Grant County

Grant County, Kentucky

Grant County, 1889
(Why's the northwest corner missing? Here.)

 

Grant County, Kentucky Grant County, Kentucky
Grant County, 1935
Red lines are roads, black lines are railroads.
Magisterial District Map, 1940

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Grant County was the 67th county formed in Kentucky.  The law enacting Grant County was passed on February 12, 1820 and the county was formed on April 1, 1820 from a part of Pendleton County. Its boundaries are unchanged since February 9, 1876. It has an area of 259.9 square miles, making it the 79th largest of Kentucky's 120 counties.

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Grant County was formed in 1820, from parts of Pendleton County, and was named after “either Col. John Grant (1754-1826), pioneer salt producer in the Licking Valley; his brother Samuel (1762-1833), a surveyor who was killed by Indians; or another brother, Squire (1764-1833), a surveyor and large land owner in Campbell County, which he served in the State Senate (1801-06) and as sheriff (1810); or perhaps all three” according to Robert M. Rennick's Kentucky Place Names.

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The Grant County section of the USGenWeb is here, and
 the Grant County portion of the Kentucky Roots Web is here.

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In 1876, the Centennial of the US, the Congress asked local officials to write down the history of their
 respective localities to be read on July 4, 1876. Here is what Grant County came up with.

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“The Webster family forms an eighth of the population of Grant County.”
From the Covington Journal, March 30, 1872

“LARGE FAMILY. —Chalk Webster, aged 74 years, who resides at Stevens Creek, in Grant county. Ky., is the father of 45 children. His grandchildren number 80, and his great-grand-children 27. He is now living with his fourth wife, who is a sister of the wife of one of his own sons. Father and son thus stand in the relation of brother-in-law to each other.” Marysville Daily Appeal, August 25, 1865

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In 1922, the Grant County News takes a stand on Darwin's Theory of Evolution, here.

The 19th Amendment (Wikipedia) to the U.S. Constitution, allowing women to vote, was ratified on
 August 18, 1920.  The Grant County News was not a supporter.  You can read their objections here.

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Grant County, Kentucky

Ringling Brothers Circus Comes to Williamstown

“The Maysville Commonweal says the circus fakirs in the wake of Wallace & Co's circus fleeced more than fifty people at Williamstown out of sums ranging from $5 to $500.  Matt Lawrence, a farmer, gave up to $400 to learn the mysteries of three-card monte.”  Courier-Journal, April 30, 1891

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The Marshall Hotel in Corinth
Della Jones: A Grant County Treasure Bruce's Grocery: A Grant County Gem

These three articles are reprinted from the Grant County Historical Society Newsletter. They are all pdf's.

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“A meteorite, weighing sixty-eight pounds, fell in Northern Kentucky, this one
being found by A. E. Ashcraft in 1892 on his farm three miles north of Williamstown.”
Louisville Courier Journal,  September 1, 1940

A little more on the1892 meteor, here.

 

Grant County, Kentucky

Above is a page from William D. Ehmann's Space Visitors in Kentucky: Meteorites and Meteorite Impact Sites in Kentucky on a Williamstown meteorite.  We don't know if that date should be 1892, or whether there was second meteorite in 1896. More about the one that hit Independence is here, or you can find the entire publication on line here.   It's a 53 page long pdf.

 

 

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Hazel Ogden This is Ms. Hazel Ogden, who taught the Grant County High School’s 1963-64 American Literature Class below, and had the foresight to collect, save, and bind the essays below on the histories of various Grant County communities for future generations.

Blanchett,
by Mary Ann O'Hara
is here.

Grant Student

Cherry Grove,
by Terry Edmondson
is here.

Grant Student Cordova,
by Larry Bailey,
is here.
Grant Student

Corinth,
by Louise Browning
is here.

Grant Student Crittenden
by Jerry Hurst
is here.
Grant Student Crittenden,
by Terry Case
is here.
Grant Student

Crittenden,
by Louise Plunkett
is here.

Grant Student

Crittenden,
by Ronnie Lillard
is here.

Grant Student Dry Ridge,
by Connie Curry
is here.
Grant Student
Folsom,
by Gary W. Webb
is here.
Grant Student The Old Stone
House in Folsom

by Darris Beach
is here.
Grant Student Gardnersville,
by Linda Lou Mann
is here.
Grant Student

Gold Valley,
by Ruth Ann Kinman
is here.

Grant Student

Hardscrabble,
by Joe Souder
is here.

Grant Student Heekin,
by Shirley Spegal,
is here.
Grant Student
Keefer,
by Mike Ellis
is here.
Grant Student Keefer
by Dwight Colson
is here.
Grant Student Knoxville,
by Rita Ruby
is here.
Grant Student

The Lanter Farm,
by Marylee Lanter
is here.

Grant Student

Mt. Zion,
by Virginia Wright
is here.

Grant Student Mt. Zion,
by Charles Baird,
is here.
Grant Student
Mason,
by Patricia Mann
is here.
Grant Student Mason,
by Marietta Hedges
is here.
Grant Student Mason,
by Doris Henry
is here.
Grant Student

Oak Ridge,
by Harold Kells
is here.

Grant Student

Screamersville,
by Arnold Bolog
is here.

Grant Student Sherman,
by Pat Spillman
is here.
Grant Student
The Hanging at Sherman,
by Barbara Arnold
is here
Grant Student Sherman,
by Karen Cummins
is here.
Grant Student The Second Oldest
Home in Williamstown

by Betty Jane Kinmon
is here.
Grant Student

High Street,
by Charles Scroggins
is here.

Grant Student

John Wilkes Booth,
by Bob Perry
is here.

Grant Student  Williamstown, 
by Janet Tebelman
is here.
Grant Student
Crittenden,
by Judy Holbrook
is here.
Grant Student

 Zion Station, 
by Linda Beach
is here.

Grant Student Corinth,
by Clarence Brewsaugh
is here.
Grant Student

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“Judge O. P. Hogan [of Williamstown], in addition to his stage lines between Covington and Burlington and Walton and Williamstown, has started another line between the latter points, thus giving the people along that route a morning and evening line both ways.  He has also started a line between Williamstown and Georgetown three times a week.  The three latter lines all make close connections with trains at Walton.”  From the Covington Journal, May 31, 1873.

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Grant County, Kentucky Grant County, Kentucky Grant County, Kentucky
One of more famous, or infamous, episodes in Kentucky history was the Caleb Powers saga.  Powers was indicted for his alleged role in the William Goebbels assassination.  There were four trials, one of which was moved to Grant County as a change of venue. You can Google Caleb Powers and find lots more.  There's a brief version here.  The pics above are the Grant County jury, all 12 men are identified in the photo on the far right.  ID's and pics are from the Louisville Courier Journal of December 6,1907

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The Kentuckiana Digital Library has a number of Grant County images.  Quality can be erratic, but it's worth a look, here.

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There are 15 different Grant
Counties in the USA. Here are
the other 14.
Grant County, Arkansas Grant County, Oklahoma
Grant County, Indiana Grant County, Oregon
Grant County, Kansas Grant County, South Dakota
Grant County, Minnesota Grant County, Washington
Grant County, Nebraska Grant County, West Virginia
Grant County, New Mexico Grant County, Wisconsin
Grant County, North Dakota Grant Parish, Louisiana

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Dry Ridge Fire Engine Saves Williamstown, 1922. Story here.
. . . and the story prompts one subscriber to recall the fire of 1856, here.
Murdering guerrillas in Civil War Grant County, more here.
Don't miss The Political Campaign of Caroline Gray, 1923, here. Report from Grant County from The Handbook of Kentucky by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, 1908, here. (pdf)
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture's assessment of agriculture in Grant County, in 1898-1899 can be found here. (pdf) In 1919, there was a farm census, counting livestock, crops and farms.  Grant County's is here.
1843 slavery incident in Grant County, here. A description of Grant County from 1854 is here.
In 1937 UK released surveys of known archaeological sites by county.  Grant County’s is here (pdf)
“Grant Co - The prospects for wheat, rye, barley and oats are uncommonly good.  Timothy is also very good.  The corn crop looks promising, but very backward for the season” New York Times, July 15, 1857 On August 4, 1852, the Cincinnati Daily Gazette published the State  of Kentucky’s Hog Assessment – the number of hogs over 6 months  old per county.  The number in Grant County was 10,060.

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How Bullock Pen got its name, here. Theodore O'Hara “Doc” Sechrist, born in Williamstown,  played for the New York Giants baseball team.  Once. His record is at this site. Four news clippings on Grant County Slavery, here.
The few words on the history of aviation in Grant County, here. A List of all 57 one-room schools in Grant County, in 1895, is here. The list from 1903 is here. Oops. Way too many names discovered on the 1950 voter list, here.
Man confesses to 50 year  old shooting, here. Grant County sites placed on the National Places of Historical Places are at this site. A history of Crittenden published in 1929 is here.
Some Grant Co Cemetery records are at this site. Williamstown Homicide, 1872, here. Daisy Carol King's History of Grant County is here. (pdf)
Civil War prisoners from Grant County, here. An important figure in early Grant County church history is Elder William Conrad. John B. Conrad's bio of him can be found here. (pdf) Grant County news from the Covington Journal, 1868, here.
Grant County's Historical Markers are listed at this site. A status report from the Superintendent of Schools in Grant County from 1900 is here. The 1907 report is here. Grant County news from the Daily Commonwealth, 1883, here.
Grant County's 1942 referendum to prohibit alcohol prompted this article. A piece on slavery in Grant County is here. (pdf) Grant officials scolded by Ky. Attorney General for speed trap. In 1930.  Here.
Can you name the eight banks in Grant County in 1922?  They're here. The Freedman's Bureau reports on a post-Civil War Outrage in Grant County, here. The 1925 bus schedule from Owenton to Covington went thru Williamstown.  It's here.
Lawyers of Grant County, 1872, here. In 1906, the Courier-Journal published a list of out-of-state residents who would come home to Grant County.
Slave murders owner, here. Grant County slave couple elect to die rather than return to slavery, here.

“N. H. Childers, Marshall of Williamstown, Ky., was mortally wounded yesterday while trying to preserve peace.  Jno. Boor was also mortally wounded at Crittenden yesterday in an election riot.”  Terre Haute (Ind) Gazette, August 3, 1870

In the Civil War, many rural Kentuckians had more fear of Guerillas than real troops. These self-appointed confederates' primary actions consisted of looting and thieving, as shown in this 1864 episode in Mt. Zion.
The banks of Grant county, 1910, here.

“Arrest of Lawrence Raiders: Three men, named W. G. Webb, W. Smith, and J. J. Elder, residents of Anderson county, Mo., were arrested a few days ago in Grant county, Ky., on a charge of having belonged to Quantrill’s band, and taken part in the Lawrence Massacre (Wikipedia).  They are confined to the military prison at Cincinnati.” Evansville (Indiana) Daily Journal, September 17, 1863

Courier-Journal's 1896 report on Grant Co Toll Roads, here. A list of the first automobiles registered for Grant County, in 1910-11,  is here. Grant County Officials & Merchants, 1847, here.

A contemporary brochure on the Arnold cabin is here. (pdf)

 The McComas-Hutton feud played out in the streets of Williamstown  in 1903, here.

In 1969, Edna Talbott Whitley compiled a list of Cabinetmakers in Kentucky.  The Grant County portion of that list is here.

Blind Tigers rampant in 1901.  Story here.

List of Grant County Turnpikes, 1895, here.

A short history of Grant  Co from 1917 is here. (pdf)

Jacob Sandusky remembered passing thru Williamstown on a bear hunt.  In 1822. His recollections are here.

“The ten banks of Grant county report $615,901.02 on deposit with loans of $789,470.05.” from the Owenton News-Herald, July 27, 1905

C. 1928, the Kentucky Opportunities Department published a fact sheet about Grant County for potential businesses that might be interested.  You can read it here. (pdf)

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The first mention of an automobile in a Grant County paper is from the Williamstown Courier of June 29, 1905: “Claude Jones is now the proud owner of an Oldsmobile and is learning to be an expert at operating the machine.”

A week later we get this: “Claude Jones, the energetic and popular telephone man of Williamstown . . .has purchased an auto and skims over the country with the ease and swiftness of a locomotive.” from the Williamstown Courier , July 6, 1905

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1897 was  watershed year for turnpikes, or as the Williamstown Courier called them “Turnpike Roads.” People did NOT like paying tolls, and destructive vigilantes were not uncommon.  There was an election on whether or not to “free” the pikes, that is, let the county raise taxes to assume all the costs, and give free passage.

The election results are here

A list of all of the turnpikes, and more data than you ever wanted to know about them is here.

A list of the 18 gate houses subsequently put up for sale is here. (If you buy #18, get the flood insurance!)

In May of 1922, Grant County voted on whether to approve higher taxes for the Dixie Highway, connecting Lexington and Covington.  There's no doubt about how they felt.  The vote is here.

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This list of Grant County deaths from WWII is from  the National Archives.
There's a key to what the  various abbreviations mean here, and the actual list is here.

Grant County soldiers who died in WWI are listed here.

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Earl Thompson is hung, sorta legally in Williamstown in 1910. Read the story here.
(While hung for rape, there were rumors - and it may well be just wild gossip - that Thompson had
been having an affair with the woman, and it was only when they were discovered that she cried rape.)

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“At Williamstown, Tuesday morning, a mob took from the jail a prisoner charged with murder.  At this writing the fate of the man is unknown.” Boone County Recorder, September 20, 1877

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Frank Turner hung by a mob, here.

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Sam Eustis lynched. Later proven innocent. Here.

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Liman Couch and Smith Maythe were lynched for their attack on John Utterback in 1841, here, and here.

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Grant County items from Lewis Collins' History of Kentucky, here.

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In 1876, the R. L. Polk Company published The Kentucky State Gazetteer and Business Directory, which listed information about virtually every town in Kentucky.  The listings from Grant County are these:
Corinth Crittenden Dry Ridge
Elliston Mason New Eagle Mills
Sherman Williamstown Zion Station

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In 1883-84, the R. L. Polk Company published a new edition of his Gazetteer, which included these Grant County communities:
Cordova Corinth Crittenden Dry Ridge
Elliston Gardnersville Holbrook Mason
New Eagle Mills Sherman Williamstown Zion Station

An 1879 Gazetteer listing of Williamstown is here. (pdf)

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Memberships lists of the Masonic Lodges of Grant County in 1911 are here:  (pdf's)
Williamstown Corinth Crittenden Dry Ridge

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From The History of Kentucky, 1929, published by S. J. Clarke.  This book, like many of the period, should not be considered to have a definitive list of important people in the county.  More likely, the book was financed by people who paid to have their name included, and wrote their own bio. ( pdf's)

Robert L. Northcutt Albert L. Abbott

Jacob Theophilus Simon had his bio (pdf) in the Biographical Encyclopedia of Kentucky.

Arnie Risen

When the Boston Celtic's legendary Bill Russell was a rookie, who on the team did he look to for mentoring? That would be Williamstown’s Arnie Risen. Risen (Wikipedia) is in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. He was on two NBA championship teams, and ais a four-time NBA All Star. He also led Ohio State to two NCAA Final Fours. Video at this site.

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You can get information on Grant County ancestors by subscribing to the mailing list created for that purpose. 
You'll get periodic information, and can submit your own questions, all via email. 
Sign up here for Grant County.  Here is a list of all available lists on Kentucky.

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Grant County, Kentucky Grant County, Kentucky
Grant County's First Airplane Mrs. Carl Leming, first woman in Grant to fly solo

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“With this issue the Williamstown Courier rounds out its twelfth year as a newspaper.  a great many changes have taken place in Williamstown since the first number was released. . . It has witnessed the rise and fall of many businesses enterprises, and has seen at least four Grant county papers enter the Journalistic field and die in a short time for lack of sustenance: The Democrat, Eagle, Herald and Enterprise.”  - The Williamstown Courier, September 3, 1891. “We have before us on our table the last number of the Williamstown Sentinel, a sprightly paper published for some time at Williamstown, Grant County, by E. H. Eyer.  Hard times have proved fatal to the Sentinel, and Mr. Eyer, who has toiled faithfully to keep his journal afloat. . . .We regret to erase the Sentinel from our exchange list.̵”  Boone County Recorder, August 10, 1876
“The county was the source of some military action during the Civil War.  A small Confederate source raided Williamstown in 1864, hoping to seize large sums of Federal money said to have been cached in banks there.  Finding the money removed, The Confederates seized a Union firearms store. Later, south of Williamstown, three Confederates were brought from Lexington and executed in reprisal for guerrilla slayings of two Union sympathizers.” from Clark's Kentucky Almanac, 2006 “During Tuesday night twenty-three negroes owned in Grant and adjoining counties, left their masters' roofs, and escaped to the Licking River, where they lashed together several canoes, and in disguise, where they disembarked and made a circuitous route to the northern part of Cincinnati.  Early Wednesday morning they were run off on the road to Canada by the underground railroad.” from The Louisville Journal, June 16, 1854.
“The receipts of tolls on the Covington turnpike have greatly increased since the trains on the Short Line Railroad stopped running in this city [due to a strike]. Nearly all the farmers of Grant County and a portion of those in Boone, who formerly came in on the railroad, now come by wagon down the Pike. we noticed several teams on Pike street the other day that came from Zion Station, which is about forty miles from Covington, on the Short Line Railroad. The people of those sections are determined to trade in this city, train or no train.” Cincinnati Enquirer, May 22, 1872
Shotgun wedding turns seriously tragic in Grant County, here. The Dry Ridge Consolidated Colored School is here. (pdf)
About 7 miles east of Williamstown, near the Pendleton County line, was an infamous stopping-off point called Gum Springs.  The author also adds a brief account of the Utterback incident.  Read it all here. “An old fashioned basket meeting is to be given by the Democracy of Grant county, at Tungate's Grove, three miles north of Williamstown, on the Covington and Lexington Turnpike, on Saturday, July 30th.”   from an old newspaper clipping from an unknown paper, in an unknown year
“A crowd of wheelmen from this place ran into Cincinnati last Sunday on their wheels [bicycles].  Among them were O. P. Elliston, W. G. O'Hara, Isom Sanders, and J. H. Westover.  They reported a very enjoyable day and good wheeling into the city.”  Williamstown Courier, August 8, 1895 “The bicycle craze is spreading.  During the past week Walter Points, County Clerk; Ezra D. Webster, Judge J. D. McMillan and others have learned to ride a wheel.”  Williamstown Courier, May 2, 1895
“A couple of hostlers who are engaged at the Government stables near this city were robbed, one of a pistol, and the other of a ten dollar gold piece, while near Williamstown, Grant County, on Saturday, by some of Mose Webster's guerrilla's. On the same day, a couple of horses belonging to the Government were stolen by Webster men between Florence and Crittenden.”  The Cincinnati Enquirer, August 9, 1864 “In Grant County, Wm. Sleet, Eliza Sleet, Jesse Best, Edward Alexander, Mary Alexander, and Carter Rorst, were beaten in a most cruel and inhuman manner, their property destroyed, and they forbidden to return home, on pain of death. Carter Rorst was most terribly punished, gashes nearly six inches long being cut in his body and filled with salt. All of the above-named persons are reported as quiet, industrious black people.” National Anti-Slavery Standard. October 12, 1867
There have been two Interstate Commerce Commission reports on train wrecks in Grant County.  One's from an L&N wreck in Elliston in April of 1938 that killed one and injured 5, and is here.  One's from Williamstown, on the Southern, in October of 1926, which killed one and injured three.  You can read it here.

“Williamstown, Ky., May 12 - Clifford Nadaud, ex-bicycle champion road racer, erstwhile republican, and Klondike explorer, astonished the natives in this section Sunday by his announcement for Congress from the Kentucky district as a democrat.”  The Hopkinsville Courier, May 16, 1902

“We are in receipt of the initial number of the Grant County Herald, published by Jno. B. Stoops at Williamstown.  The Herald is a six-column folio, and presents a very neat and newsy appearance.” The Boone County Recorder, January 31, 1878 “Every week a report is received of the serious injury inflicted upon some zealous football player.  Up to date seven young men have been seriously injured in the games this season, some of them crippled or disfigured for life, perhaps.  This is a class of sport that is too brutal to be tolerated by the faculties of the various colleges throughout the country.”  The Williamstown Courier, November 4, 1897.
Elsewhere on this site, we've reproduced the History of the Ten Mile Baptist Church, established in 1804.  It was in N. W. Grant County when the church was first established, but long ago moved across  the line to Gallatin County.  Still, there are a number of references  to Clark's Creek, Mt. Zion, etc.  If you're interested, it's here.

“The Williamstown Mill and Light Company, Williamstown, Ky., has let a contract to Ellis King, Falmouth, Ky., for the installation of an electric light plant, including a street lighting system.  J. M. Riley, J. W. Shields and others are members of the company which has $15,000 capital stock.” Iron Age magazine, on April 3, 1913

In 1930, Kentucky Progress Magazine ran a feature letting each of Kentucky's counties list their accomplishments for 1929.  What Grant County came up with is here. (pdf)

At one time or another, over 33 communities in Grant County have had Post Offices.  See the complete list, here.

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“We haven't received a spring poem this year.  Thank the Lord.”
from the Williamstown Courier, April 6, 1893, Robert Westover, editor

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Detailed Presidential voting statistics from Grant County are here.

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Grant County, Kentucky Grant County, Kentucky
A Map of the 24 churches in the Crittenden Association of Kentucky Baptists, 1953 from Trow's Legal Directory of Lawyers in the United States, 1875

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Grant County, Kentucky

This is a geologic map of Grant County from 1925.

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Additional Links that apply to all of Northern Kentucky Views, and may or may not be
related to Grant County, are on the main Links & Miscellany page, here.

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