of infusing some fierce and tender desire of ownership. Centuries before it was possessed by them, all ruthless aboriginal wars for its sole occupancy had resolved them
selves into the final understanding that it be wholly claimed by none. Bounty in land was the coveted reward of Virginia troops in the old French and Indian war. Hereditary love of land was the magnet that drew the earliest settlers across the perilous mountains. Rapacity for land was the impulse that caused them to rush down into the green plains, fall upon the natives, slay, torture, hack to pieces, and sacrifice wife and child, with the swift, barbaric hardihood and unappeasable fury of Northmen of old descending upon the softer shores of France. Acquisition of land was the determinative principle of the new civilization. Litigation concerning land has made famous the decisions of their courts of law. The surveyor's chain should be wrapped about the rifle as a symbolic epitome of pioneer history. It was for land that they turned from the Indians upon one another, and wrangled, cheated, and lied. They robbed Boone until he had none in which to lay his bones. One of the first acts of one of the first colonists was to glut his appetite by the purchase of all of the State that lies south of the
Kentucky River. The middle class of farmer has always been a strong, a controlling element of the population. To-day more are engaged in agriculture than in all other pursuits combined; taste for it has steadily drawn a rich stream of younger generations hither and thither into the younger West; and to-day, as always, the broad, average ideal of a happy life is expressed in the quiet ownership of perpetual pastures.
Steam, said Emerson, is almost an Englishman: grass is almost a Kentuckian. Wealth, labor, productions, revenues, public markets, public improvements, manners, characters, social modes-all speak in common of the country and fix attention upon the soil. The staples attest the predominance of agriculture; unsurpassed breeds of stock imply the verdure of the
the features of urban life. The hundreds of little towns and villages scattered at easy distances over the State for the most part draw out a thin existence by reason of surrounding rural populations. They bear the pastoral stamp. Up to their very environs approach the cultivated fields, the meadows of brilliant green, the delicate woodlands; in and out along the white highways move the tranquil currents of rural trade; through their streets groan and creak the loaded wagons; on the sidewalks the most conspicuous human type is the farmer. Once a month county-seats overflow with the incoming tide of country folk, livery-stables are crowded with horses and vehicles, court-house squares become market-places for traffic in stock. But when emp
lawns; turnpikes, the finest on the continent, furnish viaducts for the garnered riches of the earth, and prove as well the high development of rural life as the every-day luxury of delightful riding and driving. Even the crow, the most boldly characteristic freebooter of the air, whose cawing is often the only sound heard in dead February days, or whose flight amid his multitudinous fellows forms long black lines across the morning and the evening sky, tells of fat pickings and profitable thefts in innumerable fields. In Kentucky a rustic young woman of Homeric sensibility will rightly be allowed to discover in the slow-moving panorama of white clouds her father's herd of shorthorned cattle grazing through heavenly pastures, and her lover to see in the halo around the moon a perfect celestial race-track.
Comparatively weak and unpronounced are
tied of country folk, they sink again into repose, all but falling asleep of summer noonings, and in winter seeming frost-locked with the outlying woods and streams.
Remarkable is the absence of considerable cities; there being but one that may be said truly to reflect Kentucky life, and that situated on the river frontier, a hundred miles from the center of the State. Think of it! A population of some two millions with only one interior town that contains over five thousand white inhabitants. Hence Kentucky makes no impression abroad by reason of its urban population. Lexington, Bowling Green, Harrodsburg, Winchester, Richmond, Frankfort, Mount Sterling, and all the others, where do they stand in the scale of great American cities? Hence, too, the disparaging contrast liable to be drawn between Kentucky and the gigantic young States of the West.
Where, it is severely asked, is the magnitude of the commonwealth, where the ground of the sense of importance in the people? No huge mills and gleaming forges, no din of factories and throb of mines, nowhere any colossal centers for the rushing enterprise and multiform energy of the modern American spirit. The answer must be, Judge the State thus far as an agricultural State; the people as an agricultural people: in time no doubt the rest will come. All other things are here, awaiting occasion and development. The eastern portions of the State now verge upon an era of long-delayed activity. There lie the mines, the building-stone, the illimitable wealth of timber; there soon will be opened new fields for commercial and industrial centralization. But hitherto in Kentucky it has seemed enough that the pulse of life should beat with the heart of nature, and be in unison with the slow unfolding and decadence of the seasons. The farmer can go no faster than the sun, and is rich or poor by the law of planetary orbits. In all central Kentucky not a single village of note has been founded within three quarters of a century, and some villages a hundred years old have not succeeded in gaining even from this fecund race more than a thousand or two thousand inhabitants. But these little towns are inaccessible to the criticism that would assault their commercial greatness. Business is not their boast. Sounded to its depths, the serene sea in which their exis
tence floats will reveal a bottom, not of mercantile, but of social ideas; studied as to cost or comfort, the architecture in which the people have expressed themselves will appear noticeable, not in their business houses and public buildings, but in their homes. If these towns pique themselves pointedly on anything, it is that they are the centers of genial intercourse and polite entertainment. Even commercial Louisville must find its peculiar distinction in the number of its sumptuous private residences. It is well nigh a rule that in Kentucky the value of the house is out of proportion to the value of the estate.
Do not, however, make the mistake of supposing that because the towns regard themselves as the provincial fortresses of a good society, they therefore look down upon the home life
of the country. In fact, between country and town in Kentucky exists a relation unique and well to be understood: such a part of the population of the town owning or managing estates in the country; such a part of the population of the country being business or professional men in town. For it is strikingly true that here all vocations and avocations of life may and do go with tillage, and there are none it is not considered to adorn. The first governor of the State was awarded his domain for raising a crop of corn, and laid down public life at last to renew his companionship with the plow. "I retire," said Clay, many years afterward, "to the shades of Ashland." The present governor (1888), a man of large wealth, lives, when at home, in a rural log house built near the beginning of the century. His predecessor in office was a farmer. Hardly a man of note in all the past or present history of the State but has had his near or immediate origin in the woods and fields. Formerly it was the custom-less general now -that young men should take their academic degrees in the colleges of the United States, sometimes in those of Europe, and, returning home, hang up their diplomas as votive offerings to the god of boundaries. To-day you will find the ex-minister to a foreign court spending his final years in the solitude of his farm-house, and the representative at Washington making his retreat to the restful homestead. The banker in town bethinks him of stocks at home that know no panic; the clergyman studies St. Paul amid the native corn, and muses on the surpas
beauty of David as he rides his favorite
horse through green pastures and beside still waters. Hence, to be a farmer here implies no social inferiority, no rusticity, no boorishness. Hence, so clearly interlaced are urban and rural society that there results a homogeneousness of manners, customs, dress, entertainments, ideals, and tastes. Hence, the infiltration of the country with the best the towns contain. More, indeed, than this: rather to the country than to the towns in Kentucky must one look for the local history of the home life. There first was implanted under English and Virginian influences the antique style of country-seat; there flourished for a time those gracious manners that were the high-born endowment of the olden school; there in piquant contrast were developed side by side the democratic and aristocratic spirits, working severally toward equality and caste; there was established the State reputation for effusive private hospitalities; and there still are peculiarly cherished the fading traditions of more festive boards and kindlier hearthstones. If the feeling of the whole people could be interpreted by a single saying, it would perhaps be this: that whether in town or country-and if in the country, not remotely here or there, but in well-nigh unbroken succession from estate to estate - they have attained a notable stage in the civilization of the home. This is the common conviction, this the idol of the tribe. The idol itself may rest on the fact of provincial isolation, which is the fortress of self-love and neighborly devotion; but it suffices for the present purpose to say that it is an idol still, worshiped for the divinity it is
thought to enshrine. Hence you may assail the Kentuckian on many grounds, and he will hold his peace. You may tell him that he has no great cities, that he does not run with the currents of national progress; but never tell him that the home life of his fellows and himself is not as good as the best in the land. Domesticity is the State porcupine, presenting an angry quill to every point of attack. To write of homes in Kentucky, therefore, and particularly of rural homes, is to enter the very citadel of the popular affections.
II. TYPES OF EARLY HOMES.
AT first they built for the tribe, working together like beavers in common cause against nature and their enemies. Home life and domestic architecture began among them with the wooden-fort community, the idea of which was no doubt derived from the frontier defenses of Virginia, and modified by the Kentuckians with a view to domestic use. This building habit culminated in the erection of some two hundred rustic castles, the sites of which in some instances are still to be identified. It was a singularly fit sort of structure, adjusting itself desperately and economically to the necessities of environment. For the time society lapsed into a state which, but for the want of lords and retainers, was feudalism of the rudest kind. There were gates for sally and swift retreat, bastions for defense, and loopholes in cabinwalls for the deadly volleys. There were hunting-parties winding forth stealthily without horn or hound, and returning laden with such antlered game as might have graced the great feudal halls. There was siege, too, and suffering, and death enough, God knows, mingled with the lowing of cattle and the clatter of looms. Some morning, even, you might have seen a slight girl trip covertly out to the little cotton-patch in one corner of the inclosure, and, blushing crimson over the snowy cottonbolls, pick the wherewithal to spin her bridal dress; for there they married also and bore children. Many a Kentucky family must trace its origin through the tribal communities pent up within a stockade, and discover that the family plate consisted then of a tin cup, and haply an iron fork.
But, as soon as might be, this compulsory village life broke eagerly asunder into private homes. The common building form was that of the log house. It is needful to distinguish this from the log house of the mountaineer, which is found throughout eastern Kentucky to-day. Encompassed by all difficulties, the pioneer yet reared himself a complete and more enduring habitation. One of these, still intact after the lapse of more than a century,
stands as a singularly interesting type of its kind, and brings us face to face with primitive architecture." Mulberry Hill," a double house, two and a half stories high, with a central hall, was built in Jefferson County, near Louisville, in 1785, for John Clark, the father of General George Rogers Clark.
The settlers made the mistake of supposing that the country lacked building-stone, so deep under the loam and verdure lay the whole foundation rock; but soon they discovered that their better houses had only to be taken from beneath their feet. The first stone house in the State, and withal the most notable, is "Traveler's Rest," in Lincoln County, built in 1783 by Governor Metcalf, who was then a stone-mason, for Isaac Shelby, the first governor of Kentucky. To those who know the blue-grass landscape, this type of homestead is familiar enough, with its solidity of foundation, great thickness of walls, enormous, low chimneys, and little windows. The owners were the architects and builders, and with stern, necessitous industry translated their condition into their work, giving it an intensely human element. It harmonized with need, not with feeling; was built by the virtues, and not by the vanities. With no fine balance of proportion, with details few, scant, and crude, the entire effect of the architecture was not unpleasing, so honest was its poverty, so rugged and robust its purpose.
It was the gravest of all historic commentaries written in stone. Instructive enough is the varied fate that has overtaken these old-time structures. Many have been torn down, yielding their well-chosen sites to newer, showier edifices. Others became in time the quarters of the slaves. Others still have been hidden away beneath weather-boarding,-a veneer of commonplace modernism,-as though whitewashed or painted plank were a finer thing to see than rough-hewn gray stone. But one is glad to discover that in numerous instances they are the preferred homes of those who have