Kentucky Genealogy and History

Montgomery County Kentucky

"Source: These vital records were posted on a public mailing list. Please confirm all data for yourself"

"Transcribed by Dale Donlon from materials provided from the research of Lynn Stephens Headley"


Historical Edition of the Mt. Sterling Advocate

September 1934


Montgomery County Formed in 1795 - Early History

First Settlers Were Forefathers of Our Prominent Families

Pioneers Reached This Section of "Old Caintuck" in the year 1776


The earliest record concerning the settlement of Montgomery county we find from a brief journal handed down from one of its earliest settlers -- William Calk. From this we learn that on Tuesday, March 14, 1775, Enoch Smith, Abraham Hanks, Phillip Drake, Robert Whitledge and William Calk met at the home of Captain Frank Price, on the Repidan, in Virginia, and the following day set out for the then almost untrodden regions of "Caintuck".

According to this journal, this party of pioneers reached Boone's fort (Boonesboro) April 20, 1775. Smith, Whitledge and Calk built a house at the fort and moved their "things" in and started housekeeping on April 29 and here they remained, planting corn, battling with the Indians and suffering the perils of frontier life. Later Enoch Smith, William Calk and Robert Whitledge began to explore what is now Montgomery county. Late in the fall of 1775, Enoch Smith and Isaac Davis built a cabin near the present site of the city of Mt. Sterling and in the spring of 1776 John Lane came and assisted Smith to clear 5 or 6 acres near the cabin, which they planted in corn, and this was the first house built in the county and the first crop of corn raised in the county. Smith surveyed 1,400 acres of land, the present site of Mt. Sterling being a portion of it.

Calk also did some exploring and surveying and found the celebrated spring known as "Calk's spring" and in June, 1779, built a cabin on the site of the present Calk farm on the Levee road near Mt. Sterling. John Harper helped with the building of this cabin. In the same year they were joined by John Judy, John Crawford, James French, Moses Thomas and William Sade of Virginia and this composed this little colony of whites that first settled Montgomery county.

The early settlers did not bring their families from Virginia until 1791-92. The branch above the Calk cabin was then called Calk's creek. Hinkston was then called Small Mountain creek, and was so known for many years to the early settlers. It received its name from Captain John Hinkston, noted Indian fighter.

The next visitors and settlers of whom we can find any trace is preserved were Benjamin White, Nicholas Anderson, John Harper, William Meteer, James Poage, Edward Williams, Peter Harper and Samuel Spurgin, some of whom came to a point on the waters of Slate 3 or 4 miles from Estill's battleground, where they marked a large black ash with the letters "White 1779".  Here was built a house for White and one for Harper, Meteer, Poage and Spurgeon settled near Mt. Sterling with their families in 1792.

A stockade was built at the mouth of Spencer creek, six miles from Mt. Sterling and named Morgan's Station. Fort Baker was also built about five miles west of Mt. Sterling and a man named Bradshaw built a stockade about a mile north of Mt. Sterling.

The last of the Indian incursion in this section was made on Easter Monday, April 1, 1793, at Fort Morgan when the Indians captured the station and carried away nineteen women and children as prisoners. The men were away in the neighborhood preparing to raise crops.

John Crawford, John Judy, and Jane Lane returned to Kentucky in 1790 and worked one year from Enoch Smith, assisting him in clearing land, for which they received - Judy, 100 acres, on which the town of Mt. Sterling now stands; Crawford, 100 acres adjoining and northwest of Judy's, his house standing near where the Mary Chiles Hospital now stands. Lane chose a rifle and a sum of money.

Forming of County

Montgomery county was named in honor of General Richard Montgomery, a major-general in the American Revolutionary army, a brave and gallant Irishman, who fell at the early age of thirty-nine, at the seige of Quebec in December, 1775.

All the country west of Virginia was called Fincastle, then Kentucky county. Kentucky in May, 1780, was divided into three counties - Lincoln, Jefferson, and Fayette. Out of Fayette, Bourbon was formed and from Bourbon came Clark and from Clark came Montgomery, which was formed as a full-fledged county in 1795. When first formed the county then extended to the Virginia line. In all eighteen counties have been made out of Montgomery since it organization. Floyd in 1799; Clay in 1806; Bath in 1811; Harlan in 1819; Lawrence and Pike in 1821; Morgan in 1822; Breathitt in 1839; Letcher in 1842; Owsley and Johnson in 1843; Powell in 1853; Magoffin and Wolfe in 1860; Menifee in 1869; Lee and Martin in 1870.

Early Statesmen

The first member of Congress from this district, of which Montgomery was a part, was John Fowler, who was a member from ten years; the next was Benjamin Harrison; the next was David Trimble, who was a resident of Mt. Sterling and elected for five consecutive terms, but having voted for J. Q. Adams against Andrew Jackson in 1824, in 1825 he was defeated by Henry Daniel. Richard French, Richard H. Menefee, Amos Davis and Garrett Davis of Montgomery county were members of the early Congresses. The first circuit and county clerk of Montgomery county was Micajah Harrison. Other early circuit court clerks were James Howard, James G. Hazelrigg, B. J. Peters and James Crawford. Early county clerks were M. Harrison, James Howard, A. J. Wyatt, A. J. Stevens, E. E. Garrett, John N. Gibson, J. R. Garrett and B. F. Wyatt.

Early county judges were George W. Gist, James H. French, Calvin Brock, M. M. Cassidy and W. H. Winn.

Montgomery county has been the birthplace and Mt. Sterling the residence of several men who have filled with ability and honor the office of Circuit Judge. Among them may be named Silas W. Robbins, Kenaz Farrow, J. W. Moore, N. P. Reid, and Richard Apperson, Jr.

Present Officials (1934)

The present (1934) county officials are:

Circuit Judge - D. B. Caudill Morehead

Circuit Clerk - Miss Anice Hunt**

County Judge - Earl W. Semff

County Attorney - Franklin Reynolds

Sheriff - Josh Owings

County Clerk - Keller Greene

Tax Commissioner - T. Newt Duff

Jailer - Kelly Whitt

Superintendent of Schools - Mrs. Mallie D. Wells

Master Commissioner - John J. Winn

Agricultural Agent - Floyd McDaniel

Commissioners - W. E. Jones, R. S. Greene, W. B. Robinson

State Senator, 28th District, Bourbon Clark, Montgomery - James H. Thompson, Paris

Representative, Montgomery and Menifee - Steve Pieratt, Mt. Sterline


The 1930 census gave Montgomery county a population of 11,660.



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