1921 Clerks Busy Issuing Licenses

Dublin Core


1921 Clerks Busy Issuing Licenses


On the last three days of the year 1921, crowds of persons continually jammed the Madison County Clerks office all day long, keeping the clerks busy throughout their working hours. What was happening? Back in the 1920's, state law had all the Kentucky automobile licenses expire on the last day of the calendar year. Beginning January 1, the police would start writing tickets for persons driving with an expired automobile license. "Only three more days remain for automobile owners of Kentucky who wish to use their cars immediately after January 1 to get their licenses," stated an announcement from the Automobile Department of the Kentucky Tax Commissioner's Office, dated December 29, 1921. In an article reporting this message from Frankfort, the Richmond Daily Register provided some interesting details. Automobile licenses for 1922 first went on sale at Kentucky courthouses on December 1, 1921. The state tax commissioner had ordered a total of 162,200 sets of two license plates for all the passenger automobiles in Kentucky. Of that number, 99,520 were shipped to county clerks offices prior to December 1; the rest were to be ordered by the clerks as needed later. For trucks, 28,500 sets were manufactured for the whole state. Automobile dealer plates totaled 2,240; another 2,180 were for motorcycles. There were 5,800 small license badges made for chauffeurs. For Madison County, the state provided 2,300 passenger car plate sets 1,400 of which were shipped in November to Madison County Clerk J.W. Maupin's office; that would not even take care of the city of Richmond nowadays. Those 1922 plates were numbered 117-151 through 120-150. Some 200 pairs of truck license plates were also available locally in December, out of a total of 300 that were stamped for Madison County. Thirty 1922 sets of car dealers plates were made for this county, but only 10 were shipped at first. Motorcycle plates, numbered from 1,761 through 1,785, were made, but only 15 were in the first shipment from Frankfort. One hundred chauffeurs badges were available at the clerk's office. By way of comparison, for the year 1922 Clark County had 2,000 passenger car plate sets made, and another 350 for trucks. Fayette County had 7,450 automobile license plate sets, and 1,500 for trucks. The Register stated that although some license plates had been stamped for every county, some southeastern counties had never had an automobile license issued in them.


Dr. Robert Grise




Content may be freely copied for personal and educational purposes with appropriate citation. Permission is required to reprint.





Dr. Robert Grise, “1921 Clerks Busy Issuing Licenses,” Madison's Heritage Online, accessed May 19, 2024, https://madisonsheritage.eku.edu/items/show/923.