It has been almost 250 years since the First Real Kentucky Colonel debuted on the American landscape in 1775, when Richard Henderson of the Transylvania Company commissioned Daniel Boone a Colonel to head a team of 33 axmen making a road from the Cumberland Gap to Boonesborough where they founded Kentucke. In Kentucky this is the authentic, real, story of the Colonel its creator.
1st Colonel Appears in the Wilderness
If you know enough about Colonial and Early American History you will discover that there were literally hundreds of colonels commissioned, normally by other colonels; 1775 is when these colonels (first freemen) led their people to change the country under new colonial law. In the 25 years that followed, colonels were the ultimate authority in the New America until they replaced themselves with their own designates, frequently themselves to take new positions in government making their titles an honorable state of recognition within society. These first colonels were the architects of early democratic society and the Kentucky lifestyle across America.
Semantic Legal Source and Origin of the First Kentucky Colonel is Col. Daniel Boone and the establishment of democracy in America, it is an allegorical fact. The title Kentucky Colonel became a lemma based on a demonym combining the words in 1833 based on the "The Kentuckian" a play in London.
Semiquincentennial of the Kentucke Magna Charta!
Join Us in Celebrating the Original Recognition of the Founding of America's 1st Free Colonial Democracy by the Kentucky Colonel with the 250th Anniversary of the Traditional Office of the Kentucky Colonelcy from 1775-2025 at Boonesborough on the Kentucky River.
Kentucky Colonel on the Wilderness Road in 1775
Kentucky State Historical Society
Kentucky Colonel Daniel BooneCommissioned Colonel of the Transylvania Company in 1775 by the head-of-colony Richard Henderson, makes a treaty and purchase from the Cherokee, becomes the founder of Boonesborough, and a writer of the first democratic constitution in America which today is known as the Kentucky Magna Charta.
Greatest Civil Honor in the United States of America, the Kentucky Colonel Commission
The story of the First Kentucky Colonel being Daniel Boone is factually and historically correct, it is not folklore or fiction, if anyone else can be credited with the creation and origin of the pioneer government of Can-tuck-ee, Colonel Boone is right there as one of its 13 first colonels, delegates and colonist settlers drafting what has become known as the "Kentucke Magna Charta" (Transylvania Constitution) in 1775. Most of the laws established by these colonels and their colonists remain in common-law today and were included by other state constitutions.
They never would have called themselves a "Kentucky Colonel," but they were in fact the "Colonels" and they wrote laws that created the governments, made peace with the natives, surveyed the frontier and made their mark one that has survived to the present creating the customs and traditions we observe today. The fact that all this plays out in Kentucky with "colonels" as the sovereign "heads of the colony" is not a coincidence with anything more than it taking place during the Revolutionary Period before the founding of the United States or the fact that Boone originally hunted in Can-tuck-ee since June 7th, 1769.
Col. Daniel Boone is actually credited as the protagonist of the founder of the Transylvania Company, which was formed after Boone lost his son in his first settlement attempt in Kentucky. Col. Judge Richard Henderson of North Carolina befriended Boone, commissioning him a Colonel of the company that built the Wilderness Road (Wild Road) and Boonesborough. It would be almost two years before one of Boone's lieutenants, John Bowman is sent to Williamsburg to meet with Governor Patrick Henry to make the Transylvania Colony part of Virginia. The Governor made Transylvania Lt. Col. John Bowman into Commonwealth Colonel John Bowman of Kentucky County. When Col. Bowman returned to Transylvania he commissioned Daniel Boone a "Lt. Colonel" as well as many others. After that little is known of John Bowman except that he continued to commission new colonels until 1783. What we can also say about Col. Daniel Boone is that he was the "First Colonel" to be commissioned under the Patriot Law by a Private Chartered Company which was enacted on January 1, 1775, we also know he commissioned many other colonels.
Kentucky Colonel Isaac Shelby
Kentucky Colonel becomes its Greatest Statesman
In contemporary state history Col. Daniel Boone is not recognized by the Commonwealth of Kentucky as its founding statesman, that title would go to Isaac Shelby who worked for Col. Daniel Boone 16 years earlier as a surveyor for the Transylvania Colony. When working for Col. Boone, Shelby a young impressionable surveyor learned the secret order of the colonel. Isaac Shelby the surveyor was paid in-kind with food, money and a deed for a parcel in the Transylvania Colony before returning to Southern Virginia on the Wild Road.
In 1776 under the new patriot laws Shelby found a commission from the Virginia Committee of Safety appointing him captain of a company of Minutemen. In 1777, Virginia governor Patrick Henry appointed Shelby to a position securing provisions for the army on the frontier. He served a similar role for units in the Continental Army in 1778 and 1779. With his money, Shelby purchased provisions for John Sevier's 1779 expedition against the Chickamauga, a band of Cherokees who were resisting colonial expansion in the Extralegal State of Franklin.
Shelby was elected to represent Washington County in the Virginia House of Delegates in 1779. Later that year, he was commissioned a major by Governor Thomas Jefferson and charged with escorting a group of commissioners to establish a frontier boundary line between Virginia and North Carolina. Shortly after his arrival in the region, North Carolina Governor Richard Caswell made him magistrate of newly formed Sullivan County and elevated him to the rank of colonel of the Sullivan County Regiment. While he was a colonel, Shelby assisted other colonels establish the State of Franklin before moving to his property in the Kentucke region. Engaging in local politics later creating the Commonwealth of Kentucky with more than a 12 other colonels who made him their first governor. Most of Kentucky's counties today are named after the historic colonial and pioneer colonels that migrated there following Boone and Shelby.
Great Seal of the Commonwealth 2023
Kentucky Colonel Nomination Procedure
In deed, the Kentucky Colonel Award or Title is the highest form of recognition bestowed to individuals by the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
A Kentucky colonelcy can only be granted by the Governor and the Secretary of State based upon being nominated by another colonel, being recommended by a third party, or being individually recognized by the state's governor for a noteworthy act that commands the governor's attention (or the state). Historically there have been cases where the governor has recognized noteworthy individuals as Kentucky colonels based on formal written suggestions by citizens and other officials of the Commonwealth.
Nominations for the title of Kentucky Colonel must be made by an independent third party, it is not recommended that family members living at the same address make nominations because they may be rejected. The Office of the Governor is permitted implicitly in law to perform a background check on nominees and nominators.
Recommendations can be made directly on the Governor's Website.
Kentucky Colonel Andy Beshear
Original Goodwill Ambassador Title of the Commonwealth
Today there are more than 300,000 to perhaps 400,000 Kentucky colonels living in over 70 countries, many organizations have been formed since the turn of the 20th century to promote activities, fraternity and social prosperity relative to Kentucky colonelcy. While colonels today have no official responsibilities mandated, they are legally recognized reciprocally as the state's "ambassadors of good-will" due to their dedication to community service, contributions to the welfare of the state, and for improving the lives of others to make the world a better place for everyone.
The authoritative title is warranted through letters patent which grants them the Title "Colonel" recognizing them as "Honorable" through a commission as an officer on the governor's staff. Colonels optional duties are de facto and extra officio responsibilities of promoting tourism, economic development, participation in community service, fostering the general prosperity of the Commonwealth and projecting Kentucky's image abroad on behalf of the State and the Governor. Historically these duties extended to writing the laws of the state itself that was founded by colonels.
The Kentucky Colonel has always been those who are most like to succeed in the Commonwealth. Kentucky colonels are selected because they possess admirable characteristics, for recognizing the noteworthy achievements of thousands of great people and the most benevolent honorable deeds that support the best ideas and traditional customs forward in the Bluegrass State.
Kentucky Colonel Certificate
Kentucky Colonel, Honorable Title of Authority
Kentucky Colonel is the highest civil Title of Authority and Honor bestowed by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The recognition entitles the holder of the commission to enjoy the usufruct rights, privileges and responsibilities as the benefits of the Kentucky Colonelcy as their lifetime office. "Commissions for Kentucky colonels are given on occasion by the Governor and the Secretary of State to individuals in recognition of noteworthy accomplishments, personal achievements, individual deeds and outstanding service in a person's community, state, or nation."
The Governor of Kentucky bestows the "Honorable" title upon someone with a colonelcy commission through the issuance of letters patent (Kentucky Colonel Certificate). The commission is a legal act of the Office of the Governor and lifetime appointment as a civil officer of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The official practice of naming civilians as Kentucky colonels began in 1895 with Governor "Colonel" William O'Connell Bradley who himself was known as a Kentucky Colonel since his adolescence, so perhaps the practice of making colonels has much deeper roots?
This is not where the Colonelcy began, long before Governor Bradley came to office Kentucky was full of colonels, in Colonial Virginia being a colonel meant a person was recognized as the "head of the colony"; the same common law colonelcy exists today as it did in 1775, when the colonies turned to states the colonels had done their job and the title remained an honorable one used by the civil state.
The Kentucky Colonel Commission is a Title of Authority and a Title of Honor issued in the form of Letters Patent, it is difficult to reproach a Kentucky Colonel in modern society for their activities taken under this grant of recognition.
Kentucky Colonel Michael Adams
Future of the Kentucky Colonel
One of the facts we discovered about the Kentucky Colonel when getting a lawsuit dismissed in 2020 is that in the Early Years of Kentucky only the Colonels were allowed to officiate the ballots and polling places, much like the Secretary of State today. Kentucky colonels everywhere want to see the Kentucky Colonelcy awarded under more traditional and transparent conditions, because anything less makes the colonel themselves less significant.
Currently serving as Secretary of State, the Hon. Michael G. Adams was a member of the Facebook Group "Kentucky Colonel Community" during the lawsuit, he was privileged to some of the US District Court proceedings in the HOKC v. KCI where his office was implicated by the plaintiff. Steadfast to the case when it was revealed that the case was being dismissed with prejudice his office removed the Secretary of State's original "Kentucky Colonels" history webpage replacing it with a verified and collaborated edited copy of content offered by his Facebook Group which won its case through the dismissal of the civil complaint. Within 30 days the powers to be, reverted his personally edited content of our history under pressure by the HOKC. When the Facebook Group Members complained about the reversion, the Office of the Secretary of State removed the webpage entirely as not to propagate the Myth of 1813 promoted previously. His office staff referred to the historical accounting about the Real Kentucky Colonel representative to state history as a firestorm for the HOKC, the Kentucky Historical Society and the Governor's Office to resolve in the future, it was not a matter of the Office of the Secretary of State.
Col. Michael Adams, we believe has what it takes to be a great colonel; considering as much as his important itinerary, he knows all so well Kentucky Colonels are not political advocates, but they are strong leaders with great principles for truth and justice to get the job done (at least they always have been). We have great confidence the history of Kentucky colonelcy had only begun to see the light of the day understanding (SOS) Col. Michael Adams agreed with our historical narrative as opposed to the pseudohistory posed by the original Kentucky Colonels website.
Kentucky Colonel Coat of Arms
Kentucky Colonel (Professional Occupation)
People often ask themselves why they would want to become a Kentucky Colonel, if all the benefits, privileges and responsibilities of common-law colonelcy have been surrendered to past histories and legacies?
Many people even view it as a joke, but the Title: Kentucky Colonel is not a joke it is quite the contrary; despite its history of 250 years the Office of the Colonelcy is very real, an attorney knowledgeable of this will tell you the Kentucky Colonel Commission is a Title of Authority, it is not just an honorary award despite the references. In 1957, soon to be Governor, Justice Bertram Combs said on the bench that a Kentucky Colonel is an officer of the Commonwealth with greater or equal powers than that of a Notary Public. The Kentucky Colonel may even be likely to have created the First Notary Offices.
While the original rules and traditions may have been subdued as the first colonels (our sovereign leaders) built the governments up around them, the honor and integrity of the engineers of government were incorporated with them in today's civil award (commission), the difference today is that it is more difficult to apply the wisdom of the freemen with the vision they had considering our environment and the existing civil society. Any legal expert most likely knows the actual authority the title gives them, however they will also tell you that there is no way to exercise all the powers except by leading others in your own endeavors.
Kentucky Colonel Annie M. Poage
The Kentucky Colonel taking Action
We have scoured thousands of newspaper articles which are being cataloged and organized as content for our publication online and for our book, which may become an online publication that is serialized.
We have encountered colonels in comics, colonels with bad reputations and colonels that could not be put in jail. There is an amazing true story of a Kentucky Colonel that shot a US judge in self-defense in the courtroom. We found colonels at the World's Fair and hundreds of places across the United States. We even found colonels teaching high school during the Civil War.
Share Your Kentucky Colonel Content
If you are a Kentucky Colonel you can submit content through our Facebook Groups or by sending an email to our webmaster. All content prior to 1927 is part of the public domain, but please indicate the origin, source and date of your content especially if it is more recent. Content provided will be credited with your name as the source or collaborator.
Looks Like a Kentucky Colonel
More New Articles, True History and Listings in 2023
Interested in helping us write new articles? How did you become a colonel? That in itself must be newsworthy, or at least it should be if you are a Real Kentucky Colonel™ that recognizes the honorable title. If you cannot write well, just ask someone to write something for you in the third-person, if it is interesting and newsworthy we will publish it to our news feed starting in February 2023.
What happened to the Kentucky Colonel?
How not to use the Title: Kentucky Colonel for fundraising.
How to use the Title: Kentucky Colonel as a brand name for products made or grown in Kentucky.
How to use the Title: Kentucky Goodwill Ambassador with "Colonel" to promote tourism and tourist destinations in Kentucky.
How can I adopt the Classic Kentucky Colonel Style?
What does a person need to know about Kentucky Colonelcy?
What jobs can only a Kentucky Colonel do?
Can any Kentucky Colonel get listed as a colonel?
Explore our website, help make improvements, if you are a Kentucky Colonel add your name to our public list, get a page on our website and more. The Kentucky Colonel™ List, Kentucky Colonel™ ID Card and the Kentucky Colonel™ Registry are three big projects introduced to our website for January 01, 2023; the website and its members are now under the executive authority of the independent, non-state Kentucky Colonel™ Reconciliation Council; website users can learn more beginning February 02, 2023 coincident with Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney Pennsylvania where the announcement will be made.
Kentucky Colonel Badge is Not Available in Stores
It is unlawful to impersonate a Kentucky Colonel unless you are an actual Kentucky Colonel, this can be easily determined by reading the case files of the HOKC, aka Kentucky Colonels v. Col. David J. Wright, et. al. the lawsuit established clearly that the HOKC was founded based on a fictitious militia order without evidence based on the credibility of government. Real historians never believed them, either did Col. George Chinn who presided over the Kentucky Historical Society, the case was dismissed but did earn several points of merit with the court regarding their own trademark.
Due to the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels making threatening legal demands against badge manufacturers it is difficult to have a Kentucky Colonel Badge manufactured by a US badge manufacturer. There is no prohibition or restrictions on a Kentucky Colonel ordering their own badge however, despite this some badge manufacturers are reluctant, but most will still make a badge for colonels, sometimes requesting a photo of a persons commission or requiring that a badge be personalized.
By law a Kentucky Colonel has the right to identify themselves as a colonel and honorary civilian officer that is an ambassador of goodwill. We recommend that all living and active colonels, identify themselves prominently using their Honorific Titles complimented by an ID Card, nameplate and wallet mounted badge when travelling or at work, however to promote that position we had to develop a handbook which is available only to Kentucky colonels that are actively employed.
Semantic Links to Primary Resources about the Colonels of Kentucky
The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union
A Kentucky Colonel: Contemporary Novel by Col. Opie Read - 1889-1890
The Colonel Rides Again: Resolving a Literary Mystery, Time, Dec. 27, 1954
Lion of the West, Was Col. Davy Crockett a Kentucky Colonel?
Will the Real Frontiersman Please Stand Up? Center of the West
You Can't Be Knighted in the U.S., But You Can Be Named a Kentucky Colonel
Colonels, Hillbillies and Fightin': Twentieth Century Kentucky in the National Imagination
The Kentucky Colonel: A Study in Semantics (Best Resource in 2020)
How many of Kentucky's 120 counties were named after colonels?
Colonel Pete's Korner: A Collection of Stories, Articles, & Poems
Supporters of this website as a Creative Commons educational and literary resource since 1998, that are Kentucky colonels who visit Kentucky to travel the Wilderness Road that contact us after January 01, 2025 while they are visiting there, automatically will qualify to receive this medallion in 2025; other conditions will apply and photos must be taken for both Facebook and this website. Every colonel's pilgrimage to the the site of the Divine Elm described by the first Kentuckians will be recorded.