Todd County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 12,460. Its county seat is Elkton. The county is named for Colonel John Todd, who was killed at the Battle of Blue Licks in 1782 during the American Revolution.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Early history
- 1.2 Development
- 1.3 Civil War
- 2 Geography
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Attractions
- 5 Communities
- 6 Notable residents
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
Todd County consists of two geographical regions known historically as the high country to the north and low country to the south. The northern highlands consist of steep-sloped sandstone terrain with forests of oak, walnut and poplar. The landscape contains steep bluffs and sharp rises and falls within the terrain. The southern lowlands consist of rolling limestone flatlands void of aquifer sinks and consist of dense but sparse forests of oak, walnut poplar and ash. The historic inhabitants of the region before European encounter were the Iroquoian language-speaking Cherokee, who had migrated centuries earlier from areas around the Great Lakes. They used the lands for hunting and gathering.
Todd County lies within what was originally considered the western portion of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Many of the original European-American settlers came when the area was still considered part of Virginia. This part of southern Kentucky was designated to be awarded to Virginia veterans of the American Revolutionary War as payment for their services.
Justinian Cartwright was possibly the earliest United States settler to take up residence in what would become Todd County. However, the first proven migrants are Edward Shanklin Jr., Matthew and David Rolston, John Huston and his sons James and Granville Huston. Samuel Davis, father of Jefferson Davis, and John Wilson were also early settlers of the county. Kentucky Governor Greenup made the first Kentucky land grants to veterans William Croghan, David Logan, Edward Shanklin Jr., and John Wilson, among others.
Portions of Christian and Logan counties were taken to organize Todd County. Their more distant populations had demanded "home government," as travel to the county seats of Logan and Christian was arduous. The county was formed in 1820 by the first magisterial court, consisting of members Edward Shanklin, Major John Gray, Robert Coleman, Henry Gorin, John Taylor, H. C. Ewing, John S Anderson, William Hopper, John Mann and Joseph Frazer. The petition was created and the legislature of the Commonwealth of Kentucky granted the act of legislature, enacting the creation of the county on April 1, 1820. The legislature designated that the county be named for Colonel John Todd, a native of Virginia and Robertson County, Kentucky, who died at the Battle of Blue Licks near Lexington. Colonel John Todd died in 1782, 38 years before the formation of Todd County.
Agriculture is a revered tradition in Todd County. The lowlands are of the finest rich soil types, including "Pembroke" soil. The lowlands are prized for their high growth yields. In the early 19th century, Major John Gray established a stagecoach hub in the county with travel routes radiating to larger American cities from the central point. His widely known Stagecoach Inn located in "Graysville," now Guthrie, Kentucky, was at the center of the travel routes. Major Gray's stagecoach empire was highly successful, and he soon became wealthy due to its popularity in the region. Major Gray built a house, a simple two-story shed-roofed, brick one-pile dwelling, now known as "Halcyon," or the John Gray House.
Gray wanted a town to be established near his home that would become the county seat. Gray designed the city, which included a town square from which hundreds of lots radiated. He called it "Elkton" after the elk herds that watered at a spring near the town center. Gray designed the town square as a trapezoid instead of a square, with the south side of the town square larger than the north so that as the sun traversed across the sky, the buildings on the east and west would benefit from prolonged periods of daily sunlight. Gray contributed funding for a county courthouse, which was erected at the center of the square. The brick building stood two stories with a cupola at the top.
After Major Gray died, the building was deemed in a state of ruin due to improper construction methods and torn down to erect a new courthouse. The new Todd County courthouse was erected by order of the Fiscal Court in 1834. R. Rowland designed the building in the Federal Style with an integration of Greek-Revival style motifs. The brick building, which is extant in the 21st century, stands two stories tall with tripartite windows and large Greek-Revival lintels. The building originally had a smaller federal style cupola, but this was later replaced with a late Victorian clock tower in the second Empire style, which remains today.
Kentucky was a source of slaves for the cotton plantations in the lower South, and the slave trade was a very profitable business for many Kentuckians. However, most Kentuckians did not own slaves. Those who did were wealthy plantation owners who stood to lose a lot if slavery were abolished. The major slave-owning areas in the state were the Bluegrass region, Henderson and Oldham counties on the Ohio River, and the western Kentucky counties of Trigg, Christian, Todd, and Warren. Many Kentuckians from these areas joined the Confederate army. Nevertheless, Kentucky's allegiance was divided during the Civil War. The state was officially neutral until September 1861, when it pledged its support to the Union. In response, a pro-Confederate Confederate government of Kentucky was formed by representatives from several Kentucky counties, with a second capital at Bowling Green.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 377 square miles (980 km2), of which 374 square miles (970 km2) is land and 2.6 square miles (6.7 km2) (0.7%) is water.
- Muhlenberg County (north)
- Logan County (east)
- Robertson County, Tennessee (southeast)
- Montgomery County, Tennessee (southwest)
- Christian County (west)
|U.S. Decennial Census