Laurel County Kentucky History

The County of Laurel was established by an Act of the Kentucky Legislature on the 12th day of December, 1825.

This 1825 Act mandated that nine Justice of the Peace should be appointed to develop a government for the county.

Three months later in March of 1826, these original Justice of the Peace met at the home of Jarvis Jackson. A bit of confusion immediately surrounded the initial court. It seems that two of the original nine Justices resigned and were replaced.

The Justices then comprised the following; Jarvis Jackson, David Weaver, William Smith, James McNeill, John Pearl, Jacob Boyer, James Ward, William Freeman and Samuel McHargue.

The Kentucky Legislature had formed Laurel from the surrounding counties of Clay, Knox, Rockcastle and Whitley. Therefore, if you’re searching county court records prior to 1825 you must look to your particular county.

During the initial Laurel County court meeting in March, 1826 Lot Pitman was appointed as the Laurel County Clerk. William Stuart, James Elkins, John Hood and John Elkins were sworn in as Constables. The first Laurel County Jailer was John Jackson.

The Governor of Kentucky appointed Thomas Buford as Laurel County Sheriff, Samuel S. Griffin as the Coroner, James McNeil as Surveyor and Thomas J. Buford as the Commonwealth Attorney.

John and Jarvis Jackson donated 25 acres of land which is now the town square of the county seat which is London. The Jackson’s also built the first courthouse and jail.

The original 1830 Laurel County Census lists just shy of 400 households. The 2010 Laurel County Census shows there were over 20,000 households and the population was almost 60,000.

Anyone interested in studying about Laurel County’s history should visit the Laurel County Kentucky Historical Society.  It’s purpose is to collect and maintain as many
records and as much information about Laurel County’s history and people as possible.

They make this collection available to all visitors.  They specialize in genealogical research. Their library contains many volumes of reference materials, family histories, old photos and newspapers, as well as records on microfilm, microfiche, and CD-Rom.  

Also the Laurel County Historical Society owns many donated artifacts.


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