Hopkins County, Kentucky

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Hopkins County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. It was formed in 1807. As of 2000, the population was 46,519. Its county seat is Madisonville[1]. The county is named for General Samuel Hopkins, an officer in both the Revolutionary War and War of 1812, and later a Kentucky legislator and U.S. Congressman. It was founded in 1807, as an outgrowth of Henderson County. The Madisonville Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Hopkins County.

The topography ranges from flatlands along the broad river valleys of the Pond River, Tradewater River, and Green River, to hilly and rolling land in the southern and central parts of the county. Coal mines operate in the southern part of Hopkins County and agriculture is a mainstay in the northern part. Major crops are soybeans, corn, and tobacco. Along with coal, resources include oil and natural gas. Hopkins County ranks second in the state both in terms of total coal extracted (782 million tons) and in total coal reserves remaining (7.2 billion tons). [2]



The earliest inhabitants were prehistoric Native Americans who lived, hunted, and farmed there. One of their settlements was a rough stone structure on Fort Ridge, which has been destroyed by strip mining. Some of the early settlers were veterans of the Revolutionary War who received land grants from Virginia in the area southwest of the Green River. Among these was Friederick Wilhelm, Baron Von Steuben, the Prussian general who had instructed the Revolutionary army at Valley Forge in the winter of 1776-77. According to tradition, the baron was wounded during an Indian attack while on his first visit and subsequently quit-claimed his property. On his grant of several thousand acres in the northwest part of the county, a salt spring came to be known as Steuben's Lick. By the 1880s, the community there was called Manitou.

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