Oldham County was formed in December 1823. It was Kentucky's 74th county and was named for Colonel William Oldham, a Revolutionary War officer from Jefferson County. The county seat is La Grange. Oldham County is located in north central Kentucky along the Ohio River and is part of the Outer Bluegrass region. It is largely rural, although the accessibility of the interstate system has led to rapid residential growth. The population was 33,263 according to the 1990 Census, but by 2001 the population had grown to more than 48,000. Oldham County has a land area of 189 square miles, with an average of 176.0 people per square mile. La Grange was established as the county seat in 1838.
Henry County was named for the Revolutionary patriot Patrick Henry, famous for his "Give me liberty or give me death" speech.
Henry County was carved out of a portion of Shelby County during the greatest burst of county-making in the history of the Kentucky General Assembly. The second session of the 1798 legislature voted to create 12 counties, including Henry, during an 11-day span between Dec. 10-21. Henry County was approved on Dec. 14, followed later that same day by Green, Gallatin and Muhlenberg counties. Other counties formed during that period were Pendleton, Livingston, Boone, Ohio, Jessamine, Barren, Henderson and Pulaski.
A total of 26 counties were in existence prior to the late 1798 session, while eight of the counties created by that session became effective prior to Henry County. Pulaski County became a county on the same day as Henry -- June 15 1799 -- but had been created earlier in the December session. Thus conceding the earlier date to Pulaski, Henry County would be the 31st of Kentucky's 120 counties.
The original boundary of Henry County included several miles of frontage on the Ohio River. That frontage was gradually eroded as three neighboring counties were carved out of portions of Henry County during the early 1800's. Oldham County was formed in 1824 (along with parts of Jefferson and Shelby); Trimble County was created in 1837 (along with portions of Gallatin and Oldham) and finally, with the formation of Carroll County in 1838 (again with part of Gallatin and the newly created Trimble), Henry County lost its last bit of land on the Ohio River.
Trimble County, the 86th county in order of formation, is located in northern Kentucky, and the Ohio River forms the county's northern and western boundaries. The county was formed from sections of Gallatin, Henry and Oldham counties on Feb. 9, 1837, and named in honor of Robert Trimble, an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. The county seat is Bedford.
The first settlers arrived in the late eighteenth century. Around 1805, Richard Ball constructed a cabin on land that later became the county seat of Bedford. By 1800, settlers were coming down the Ohio River on flatboats, and Trimble County was soon settled. Several communities were built during the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The county seat of Bedford and the town of Milton are the only two incorporated communities.
The proximity of the Ohio River, however, made Trimble County one of the primary destinations of slaves who attempted to escape from their servitude in Kentucky. Delia Webster, the "petticoat abolitionist," was a New England schoolteacher who used the Preston farm in Trimble County as a refuge for runaway slaves endeavoring to cross the river to freedom.
The Civil War brought division and unrest to Trimble Countians. In the 1860 election, Stephen A. Douglas, Democrat, received 581 votes in Trimble County; the Independent Democrats, led by John C. Breckinridge, polled 84 votes; and the Constitutional Union Party, led by John Bell of Tennessee, received 258 votes. The Republican Party candidate, Abraham Lincoln, received only one vote. During the course of the Civil War, many soldiers from the Trimble County area used a large rock as a repository for letters to their friends and families when passing through the county, and the site became known as the Rock Post Office.
Industrial development came slowly to Trimble County, as it was 1927 before the construction of U.S. 42 and U.S. 421 ended the overland isolation of the county. In the 1870s, the town of Bedford had a wool-carding factory as well as a steampowered gristmill. In 1957, Fold-Away Basket Company, which manufactures stamped and precoated metal parts, was established. Martin Marietta Aggregates operates a sand and gravel plant at Milton. The county is served by the Seaboard Systems Railway. Recreation brings in revenue for Milton, which is across the Ohio River from Madison, Ind., where the annual Madison Regatta attracts thousands of hydroplane-racing enthusiasts. The county has 21 miles of Ohio River shoreline.
In 1794, Carrollton was established and originally named Port William. Port William was the county seat for Gallatin County. In 1838, the state legislature divided Gallatin County due to the large size of the county. Port William was renamed Carrollton and became the county seat of the newly-formed Carroll County.
Explorer James McBride is recorded to be the first to set foot on this land in 1754. He was traveling down the Ohio River in October 1754 in a canoe on exploration.
Following the end of the French and Indian War in 1760, Colonel William Peachy of Virginia was given a land grant by the British government for his loyal service. This 2000-acre tract was located at the point where the Kentucky River emptied into the Ohio River.
Woodsman Simon Kenton camped at the mouth of the Kentucky River in 1771. James Harrod and a group of settlers camped in this spot in May of 1774 before traveling further and settling what is now known as Harrodsburg. In 1784, a family named Elliot built a blockhouse on this spot. It was burned in 1785. In 1787, a Captain Ellison built another blockhouse, but left within two years. In 1791, General Charles Scott completed a larger blockhouse, elevated and fortified with picket palisades, as a base for his Kentucky Volunteers. This spot is marked at Point Park by a historic road marker.
Many of the settlers who came to the valley had ventured down the Ohio River on keel boats from as far as Pittsburgh. Others traveled by foot and beast across the buffalo traces from Virginia through the Cumberland Pass.
Carrollton and Carroll County were named in honor of the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Maryland. Charles Carroll was born in Annapolis, Maryland on Sept. 19, 1737. Carroll’s grandfather, Daniel Carroll, an Irish gentleman, emigrated from England to Maryland due to the persecution of Catholics on October 1688.
As a Roman Catholic, Carroll was barred from entering politics, practicing law and voting in colonial America. He became a prominent spokesman against the government of England. He was commissioned in 1776 with Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Chase and his cousin, the Reverend John Carroll, to approach Canada to assist the 13 colonies in their fight for independence. Through the establishment of the United States, Carroll helped break the barrier that allowed Catholics the same rights as Protestants.
After the death of Jefferson and Adams on July 4, 1826, he was the only surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence left in the country. Carroll died on Nov. 14, 1832.