Select Page

History and Facts of Kentucky Counties

The Allegheny Mountains kept settlers from moving west for a time, but they eventually did pass through those mountains and establish the first settlements to the west of them. In 1774 Harrodsburg, the first permanent settlement in what would later become Kentucky, was founded by James Harrod.

Daniel Boone explored the region in 1767 and then founded Boonesboro in 1775, after cutting a trail through Cumberland Gap, when was known as the Wilderness Trail.

In December 31, 1776, the counties of Virginia beyond the Appalachian Mountains became known as Kentucky County (aka Kentucke County) by dividing Fincastle County. During the 3-1/2 years of Kentucky County’s existence, government seat was in Harrodstown also known as Oldtown, and later renamed Harrodsburg.

Kentucky County was abolished on June 30, 1780, when it was divided into Fayette, Jefferson, and Lincoln counties of Virginia. Eventually, the residents of Fayette, Jefferson, and Lincoln counties petitioned for a separation from Virginia. Ten constitutional conventions were held in Danville between 1784 and 1792, in the Constitution Square Courthouse . The final convention, in April 1792, was approved by the Virginia House of Delegates.

The the Kentucky Territory, was organized on May 7, 1800. The State of Kentucky was created as the 15th state on June 1, 1792. Kentucky contains 120 counties. The State of Kentucky is bordered by IllinoisIndianaMissouriOhioTennesseeVirginia, and West Virginia.

Before Statehood Kentucky was part of Virginia. In 1776, the counties of Virginia beyond the Appalachian Mountains became known as Kentucky County.

List of Kentucky Counties

Kentucky is divided into 120 counties.

List of Old Former / Extinct Kentucky Counties

Kentucky has counties that no longer are in existence. A lot of these counties were established and disbanded within the 19th century; county borders have modified very little since 1900 in the vast most of states.

The below Kentucky counties no longer exist:

?? County, Kentucky

Created ? from ?. It was abolished ? and re-established as ? County on ?.

  • Beckham: 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.
  • Josh Bell: Formed just after the Civil War, on February 5, 1867, from portions of Harlan and Knox Counties. Originally named Josh Bell County at its formation, the name was changed to Bell County by the legislature on January 31, 1873.

Map of Kentucky County Boundary Changes from 1776 to 1939

This Interactive Map of Kentucky Counties show the historical boundaries, names, organization, and attachments of every county, extinct county and unsuccessful county proposal from 1776 to 1939.

Fun Facts about Kentucky Counties

County Name Facts

The County names:

  • 0 of them named for Native American words or people,
  •  

Counties by Year

In 1780 the first Kentucky counties were formed. They were FayetteJefferson and Lincoln Counties. The last county to be formed was McCreary County in 1912.

  • ? County was the first county created on ?.
  •  The last county to be formed was ? County on ?.
  •  

Facts for County Size

  • ? County (000 sq mi) is the largest county in Kentucky.
  • ? County (000 sq mi) is the smallest county in Kentucky.

Facts for County Population (2017 Est.)

  • ? County (000) is the most populated county in Kentucky.
  • ? County (000) is the least populated county in Kentucky.

Facts for Kentucky Counties and Cities

Kentucky’s 10 largest cities (2010) are:

  1. Birmingham (000) is in ? County and ? Counties
  2. Louisville, Lexington-Fayette, Bowling Green, Owensboro, Covington, Hopkinsville, Richmond, Florence, Georgetown and Henderson