STANFORD — Around 200 years ago, the U.S. was at war with Great Britain and Lincoln County citizens were leaving prominent marks in history.
In order to commemorate the contributions to the War of 1812 by Lincoln County natives like William Whitley and Gov. Isaac Shelby, Judge-Executive Jim Adams declared Jan. 8-15 Lincoln County’s official observance week for the War of 1812 bicentennial.
Brian Thompson, chairman of Lincoln County’s War of 1812 Bicentennial Committee, said Lincoln County played a big role in the war, with Kentucky residents accounting for 64 percent of U.S. casualties.
“Most of you are probably surprised that there even is a bicentennial for the War of 1812,” he told those gathered Tuesday prior to the proclamation of the bicentennial week. “When it comes to the War of 1812, Kentucky, Lincoln County — we were really the driving spirit.”
From Kentuckians who “pushed through” the idea of going to war against Great Britain to Lincoln County residents who fought as soldiers, there are multiple examples of the state and county’s contributions, he added.
Thompson said the bicentennial week is being celebrated in 2013 instead of 2012 because Kentucky’s involvement didn’t begin in earnest until 1813.
“Kentucky’s effort really began now in 1813 and ended with the Battle of New Orleans in 1915,” said.
Among the highlights of Lincoln County’s contributions were the famous William Whitley, who Thompson said “had a courage and a bravery that I believe was beyond comprehension.”
Kentucky Gov. Isaac Shelby went into battle in his mid-60s, a truly remarkable age for the time.
“The 60s in the early 19th century are pretty much the 90s of these days,” Thompson said.
And even though much of the war was “a disaster militarily,” the work of locals from this area helped contribute to the psychological effect the conflict had on the U.S., he added.
“The states were finally united,” he said. “There was no force on Earth that was going to push the United States around.”
Lincoln County will fly the historical 15-star U.S. Flag from the time period underneath the Kentucky flag in front of the courthouse during the bicentennial week, Adams said.