Gallatin County, Kentucky

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Gallatin County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky along the Ohio River, which at its formation was the main transportation route. It was formed in 1799. As of 2000, the population was 7,870. Its county seat is Warsaw[1]. The county is named for Albert Gallatin, a Swiss native who served as Secretary of the Treasury for President Thomas Jefferson.



The county was formed by European Americans on December 14, 1798. Gallatin was the 31st Kentucky county to be established. It was derived from parts of Franklin and Shelby counties. Later, parts of the county were pared off to create three additional counties: Owen in 1819, Trimble in 1836 and Carroll in 1838. Today Gallatin is one tenth of its original size. Its northern border is along the Ohio River, across which is Indiana.

The American Civil War disrupted the lives of Gallatin residents. Skirmishes occurred in the county and Union forces arrested some men for treason. In September 1864, George M. Jessee and his Confederate forces reportedly were in control of Gallatin and several other Kentucky counties. The Confederates forces were rapidly recruiting volunteers in the area.[citation needed]

After the end of the Civil War, the Ohio River near Warsaw was the scene of one of the worst steamboat accidents in history. Two passenger steamers, the America and the United States, collided. As the United States carried a cargo of barrels of kerosene which caught fire, soon both boats were in flames. The death toll reached 162.

As the 20th century progressed, the river trade began to decline, and the steamboat era ended. Gallatin County is traversed by I-71, U.S. 42, and U.S. 127 highways. Construction on the Markland Locks and Dam began in 1956 and was completed in 1964. In 1967 a hydroelectric power plant was built at the dam, which provided jobs. By the 1980s, more than 50 percent of the population was employed outside the county.[2]

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