We are celebrating the 200th anniversary of the establishment of Whitley County.
Kentucky had been ratified as the 15th state just 26 years earlier. The western most part of Kentucky, west of the Tennessee River, was sold to the United States the same year, 1818, that our county was formed. Previously that area was recognized as hunting grounds belonging to the Chickasaw.
Looking back 200 years gets us to the beginning of life here.
The great majority of Kentuckians were farmers. They grew most of their own food, using the corn crop to feed hogs and to distill into whiskey. They obtained their cash from sales of burley tobacco, hemp, horses and mules.
Imagine life without electricity, without a cell phone, without television. Worse than that there were no newspapers! I’m joking of course. Life was hard. To cook they had to start a fire. I won’t go to the other hardships at that time, but for sure we have come a long way.
In my lifetime many changes have also taken place.
Nostalgia takes over and many lasting memories are pictured in my mind. My generation likes to think it was the best of times.
Like most students I walked to school. We didn’t have school buses then. It is startling to think that me and my friends attended our first day in school without being escorted by our parents.
For most of my school life our family did our grocery shopping at a local grocery store. There were three of them within a few blocks of each other in my neighborhood.
There are so may changes that instead of writing a column, I could almost write a book about them.
I mentioned television earlier. Like many of our readers I can remember the first TV I saw.
I was visiting my sister in Louisville. The first picture I saw was a test pattern. That was followed up with a camera located in the window of a downtown business and shoppers would pass by and wave. That went on for hours.
It would be difficult to prioritize the area of which of the changes are the most important. My wife would accuse me of saying it would be the remote control.
True, television today is exceptional, but those of us that have lived during the era of radio programs know how captivating they were.
Just to list the changes that have taken place during my 31 years at this newspaper would make up a chapter of a book.
Just imagine what the next 200 years will bring. I don’t think living it could be much better than what we have experienced.