Thursday, January 24, 2013

Fast Horses and Racing

The 18 September 1846 issue of the New Orleans, Louisiana Times-Picayune (accessed through GenealogyBank) contains an advertisement for Green Lawn Course in Smithland, Kentucky. It is unknown how long this track was in existence.

This may have been the first official horse track in Livingston County, but it certainly wasn't the first episode of racing. According to a document in the Kentucky Dept for Libraries and Archives, in March 1840 Richard M. Nelson and James Fleming were charged with  "running a horse race on the highway leading from Salem to Smithland ... against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth."

The highway between Salem and Smithland must have been  a popular place to race. In May 1840, John G. Wilson, James Evans and William McCane, yeoman, were charged with racing on the same road.   Also in May 1840 Thomas Ferguson and Washington Doyle got caught racing on the Salem-Smithland road.

Another popular road for racing was the Salem to Golconda highway. Wm. Doyle, James Fleming, James Evans, Wm. McCain, Kinchen C. Dorris and Anthony Hardin were charged with racing on that public road in May 1840.

The usual fine for racing on a public highway was $10.

Published 24 Jan 2013 on Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

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