Boone County, 1798

Historical Marker #1253 at I-75 in Boone County recognizes the history of the county. It was formed from part of Campbell County and named for Daniel Boone, renowned Kentucky pioneer-explorer. Boone County is the northernmost county in Kentucky. The Ohio River borders the county on the north and west and played a vital role in the county’s early development.

At the time of its incorporation, the county’s population was 1,500, and fewer than 200 men owned all the land in the county. On June 17, 1799, the first county court was held at the home of William Cave, located above North Bend Bottoms. The court located the seat of government in the north-central part of the county, on a 74-acre site donated by Robert Johnson and John Hawkins Craig.

Boone County has a significant prehistoric heritage. The last glacial activity from 10,000 to 12,000 years ago left substantial gravel and limestone deposits along the Ohio River. Salt deposits left behind by ancient inland seas at Big Bone Lick attracted large mammals including mammoths, mastodon, and bison. This graveyard of mammoths was discovered in 1729 by Captain M. de Longueuil.

In 1756, Mary Ingles, the first white woman in Kentucky, was brought to Boone County by Shawnees. After the capture, the Shawnee moved west until they eventually reached Big Bone Lick. Mary became determined to escape saying she would leave them and try to get home or die in the woods. The grueling journey took 42 and a half days, and sometime around the first of December she arrived home.

In 1789, John Tanner, a Baptist preacher from North Carolina, established Tanner’s Station (later renamed Petersburg) along the Ohio River. This was the first formal settlement in what would soon become Boone County. The first settlers to arrive came by river and the Wilderness Road.

During the late 19th century, a national agricultural depression led young and old to leave Boone County farms for work in the city, and the rural population declined.

The last half of the 20th century was a time of tremendous change for Boone County. The county’s population, which had been declining slowly since 1890, surged ahead in the 1940s. In 1946 a new Cincinnati airport was dedicated. At over 50 years of age, the airport is now considered a historic resource under Federal guidelines. The construction of interstates 71, 75 and 275 in the late 1960s, allowed Boone County to become one of the fastest-growing counties in the region.

Boone County continues to grow in the 21st century providing an excellent quality of life for its residents, while preserving its past.