Kentucky County Formations  - Results for 'Mercer'

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1.)  Mercer County (Current Location) Parent County/Counties: Lincoln
Date Approved: 10/1/1785 Date Effective: 8/1/1786
Present County Seat: Harrodsburg Formation #: 6

Assumed Present Boundary: 3/1/1842

Reference:  Hening’s “The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia”, Vol. XII., 1823, pages 118-120.

Note:  Rone's "Kentucky & Her Counties" gives date of legislation creating this county as December 15, 1785. Named for Gen. Hugh Mercer, a Scotsman killed at the Battle of Princeton in the Rev. War.

Search for cities in Mercer County


Text of Act Creating New County: 

CHAPTER LIV. An Act for dividing the county of Lincoln into three distinct counties. [Mercer, Lincoln & Madison] Approved October 1785.

I. BE it enacted by the General Assembly, That from and after the first day of August next, the county of Lincoln shall be divided into three distinct counties, that is to say: So much of the said county bounded by a line beginning at the confluence of Sugar creek and Kentucky river; thence a direct line to the mouth of Clark’s run; thence a straight line to Wilson’s Station, in the fork of Clark’s run; thence the same course continued to the line of Nelson county; thence with the said line to the line of Jefferson County; thence with that line to Kentucky river; thence up the said river to the beginning, shall be one distinct county, and called and known by the name of Mercer; that such further parts of the said county, within the following lines, to wit, beginning at the confluence of Kentucky river and Sugar creek, thence up the said creek to the fork James Thompson lives on; thence up the said fork to the head thereof; thence a straight line to where an east course from John Ellis’s will intersect the top of the Ridge that divides the waters of Paint Lick from the waters of Dick’s river; thence along the top of the said Ridge southwardly, opposite to Hickman’s Lick; thence south forty-five degrees east to the main Rock-Castle river; thence up the said river to the head thereof; thence with the Ridge that divides the waters of Kentucky river from the waters of Cumberland river, to the line of Washington county; thence along the said line to the main fork of Kentucky river that divides the county of Fayette from the county of Lincoln; thence down the said river to the beginning, shall be one other distinct county, and called and known by the name of Madison; and all the residue of the said county shall retain the name of Lincoln.

A court for the said county of Mercer shall be held by the justices thereof on the first Tuesday in every month, and also, a court for the said county of Madison shall be held by the justices thereof on the fourth Tuesday in every month, after the said division shall take place, in such manner as is by law provided for other counties, and shall be by their commissions respectively directed. The justices to be named in the commission of the peace for the said county of Mercer, shall meet at Harrodsburg, in the said county, and the justices to be named in the commission of the peace for the said county of Madison, shall meet at the house of George Adams, in the said county, upon their respective court-days, 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 respective sheriffs, according to law, proceed to appoint each a clerk, and fix upon a place for holding courts in each of the said counties, at or as near the center thereof as the situation and convenience will admit; and thenceforth each of the said courts shall proceed to erect the necessary public building at such place, and until such buildings be completed, to appoint any place for holding courts as they shall respectively 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 each of the said counties 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 cases 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 each of the said counties, who shall continue in office during the term, and upon the same conditions, as is by law appointed for other sheriffs. It shall be lawful for the sheriff of the said county of Lincoln to collect and make distress for any public dues or officers fees, which remain unpaid by the inhabitants thereof at the time such 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 Lincoln, shall have jurisdiction of all actions and suits, in law and equity, depending before them at the time of the said division, and shall try and determine the same, and issue process, and award execution thereon. In all elections of a senator, the said counties of Mercer and Madison shall be of the same district with the said county of Lincoln.

II. And be it further enacted, That all principal surveyors heretofore appointed, or hereafter to be appointed, shall, and they are hereby authorized, to demand and receive all entries, warrants and certificates, from the principal surveyors of the old county which may not have been surveyed when the county was divided, and which may, on the division, fall within the limits of the new counties.

REF: Hening’s “The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia”, Vol. XII., 1823, pages 118-120.