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Fanning's Illustrated Gazetteer of the United States

State, Territories, Counties, Cities, Towns & Post Offices


Transcribed by Jeana Gallagher and Sandy Stutzman
for the exclusive use of Genealogy Trails

PT is post town; PV is post village; PO is post office, PB is post borough, CH is court house, T is town


Kentucky, one of the United States, formerly a district of Virginia lies between 36°30' and 39°10' north latitude, and 80°35' and 82° longitude west from Greenwich; and is bounded north by Ohio river, which separates it from Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, east by Virginia, south by Tennessee and west by Missouri.  Its superficial area is 40,500 square miles.

Physical Aspect--Kentucky lies entirely in the valley of the Ohio, and is a part of an immense inclined plain, more or less broken in its surface, descending from Cumberland mountain to the river Ohio.  The Cumberland range divides this state from Virginia on the southeast.  Descending from the foot of this mountain toward the northwest, to the distance of 100 miles, the country is hilly and rather mountainous.  This broken section includes at least one third part of the state, and extends from the Tennessee line to the river Ohio.  A tract along this river, from 5 to 25 miles wide, is also broken and hilly, stretching through the whole length of the state.  But these hills are gently rounded, and are fertile quite to their tops, having narrow valleys between them of great fertility.  Along the margin of this stream there are rich alluvial bottoms, of an average width of a mile, subject to periodical inundation between the hilly tract on the Ohio and the mountainous country on the Virginia line and Green river there is a tract, 100 miles long and 50 miles broad, beautifully undulating, with a black and rich soil, which has been denominated the "garden of Kentucky."  The whole state below the mountains rests on a bed of limestone, in general about eight feet below the surface.  The rivers have worn deep channels into this calcareous bed, forming stupendous precipices, particularly on Kentucky river, where the banks in many places are 300 feet high.

Mammoth Cave--In the southwest part of the state, between Green and Cumberland rivers, are several wonderful caverns.  The "Mammoth Cave" in Edmondson county, 130 miles from Lexington, near the road leading to Nashville, is some 9 or 10 miles in extent, with a great number of avenues and intricate windings.  Most of those caves yield an inexhaustible supply of nitrate of lime.  During the late war with Great Britain, 50 men were constantly employed in lixiviating the earth of the Mammoth Cave, to obtain the saltpeter it contained; and in about 3 years after the washed earth is said to have become as strongly impregnated with nitric acid as at first.

Mountains--The Cumberland range, before referred to, forms the southeast boundary of this state.

Rivers--The principle rivers are, the Ohio, Mississippi, Tennessee, Cumberland, Kentucky (Kutawa), Green, Licking, Salt, Rolling and Big Sandy.

Climate--The climate through most of the state is generally healthy.  The winters are mild, and usually of only two or three months' duration. Spring and Autumn are delightfully pleasant.  The extremes of season, however, are widened by the peculiar features of the country.  The rivers in their descent have abraded the plains, and flow in deep chasms or vales, which receive the rays of the sun in various inclinations.  In these situations the summers are hot and the winters mild.

Production Resources--The staple products of this state are, horses, mules, neat cattle, sheep, swine, poultry, eggs, butter, cheese, wine, wax, sugar, tobacco, wool, cotton, hemp, flax, hay, lumber, wheat, barley, rye, oats, buckwheat, rice, potatoes, and Indian corn.  Tobacco and hemp are the great staples of the state.  Among the mineral resources are, iron, coal, salt and lime.  The salt springs are numerous, and not only supply this state but a great part of Ohio and Tennessee, as well as other parts.

Manufactures--About half a million of dollars is invested in cotton and woolen manufactures in Kentucky, and about $200,000 in the manufacture of iron.  Other principle manufactures are cordage, cotton bagging, hardware, tobacco, spirits &c.  In 1850, the number of Manufacturing establishments in the state, producing $500 and over, each, annually was 3,471.

Railroads and Canals--The principal railroads at present in operation in Kentucky are, the Louisville and Frankfort, 65 miles, and the Frankfort and Lexington, 29 miles.  Several important railroads are projected, which when completed will render easily accessible all the important points in the state.

Commerce--In common with other inland states, Kentucky has no direct foreign commerce, but ships mostly at New Orleans.  The river trade of this state is considerable.  About 15,000 tons of shipping is owned in the state.

Education--There are several collegiate institutions in Kentucky; St Joseph's, Centre, Augusta, Georgetown and Bacon colleges; and Louisville and Transylvania universities, to both of which law and medical schools are attached.  There are also a theological institution at Covington and the Western Military college at Blue Lick Springs.  There are also asylums for the blind, the deaf and dumb, and the insane.  The state has a school fund of $1,300,000.

Government--The legislative power is vested in a senate and house of representatives, which together are styled the general assembly.  The senators are 38 in number, chosen by the people, from single districts, for four years.  Representatives, 100 in number, are chosen by the people for two years.  A governor and Lt governor are elected by the people for a term of four years.  The governor is ineligible the immediately succeeding term.  He may return a bill passed by the legislature, but a majority of the members elected to each house may pass the bill afterward and it then becomes a law notwithstanding his objections.  The general election first Monday in August biennially.  The state officers are elected by the people for a term of four years.  The judicial power is vested in a court of appeals, circuit and country courts; the judges of each are elected by the people.  Every free, white male citizen, 21 years of age or over, resident in the state two years, and in the county where he offers to vote one year, next preceding an election, may vote at such election.  Elections by the people are viva voce.

Population--In 1790 was 73,077; in 1800 was 220,955; in 1810 was 406,511; in 1820 was 564,317; in 1830 was 687,917; in 1840 was 779,828 and in 1850 was 982,405.  Number of Slaves in 1790 was 11,830; in 1800 was 40,343; in 1810 was 80,561; in 1820 was 126,372; in 1830 was 165,213; in 1840 was 182,258 and in 1850 was 210,981.

History--The first permanent settlement in Kentucky was made by Daniel Boone in 1775, though the country had been visited by John Finley, and others, as early as 1769.  In 1777, the legislature of Virginia made it a county, and in 1782, a supreme court was established. In about the year 1776, the region south of Kentucky river was purchased of the Cherokees, who called their domain "Transylvania" (beyond the woods).  In 1786, an act was passed by Congress, erecting the district of Kentucky into a new territory; but the separation from Virginia did not take place before 1792, when it was admitted into the Union as an independent state.  The first constitution was adopted in 1790, which was superseded by a new one in 1799, and that by the present one in 1850.  Motto of its seal, "United we stand, divided we fall."

1850 Counties of Kentucky

County Description Area in sq miles Courts held at Pop in 1850
Adair southern part 800 Columbia 9,898
Allen southern part, water by Big Barren branch of Green river 400 Scottsville 8,999
Anderson central part, on west side of Kentucky river, drained by Salt river 170 Lawrenceburgh 6,260
Ballard in western most part, on south side of Ohio river, crossed by Mayfield creek 375 Columbus 5,496
Barren in southernly part 900 Glasgow 20,940
Boone extreme north, south side of Ohio river 300 Burlington 11,125
Bourbon northern part, between KY & Licking rivers 176 Paris 14,406
Boyle central part, on SW side of Dick's river 175 Danville 9,116
Bracken north boundary of PA, crossed by Susquehanna river 1,330 Towanda 42,829
Breathitt east part, crossed by north fork of KY river 700 Breathitt 3.785
Breckenridge northern boundary, on south side of Ohio river 760 Hardensburgh 10.593
Bullitt northern part, on northeastern side of Salt river 300 Shepnerdsville 6,774
Butler southwest part, crossed by Green river 570 Morgantown 5,754
Caldwell southwest part, on east side of Tennessee river & crossed by Cumberland river 600 Princeton 13,048
Callaway southern boundary, on west side of Tennessee river 600 Wadesborough 8,096
Campbell north boundary, on southern side of Ohio river 260 Newport 13,127
Carroll north boundary, south side of Ohio river 140 Carrollton 5,526
Carter northeast boundary, west side of Big Sandy river 800 Grayson 6,241
Casey central part 448 Liberty 6,556
Christian southern boundary 621 Hopkinsville 9,580
Clarke northeast part, north side of Kentucky river 300 Winchester 12,683
Clay southeast part 880 Manchester 5,421
Clinton southern boundary 200 Albany 4,889
Crittenden northwest boundry, east side of Ohio river 540 Marion 6,351
Cumberland south boundary, crossed by Cumberland river 270 Burkesville 7,005
Daviess northern boundary, Ohio & Green rivers 600 Owensborough 12,361
Edmonson central part, crossed by Green river 250 Brownsville 4,088
Estill eastern part, crossed by Kentucky river 864 Irvine 5,985
Fayette northern part, Kentucky river on the south 275 Lexington 22,735
Fleming north eastern part, Licking river on southwest side 570 Flemingsburgh 13,916
Floyd eastern part, , crossed by west fork of Big Sandy river 1400 Prestonburgh 5,714
Franklin northern part, crossed by Kentucky river 200 Frankfort 12,462
Fulton southwest corner, Mississippi river on the west blank Hickman 4,446
Gallatin northern boundary, Ohio river on northwest side 175 Warsaw 5,137
Garrard central part, Kentucky river on north side 240 Lancaster 10,237
Grant northern part 184 Williamstown 6,531
Grayson western part 800 Litchfield 6,837
Greene central part, crossed by Greene river 460 Greensburgh 9,060
Greenup northeastern corner, Ohio river on north & northeast, Sandy river on southeast 768 Greenupsburgh 9,654
Hancock northern boundary, Ohio river on northeast & northwest 200 Hawesville 3,853
Hardin northern part 1200 Elizabethtown 14,525
Harlan south eastern boundary, crossed by Cumberland river, Cumberland Mts form south eastern boundary & Laurel Ridge crossed northwest part 480 Mount Pleasant 4,268
Harrison northern part, crossed by Licking river 356 Cynthiana 13,064
Hart central part, crossed by Green river 432 Mumfordsville 9,093
Henderson northwest part, Ohio river on north, Green river on east 725 Henderson 12,171
Henry northern part, Kentucky river on northeast 260 Newcastle 11,442
Hickman western boundary, Mississippi river on west 350 Clinton 4,791
Hopkins western part, Green river on northeast 750 Madisonville 12, 441
Jefferson northern part on Ohio river 504 Louisville 59,829
Jessamine central part, Kentucky river on southwest 256 Nicholasville 10,249
Johnson eastern part blank Paintsville 3,873
Kenton northern boundary on Ohio river 150 Independence 17,038
Knox southeast part, crossed by Cumberland river 495 Barboursville 7,050
La Rue no description blank blank 5,859
Laurel toward southeast part 400 London 4,145
Lawrence eastern boundary, Big Sandy river on east 650 blank 6,281
Letcher southeast boundary 200 Whitesburgh 2,512
Lewis northern boundary, Ohio river on north 375 Clarksburgh 7,202
Lincoln central part 432 Stanford 10,093
Livingston western boundary, crossed by Cumberland river, bound by the Mississippi river on west & Tennessee river on south 330 Salem 6,578
Logan southern boundary 600 Russellville 16,581
Madison toward east part, Kentucky river on north 520 Richmond 15,727
Marion central part 276 Lebanon 11,765
Marshall western part, Tennessee river on northeast not listed Benton 5,269
Mason northern boundary, Ohio river on north 260 Washington 18,344
McCracken northwestern boundary, Ohio river on the north, Tennessee river on northeast 200 Paducah 6,067
Mead northern boundary, Ohio river on north 360 Brandenburgh 7,393
Mercer central part, Kentucky river on northeast 350 Harrisburgh 17,067
Monroe southern boundary, crossed by Cumberland river 375 Tompkinsville 7,756
Montgomery toward northeast part 260 Mount Sterling 9,903
Morgan eastern part, crossed by Licking river 890 West Liberty 7,620
Muhlenburgh western part, Green river on northeast 490 Greenville 9,809
Nelson toward north part 460 Bardstown 14,789
Nicholas in northeast part, crossed by Licking river 350 Carlisle 10,361
Ohio western part, Green river on southwest 576 Hartford 9,479
Oldham northern boundary, Ohio river on northwest 220 Westport 7,629
Owen north part, Kentucky river on southwest 320 Owenton 10,444
Owsley eastern part, crossed by Kentucky river blank Booneville 3,774
Pendleton northeast boundary, Ohio river on northeast, crossed by Licking river 450 Falmouth 6,774
Perry southeast part 760 Perry 3,092
Pike east part, Big Sandy river on northeast 400 Piketon 5,365
Pulaski southeast part, crossed by Cumberland river 800 Somerset 14,195
Rock Castle toward southeast part 330 Mount Vernon 4,697
Russell south part, crossed by Cumberland river 260 Jamestown 5,349
Scott northern part 252 Georgetown 14,946
Shelby northern part 442 Shelbyville 17,095
Simpson south boundary 288 Franklin 7,733
Spencer toward northern part 260 Taylorville 6,842
Taylor central part blank Campbellsville 7,250
Todd on southwest boundary 612 Elkton 8,680
Trigg on southern boundary, Tennessee river on west, crossed by Cumberland river 510 Cadiz 10,129
Trimble on northwestern boundary, Ohio river on northwest 150 Bedford 5,963
Union northwestern boundary, Ohio river on northwest 450 Morganfield 9,012
Warren in southern part, crossed by Big Barren river 612 Bowling Green 15,123
Washington in central part 475 Springfield 12,194
Wayne on southern boundary, Cumberland river on north 570 Monticello 8,692
Whitley south boundary, crossed by Cumberland river 600 Whitley Court House 7,447
Woodford toward north part, Kentucky river on southwest 154 Versailles 12,423

Frankfort, KY

Frankfort, seat of justice of Franklin Co, and capital of the state of Kentucky.  Situated on a circular bend, on the north side of Kentucky river, 60 miles from its entrance into the Ohio, and 452 miles from Washington.  The river here winds through deep limestone banks, which afford a level site for the town, and for South Frankfort, on the opposite side with which it is connected by a bridge.  Behind the town, the plain rises several hundred feet into a table-land, from which appears a magnificent prospect of the river, and a wide extent of country.  Frankfort is a well built village, with neat and solid dwellings, of brick or white marble.  Of this material, which the limestone region along the river furnishes in great plenty and excellence, the state house is constructed, a splendid building, with a portico supported by Ionic pillars at the front, and a lighted cupola upon the roof.  There are also a penitentiary, courthouse, churches, banks &c.  The citizens of Frankfort display the accustomed intelligent hospitality which is a characteristic of Kentuckians.  The manufactures of the town are considerable, and steamboats ascending to this point with high water, carry on a trade with the valleys of the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.  The Lexington and Ohio railroad, between Lexington and Louisville, 92 miles long, communicates with Frankfort.

The population in 1810 was 1,099; in 1820 was 1,679; in 1830 was 1,680; in 1840 was 1,917 and in 1850 was 4,372

Lexington, KY

A city, seat of justice of Fayette Co, KY, 24 miles southeast of Frankfort, situated on a branch of Elkhorn river, 70 miles from Louisville, and 515 miles from Washington.  It is the oldest town in the state, and was formerly the capital. It has many handsome paved streets, Main street being 75 feet wide and 1½ miles in length.  The noble shade trees that border the streets, give it a pleasing appearance.  A large public square adorns the centre of the place, which is surrounded by stately private mansions.  The public building are a courthouse, Masonic hall, jail, state lunatic asylum, and the halls of the Transylvania university, together with several churches and academics, and the hospitality and intelligence  of its citizens, and render it a desirable southern residence.

Population: in 1820 was 5,283; in 1830 was 6,408; in 1840 was 6,984; and in 1850_____.

Louisville, KY

City, the seat of justice of Jefferson Co, KY, the commercial metropolis of the western states is situated on the Ohio river, at the head of uninterrupted steamboat navigation, except when the river is high.  Here the Ohio descends by rapids over a limestone ledge, forming a barrier to navigation, which is now surmounted by a canal from below the city to a point above the falls.  From the water, the ground rises gently and with undulations, affording a fine site, and a magnificent and varied prospect of the river, and its islands, forming rapids, pleasant villages, and fertile shores.  The city is intersected by broad and pleasant streets, parallel with the river, crossed at right angles by other streets and alleys.  Beargrass creek, passing through the upper part of the town, falls into the Ohio, above the rapids, and is spanned by bridges.  The public buildings are numerous, and commensurate with the importance and prosperity of Louisville, including banks, churches, hospitals, jails, a city hall and court house, medical institute and other benevolent, scientific and educational establishments.  The Medical Institute at Louisville, is a very important institution, founded in 1837, with six professors, and about 250 students.  The Kentucky Historical Society, has a considerable library with numerous manuscripts.

This city may be regarded as one of the great magazines for provisions in the west.  It is the market of a vast agricultural region, extending through Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, and trades extensively with the whole valleys of the Mississippi and the Ohio.  Manufactures of numerous kinds are also prosecuted with the great enterprise and success.  It is supplied by an aqueduct with pure and abundant water, and is brilliantly illuminated with gas.  Louisville is the terminus of the Lexington and Ohio railroad, and the port of a large number of steamboats from New Orleans, St Louis, and other places in the great valley of the west

Population:  in 1778 was 30; in 1800 was 600; in 1810 was 1,357; in 1820 was 4,012; in 1830 was 10,352; in 1840 was 21,210 and in 1850 was 43,194.

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