New Concord can be found deep in the thick forests of southeastern Calloway County, between Blood River and Kentucky Lake. The earliest known settlement of New Concord dates back to 1819, although there are no written records confirming that.
Back in those days the town was known as Humility. The first people to arrive were immigrant Germans and Norwegians, who were “simple, God-fearing people who, out of the thankfulness of hearts, were humble.” Thus, the name – Humility.
The first post office was established on March 1, 1833. The town renamed itself and incorporated as Concord on February 16, 1835. Since there was already a town in Kentucky known as Concord, the named changed to New Concord six years later.
The name change is somewhat speculative with references indicating different reasons. One states that settlers arrived from Concord, North Carolina and didn’t think the name “Humility” fit a growing village. Another source says it was named after a town in Massachusetts, with yet another one stating it was named after the other in Kentucky.
Tobacco & The Civil War
Prior to the Civil War, New Concord thrived. Tobacco became a huge cash crop for the area, which in 1837 sold between three and five cents per pound. In 1848 a tobacco manufacturing plant was established with two brands of the product developed – “48” and “Old Dominion”. The plant continued operations in New Concord until moving to Murray in 1903.
During the Civil War, the United States levied a tax on tobacco and many people disagreed with it. Smuggling and bootlegging ensued and this put a significant strain on local commerce.
The town received another boost in the 1870s when a wagon factory was built, employing 15-20 men, selling wagons for $150 (about $3,500 adjusted for inflation). At this point, the population grew to 150 people and boasted two drug stores, two dry good stores, one salon, one hotel, a church and two physicians.
A Little Craziness in New Concord
An anecdote from “History of Calloway County” published in 1931 talks about a physician named Dr. Lynch who lived in New Concord. He decided he wanted to eat some dog meat – for what reason is anyone’s guess. He had a dog killed, cooked it, and invited his friends and neighbors over to eat.
Apparently, he told them what the main course was, and many refused to eat it, but what they didn’t know was pieces of dog were in all the food he served.
New Concord Today
Before the Civil War, is was said New Concord’s importance rivaled the county seat – Murray. However, once the railroad came through the county in 1890, nowhere near New Concord, the town’s prominence began to dwindle.
Today the town is unincorporated and is the home of a few residents, some churches and one store. New Concord has a post office with a zip code of 42076, which serves the far southeastern part of the county.
Have Something to Contribute?
Many years ago, someone posted an image of a hand-drawn map or sketch of Humility. Our attempts to find this again has been futile. If you would like to contribute anything regarding New Concord, please contact us.
Articles Related to New Concord
- History of Calloway County – 1931
- Calloway County Place Names – Robert M. Rennick Manuscript Collection