Kentucky County Formations  - Results for 'Nelson'

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1.)  Nelson County (Current Location) Parent County/Counties: Jefferson
Date Approved: 10/1/1784 Date Effective: 1/1/1785
Present County Seat: Bardstown Formation #: 4

Assumed Present Boundary: 1/15/1824

Reference:  Hening’s “The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia”, Vol. XI., 1823, pages 469-470.

Note:  Rone's "Kentucky & Her Counties" lists the date this county was created as November 19, 1784. Named for Thomas Nelson, Virginia Governor & signer of the Declaration of Independence.

Search for cities in Nelson County


Text of Act Creating New County: 

CHAPTER XXIII. An ACT for dividing the county of Jefferson into two distinct counties. Approved October 1784.

I. BE it enacted by the General Assembly, That from and after the first day of January next, the county of Jefferson shall be divided into distinct counties by Salt River; and that part of the said county lying south of the said river shall be called and known by the name of Nelson, and all the residue of the said county shall retain the name of Jefferson. That a court for the said county of Nelson shall be held by the justices thereof on the fourth Tuesday in every month, after the division shall take place, in such manner as is provided by law for other counties, and shall be by their commissions directed; that the justices to be named in the commission of the peace for the said county of Nelson shall meet at Beardstown, in the said county, upon the first court-day after the said division shall take place, and having taken the oaths prescribed by law, and administered the oath of office to, and taken bond of the sheriff, according to law, proceed to appoint and qualify a clerk, and fix upon a place for holding courts in the said county, at or as near the center thereof as the situation and convenience will admit of, and thenceforth the said court shall proceed to erect the necessary public buildings at such place; and until such buildings be completed, to appoint any place for holding courts as they shall think proper. Provided always, That the appointment of a place for holding courts and of a clerk, shall not be made unless a majority of the justices of the said county be present; where such majority shall have been prevented from attending by bad weather, or their being at the time out of the county, in such case the appointment shall be postponed until some court-day, when a majority shall be present. The governor, with advice of the council, shall appoint a person to be first sheriff of the said county, who shall continue in office during the term, and upon the same conditions, as is by law appointed for other sheriffs.

II. Provided always, and be it further enacted, That it shall and may be lawful for the sheriff of the said county of Jefferson to collect and make distress for any public dues or officers fees, which shall remain unpaid by the inhabitants thereof at the time the said division shall take place, and shall be accountable for the same in like manner as if this act had not been made; and that the court of the said county of Jefferson shall have jurisdiction of all actions and suits in law or equity, which shall be depending before them at the time of the said division, and shall try and determine the same, and issue process and award execution thereon.

III. And be it further enacted, That the value of the court-house and other public buildings in the said county of Jefferson, shall, on or before the first day of January next, be ascertained and fixed by William Pope, George Slaughter, Philip Barbour, William Oldham, Isaac Cox, Andrew Hinds, and Benjamin Pope, or any four of them, who shall make return, so soon after as may be, of such valuation to each of the courts of the said counties of Jefferson and Nelson; and the court of the said county of Jefferson shall, within twelve months after such return made, levy on the tithables in their county, and pay to the court of the said county of Nelson, the proportion of such valuation, according to the number of tithables in that part of the said county of Jefferson at the time the expense of the said buildings was levied by the court of the said county of Jefferson.

IV. And be it further enacted, That the principal surveyor to be chosen for the said county of Nelson, shall, and he is hereby directed, to take from the surveyor’s books of Jefferson county, all such locations as may fall within the county of Nelson upon the said division taking place, that plats of survey may be returned to his office.

REF: Hening’s “The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia”, Vol. XI., 1823, pages 469-470.