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Harlan County, Kentucky
Map of Kentucky highlighting Harlan County
Location in the state of Kentucky
Map of USA KY
Kentucky's location in the U.S.
Founded 1819
Named for Silas Harlan (1753–1782), soldier in the Battle of Blue Licks.
Seat Harlan
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

468 sq mi (1,212 km²)
467 sq mi (1,210 km²)
1 sq mi (2 km²), 0.17%
 - (2000)
 - Density

71/sq mi (27/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Harlan County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. It was formed in 1819. As of 2000, the population was 33,202. Its county seat is Harlan.6. The state's highest peak, Black Mountain (4145 ft/1263 m) is in Harlan County.

With regard to the sale of alcohol, it is classified as a moist county—a county in which alcohol sales are prohibited (a dry county), but containing a "wet" city, in this case Cumberland, where package alcohol sales are allowed.[1]

History Edit

Harlan County was formed in 1819 from a part of Knox County. It is named after Silas Harlan.

Silas Harlan, a pioneer, was born on March 17, 1753 in Berkeley County, West Virginia, the son of George and Ann (Hurst) Harlan. Journeying to Kentucky with James Harrod in 1774, Harlan served as scout, hunter, and military leader of the rank of major. Harlan assisted Harrod's party in Harrodsburg to pick up gunpowder to be delivered to the Kentucky settlers to assist them against the British in the Revolutionary War.

Harlan built a log stockade with the help of his uncle Jacob and his brother James near Danville known as "Harlan's Station." Harlan served under George Rogers Clark in the Illinois campaign of 1778-79 against the British. He also commanded a company in John Bowman's raid on Old Chillicothe in 1779, and assisted Clark in establishing Fort Jefferson at the mouth of the Ohio River in 1780.

Silas Harlan died leading the advance party at the Battle of Blue Licks on August 19, 1782. At the time of his death Harlan was engaged to Sarah Caldwell, who later married his brother James and became the grandmother of U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan.

The county has been the site of great labor unrest beginning in the early 20th century, primarily surrounding the coal mining industry.

Harlan County, Kentucky was also the subject of the film Harlan County, which showed the strikes and labor movement which took place in the area.

The county is the site of a rare criminal case in which a man, Condy Dabney, was convicted in 1924 of murdering a person who was later found alive.

Geography Edit

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,212 km² (468 sq mi). 1,210 km² (467 sq mi) of it is land and 2 km² (1 sq mi) of it (0.17%) is water.

Geographic Features Edit

The headwaters of the Cumberland River are located in Harlan County: Poor Fork (extending from the city of Harlan east past the city of Cumberland and into Letcher County), Clover Fork extending East from above Evarts, and Martins Fork (extending through the city of Harlan west). The confluence is located in Baxter.

Black Mountain, located east of Lynch is Kentucky's highest point, with an elevation of 4145 ft/1263 m above sea level.

Adjacent counties Edit

Demographics Edit

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1820 1,961
1830 2,929 49.4%
1840 3,015 2.9%
1850 4,268 41.6%
1860 5,494 28.7%
1870 4,415 −19.6%
1880 5,278 19.5%
1890 6,197 17.4%
1900 9,838 58.8%
1910 10,566 7.4%
1920 31,546 198.6%
1930 64,557 104.6%
1940 75,275 16.6%
1950 71,751 −4.7%
1960 51,107 −28.8%
1970 37,370 −26.9%
1980 41,889 12.1%
1990 36,574 −12.7%
2000 33,202 −9.2%

Graph of Harlan County population by census

As of the census² of 2000, there were 33,202 people, 13,291 households, and 9,449 families residing in the county. The population density was 27/km² (71/sq mi). There were 15,017 housing units at an average density of 12/km² (32/sq mi). The racial makeup of the county was 95.56% White, 2.62% Black or African American, 0.48% Native American, 0.29% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.08% from other races, and 0.95% from two or more races. 0.65% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 13,291 households out of which 32.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.30% were married couples living together, 13.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.90% were non-families. 27.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.60% 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.

The age distribution was 25.00% under the age of 18, 8.50% from 18 to 24, 27.50% from 25 to 44, 25.20% from 45 to 64, and 13.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 91.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.80 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $18,665, and the median income for a family was $23,536. Males had a median income of $29,148 versus $19,288 for females. The per capita income for the county was $11,585. About 29.10% of families and 32.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 40.10% of those under age 18 and 21.00% of those age 65 or over.

Cities and towns Edit


Bledsoe, KY

Education Edit

Colleges Edit

Public schools Edit

The county has two public school districts.

Harlan County Public SchoolsEdit

This district covers all of Harlan County, except for the city of Harlan and some small unincorporated communities adjacent to the city. Currently, the district operates three high schools:

Serves students from the cities of Cumberland, Benham, Lynch, and near the Letcher County border.
Mascot: Redskins
Serves a wide geographical area reaching from the Harlan City limits to the Virginia border.
Mascot: Wildcats
Serves about one half of students in central Harlan County.
Mascot: Trojans

In 2008, a new consolidated Harlan County High School (nickname: Black Bears) is scheduled to open, replacing all three of the above schools.

The district also operates the following K-8 schools:

  • Evarts Elementary
  • Black Mountain Elementary
  • Cawood Elementary
  • Green Hills Elementary
  • Cumberland Elementary
  • Hall Elementary
  • Wallins Elementary
  • Rosspoint Elementary

Harlan Independent SchoolsEdit

A separate district covering the city of Harlan, it operates the following schools:

  • Harlan High School
Mascot: Dragons External Link
  • Harlan Middle School
  • Harlan Elementary School

The Harlan Independent district will not be participating in the Harlan County High consolidation.

Private schoolsEdit

  • Harlan County Christian School (Putney) External Link
  • Victory Road Christian Academy (Cumberland)

Points & People of Interest Edit

Notable Natives Edit

Area Attractions Edit

  • Kingdom Come State Park - Elevation: 2,700 feet (823 m). Size: 1,283 acres (519 ha) Location: On the outskirts of the city of Cumberland, and is connected to the Little Shepherd Trail

This state park was named after the popular Civil War novel, "The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come," by Kentucky author John Fox Jr., the park contains a picnic area, hiking trails, a fishing lake, a cave ampitheather, several lookouts and contains many natural rock formations, including Log Rock and Raven Rock. It is also the site of the annual Kentucky Black Bear Festival.

Films Edit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. ^ {{cite web|url= |title=Wet & Dry Counties in Kentucky |publisher=Kentucky Office of Alcoholic Beverage Control |accessmonthday=March 21 |accessyear=2007 |format=PDF

External links Edit

Coordinates: 36°52′N 83°13′W / 36.86, -83.22

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Harlan 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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