Tomahawk, Kentucky

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Tomahawk is an unincorporated community that stretches along Kentucky Route 40 in Martin County, Kentucky, United States, in the eastern part of the state near the West Virginia border. It is located on Rockhouse Fork of Rockcastle Creek, approximately six miles (9.6 km) west of Inez, the county seat.

Unincorporated area Region of land not governed by own local government

In law, an unincorporated area is a region of land that is not governed by a local municipal corporation; similarly an unincorporated community is a settlement that is not governed by its own local municipal corporation, but rather is administered as part of larger administrative divisions, such as a township, parish, borough, county, city, canton, state, province or country. Occasionally, municipalities dissolve or disincorporate, which may happen if they become fiscally insolvent, and services become the responsibility of a higher administration. Widespread unincorporated communities and areas are a distinguishing feature of the United States and Canada. In most other countries of the world, there are either no unincorporated areas at all, or these are very rare; typically remote, outlying, sparsely populated or uninhabited areas.

Kentucky Route 40 (KY 40) is a 42.339-mile-long (68.138 km) state highway in the U.S. state of Kentucky. The highway begins at an intersection with US 460/KY 7 in Salyersville, within Magoffin County, then continues eastward through Paintsville, within Johnson County. KY 40 ends in Martin County at an intersection with KY 292 and an access bridge to US 52 at the West Virginia state line.

Martin County, Kentucky U.S. county in Kentucky

Martin County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 12,929. Its county seat is Inez. The county was founded in 1870 and is named for Congressman John Preston Martin. Warfield, Kentucky, is the only non-dry city in the county.



Post office Tomahawk post office 41262.jpg
Post office

The post office was established as Wells on August 20, 1886, and named for its first postmaster, Richard M. Wells, according to Kentucky Place Names by Richard M. Rennick. It was closed in 1894, but reopened on November 4, 1898 as Tomahawk for The Tomahawk News, a newspaper then being published in Inez. It now has an estimated population of 1,000, based on voter registration in the Tomahawk precinct. The post office survived in 1975 when the U.S. Postal Service closed nearby offices in Milo and Davisport. In 2012, as part of the Postal Service's nationwide reorganization, the full-time post office building at the forks of Rockcastle Creek and Stafford Fork was closed. But the community retained its name, Zip Code (41262) and some services after it was designated as Kentucky's first Village Post Office. As such, the facility provides free-standing post-office boxes and a mail drop box beside a convenience store, which is authorized to sell stamps and delivery envelopes.


Sulphur Springs United Baptist Church Sulphur Springs United Baptist Church.jpg
Sulphur Springs United Baptist Church

The community still contains a volunteer fire department, a grocery, a convenience store, an antique/musical instrument store, a car wash, a used-car lot, three churches, a Columbia Gas Co. pumping station and a large furniture store located in the old stone WPA-era Tomahawk Grade School, which was closed and sold in 2002 after the school was consolidated with Grassy Grade School into Eden Elementary School at Inez, Kentucky. A large mine-supply company in the community, Banks Miller Supply, closed in late September 2018.

Volunteer fire department fire department composed of volunteers

A volunteer fire department (VFD) is a fire department composed of volunteers who perform fire suppression and other related emergency services for a local jurisdiction. Volunteer and retained firefighters are expected to be on call to respond to emergency calls for long periods of time, and are summoned to the fire station when their services are needed. They are also expected to attend other non-emergency duties as well.

Convenience store small store that stocks a range of everyday items

A convenience store, convenience shop, or corner store is a small retail business that stocks a range of everyday items such as coffee, groceries, snack foods, confectionery, soft drinks, tobacco products, over-the-counter drugs, toiletries, newspapers, and magazines. In some jurisdictions, convenience stores are licensed to sell alcohol, although many such jurisdictions limit such beverages to those with relatively low alcoholic content such as beer and wine. Such stores may also offer money order and wire transfer services, along with the use of a fax machine or photocopier for a small per-copy cost. They differ from general stores and village shops in that they are not in a rural location and are used as a convenient supplement to larger stores.

Works Progress Administration United States federal New Deal agency charged with creating work in the 1930s and 1940s

The Works Progress Administration was an American New Deal agency, employing millions of job-seekers to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads. It was established on May 6, 1935, by Executive Order 7034. In one project, Federal Project Number One, the WPA employed musicians, artists, writers, actors and directors in large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects. The five projects dedicated to these were: the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP), the Historical Records Survey (HRS), the Federal Theatre Project (FTP), the Federal Music Project (FMP), and the Federal Art Project (FAP). In the Historical Records Survey, for instance, many former slaves in the South were interviewed; these documents are of great importance for American history. Theater and music groups toured throughout America, and gave more than 225,000 performances. Archaeological investigations under the WPA were influential in the rediscovery of pre-Columbian Native American cultures, and the development of professional archaeology in the US.

"Ritual sacrifice" incident of 1933

Tomahawk became briefly notorious on February 8, 1933 after a local family ritually murdered their mother following a church revival under the mistaken belief they could bring her back to life in three days. Accounts of this incident and subsequent trial were published nationally and internationally, Associated Press articles show. [1] [2]

Coordinates: 37°52′07″N82°35′50″W / 37.86861°N 82.59722°W / 37.86861; -82.59722 [3]

Geographic coordinate system Coordinate system

A geographic coordinate system is a coordinate system that enables every location on Earth to be specified by a set of numbers, letters or symbols. The coordinates are often chosen such that one of the numbers represents a vertical position and two or three of the numbers represent a horizontal position; alternatively, a geographic position may be expressed in a combined three-dimensional Cartesian vector. A common choice of coordinates is latitude, longitude and elevation. To specify a location on a plane requires a map projection.


The climate in this area is characterized by relatively high temperatures and evenly distributed precipitation throughout the year. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Tomahawk has a Humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps. [4]

Humid subtropical climate category in the Köppen climate classification system

A humid subtropical climate is a zone of climate characterized by hot and humid summers, and cold to mild winters. These climates normally lie on the southeast side of all continents, generally between latitudes 25° and 35° and are located poleward from adjacent tropical climates. While many subtropical climates tend to be located at or near coastal locations, in some cases they extend inland, most notably in China and the United States, where they exhibit more pronounced seasonal variations and sharper contrasts between summer and winter, as part of a gradient between the more tropical climates of the southern coasts of these countries and the more continental climates of China and the United States’ northern and central regions.

Climate data for Tomahawk, Kentucky
Average high °C (°F)6
Average low °C (°F)−8
Average precipitation mm (inches)81
Source: Weatherbase [5]

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  1. "Strange Cult Kills Woman as Sacrifice", St. Petersburg Times, February 9, 1933, p. 1
  2. "Human Sacrifice Offered As Part Of Odd Ceremony Held By Cult In Kentucky", The Evening Independent, St. Petersburg, Florida, February 9, 1933, p. 4
  3. "Tomahawk". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey.
  4. Climate Summary for Tomahawk, Kentucky
  5. "". Weatherbase. 2013. Retrieved on September 13, 2013.