The historical marker, on the grounds of the Graves County Courthouse, reads:
“In May, 1861, delegates of seven Kentucky and twenty Tennessee westernmost counties, the Jackson Purchase, met in Mayfield. Belief in Southern cause, dissatisfaction with Kentucky adherence to Union and Tennessee delay joining South caused convention vote to secede and form a Confederate State. With Tennessee’s vote to secede, June 8, 1861, proposal abandoned.”
A journalist for the Louisville Journal was present at this meeting and his eye-witness account sent back to his editor revealed that the attendees included from Kentucky: Henry C. Burnett, then First District of Kentucky Congressional Representative who was later expelled from Congress for his sympathy for the Confederacy (see our posting dated December 20, 2010 titled “South Carolina Secedes!”); R. D. Gholson, a Kentucky native, who resigned the Governorship of Washington Territory in February 1861, because he was “unwilling even for a day to hold office under a…”Republican” president” – Gholson returned to Kentucky, gathered up his family and slaves and moved to Tennessee for protection; Colonel Lloyd Tilghman; A. R. Boone, member of the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1861, and from Tennessee: H. Clay King, prominent Memphis lawyer, Colonel Austin of Memphis, Col. G. W. Bosher, and O. Turner (who wanted western Kentucky and Tennessee to form a military alliance), to name only a few. Burnett and Gholson both fought in the Confederacy as did, of course, Tilghman.
In addition to the secession question, discussions ensued concerning recruiting soldiers and establishment of two military schools – one each at Columbus and Paducah. Before the Convention adjourned, Burnett was nominated as the States Rights candidate for Congress.
Before the Civil War ends, Mayfield would be occupied by Union troops under the command of General Eleazor A. Paine, a period described as a “reign of terror”, the Jews in Paducah would be evicted under General Grant’s General Order #11, of December 17, 1862, and 21 men, women and children from Columbus, KY would be banished to Canada for being southern sympathizers.