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Monday, February 20, 2023

A Bill Creating Clinton County, Kentucky was Signed into Law on this Day in 1836

Clinton County, Kentucky was formed from parts of Cumberland and Wayne counties in a bill co-sponsored by Senator's Ambrose Bramlette of Clinton County, who was serving his first term, and Frank Winfrey of Columbia. The General Assembly passed the bill in 1835, and it was signed into law by Gov. James Morehead on February 20, 1836.

The first government was organized on April 1, 1836 at the home of Pleasant Williams, later the home of the Alford Frank Burchett, on Kentucky Highway 639 at Wago, where I grew up, and you know the rest of the story about how the first county seat was established at Peolia, then later moved to the present site originally known as Benny Dowell’s Place.

THE BILL

"...to wit beginning at the state line due North from the mouth of Wolf River, and thence a straight line to the plantation of Alexander Smith, including it, thence a straight line to the mouth of Tear Coat Creek on Cumberland River, thence up said river to the Russell County line, thence with said line to within a half mile of Beaver Creek, up Beaver Creek to the mouth of Otter Creek, thence up Otter Creek so as not to run nearer than within one half mile of said creek to Jacob Citt’s, leaving him in Wayne County, thence to the twelve mile post on the road that leads from Monticello to Stockton Valley: thence to the Poplar Mountain at Peter Stockton’s, leaving him in the new county, thence up said mountain to the top; thence with the top of said mountain to the state line; thence with the same at the beginning, shall be erected into one separate county known as the County of Clinton."

Nearly all histories written about us say the county was named after Dewitt Clinton, the distinguished governor of New York who died in 1928. A second story tells us that Frank Winfrey had a son named Clinton. He was born the year Dewitt Clinton died. Perhaps the two namesakes combined made for a stronger reason to name it Clinton County and we should leave it at that. Clinton Winfrey was the owner of Winfrey Hotel in Columbia, the site of a cholera epidemic in 1873 that resulted in the deaths of 42 people, including Clinton and two of his children.

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