Wayne County came into existence in 1800 and named for General Anthony Wayne. The Cumberland River flows through this county and forms its north boundary; On the east lies Whitley County; on the south the State of Tennessee and on the west lie Clinton and Russell Counties. The land here is hilly but has valley lands that are productive. Coal is found here, iron ore and salt water. There are many caves where is mined alum and salt petre. The population in 1840 was 15,446. Monticello is the county seat and in 1840 was the only town in the county. It had the court house and county buildings; a Methodist and Christian Church, five lawyers, four physicians, six stores, three groceries, two tanyards and then mechanics’ shops. The population was 300. Monticello was named after President Jefferson’s home.
Whitley County was formed in 1818, named for Col. William Whitley. It is in the southeast section of the state and is drained by the Cumberland River and tributaries. The river forms its northeastern border. On the north lies Laurel County; Knox County is on its east and Tennessee on its south. There are river valleys and the remainder of the land is hilly. Corn was grown here and hogs were the main export. The Falls of the Cumberland is a remarkable sight. In 1840 the population of Whitley County was 6,673. Williamsburg, the county seat lies on the right bank of the Cumberland River and had then a Methodist church, two lawyers, four stores and groceries, one tavern and several mechanics’ shops. Boston, a very small village had a Baptist Church, a store, a post office and was home to 30 citizen.
Woodford County was formed in 1788 (while Kentucky was still a part of Virginia), and named after Gen. William Woodford. It was the last of the nine counties organized by Virginia. It is in the heart of the state and the Kentucky River flows here. On the north are Franklin and Scott Counties; on the east and southeast are Fayette and Jessamine Counties, on the southwest are Mercer and Anderson Counties. The land here is level and gently rolling. Timber here was luxuriant including the black walnut, blue and black ash, hickory, black locust, sugar trees and others. It was known as the asparagus bed of Kentucky. Hemp, corn, oats and wheat were the staple products with horses, mules, cattle, hogs and rope the principal exports. In 1840, the population was 11,740. Versailles is the county seat was described as a beautiful and thriving town. It contained the courthouse and county buildings, a Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist and Christian Church, three female schools, one seminary, 12 lawyers, 14 physicians, two taverns, eight stores, four groceries, eight bagging factories, a wool factory, a masonic hall and 20 mechanics’ shops. There were approximately 1400 people living here. A cave spring was at the edge of towns. Midway which had 400 inhabitants had three churches, five physicians, two taverns, three stores, two groceries, three hemp factories, two schools and some mechanics’ shops. Mortonsville was another small village and had a Christian church, three doctors, a female school, four stores and groceries, a bagging factory and eight mechanics’ shops. 350 people lived here.
This temporarily concludes this series. However, it appears that some of the counties beginning with the letter “M” did not get posted and in a week or so, I will go back and include them.
© Copyright 16 Feb 2012, Sandra K. Gorin