Caldwell County, Kentucky

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Caldwell County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. It was formed in 1809. As of 2000, the population was 13,060. Its county seat is Princeton, Kentucky[1]. The county is named for John Caldwell, who participated in the George Rogers Clark Indian Campaign of 1786 and was the second lieutenant governor of Kentucky. Caldwell is a prohibition or dry county.

Contents

History

Caldwell County was formed from Livingston County in 1809. Before that, modern-day Caldwell County was part of Christian, Logan, and Lincoln Counties—Lincoln County being one of the three original counties in Kentucky.

Caldwell County has been witness to several major events in its history. In the early nineteenth-century Caldwell County witnessed the forced migration of the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears. The Cherokee spent several weeks in Caldwell County during the winter of 1838, notably at Big Springs in downtown Princeton, Skin Frame Creek, and the Centerville area near Fredonia.

In 1860, the construction of Princeton College began but was soon delayed by the Civil War. Confederate troops camped on the grounds of Princeton College and used one of the buildings as a hospital. Federal soldiers were garrisoned at Princeton for most of the Civil War. In December 1864 raiding Confederate cavalry commanded by General Hylan B. Lyon burned the Caldwell County courthouse in Princeton because the building was used as a garrison post by Union soldiers.

The establishment of railroads in the late nineteenth century allowed Princeton to become an important junction on several major railway lines.

Around the turn of the century, an agricultural boom in dark leaf tobacco had made Caldwell, especially along with Christian County, a major tobacco growing center. However, the monopolization of the tobacco market by James B. Duke left many farmers financially strapped and discontented. Under the organization of Dr. David Amoss of Cobb in Caldwell County, a vigilante group formed called the Night Riders. The Night Riders terrorized those who cooperated with the tobacco conglomerate by destroying crops, burning warehouses, and physical intimidation. The "Black Patch Wars" came to an end around 1908.

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