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1.)  Kentucky County Parent County/Counties: Fincastle
Date Approved: 12/1/1776 Date Effective: 12/31/1776

Reference:  Hening's "Statutes at Large", Laws of Virginia, Vol. IX, 1821, pages 257-261

Note:  Abolished June 30, 1780, when divided into three counties: Fayette, Jefferson and Lincoln.


Text of Act Creating New County: 

CHAPTER XLIV. An ACT for dividing the county of Fincastle into three distinct counties, and the parish of Botetourt into four distinct parishes.

WHEREAS, from the great extent of the county of Fincastle, many inconveniences attend the more distant inhabitants thereof, on account of their remote situation from the courthouse of the said county, and many of the said inhabitants have petitioned this present general assembly for a division of the same:

Be it therefore enacted by the General Assembly of the commonwealth of Virginia, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That from and after the last day of December next ensuing the said county of Fincastle shall be divided into three counties, that is to say: All that part thereof which lies to the south and westward of a line beginning on the Ohio, at the mouth of Great Sandy creek, and running up the same and the main or north easterly branch thereof to the Great Laurel Ridge or Cumberland Mountain, thence south westerly along the said mountain to the line of North Carolina, shall be one distinct county, and called and known by the name of Kentucky; and all that part of the said county of Fincastle included in the lines beginning at the Cumberland Mountain, where the line of Kentucky county intersects the North Carolina line, thence east along the said Carolina line to the top of Iron Mountain thence along the same easterly to the source of the south fork of Holstein river, thence northwardly along the highest part of the high lands, ridges, and mountains, that divide the waters of the Tenessee (sic) from those of the Great Kanawah, to the most easterly source of Clinch river, thence westwardly along the top of the mountains that divide the waters of Clinch river from those of the Great Kanawah (sic) and Sandy creek to the line of Kentucky county, thence along the same to the beginning, shall be one other distinct county, and called and known by the name of Washington; and all the residue of the said county of Fincastle shall be one other distinct county, and shall be called and known by the name of Montgomery.

And for the administration of justice in the said counties of Montgomery, Washington, and Kentucky, after the same shall take place, Be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That after the said last day of December a court for every of the said counties of Montgomery, Washington, and Kentucky, shall be held by the justices thereof respectively, upon the following days in every month, to wit: For the county of Montgomery on the first Tuesday in every month, for the county of Washington on the last Tuesday in every month, and for the county of Kentucky on the first Tuesday in every month, in such manner as is by law provided for other counties, and as shall be by their commissions directed.

Provided always, That nothing herein contained shall be construed to hinder the sheriff of the said county of Fincastle, as the same now stands entire and undivided, from collecting and making distress for any publick dues or officers fees which shall remain unpaid by the inhabitants thereof at the time such division shall take place, but such sheriff shall have the same power to collect and distrain for such dues and fees, and shall be accountable for them in the same manner, as if this act had never been made, any law, usage, or custom, to the contrary thereof, in any wise notwithstanding.

And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That the court of the said county of Montgomery shall have jurisdiction of all actions and suits in law and equity which shall be depending before the court of Fincastle county at the time the said division shall take place, and shall and may try and determine all such actions and suits, and issue process and award execution in any such action or suit; and the justices of the said county of Fincastle who shall reside within the bounds of Montgomery county after the division, and all other officers of the same, shall have power to execute their respective offices, in that part of the said county called Montgomery, in as full and ample a manner as if this act had never been made; and all the militia officers of the said county of Fincastle, who, after the division, shall reside in the said county of Washington, shall have full power to execute their respective offices, within that part of the said county called Washington, until commissions can be issued according to law.

And be it further enacted, That the justices to be named in the commissions of the peace for the said counties of Montgomery, Washington, and Kentucky, respectively, shall meet for the said county of Kentucky at Harodsburg (sic), in the said county, on the first Tuesday in April next, for the said county of Washington at Blackís fort, in the said county, on the last Tuesday in January next, and for the said county of Montgomery at Fort Chiswell, on the first Tuesday in January next; and having taken the oath required by an ordinance of convention, and administered the oath of office to, and taken bonds, according to law, of the respective sheriffs, every of the said courts may proceed to appoint and qualify a clerk, and to fix upon places for holding courts in their respective counties, at, or as near the centers thereof, as the situation and conveniences of the respective counties will admit of, and shall thenceforth proceed to erect the necessary publick buildings for such counties at such places respectively, and shall also appoint such places for holding courts, until such buildings shall be completed, as they shall think fit.

Provided always, That the appointments of the places for holding courts, and of clerks for the several counties aforesaid, shall not be made unless a majority of the justices for such counties be present, where such majority shall have been prevented from attending by bad weather or accidental rise of watercourses, but in all such cases the appointment aforesaid shall be postponed until the next court days, and so on from court day to court day until such obstacles shall be removed.

And be if further enacted, That the courts of the said counties shall have power to adjourn themselves to such places as they shall appoint, and after the publick buildings aforesaid shall be erected for the said counties, at the places to be appointed as aforesaid, the courts for the said counties shall be thenceforth held at such places.

And be it further enacted, That every free white man who, at the time of elections of delegates or senators for the said several counties, shall have been for one year preceeding in possession of twenty five acres of land with a house and plantation thereon, or one hundred acres of land without a house and plantation, in any of the said counties, and having right to an estate for life at least in the said land in his own right, or in right of his wife, shall have a vote, or be capable of being chosen a representative in the county where his said land shall lie, although no legal title in the same shall have been conveyed to such possessors; and that in all future elections of senators, the said counties of Montgomery, Washington, and Kentucky, together with the county of Botetourt, shall form and be one district.

And be it further enacted, That it shall and may be lawful for the governour, or, in his absence, for the president of the council, to appoint a person in every of the said counties of Montgomery, Washington, and Kentucky, to be the first sheriff thereof respectively; which said sheriff, so appointed, shall continue in office during the term, and upon the same conditions, as is by law directed for other sheriffs.

And be it further enacted, That the field officers and captains of the militia of Washington county be, and they are hereby empowered and required to appoint the captain and the ensign, and the field officers and captains of the county of Montgomery to appoint the first and second lieutenants, of the company of regulars directed to be raised in the county of Fincastle, as the same stood entire and undivided, if the same shall not have been previously appointed by the field officers and captains of the county of Fincastle, agreeable to an act of this present general assembly for raising six additional battalions of infantry on the continental establishment.

And whereas, from the great extent of the parish of Botetourt, the same is become very inconvenient to the inhabitants thereof, Be it therefore enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That from and after the last day of December next the said parish shall be divided into four distinct parishes, that is to say: All that part of the said parish which lies in the county of Montgomery shall be one distinct parish, and be called and known by the name of Montgomery, all that other part of the parish which lies in the said county of Washington shall be one other distinct parish, and be called and known by the name of Washington; all that other part of the said parish which lies in the said county of Kentucky shall be one other distinct parish, and be called and known by the name of Kentucky; and all that other part of the said parish which likes in the county of Botetourt shall be one other distinct parish, and shall retain the name of Botetourt parish.

Provided always, That nothing herein contained shall be construed to hinder the collector of the said parish of Botetourt, as the same now stands entire and undivided, from collecting and making distress for any dues which shall remain unpaid by the inhabitants of the said parish at the time of the divisionís taking place, but such collector shall have the same power to collect or distrain for the said dues, and shall be answerable for them in the same manner, as if this act had never been made.

REF: Heningís "Laws of Virginia", Vol. IX, 1821, pgs. 257-261. (Introduced in the Virginia General Assembly by Thomas Jefferson on 26 Oct 1776.)

Counties Involved in Boundary Change: Fayette, Jefferson & Lincoln

Date Approved (Boundary Change): 6/30/1780 Date Effective: 11/1/1780