Campbell County, Kentucky

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Campbell County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. It was formed on December 17, 1794, from sections of Scott, Harrison and Mason counties.[1] As of 2000, the population was 88,616. Its county seats are Alexandria and Newport.[2] The county is named for Colonel John Campbell (1735–1799), Revolutionary War soldier.

Contents

County Seat

Wilmington, a pioneer settlement, was the original county seat of Campbell County from 1794 until 1797.

Newport was the county seat of Campbell County, Kentucky from 1797 until 1823.

The county seat was moved to Visalia in 1823, as it was the geographical center of the county at that time, but this was an unpopular move, as the overwhelming majority of residents live in northern Campbell County.

The county seat was moved back to Newport in 1824, and remained in Newport until 1840.

In 1840, Kenton County, Kentucky was created, primarily out of a significant portion of Campbell County. That same year, a new Kentucky law forced the county to move the county seat from Newport to Alexandria, along with all of the county offices that are legislatively tied to the county seat. The county, having a population primarily in its northern section, did not want the seat in Alexandria.

In 1883, after years of lobbying, Kentucky created a special section of law, allowing Campbell County to form a Court House District. This allowed the county to conduct county business in Newport, in addition to its legal requirement to conduct business in Alexandria.

The special Courthouse Commission legislation has led to a misconception that Newport is still a county seat, and that Campbell County was dual-seated. However, a recent court ruling clarified that, indeed, Alexandria is the only county seat, and Newport is not a county seat.[2] It explained that "In 1840, pursuant to an act of the Kentucky Legislature, the county seat, then located at Newport, was established at Alexandria. No evidence has been presented to this court that this formal designation of Alexandria as the county seat of Campbell County has ever changed. Evidence provided by the Defendants that Newport is considered a county seat or one of two county seats by historians, encyclopedias and government agencies is based upon practical realities of how county government and the court system have functioned, pursuant to law, in Campbell County for the past 150 years. However, none of the special acts related to the Newport Court House District ever designated Newport as the county seat."

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