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Daviess County, Kentucky
Daviess County, Kentucky courthouse
Daviess County courthouse in Owensboro, Kentucky
Map of Kentucky highlighting Daviess County
Location in the state of Kentucky
Map of USA KY
Kentucky's location in the U.S.
Founded 1815
Named for Joseph Hamilton Daviess (1774–1811), lawyer killed at the Battle of Tippecanoe
Seat Owensboro
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

476.27 sq mi (1,234 km²)
462.39 sq mi (1,198 km²)
13.88 sq mi (36 km²), 2.91%
 - (2007)
 - Density

198/sq mi (76/km²)
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Daviess County (pronounced /'deɪvɨs/, sometimes incorrectly /'deɪviz/), is a county in the U.S. state of Kentucky. It is the 58th county in order of formation; formed from a part of Ohio County on January 14, 1815. The county's borders were altered in 1829 to form Hancock County, in 1830 to absorb a small area surrounding Whitesville, in 1854 to cede land to McLean County, and in 1860 to annex 44 square miles (110 km2) from Henderson County. The population estimate for 2008 is 94,418. It is included in the Owensboro, Kentucky, Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its county seat is Owensboro[1]. The county is named for Colonel Joseph Hamilton Daveiss (a recording error in the State Clerk's office accounts for the error in spelling, which was never corrected), the United States Attorney who prosecuted Aaron Burr.


Daviess County is part of the Western Coal Fields region of Kentucky. According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 476.27 square miles (1,233.5 km2), of which 462.39 square miles (1,197.6 km2) (or 97.09%) is land and 13.88 square miles (35.9 km2) (or 2.91%) is water.[2] The northern half of the county along the Ohio River is relatively flat, with a few rolling hills dotting the landscape. The southern portion is mostly rolling hills mixed with flat valleys. The southern portion mined for coal during in the past, especially ithe rolling hills along Panther Creek and other streams.

Distillery/Distilled Spirit Production

Daviess County has long had a reputation as the leading center of the production of distilled spirits, chiefly Kentucky bourbon, since the early 1880s. During the 19th century there were 18 distilleries in Daviess County, while today only three remain. One dates back to 1869, the former Glenmore Distillery Company, which was originally the R. Monarch Distillery.

Local histories record that Walter McFarland, who moved here from North Carolina, began making whiskey and peach brandy in about 1804 on a 200-acre (0.81 km2) estate just south of Panther Creek, on today's U.S. 431.[3]

During the first decade of the 19th century, Cornelius Westerfield began distilling corn whiskey on his farm three miles (5 km) southwest of Whitesville, Kentucky, on Deserter Creek. It finally closed in 1872, after more than 60 years of production.[3]

By the 1880s, 18 large distilleries operated in Daviess County at the same time. Charles Medley Distillers Kentucky is at least the 59th distillery in the county's history.

Trinidad-based Angostura Limited bought the Medley Distillery in 2007 with plans to make its entrance into the world's bourbon market. But the severe global recession has slowed plans for starting bourbon production in Daviess County for the first time since 1992.[4]

The following is list of distillerys operating in 1883[5]

  • Owensboro Distilling Company, founded 1880
  • Sour-Mash Distilling Company, founded 1868
  • Hill, Perkins and Company, founded 1880
  • Rock Spring Distillery, founded 1881
  • Hill and Perkins Distillery, founded 1866
  • R. Monarch Distillery, founded 1869, acquired and renamed in 1901 Glenmore Distillery Company
  • E. P. Millet and Company, founded 1880
  • John Thixton Distillery Company
  • John Hanning Distillery Company, founded 1869
  • Eagle Distillery Company, founded 1869
  • Daviess county Distilling Company, founded April 16, 1874[6]
  • M. P. Mattingly's Distyillery, founded 1855
  • Daviess County Club Distillery, founded 1880
  • J. W. M. Field Distillery, founded February 3, 1873
  • J. T. Welch Distilling Company, founded Mar 1, 1881
  • Boulware and Wilhoute's Distillery, founded 1880
  • C.L. Appelgate and Company distillery, founded 1879 at Yelvington, Kentucky

Coal Mining

The Southwestern portion of the county around the Panther Creek area was heavily mined through the 1960s till the early 1990s. After 1998 large tracts of mined land were left unclaimed. Then after a lengthy search for contractors by the State of Kentucky's Division of Abandoned Mine Lands, work commenced on the largest tract, a 42-acre (170,000 m2) tract once part of the now defunct Green Coal Company. The 42 acres (170,000 m2) of unclaimed land were part of Green Coal Company's mine once known as the "Panther Surface Mine". Green Coal Company was a staple mining company in Daviess County and was based nearby in Henderson, Kentucky.

Green Coal Company

Reclamation work commenced at the site on Nov. 8, 1999, and was completed April 14, 2000. The licensed blaster employed by the contractor blasted the highwall into the pit, resulting in a reduced effort to grade and dress the final slope. Enough topsoil was gained from the area above the highwall to allow a growing medium for re-vegetation purposes. Through innovative field techniques and extraordinary cooperation from the contractor, this site has been returned to a very safe, stable and productive property. All 42 acres (170,000 m2) of this project was reclaimed expending $127,538.82 of the available bond. The land is now safe for the public and is considered prime farm property once again. Green Coal Reclamation Project

Adjacent countiesEdit


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1820 3,876
1830 5,209 34.4%
1840 8,331 59.9%
1850 12,362 48.4%
1860 15,549 25.8%
1870 20,714 33.2%
1880 27,730 33.9%
1890 33,120 19.4%
1900 38,667 16.7%
1910 41,020 6.1%
1920 40,733 −0.7%
1930 43,779 7.5%
1940 52,335 19.5%
1950 57,241 9.4%
1960 70,588 23.3%
1970 79,486 12.6%
1980 85,949 8.1%
1990 87,189 1.4%
2000 91,545 5.0%
Est. 2008 94,418 3.1%

As of the census[7] of 2000, there were 91,545 people, 36,033 households, and 24,826 families residing in the county. The population density was 198 per square mile (76 /km2). There were 38,432 housing units at an average density of 83 per square mile (32 /km2). The racial makeup of the county was 93.69% White, 4.35% Black or African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.43% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.44% from other races, and 0.94% from two or more races. 0.92% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 36,033 households out of which 32.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.60% were married couples living together, 11.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.10% were non-families. 27.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.80% under the age of 18, 9.00% from 18 to 24, 28.40% from 25 to 44, 23.00% from 45 to 64, and 13.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 92.60 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $36,813, and the median income for a family was $45,404. Males had a median income of $35,295 versus $21,971 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,739. About 9.40% of families and 12.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.60% of those under age 18 and 11.40% of those age 65 or over.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  2. ^ "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  3. ^ a b "Medley Distillers eager to join Kentucky Bourbon Trail", by Keith Lawrence, Messenger-Inquirer,Monday, September 21, 2009
  4. ^ "?". 
  5. ^ History of Daviess County, Ky., pgs 341–345, Intrstate Publishing Company, chicago, Ill.
  6. ^ Daviess County Distilling Company records, 1850–1964, 1850–1940 (bulk dates) full text File Size: 5 K bytes |14 reels of microfilm (50 vols.)Call number: 1F67M-621 University of Kentucky Special Collections and Digital Programs Lexington, Kentucky 40506
  7. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 37°44′N 87°05′W / 37.73, -87.09

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Daviess County, Kentucky. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.

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