We have a lot of things to be proud of here in Kentucky. Our horses, basketball, hospitality, and food just to name a few. I think we can also be kind of proud of the outrageous things associated with our state. I don’t know how many times I’ve read about something kind of “out there” or unusual, only to discover that the story was connected somehow to Kentucky.
I guess all you can say is we know how to keep things interesting.
Our great state is associated with the word and/or color blue a great deal:
- Kentucky is nicknamed the Blue Grass State
- One of the most popular songs of all time is titled “Blue Moon of Kentucky”
- Those of us who are huge UK fans proudly refer to ourselves as “Big Blue Nation”
- Then of course, there’s the Battle of Blue Licks
Of course you’ve heard of these. But have you read about the Blue People of Kentucky?
In a clear case of Kentuckians keeping things interesting again, it seems there was a woman in Kentucky, Luna Fugate who was “blue all over.” One of her relatives described Luna as, “the bluest woman I ever saw.” In 1975, Luna Fugate’s grandson (Benjamin “Benjy” Stacy) was born. Like his great-grandmother, the baby was born with a blue tinge. Methemoglobinemia is the name of the condition which causes the skin to take on a lovely shade of blue.
As talk of a blood transfusion took place, Benjy’s grandmother told doctors not to panic, that he simply looked like the “blue Fugates of Troublesome Creek.”
The Blue People of Kentucky aren’t limited to Benjy and Luna. In fact an entire family from isolated Appalachia were blue. Apparently, their ancestral line began six generations earlier with a French orphan, Martin Fugate.
Martin Fugate came to Troublesome Creek (near Hazard) from France in 1820 and… well… he happened to be blue. He married a Kentuckian named Elizabeth Smith, who also carried the blue gene, so to speak. Four of their seven children were blue.
Like many small communities of that time, a lack of railroads and limited travel into or out of the community caused it to remain very small and very isolated. Cousins married cousins and, like spilled paint from a can, the blue gene spread.
Luna, of course, came from the Fugate line. One of Martin and Elizabeth Fugate’s blue boys, Zachariah, married his aunt. One of their sons, Levy, married a Ritchie girl and had eight children, one of these children was Luna.
Luna married John E. Stacy and they had 13 children. Luna lived a long life, dying at the age of 84.
Apparently the arrival of coal mining in Kentucky in 1912 led to the Fugates moving away from Troublesome Creek. Thereby causing the blue people begin to disappearing.
Read more about the Blue Fugates of Troublesome Creek (It’s a must read!).
The Blue People of Kentucky
Photo Credit for the picture at the top of the page.