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Butler County, Kentucky Butler County, Kentucky

About Butler County

Butler County was formed on January 18, 1810, from portions of Logan and Ohio counties. It was named for Gen. Richard Butler, a Revolutionary War soldier. The county was 55th in order of formation and lies in the Western Coal Field region of Kentucky. It contains 444 square miles of land.

Descriptions from early settlers reveal a wild, untouched virgin forest with a cover of numerous species of trees, many being 100 feet high and five and six feet in diameter. Game was abundant. Wild turkeys, deer, elk, bears, and the bellowing of buffalo resounded through the woods like distant thunder. But no resource was more dominant than the Green River, which runs through Butler County. It proved to be a major factor in the growth of the county.

On June 11, 1810 a body of 11 justices of the peace, duly commissioned by Charles Scott, Governor of Kentucky, met to select officers for the newly formed Butler County. One of their first acts was to appoint a commission, which selected as the county seat two acres of land belonging to Christopher Funkhouser. The spot was first called Funkhouser Hill and would later be changed to Morgantown.

In 1833 the Commonwealth of Kentucky inaugurated a navigation system for the Green and Barren Rivers. This system was completed in 1842. In the following 20-year period, Butler County's population doubled and two more towns were incorporated along the river at Rochester, located a Lock and Dam #3 and Woodbury, located at Lock and Dam #4.

With the introduction of locks and dams, a whole different mode of transportation was launched. This brought a large number of diverse types of people to the county including merchants, miners, loggers, river workers, engineers, carpenters and many more.

After this period of relatively fast growth, the Civil War began and slowed development of the county. Butler County witnessed a few minor incidents during the was, including a skirmish at Big Hill, near Morgantown on October 29, 1861, as well as a skirmish the following day at Woodbury where Confederate soldiers had set up camp.

After the war, former soldiers from both sides joined together to raise funds for a Civil War Monument that was erected in the courthouse yard and dedicated in May 1907. The monument lists Butler Countians who fought on both sides and is believed to be one of the only two existing memorials which honors both Confederate and Union soldiers.

Butler County is most recently noted for its annual Green River Catfish Festival. Each year numerous tagged catfish are released into the river. Anglers from far and wide attempt to snag one of these tagged catfish for cash prizes, the top prize being $50,000. Once again the river is renowned for bringing people together.

Butler County and her people have a rich and proud heritage and are always ready to seek new paths to secure a bright future.

(Taken from Clark's Kentucky Almanac 2006)

 

Last Updated 4/14/2008
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