History of  Gallatin County, Part 36


From the year 1643, when Virginia was divided into counties, until the year 1776, Kentucky was a part of the frontier county Virginia.  The eastern limits of the Virginia counties were well defined, but the western boundaries were supposed to extend as far as any Virginian cared to go.  With the westward march of civilization and the gradual extension of the frontier, Kentucky was successively a part of Henrico, Orange, Augusta, Botetourt and Fincastle counties. By 1776 Virginians began to have some idea of the extent of their country and Kentucky county was formed with the Mississippi River as its western boundary.  In 1780, Kentucky was sub-divided into three counties: Jefferson, Fayette and Lincoln. [note that this is not after Abe Lincoln, who won't be born until 1809.  Lincoln Co is named after a Revolutionary War General, Benjamin Lincoln]. These counties were further subdivided as the population increased until there were nine counties in Kentucky at the time of her admission to the Union in 1792.

Gallatin County was the thirty-third in Kentucky, and was formed in 1798 from parts of Franklin and Shelby counties.  It was named for Albert Gallatin, a prominent statesman and leader during the early days of the republic.  Mr. Gallatin was secretary of the treasury during Jefferson's administration and later served as ambassador to Paris and special minister to other European Courts.  He exerted such strong influence in the affairs of Pennsylvania that it was once said of Pennsylvania that she only had two great men: Benjamin Franklin of Massachusetts, and Albert Gallatin of Switzerland.

The original boundary of Gallatin county was as follows: Beginning six miles above the mouth of Corn Creek; thence up the Ohio river to the mouth of Big Bone Creek; thence south with the Campbell county line sixteen miles; thence to the Kentucky River at Oak Spring near Clay Lick; thence down the river within two and a half miles of the mouth of Eagle Creek; thence a direct line till it strikes the road from Shelbyville to the mouth of the Kentucky river two miles north of Henry Dougherty's; thence a direct line to the beginning.  Some of its territory was taken in 1819 when Owen County was formed, another portion in 1836 when Trimble County was formed, and in 1838 the entire western portion was cut off and called Carroll County.

One of the first settlements in Gallatin County, if not the first, was made at the mouth of the Kentucky River by Captain Elliston in 1786 or 1787 when a blockhouse was built.  By Act of the General Assembly on the 13th day of December, 1794, Carle Johnson, Thomas Montague and Jeremiah Craig, gentlemen, were made trustees and established a town by the name of Port William, now Carrollton.  The first County Court was held at the house of Richard Masterson in Port William on the 14th day of May, 1799, at which time Hugh Gatewood, John Grimes, M. Hawkins, G. Lee, Wm. Thomas and Benjamin Craig presented their commissions as magistrates.  Among the oldest records in the County Clerk's Office at Warsaw, are deeds of conveyance from the first trustees of Port William to its early citizens which convey town lots for a few pounds consideration.  These deeds are dated 1794 and recorded by Percival Butler as clerk.  The book in which these deeds are recorded has every indication of age and contains many documents of interest.

Warsaw, the county seat, established in 1831, was first known by the name of Fredericksburg.  The last term of the County Court for Gallatin county held at Port William was held on Monday, December 11, 1838.  Order Book 7, p. 239, Gallatin County Court Clerk's Office, has the following entry:  "Monday, January 8, 1838.  At a County Court began and held for the County of Gallatin at the Courthouse in the town of Warsaw (the county seat being changed from Port William to Warsaw by an act of the legislature passed at its present session and approved on the __[sic] day of ____[sic] A. D., 1837) on Monday, the 8th day of January 1838, and in the 46th year of the Commonwealth.  Present: Honorable David Gibson, Ben Tiller, Robert Sanders, Richard C. Lindsey, and William Scruggs.

The first wedding in the county was the marriage by Rev. Henry Ogborn on July 18, 1799, of Nicholas Lantz and May Pickett.  The last [?] wedding in the county was the marriage by Rev. H. C Martin of Lige Johnson and Hattie Johnson, the high contracting parties having been divorced from each other just a few months previous to the second ceremony.


May 9, 1935, from the Gallatin County News