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Shelby County, Kentucky
Shelby county kentucky courthouse
Shelby County courthouse in Shelbyville, Kentucky.
Shelby County Kentucky Seal
Map of Kentucky highlighting Shelby County
Location in the state of Kentucky
Map of USA KY
Kentucky's location in the U.S.
Founded 1792
Seat Shelbyville
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

385.65 sq mi (999 km²)
384.19 sq mi (995 km²)
1.46 sq mi (4 km²), 0.38%
 - (2010)
 - Density

87/sq mi (34/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Shelby County, founded in 1792[1], is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of 2010, the population was 42,074. Its name honors Isaac Shelby, the first Governor of Kentucky. The county seat is Shelbyville.[2] The county is part of the Louisville/Jefferson County, KY–IN Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Shelby County was historically a prohibition or completely dry county, but the city of Shelbyville is now wet (i.e., allows retail alcohol sales), and the county has voted to allow restaurants outside Shelbyville to sell alcoholic beverages by the drink if they seat at least 100 patrons and derive at least 70% of their total sales from food. Today, Shelby County is officially classified by the Kentucky Office of Alcoholic Beverage Control as a moist county.[3]

Shelby County's motto is "Good Land, Good Living, Good People".


Founding familiesEdit

One of the earliest families to settle in Shelby County was that of Daniel Ketcham of Washington County, Maryland. Ketcham, who arrived in 1784, had been a soldier in the American Revolution. He had 9 children. His oldest, John Ketcham, moved to Indiana, become involved in politics, and laid the groundwork for the creation of Indiana University.

Another early settler was Thomas Mitchell, who also moved to Shelby County in 1784. Mitchell was born on December 16, 1777, in Augusta County, Virginia. He married Rebecca Ketcham, daughter of Daniel Ketcham, and settled near the headwaters of South Fork Clear Creek (or Mulberry Creek). Mitchell was commissioned an ensign in the 18th Regiment of Militia and on January 4, 1801, Governor James Garrard became a captain in the 18th Regiment. Mitchell was a minister of the Methodist Church and served in the War of 1812. [4]


According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 385.65 square miles (998.8 km2), of which 384.19 square miles (995.0 km2) (or 99.62%) is land and 1.46 square miles (3.8 km2) (or 0.38%) is water.[5] Jeptha Knob at 1,188 feet (362 m) is the highest point in the Louisville area.

Adjacent countiesEdit


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1800 8,191
1810 14,877 81.6%
1820 21,047 41.5%
1830 19,030 −9.6%
1840 17,768 −6.6%
1850 17,095 −3.8%
1860 16,433 −3.9%
1870 15,733 −4.3%
1880 16,813 6.9%
1890 16,521 −1.7%
1900 18,340 11.0%
1910 18,041 −1.6%
1920 18,532 2.7%
1930 17,679 −4.6%
1940 17,759 0.5%
1950 17,912 0.9%
1960 18,493 3.2%
1970 18,999 2.7%
1980 23,328 22.8%
1990 24,824 6.4%
2000 33,337 34.3%
2010 42,074 26.2%
Shelby County, KY census

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 33,337 people, 12,104 households, and 9,126 families residing in the county. The population density was 87 per square mile (34 /km2). There were 12,857 housing units at an average density of 34 per square mile (13 /km2). The racial makeup of the county was 86.61% White, 8.83% Black or African American, 0.30% Native American, 0.40% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 2.39% from other races, and 1.34% from two or more races. 4.51% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 12,104 households out of which 34.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.00% were married couples living together, 10.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.60% were non-families. 20.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.00.

The age distribution was 25.20% under the age of 18, 8.70% from 18 to 24, 31.40% from 25 to 44, 24.00% from 45 to 64, and 10.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 94.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $45,534, and the median income for a family was $52,764. Males had a median income of $35,484 versus $25,492 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,195. About 6.50% of families and 9.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.70% of those under age 18 and 12.30% of those age 65 or over.

Cities and communitiesEdit

See alsoEdit


  • "Excerpts from the Executive Journal of Governor James Garrod," Kentucky Historical Society Register, vol. 32, p. 133.
  • Woodfill, Gabriel, "A Preacher of the Gospel," Marriage Bonds of Shelby County - 1792-1800, Kentucky Marriage Records: From the Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, Baltimore 1983, p. 693.
  • Willis, George L. Sr., History of Shelby County Kentucky, Shelbyville 1929, p. 115.


External linksEdit

Coordinates: 38°13′N 85°11′W / 38.22, -85.19

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