History of  Gallatin County, Part  39


Gallatin county, Kentucky, was named in honor of Albert Gallatin, who was the son of a wealthy Swiss who had emigrated to America. The Gallatins settled in Pennsylvania and by the close of the 18th century, Albert Gallatin, who had become a member of the Republican party, was ranked with Alexander Hamilton as one of the outstanding financiers of the country. He served during Jefferson’s administration as Secretary of the Treasury. Gallatin was the 23rd county of the Commonwealth in order of formation, being composed of parts of Franklin and Shelby, and admitted to the State in 1798. It ranks 119 in size and contains approximately 110 square miles. At the time of its formation, Gallatin was one of the larger counties of the State, having been reduced to its present small size by various acts of the Legislature as other counties were formed from its territory since 1798.

Early access to Gallatin was difficult but its genial climate and fertile soil soon led settlers to the county. Some of the early settlers came by way of the “Wilderness Road,” settled in Scott county and later came to live in Gallatin. The Yates, Johnsons and Paynes were among the early settlers.

 Gallatin county, like the remainder of the State, has what is classed as a “Continental climate,” or one that is possessed of marked contrasts between winter and summer. Such a climate is especially favorable for the growing of corn and tobacco, corn doing well in the valleys.

 Several wells have been drilled for oil and gas. Gas has been found but not in sufficient quantities for profitable investment. The principal mineral resource of the county is limestone. It is found in all parts of the county and is used in building rural homes and for construction of road beds. The Ohio river provides an inexhaustible supply of sand and gravel.

 Near Napoleon are some Indian mounds. No excavations have been made but some artifacts have been taken from the tops and sloping sides. The mounds may be easily recognized not only by their elevation, but by the black greasiness of the soil. The largest of these is ten or twelve feet high and about 100 yards in diameter. Indian campsites are numerous and pipes, chards and other relics have been saved by local residents. Near the Boone-Gallatin county line, fifty or more Indian skeletons were uncovered in the last few years. They were in a badly decomposed condition and were of no value.

 Warsaw, the county seat of Gallatin, is a thriving town of about 1,000 people, located in the northern part of the county on the Ohio river and highways 42 and 35. The town, formerly known as Fredericksburg, was incorporated by an act of the Legislature on December 7, 1831. The act sets out that James F. Blanton, William Whitesides, Jefferson Peak, Willis Peak and William Chamberlain were to be trustees and fixes their term of office and powers, providing for the election of their successors and for the appointment of a town clerk. In 1831, on December 12, the name of the town was changed to Warsaw because there was another Fredericksburg in Washington county, Kentucky. Warsaw was at that time a small town, just a trading post for the surrounding country, and from that small beginning it has grown to its present size and influence as the county seat of one of the proudest counties of the Commonwealth.

 Glencoe, situated on the L&N railroad, 10 miles south of  Warsaw, has a population of about 500. It was incorporated February 23, 1876. The act of incorporation provided that A.D. Daniels, Thomas Williams, William Parish and R.E. Foster were to trustees and set out their powers and duties. It also made provision for a police judge, marshal, clerk and treasurer.

 One of the most interesting and beautiful points of interest in the State is that part of Gallatin county along highway 42, from the Sugar creek bridge, five miles east of Warsaw, to the Carroll county line, about 10 miles west of the same town. The wide, concrete highway follows the Ohio river closely between these two points and allows an excellent view of Kentucky and Indiana bottom lands. The rugged Kentucky hill are close enough to be clearly seen and their beauty fully appreciated, while the more distant hills on the Indiana side tower majestically above the dim haze rising from the river. The rich bottom lands, with their neat houses and buildings, cultivated fields of corn, tobacco, hay and grain, the pasture land and livestock, appeal to the eye of the tourist, especially if he is a farmer or one raised on a farm. At the mouth of Sugar creek, which empties into the Ohio river at a great bend, the State Highway Commission has made a parking place for cars and has beautified the roadside with evergreens and flowering plants. Here cars from every State in the Union stop to see the river, observe the passing steamboats and watch the steady stream of traffic along the highway.

 Two of Gallatin’s citizens of distinction, long since passed away, should be mentioned in this account, although space will not permit a detailed recital of their greatness.

 The first of these is General John J. Payne, born near Warsaw in 1795. His maternal grandfather was Robert Johnson, brother of Richard M. Johnson of Indian war fame, and himself a noted man of his day. In 1815 General Payne received an appointment o West Point, riding horseback from Warsaw to Washington, D.C. where he was formerly given the commission. In an accident at West Point he was so badly injured that it was necessary to amputate one of his arms and he was retired on a pension one of the first to be granted, in 1818. He returned to Warsaw and took charge of the family estate. He was very active in the civic affairs of the community and is said to have held the first lot sale in the town of Warsaw. In 1822 he was married to Miss Mary Stephenson of Owen county, where he lived for a short time, later returning to Gallatin. He died at the age of 91 and is buried in the cemetery at Warsaw, near the highway of which he little dreamed, but of which, no doubt, he would be justly proud.

 A mile south of Warsaw, on a plateau overlooking Dry creek, repose the earthly remains of Mrs. Millicent Yates, wife of Henry Yates, who laid out the town, and mother of Richard Yates. Richard Yates was born in Warsaw, then Fredericksburg, in 1818. After the death of his mother in 1830, the father and son moved to Illinois. Richard was graduated from Illinois College at the early age of 20, after which he became a lawyer. He was elected to the State Legislature and in 1850 to Congress. He served until 1860, when he was elected Governor, serving during the Civil War. Yates took a very pronounced stand against slavery, ardently supporting the Federal Government during the war. From 1865 to 1871 he was Senator from Illinois and played a prominent part in the beginnings of reconstruction. After his retirement from the Senate he was U.S. Railroad Commissioner. He died in St. Louis, Mo., on November 27, 1873. Born at Warsaw, he is Gallatin county’s most famous son.


April 13,1939, News-Herald, Owenton, Ky.  Likely not by Ms. Gullion.