Mary E. Wilson Betts ( January 1824, Maysville, KY – September 16, 1854 Maysville, KY)

Betts was born and educated in Maysville, KY where she grew to be a prolific writer and poet. Her poems often appeared in publications all across Kentucky and some in the surrounding areas such as Cincinnati. Her most famous poem was “A Kentuckian Kneels to None but God” inspired by the final words of Col. William Logan Crittenden. The poem was popular when first published but garnered a second wind almost 50 years after Betts’ death during the Spanish-American War. Betts wasn’t married until the summer of 1854 to Morgan L. Betts, the editor of the Detroit News. She died not long after her marriage from congestion of the brain and her new husband followed one month later. A scrapbook of Betts’ original, handwritten work is kept at the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center in Maysville, Kentucky.



Collins, Richard H. History of Kentucky. Vol. 1. Covington, Ky.: Collins, 1882.

Ward, William S. A Literary History of Kentucky. Knoxville: Univ. of Tennessee Press, 1988.

“Married,” Covington Journal. July 22, 1854, 2.

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