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Kentucky colonel

Kentucky colonel

Overview

Kentucky colonel is the highest title of honor
Title of honor
An honorary title or title of honor is a title bestowed upon individuals or organizations as an award in recognition of their merits.Sometimes the title bears the same or nearly the same name as a title of authority, but the person bestowed does not have to carry any duties, possibly except for...

 bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Commissions for Kentucky colonels are given by the Governor
Governor of Kentucky
The Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky is the head of the executive branch of government in the U.S. state of Kentucky. Fifty-six men and one woman have served as Governor of Kentucky. The governor's term is four years in length; since 1992, incumbents have been able to seek re-election once...

 and the Secretary of State
Secretary of State of Kentucky
The Secretary of State of Kentucky is one of the constitutional officers of the U.S. state of Kentucky. It is now an elected office, but was an appointed office prior to 1891. The current Secretary of State is Democrat Elaine Walker, who was appointed by Governor Steve Beshear to fulfill the...

 to individuals in recognition of noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to a community, state or the nation. The sitting governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky
Governor of Kentucky
The Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky is the head of the executive branch of government in the U.S. state of Kentucky. Fifty-six men and one woman have served as Governor of Kentucky. The governor's term is four years in length; since 1992, incumbents have been able to seek re-election once...

 bestows the honor of a colonel's Commission, by issuance of letters patent
Letters patent
Letters patent are a type of legal instrument in the form of a published written order issued by a monarch or president, generally granting an office, right, monopoly, title, or status to a person or corporation...

.

The title "Kentucky colonel" was first formalized in 1813, but was in informal use before that to refer to people with honored reputations, often related to military service in the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

.
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Encyclopedia

Kentucky colonel is the highest title of honor
Title of honor
An honorary title or title of honor is a title bestowed upon individuals or organizations as an award in recognition of their merits.Sometimes the title bears the same or nearly the same name as a title of authority, but the person bestowed does not have to carry any duties, possibly except for...

 bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Commissions for Kentucky colonels are given by the Governor
Governor of Kentucky
The Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky is the head of the executive branch of government in the U.S. state of Kentucky. Fifty-six men and one woman have served as Governor of Kentucky. The governor's term is four years in length; since 1992, incumbents have been able to seek re-election once...

 and the Secretary of State
Secretary of State of Kentucky
The Secretary of State of Kentucky is one of the constitutional officers of the U.S. state of Kentucky. It is now an elected office, but was an appointed office prior to 1891. The current Secretary of State is Democrat Elaine Walker, who was appointed by Governor Steve Beshear to fulfill the...

 to individuals in recognition of noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to a community, state or the nation. The sitting governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky
Governor of Kentucky
The Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky is the head of the executive branch of government in the U.S. state of Kentucky. Fifty-six men and one woman have served as Governor of Kentucky. The governor's term is four years in length; since 1992, incumbents have been able to seek re-election once...

 bestows the honor of a colonel's Commission, by issuance of letters patent
Letters patent
Letters patent are a type of legal instrument in the form of a published written order issued by a monarch or president, generally granting an office, right, monopoly, title, or status to a person or corporation...

.

History


The title "Kentucky colonel" was first formalized in 1813, but was in informal use before that to refer to people with honored reputations, often related to military service in the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

. It was often associated with landowners respected in their communities.Kentucky Colonels Commonwealth of Kentucky, April 21, 2005. Retrieved September 10, 2006. When the Kentucky Militia was deactivated following the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

, Governor Isaac Shelby
Isaac Shelby
Isaac Shelby was the first and fifth Governor of the U.S. state of Kentucky and served in the state legislatures of Virginia and North Carolina. He was also a soldier in Lord Dunmore's War, the Revolutionary War, and the War of 1812...

 commissioned Charles Stewart Todd, one of his officers in the campaign, as an aide-de-camp
Aide-de-camp
An aide-de-camp is a personal assistant, secretary, or adjutant to a person of high rank, usually a senior military officer or a head of state...

 on the Governor's Staff with the rank and grade of colonel
Colonel
Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

. (Todd married Shelby's youngest daughter two years later.)

Early colonels served military roles in the state. In the latter part of the 19th century, the position took on a more ceremonial function. Colonels in uniform attended functions at the Governor's mansion and stood as symbolic guards at state events. By the late 19th century, the title had become more of an honorary
Title of honor
An honorary title or title of honor is a title bestowed upon individuals or organizations as an award in recognition of their merits.Sometimes the title bears the same or nearly the same name as a title of authority, but the person bestowed does not have to carry any duties, possibly except for...

 one. But, since commissioned Kentucky colonels are considered members of the Governor's Staff as his honorary aides-de-camp, all are entitled to the style
Style (manner of address)
A style of office, or honorific, is a legal, official, or recognized title. A style, by tradition or law, precedes a reference to a person who holds a post or political office, and is sometimes used to refer to the office itself. An honorific can also be awarded to an individual in a personal...

 of "Honorable" as indicated on their commission certificates. This is rarely used, however; Kentucky colonels are usually just referred to and addressed as "Colonel
Colonel
Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

". In writing, usage is Kentucky colonel when the term is not being used as a specific title for an individual.

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, existing Kentucky colonels began to organize themselves, and the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels was established in 1932.

The Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels


After a person receives a commission, he or she is invited to join "The Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels", which is an independent, non-profit charitable organization formally founded in 1932. The Governor of Kentucky
Governor of Kentucky
The Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky is the head of the executive branch of government in the U.S. state of Kentucky. Fifty-six men and one woman have served as Governor of Kentucky. The governor's term is four years in length; since 1992, incumbents have been able to seek re-election once...

 serves as the "Commander-in-chief" of the Honorable Order, and its board of trustees serves on a volunteer basis. The stated mission of this organization is to aid and promote the Commonwealth of Kentucky and its citizens. The organization raises money to support Kentucky charities and educational organizations, and to conduct other works that will help the citizens of Kentucky
Kentucky
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is a state located in the East Central United States of America. As classified by the United States Census Bureau, Kentucky is a Southern state, more specifically in the East South Central region. Kentucky is one of four U.S. states constituted as a commonwealth...

. The organization's charitable efforts have also sometimes extended past the borders of the Commonwealth, such as contributing to natural disaster relief in other states. By 1979, annual donations exceeded $500,000, and by 1992, they exceeded $1 million.

Cultural influence


A number of sports teams in Kentucky, especially in its largest city Louisville, have been known as the Louisville Colonels
Louisville Colonels (disambiguation)
Louisville Colonels has been the name of several sports teams:* Louisville Colonels, a Major League Baseball team in the American Association and National League from 1882-1899...

 or the Kentucky Colonels
Kentucky colonel (disambiguation)
Kentucky colonel may refer to:*Kentucky colonel - an honorary title conferred by the governor of the U.S. state of Kentucky.*Kentucky Colonels - a team in the American Basketball Association from 1967 to 1976...

.

See also

  • Colonel (title)
    Colonel (title)
    The honorary title of Colonel is conferred by some states in the United States of America and certain units of the Canadian Forces. The origins of the titular colonelcy can be traced back to colonial and antebellum times when men of the landed gentry were given the title for financing the local...

  • Nebraska Admiral
    Nebraska Admiral
    Nebraska Admiral is Nebraska's highest honor, and an honorary title bestowed upon individuals by approval of the Governor of Nebraska, a landlocked U.S. state. It is not a military rank, requires no duties, and carries with it no pay or other compensation...

  • Order of the Long Leaf Pine
    Order of the Long Leaf Pine
    The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, created in 1965, is an honor that can be granted in the U.S. state of North Carolina. The Longleaf Pine is the official state tree of North Carolina. As of Dec 31, 2006, the Order has been awarded to 6,672 individuals....

  • Order of the Palmetto
    Order of the Palmetto
    The Order of the Palmetto is the highest civilian honor awarded by the Governor of South Carolina. It is awarded to persons who make contributions of statewide significance. An auxiliary honor is "The Order of the Silver Crescent." Today it is awarded to persons who make community or professional...

  • Sagamore of the Wabash
    Sagamore of the Wabash
    The Sagamore of the Wabash is an honorary award created by the state of Indiana during the term of Governor Ralph F. Gates . A tri-state meeting was to be held in Louisville with officials from Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. Aides to Gates learned that the governor of Kentucky was preparing...

  • Title of honor
    Title of honor
    An honorary title or title of honor is a title bestowed upon individuals or organizations as an award in recognition of their merits.Sometimes the title bears the same or nearly the same name as a title of authority, but the person bestowed does not have to carry any duties, possibly except for...


External links