Mercer County, Kentucky

Mercer County, Kentucky

Mercer County Courthouse in Harrodsburg
Map of Kentucky highlighting Mercer County
Location in the U.S. state of Kentucky
Map of the United States highlighting Kentucky
Kentucky's location in the U.S.
Founded 1785
Named for Hugh Mercer
Seat Harrodsburg
Largest city Harrodsburg
  Total 253 sq mi (655 km2)
  Land 249 sq mi (645 km2)
  Water 4.5 sq mi (12 km2), 1.8%
  (2010) 21,331
  Density 86/sq mi (33/km²)
Congressional district 2nd
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Mercer County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 21,331.[1] Its county seat is Harrodsburg.[2] The county was formed from Lincoln County in 1785[3] and is named for Revolutionary War General Hugh Mercer, who was killed at the Battle of Princeton in 1777.[4]

It is a prohibition or dry county, though Harrodsburg and Pleasant Hill allow the sale of alcohol by the drink. In Kentucky, and perhaps elsewhere, this is referred to as being a "moist" county - wet sells package liquor, wine and beer, dry sells no alcoholic beverages (legally), "moist" serves by the drink, primarily in restaurants. Boyle County (Danville) immediately to the south along US Hwy 127, is fully wet, and has two large liquor outlet stores, plus several smaller, privately owned ones.


Harrodsburg was the first city formally chartered in Kentucky County, the Virginia territory that later became the 15th American state. It was originally the county seat of Lincoln County when it was formed in 1780, but it became the seat of Mercer County when it was created.

Pleasant Hill, also known as Shakertown, is the site of a former Shaker community, active especially during the years before the American Civil War. It is a National Historic Landmark District, consisting of more than 30 historic buildings. The district also includes acres of farm and parkland.

The American Civil War divided the county. The Union Army's 19th Regiment Kentucky Volunteer Infantry was organized at Camp Harwood in Harrodsburg, and was mustered in for a three-year enlistment on January 2, 1862 under the command of Colonel William J. Landram. However, many other county men served in the Confederate Army.

The Louisville Southern Railroad LS network reached Harrodsburg in 1888. Louisville Southern Railway's construction commenced in 1884 and ran from Louisville through Shelbyville and Lawrenceburg to Harrodsburg, which was reached in 1888. The rail yard and station were located at the corner of Office Street and Merimon Avenue. A spur was later constructed from the station to Burgin, where the Louisville Southern joined the Cincinnati Southern's Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railway CNO&TP mainline which runs through the eastern part of the country from High Bridge of Kentucky to Burgin to Danville was opened in 1877. Now all run and operated by Norfolk Southern Railway.

Company D of the 192nd Tank Battalion, which took part in the World War II Battle of Bataan. was from Harrodsburg.[5]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 253 square miles (660 km2), of which 249 square miles (640 km2) is land and 4.5 square miles (12 km2) (1.8%) is water.[6]

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201521,407[7]0.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
1790-1960[9] 1900-1990[10]
1990-2000[11] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census[12] of 2000, there were 20,817 people, 8,423 households, and 6,039 families residing in the county. The population density was 83 per square mile (32/km2). There were 9,289 housing units at an average density of 37 per square mile (14/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 94.00% White, 3.69% Black or African American, 0.21% Native American, 0.47% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.63% from other races, and 0.96% from two or more races. 1.27% of the population were Hispanics or Latinos of any race.

There were 8,423 households out of which 31.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.80% were married couples living together, 10.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.30% were non-families. 25.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.93.

By age, 24.40% of the population was under 18, 7.40% from 18 to 24, 29.10% from 25 to 44, 24.50% from 45 to 64, and 14.60% were 65 or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 94.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was US$35,555, and the median income for a family was $43,121. Males had a median income of $33,657 versus $22,418 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,972. About 10.00% of families and 12.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.40% of those under age 18 and 12.00% of those age 65 or over.

Law and government

County Judge/Executive
  • Milward Dedman
County Magistrates
  • Dennis Holiday
  • Larry Peyton
  • JB Claunch
  • Wayne Jackson
  • Ronnie Sims
  • Bill Waggener
County Attorney
  • Ted Dean
County Coroner
  • Sonny Ransdell
  • Ernie Kelty
County Clerk
  • Chris Horn
Circuit Clerk
  • Beth Neal
District Court Judge
  • Jeff Dotson
Circuit Court Judge
  • Darren Peckler
Family Court Judge
  • Bruce Petrie
  • Cleo Baker

Local attractions



Census-designated place

Unincorporated communities

Ghost town

Notable residents

See also


  1. 1 2 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  3. Collins, Lewis (1882). Collins' Historical Sketches of Kentucky: History of Kentucky, Volume 2. Collins & Company. p. 26.
  4. The Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society, Volume 1. Kentucky State Historical Society. 1903. p. 36.
  5. Life Magazine 1942
  6. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  7. "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  8. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  9. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  10. "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  11. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 18, 2014.
  12. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  13. Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607-1896. Marquis Who's Who. 1963.

Coordinates: 37°48′N 84°53′W / 37.80°N 84.88°W / 37.80; -84.88

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