COUNTY. The forty-sixth in order of formation, Casey County
was created on November 14, 1806, from Lincoln County, and
named in honor of Col. William Casey, a Revolutionary War
veteran from Virginia who explored the area in 1779. The 435-square-mile
county is bordered by Russell, Pulaski, Lincoln, Boyle, Marion,
Taylor, and Adair counties. LIBERTY, the county seat, was
incorporated in 1830.
Topography varies from dissected uplands to broad valleys
with flat-topped ridges. The headwaters of the Green River
and the Rolling Fork of the Salt River are the main water
sources. Casey's 1850 population of 5,863 included 634 slaves.
In 1870 the county produced 95,750 pounds of tobacco and 332,779
bushels of corn. In 1989, 71 percent of the land area was
in farms and half of those were in cultivation. Casey ranks
thirty-eighth among counties in agricultural receipts from
tobacco, corn, hay, livestock, and vegetables. The county's
30,000 apple trees produce one-sixth of the state's crop.
Early settlers arrived in 1779. Henry Quarles received a
Virginia land grant for 1,000 acres in 1784. Prior to 1800,
thirteen land grants for 3,022 acres were filed. While the
population grew slowly, numerous travelers followed two trails
across the county that connected Logan's Station at Stanford
with settlements on the Green and Barren rivers to the west.
The first county court met on May 4, 1807, and among other
business, fixed rates on liquor, meals, and lodging at several
taverns. Whiskey and brandy were eight cents and twelve cents
a half-pint, respectively; breakfast was seventeen cents and
dinner twenty-five cents; lodging was six cents a night.
One of the families who settled in the county around 1781
was that of Capt. Abraham Lincoln, the president's grandfather.
The Lincolns lived for two and a half years on eight hundred
acres on the Green River. The land was sold in 1803 to Christopher
Riffe for 400 pounds sterling by Mordecai Lincoln, Captain
Lincoln's heir. Another landowner, Enoch Burdett, accumulated
13,000 acres of timberland, and upon his death in 1875, his
holdings were sold to Eugene Zimmerman, a Cincinnati businessman.
Zimmerman employed three hundred at his mills. In 1879 he
built a wooden train track from Kings Mountain to Staffordsville,
and in 1884 he organized the CINCINNATI & GREEN RIVER
Railway Company. In 1891 when the timber resources were exhausted,
he liquidated his holdings. The timber boom and early railroad
had little lasting economic impact on the county.
While there are no records of Civil War skirmishes in the
county. Casey is credited with producing one-third of the
1st Kentucky Cavalry, recruited by Col. Frank Wolford and
Col. Silas Adams, to serve in the Union army. The 1st Cavalry
was active in the Battles of Mill Springs, Perryville, and
Lebanon. Tennessee. Adams served as state representative and
later in the 53d U.S. Congress (1893-95).
Lumber continues in the 1990s to be an important segment
of the economy, with five manufacturing firms producing wood
products. Eight firms manufacture metal farm gates. The largest
employer is Oshkosh B'Gosh, producer of children's clothing.
Tourism brought in $1 million in 1988. Crude oil production
totaled 4,599 barrels in 1989. The Casey County Apple Festival
each September features the baking of what is billed as the
world's largest apple pie. Casey County's primary transportation
route is U.S. 127.
Casey County's population was 12,930 in 1970; 14,818 in 1980;
and 14,211 in 1990.
See Gladys C. Thomas, Casey County, Kentucky 1806-1983
(Danville, Ky., 1983).
GLADYS C. THOMAS
From The Kentucky Encyclopedia, edited by John Kleber.
Copyright 1992. Reprinted with permission of The University
Press of Kentucky.