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1788 | Kentucky paper advertises hemp

Updated: Jan 19, 2019

The Kentucky Gazette was the first newspaper west of the Allegheny Mountains, established in Lexington on August 18, 1787. Advertisements for hemp seed were seen early the following Spring.

Fun fact: The Gazette spelled “Kentucky” in its title line, ending with e, instead of y, until the issue of March 7, 1789, when the e was dropped and the y substituted. There also seems to be a printing error that makes "s" to show up "f."

Advertisements continued to appear regularly in the Kentucky Gazette as local settlers demanded hemp seed to meet the growing need for fiber. Hempen fiber was used “..among articles ‘manufactured in a household way,’ to make seines and nets of various kinds, twine and pack thread, sail-cloth, tow-cloth (course fabric made with hemp, used for summer clothing), white and checked shirting, sheeting, toweling, table-linen, bed-ticks, hosiery, sewing thread, and seine-thread lace.

Advertisers of the Kentucky Gazette also offered to "exchange goods" for hemp and other needs. A man named Robert Barr published the first advertisements in which a price of hemp was mentioned.



“Wanted a quantity of hemp in a short time for which twenty five shillings per hundred will be given if delivered at Frankfort, or twenty three shillings in Lexington, payment will be made in Merchandise at the lowest cash price.”

Kentucky Gazette, March 6, 1796 (Kentucky Digital Library)

Advertisments began to appear regularly in the Kentucky Gazette, requesting hemp seed, fiber and even offering it as a trade.



Hopkins, J. (1951). A history of the hemp industry in Kentucky. University of Kentucky Press.

Kentucky Digital Library

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