County Named, 1780

Historical Marker #774 commemorates the namesake of Lincoln County, Benjamin Lincoln, an American general during the Revolutionary War.

Although Lincoln County was named after him, General Lincoln was not from, nor did he live, in Lincoln County or even Kentucky (Kentucky County, as it was called, was then still part of Virginia). General Lincoln was born and lived in Massachusetts; however, when Virginia created the three counties that replaced Kentucky County, Lincoln County was named for General Lincoln, who, at the time, was a held as prisoner of war and viewed as a hero.

Effective November 1, 1780, Kentucky County was replaced by Lincoln, Jefferson, and Fayette counties. By 1786, Mercer and Madison counties were created from parts of Lincoln County. Since February 1843, Lincoln County has maintained its geographical size. The county is divided into three topographical areas: the northern half is of the Bluegrass region, the middle section is of the Knobs region, and the rest of the county is located in the Pennyroyal region.

During the Civil War, Lincoln County's northern half was sympathetic to the Confederacy, while the southern half was strongly Unionist. After the war and into the last decade of the nineteenth century, many different communities were founded throughout the county, including the African-American communities of Bonneyville, Chicken Bristle, and Logantown, as well as the German-Swiss community of Ottenheim in south-central Lincoln County. The oldest church building still standing in the county is McCormack's Meetinghouse, a brick structure that was built in 1819.

Some of the earliest notable residents of Lincoln County include Isaac Shelby, Kentucky's first and fifth governor, who called his home Travelers Rest in 1779; Benjamin Logan, who established Logan's Fort in 1775 (one of the few forts which did not fall during the Native American attacks of 1777); and William Whitley, another frontiersman whose home, Sportsman's Hill, was one of the first brick houses in Kentucky.