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Kentucky County History


Kentucky County Timeline

Formation of Kentucky Counties.

Timeline created by Lee H. Hoffman, 1993 and revised 1996.

YEAR MONTH DAY EVENT
1802 4 1 Adair County, Kentucky was formed from Green County. It was created in 1801. Page 2.
1815 4 1 Allen County, Kentucky was formed from Barren and Warren Counties. It was created on 11 Jan 1815. Page 16. A courthouse fire on 2 Oct 1902 destroyed some records.
1827 2 1 Anderson County, Kentucky was formed from Franklin, Mercer, and Washington Counties. It was created on 16 Jan 1827. Page 934. Two courthouse disasters, on 26 Oct 1859 and on n13 Jan 1915, resulted in some record loss. However, only Order Book D and Mortgage Book B were lost.
1842 5 25 Ballard County, Kentucky was formed from Hickman and McCracken Counties. It was created on 15 Feb 1842. Page 44. Most records were destroyed in a courthouse fire on 17 Feb 1880.
1799 5 10 Barren County, Kentucky was formed from Green and Warren Counties. It was created on 20 Dec 1798. Page 54.
1811 2 4 Bath County, Kentucky was formed from Montgomery County. It was created on 15 Jan 1811. Page 60. No records seem to have been lost in a courthouse fire on 21 May 1864.
1904 2 9 Beckham County, Kentucky was formed from Carter Co. and from Lewis and Elliott Counties. It was dissolved by the state Court of Appeals on 29 Apr 1904 as not being formed in accordance with the state constitution. Only marriage and postal records remain. Page 65-66.
1867 8 1 Bell County, Kentucky was formed from Harlan and Knox Counties. It was originally known as Josh Bell County. Page 69. Records were lost in fires in 1914 and 1918. Also records were damaged with some loss in a flood in 1976.
1799 6 1 Boone County, Kentucky was formed from Campbell County after creation on 13 Dec 1798. Page 99. Some records may have been destroyed in the late 1880s due to a fire.
1785 5 1 Bourbon County, Virginia (later Kentucky) was formed from Fayette County, Virginia. The 5th to be formed was created on 1 May 1785. Page 104. Some records were lost in a fire on 8 May 1872.
1860 5 1 Boyd County, Kentucky was formed from Carter, Greenup, and Lawrence Counties. It was created on 25 Apr 1860. Page 108.
1842 3 1 Boyle County, Kentucky was formed from Lincoln and Mercer Counties. It was created on 15 Feb 1842. Page 110. Some records were lost in a courthouse fire in 1860.
1796 6 1 Bracken County, Kentucky was formed from Campbell and Mason Counties. Page 110. Some records were lost in a fire on 20 Apr 1848.
1839 4 1 Breathitt County, Kentucky was formed from Clay, Estill, and Perry Counties. Page 115. The courthouse or the jail was burned during the Civil War by Confederate troops. A fire in 1873 destroyed most of the county's records.
1800 1 1 Breckinridge County, Kentucky was formed from Hardin County after it was created by the legislature on 13 Dec 1799. Page 121. Records were saved from a fire on 28 Dec 1864, though some records were lost to a fire in Feb 1958.
1797 1 1 Bullitt County, Kentucky was formed from Jefferson and Nelson Counties. It was created in December 1796. Page 140.
1810 11 1 Butler County, Kentucky was formed from Logan and Ohio Counties. It was created on 1 May 1810. Page 147. The courthouse was burned in 1872.
1809 5 1 Caldwell County, Kentucky was formed from Livingston County. Page 150. The courthouse fire on 15 Dec 1864 destroyed some records.
1823 1 15 Calloway County, Kentucky was formed from Hickman County. It was created on 3 Nov 1822. Page 152. A courthouse fire destroyed some records in 1906.
1795 5 10 Campbell County, Kentucky was formed from Harrison, Mason, and Scott Counties. It was created on 17 Dec 1794. Page 155. Courthouse records may be in two different locations depending on the location of the county seat at the time. Both Newport (present county seat) and Alexandria should be searched, and there may be some overlap.
1886 5 3 Carlisle County, Kentucky was formed from Ballard County. Page 164. A courthouse fire destroyed some tax records on 22 Oct 1980.
1838 3 1 Carroll County, Kentucky was formed from Gallatin and Henry Counties. Page 165.
1838 5 1 Carter County, Kentucky was formed from Greenup and Lawrence Counties. It was created on 10 Apr 1838. Page 167.
1807 5 4 Casey County, Kentucky was formed from Lincoln County. It was created om 14 Nov 1806. Page 168.
1797 3 1 Christian County, Kentucky was formed from Logan County. It was created in 1796. Page 187. The courthouse burned in December 1864 and destroyed some records.
1793 2 1 Clark County, Kentucky was formed from Bourbon and Fayette Counties. It was the 14th county and was created in 1792. Page 197.
1807 4 1 Clay County, Kentucky was formed from Madison and Floyd Counties. It was created in 1806. Page 204. On 20 Jan 1936, there was a courthouse fire.
1836 4 1 Clinton County, Kentucky was formed from Cumberland and Wayne Counties. Page 208. Most records were lost in a courthouse fire in 1864. Another fire in 1980 destroyed some records.
1842 4 1 Crittenden County, Kentucky was formed from Livingston County. Page 241. The courthouse was burned by guerillas on 25 Jan 1865 destroying some records. More records were destroyed in a fire which occurred in May 1870.
1799 7 1 Cumberland County, Kentucky was formed from Green County It was created on 14 Dec 1798. Page 245. Records were lost in courthouse fires on 3 Jan 1865 and on 3 Dec 1933.
1815 6 1 Daviess County, Kentucky was formed from Ohio County. It was created on 14 Jan 1815. Page 254. No records were lost in a courthouse fire on 4 Jan 1865.
1783 3 0 District of Kentucky, Virginia was formed for judicial reasons. It included Fayette, Lincoln, and Jefferson Counties, Virginia. Page 267.
1825 2 1 Edmonson County, Kentucky was formed from Grayson, Hart, and Warren Counties. It was created on 12 Jan 1825. Page 284.
1869 5 29 Elliott County, Kentucky was formed from Carter, Lawrence, and Morgan Counties. It was created on 1 Apr 1869. Page 292. Some records were destroyed in a courthouse fire on 19 Dec 1957.
1808 4 1 Estill County, Kentucky was formed from Clark and Madison Counties. It was established on 19 Feb 1808. Page 298. Soldiers either set fire to the courthouse or the jail (depending on the source) in Oct 1864. In any case, the courthouse collapsed in 1865.
1780 11 1 Fayette County, Virginia (later Kentucky) was formed from Kentucky County, Virginia. One of the first three counties of Kentucky (with Lincoln and Jefferson Counties), it was created on 30 Jun 1780. Page 310. Most records for before 31 Jan 1803 were destroyed by fire. A second fire on 14 May 1897 also destroyed some early records.
1772 0 0 Fincastle County, Virginia was formed from Botetourt County Virginia. Page 318.
1800 3 1 Fleming County, Kentucky was formed from Mason County. It was created in 1798. Page 324-325.
1800 6 1 Floyd County, Kentucky was formed from Fleming, Mason and Montgomery Counties. It was created on 13 Dec 1799. Page 330. Some records were destroyed by fire in Apr 1808.
1795 5 10 Franklin County, Kentucky was formed from Mercer, Shelby, and Shelby Counties. It was created on 7 Dec 1794. Page 354.
1845 4 1 Fulton County, Kentucky was formed from Hickman County. Page 360.
1799 5 1 Gallatin County, Kentucky was formed from Franklin and Shelby Counties. It was created on 14 Dec 1798. Page 362.
1797 6 1 Garrard County, Kentucky was formed from Lincoln, Madison, and Mercer Counties. It was created on 17 Dec 1796. Page 364.
1820 4 1 Grant County, Kentucky was formed from Pendleton County. Page 383.
1824 1 15 Graves County, Kentucky was formed from Hickman County. Page 384. Fire destroyed courthouse records in 1864 and on 18 Dec 1887.
1810 4 1 Grayson County, Kentucky was formed from Hardin and Ohio Counties. It was established on 25 Jan 1810. Page 147. Three courthouse fire destroyed some or all redords of the time. The first was on 24 Dec 1864. The second was on 16 Jun 1896 from which three record books were saved. No records were lost in the fire of 3 Apr 1936.
1793 1 1 Green County, Kentucky was formed from Lincoln and Nelson Counties. It was the 16th to be formed and was created on 20 Dec 1792. Page 387.
1804 2 1 Greenup County, Kentucky was formed from Mason County. It was created in 1803. Page 389.
1829 3 23 Hancock County, Kentucky was formed from Breckinridge, Daviess, and Ohio Counties. It was created on 1 Mar 1829. Page 401.
1793 2 20 Hardin County, Kentucky was formed from Nelson County. The 15th county, it was created in Nov 1792. Page 404. A fire destroyed records on 23 Dec 1864, and on 6 Dec 1932.
1819 4 1 Harlan County, Kentucky was formed from Knox County. Page 408. The courthouse burned in Oct 1863, but the county clerk's records were saved.
1794 2 1 Harrison County, Kentucky was formed from Bourbon and Scott Counties. It was the 17th county and was created 21 Dec 1793. Page 412. A fire on 24 Jan 1851 destroyed some records.
1819 4 1 Hart County, Kentucky was formed from Barren, Green, and Hardin Counties. It was created on 28 Jan 1819. Page 416. Some records were lost in a courthouse fire on 3 Jan 1928.
1799 5 15 Henderson County, Kentucky was formed from Christian County after creation in 1798. Page 424.
1799 6 1 Henry County, Kentucky was formed from Shelby County. It was created in 1798. Page 425. A loss of some records occurred due to a fire in 1804.
1822 1 15 Hickman County, Kentucky was formed from Caldwell and Livingston Counties. It was created in 1821. Page 427-428.
1807 5 1 Hopkins County, Kentucky was formed from Henderson County. It was created in 1806. Page 439. Courthouse fire destroyed records in 1829 and in Dec 1864.
1858 4 25 Jackson County, Kentucky was formed from Clay, Estill, Laurel, Madison, Owsley, and Rockcastle Counties. Page 460. There was a courthouse fire in 1949.
1780 11 1 Jefferson County, Virginia (later Kentucky) was formed from Kentucky County, Virginia. One of the first three counties of Kentucky (with Lincoln and Fayette Counties), it was created on 30 Jun 1780. Page 464.
1799 2 1 Jessamine County, Kentucky was formed out of Fayette County. It was created on 19 Dec 1798. Page 469.
1843 4 1 Johnson County, Kentucky was formed from Floyd, Lawrence, and Morgan Counties. Page 476.
1840 4 30 Kenton County, Kentucky was formed from Campbell County. It was created on 29 Jan 1840. Page 488. It has two county seats: Covington (on the Ohio River) and Independence (near the middle of the county).
1776 12 31 Kentucky County, Virginia (and others) were formed from Fincastle County, Virginia which was abolished. Page 495.
1780 11 1 Kentucky County, Virginia was abolished. Page 495.
1792 6 1 Kentucky was admitted from Virginia as the 15th state of the United States. Although legislative action was taken on 18 Feb 1792 to create Vermont, it was created on that date making it the 14th state. Page 849.
1791 2 4 Kentucky was admitted as a state (to be formally admitted as the 15th state on 1 Jun 1792) followed on 18 Feb 1792 by Vermont which was as the 14th state. Page 849.
1884 5 15 Knott County, Kentucky was formed from Breathitt, Fletcher, Floyd, and Perry Counties. Page 523.
1800 6 1 Knox County, Kentucky was formed from Lincoln County. It was created on 19 Dec 1799. Page 524.
1843 3 1 Larue County, Kentucky was formed from Hardin County. Page 536. No records were lost in a fire set by guerrillas on 21 Feb 1865.
1826 2 13 Laurel County, Kentucky was formed from Clay, Knox, Rockcastle, and Whitley Counties. It was created on 21 Dec 1825. Page 536. A courthouse fire occurred on 9 Dec 1958.
1822 2 11 Lawrence County, Kentucky was formed from Floyd and Greenup Counties. It was created on 14 Dec 1821. Page 537.
1870 3 1 Lee County, Kentucky was formed from Breathitt, Estill, Owsley, and Wolfe Counties. Page 541.
1878 4 1 Leslie County, Kentucky was formed from Clay, Harlan, and Perry Counties. It was created on 29 Mar 1878. Page 545.
1842 4 1 Letcher County, Kentucky was formed from Harlan and Perry Counties. Page 546.
1807 4 1 Lewis County, Kentucky was formed from Mason County. It was created on 2 Dec 1806. Page 548.
1780 11 1 Lincoln County, Virginia (later Kentucky) was formed from Kentucky County, Virginia. One of the first three counties of Kentucky (with Fayette and Jefferson Counties), it was created on 30 Jun 1780. Page 557.
1799 5 1 Livingston County, Kentucky was formed from Christian County after creation on 13 Dec 1798. Page 564.
1792 9 1 Logan County, Kentucky was formed from Lincoln County. Page 568.
1854 4 1 Lyon County, Kentucky was formed from Caldwell County. It was 14 Jan 1854. Page 588.
1785 12 15 Madison County, Virginia (later Kentucky) was formed from Lincoln County, Virginia. It was the 6th county formed and was created on 1 Aug 1785. Page 602.
1860 4 25 Magoffin County, Kentucky was formed from Floyd, Johnson, and Morgan Counties. It was created on 22 Feb 1860. Page 604. No records were lost in a courthouse disaster in 1957.
1834 3 1 Marion County, Kentucky was formed from Washington County. It was created on 25 Jan 1834. Page 608. Morgan's Raiders burned the clerk's office destroying all records on 5 Jul 1863.
1842 6 1 Marshall County, Kentucky was formed from Calloway County. Page 611. Records were lost in two courthouse disasters in 1888 and Dec 1914.
1870 9 1 Martin County, Kentucky was formed from Floyd, Johnson, Lawrence, and Pike Counties. Page 613. A courthouse fire in 1892 destroyed records.
1788 5 1 Mason County, Virginia (later Kentucky) was formed from Bourbon County, Virginia. It was the 8th county to be formed. Page 614.
1824 1 15 McCracken County, Kentucky was formed from Hickman County. Page 593.
1912 3 12 McCreary County, Kentucky was formed from Pulaski, Wayne, and Whitley Counties. Page 594. Courthouse fires destroyed some records in 1927 and in 1951.
1854 5 8 McLean County, Kentucky was formed from Daviess, Muhlenberg, and Ohio Counties. It was created on 28 Jan 1854. Page 599. There was a courthouse fire in 1903.
1824 3 22 Meade County, Kentucky was formed from Breckinridge and Hardin Counties. It was created on 17 Dec 1823. Page 622. A tornado on 3 Apr 1794 destroyed the courthouse and some records.
1869 5 29 Menifee County, Kentucky was formed from Bath, Montgomery, Morgan, Powell, and Wolfe Counties. Named for Richard Hickman Menefee, but a legislative aide mis-spelled the name while writing the enacting law that created the county. It was created on 1 May 1869. Page 625.
1785 12 15 Mercer County, Virginia (later Kentucky) was formed from Lincoln County, Virginia. It was the 7th county to be formed and was created on 1 Aug 1785. Page 627. A courthouse fire occurred on 15 May 1928.
1860 5 7 Metcalfe County, Kentucky was formed from Adair, Barren, Cumberland, Green, and Monroe Counties. It was created on 1 May 1860. Page 630. There were reportedly courthouse fies in Mar 1865, and in 1867 or 1868.
1820 4 1 Monroe County, Kentucky was formed from Barren and Cumberland Counties. It was created on 19 Jan 1820. Page 643. Records were lost in courthouse fires on 22 Apr 1863 and in 1888.
1797 3 1 Montgomery County, Kentucky was formed from Clark County after creation on 14 December 1796. Page 644. Fires on 4 Mar 1851 and 2 Dec 1863 destroyed many records.
1823 3 10 Morgan County, Kentucky was formed from Floyd and Bath Counties. It was created in 1822. Courthouse records were lost twice: in Oct 1862 and in 1925.
1798 5 15 Muhlenberg County, Kentucky was formed from Christian and Logan Counties. Page 659.
1785 1 1 Nelson County, Virginia (later Kentucky) was formed from Jefferson County, Virginia. The 4th county to be formed was created on 29 Nov 1784. Page 676.
1800 6 1 Nicholas County, Kentucky was formed from Bourbon and Mason Counties. It was created in 1799. Page 681.
1799 7 1 Ohio County, Kentucky was formed from Hardin County. It was created on 17 Dec 1798. Page 689. The courthouse burned on 20 Dec 1864.
1824 2 1 Oldham County, Kentucky was formed from Henry, Jefferson, and Shelby Counties. It was created in 1823. Page 694. A courthouse fire occurred in 1873.
1819 4 1 Owen County, Kentucky was formed from Franklin, Gallatin, Pendleton, and Scott Counties. It was created on 6 Feb 1819. Page 700.
1843 6 1 Owsley County, Kentucky was formed from Breathitt, Clay, and Estill Counties. It was created on 23 Jan 1843. Page 703. In Jan 1929 and again on 5 Jan 1967, there were courthouse fires. In the 1929 fire, all records were destroyed.
1799 5 10 Pendleton County, Kentucky was formed from Bracken and Campbell Counties. It was created on 13 Dec 1798. Page 714.
1821 2 26 Perry County, Kentucky was formed from Clay and Floyd Counties. It was created on 2 Nov 1820. Page 717. Some records were lost in courthouse disaster in 1885 and in 1911.
1822 3 1 Pike County, Kentucky was formed from Floyd County. It was created on 19 Dec 1821. Page 721. No records were lost in a courthouse disaster in 1977.
1852 5 10 Powell County, Kentucky was formed from Clark, Estill, and Montgomery Counties. It was created on 7 Jan 1852. Page 732. The courthouse was burned by guerrillas in the Spring of 1863, and the jail was burned in 1864. Records were lost in both fires.
1799 6 1 Pulaski County, Kentucky was formed from Green and Lincoln Counties. It was created 10 Dec 1798. Page 747. Fires in 1838 and on 7 Dec 1871 destroyed some records.
1867 8 1 Robertson County, Kentucky was formed from Bracken, Fleming, Harrison, Mason, and Nicholas Counties. It was created on 1 May 1867. Page 776.
1810 4 1 Rockcastle County, Kentucky was formed from Lincoln, Madison, and Pulaski Counties. Page 778. A fire destroyed most early records in 1871.
1856 5 1 Rowan County, Kentucky was formed from Fleming and Morgan Counties. Page 783-784. Courthouse fires on 21 Mar 1864 and in the 1890s destroyed many records.
1826 4 1 Russell County, Kentucky was formed from Adair, Cumberland, Pulaski, and Wayne Counties. It was created on 14 Dec 1825. Page 789. No records were lost in a courthouse disaster in 1976.
1792 6 1 Scott County, Kentucky was formed from Woodford County. The 11th county to be formed was created on 1 Jun 1792. Page 805. Many records were destroyed on 9 Aug 1837 and again in 1876.
1792 6 23 Shelby County, Kentucky was formed from Jefferson County. It was the 12th county formed. Page 816.
1819 4 1 Simpson County, Kentucky was formed from Allen, Logan, and Warren Counties. It was created on 28 Jan 1819. Page 823. Most records were destroyed in a fire 16 May 1882.
1824 1 15 Spencer County, Kentucky was formed from Bullitt, Nelson, and Shelby Counties. It was created on 7 Jan 1824. Page 841. Courthouse fires occurred on 25 Jan 1865 and again in 1914. No records were lost in the 1914 fire.
1848 3 1 Taylor County, Kentucky was formed from Green County. Page 870. Some records were lost in a courthouse fire on 25 Dec 1864.
1820 4 1 Todd County, Kentucky was formed from Christian and Logan Counties. It was 30 Dec 1819. Page 888.
1820 4 1 Trigg County, Kentucky was formed from Caldwell and Christian Counties. It was created on 27 Jan 1820. Page 899. Courthouse fires on 13 Dec 1864, 13 Jan 1892, and 29 Nov 1920 destroyed many records
1837 4 1 Trimble County, Kentucky was formed from Gallatin, Henry, and Oldham Counties. It was created on 9 Feb 1837. Page 900. Some records were lost in a courthouse fire in 1952.
1811 5 1 Union County, Kentucky was formed from Henderson County. It was created on 15 Jan 1811. Page 908.
1797 3 1 Warren County, Kentucky was formed from Logan County after creation on 19 Dec 1796. Page 932. A courthouse fire destroyed some records in 1864.
1792 6 2 Washington County, Kentucky was formed from Nelson County, Kentucky. It was the 10th county formed. Page 934. Two fires, one in 1795, and the second in 1814 destroyed courthouses, though some records were saved.
1801 3 1 Wayne County, Kentucky was formed from Pulaski and Cumberland Counties. It was created in 1800. Page 938. A fire in 1898 destroyed its fourth courthouse.
1860 7 1 Webster County, Kentucky was formed from Hopkins and Union Counties. Page 939.
1818 4 1 Whitley County, Kentucky was formed from Knox County. It was created on 17 Jan 1818. Page 949. Some records were lost in a courthouse disaster in 1930.
1860 7 1 Wolfe County, Kentucky was formed from Breathitt, Morgan, Owsley, and Powell Counties. Page 962. Records were lost in courthouse fires in 1886 and 1913.
1788 11 12 Woodford County, Virginia (later Kentucky) was formed from Fayette County, Virginia. The 9th county to be formed was created on 1 May 1788. Page 966. A fire destroyed many records on 11 Oct 1965.


Timeline created by Lee H. Hoffman, 1993 and revised 1996.
E-mail: 71147.1736@compuserve.com

KYCO is a timeline of Kentucky counties noting when each was formed either as part of Virginia or after the Commonweath of Kentucky was formed as well as showing the origin of each county (i.e., from what older county or counties the newer county was formed.


The date given will be the date the county was formally established as far as it is known. When the actual legislative action creating the county is different and known, its date will also be given.

Additional information is also given where such data is known by the author.

This information includes courthouse fires and loss of records for whatever reason.

This timeline can be very useful to those researching in Kentucky. Often an ancestor may live all his/her life in a single physical location, but live in multiple counties due to the formation of new counties. Note that records may be available in the newer county for events occuring prior to formation although most such records will be in the parent county. Also, some records that would normally be in the new county may be located in the older county for events occuring very close to the formation date. Researchers would do well to check both counties for records of events near the formation date.

Unless otherwise noted, the page references are to John E. Kleber, Ed., The Kentucky Encyclopedia (The University Press of Kentucky, 1992). Information shown here was also taken from Collins' History of Kentucky (Covington, Ky, 1878, Re-print by Clearfield Co, Baltimore, 1995). Collins' History only contains data up through 1874 and is essentially the same information as shown in The Kentucky Encyclopedia with some minor exceptions.

It may be noted that county formation sequencing numbers do not always follow date order. For example, Hardin County is the 15th to be formed and was formed in 1793 while Green County is the 16th and it was formed in 1792.

The compiler has not resolved these conflicts, but believes that the difference is due to the differences in legislative action and action formation dates. The law creating one county may be passed before another but specify a later date. The formation sequencing given is that normally followed by both Collin's and The Kentucky Encyclopedia.

Copyright © 1993, 1996 by Lee H. Hoffman. All rights reserved.


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Last Updated: 27 Jul 1997
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