Some kind soul hosting a subpage over at an Ancestry.com, in the process of detailing their lineage, uploaded a progression of maps detailing the formation of Kentucky’s 120 counties. To you, my nerdly friend, and to all the Kentucky history buffs out there enjoying a snowy Sunday, I dedicate this scruffy little gif of your work.
If anyone sees corrections that need to be made, please feel free to leave them in the comments below so that you can later reference them when you’re making your own, factually superior, gif.
UPDATE, 2/22/15, 3:24 p.m.:
You’ll note the gif shows a cheeky historical blip in the early 20th century. In 1904, the Commonwealth created Beckham County which was deemed unconstitutional, then eliminated in 1905. This blip opened a Twitter conversation where it was discovered that Beckham was first envisioned as Hardscrabble County (a name just screaming for inclusion in some folksy novella adaption of a Tennessee Williams play). A quest to find the roots of this charming phantom county began…
And so the phantom, never-was county of Hardscrabble was firmly re-anchored in encyclo-monolith of Wikipedia. A name like Hardscrabble says a lot about our people, doesn’t it? And the idea that some folks were once willing to carve out a few hundred acres for such a name tells us plenty about how we see ourselves. Persnickety citation or no, blowing the dust off a Kentucky book, making a few corrections, and marking up the pages with references feels pretty good. Here’s hoping you get a little better glimpse of Appalachia’s vivid political colors. Cheers.