Metcalfe County

Historical Marker #799 in Edmonton commemorates the naming of Metcalfe County for Kentucky Governor Thomas Metcalfe, who was a War of 1812 veteran.

Born in Virginia in 1780, Metcalfe lived in Fayette County before settling in Nicholas County. He served in the state legislature, and, during the War of 1812, was a company captain in William E. Boswell's regiment of the Kentucky Detached Militia.

Metcalfe, who was known as "Stonehammer" because of his work as a stonemason, was a state legislator, serving from 1812 to 1816. He also served in the U.S. Congress and was elected governor in 1828. According to historian Lowell Harrison, "Metcalfe was one of the state's most progressive governors in the pre-Civil War era." As governor he advocated for internal improvements, including canals and roads. Following his gubernatorial term, Metcalfe was a state senator and U.S. Senator.

Metcalfe died of cholera in 1855 and was buried in a family cemetery plot. When Metcalfe County was formed in May 1860, it was named in his honor.


Thomas Metcalfe

Thomas Metcalfe

Portrait of Governor Thomas Metcalfe, governor of Kentucky. Metcalfe was born in Virginia. He was a soldier in the War of 1812 and a stonemason, nicknamed "Old Stonehammer," who laid stone in the present Old State Capitol. Metcalfe was a state legislator, an ally of Henry Clay, a congressman (1819-28), and a U.S. senator (1848-49). From the Kentucky Historical Society's Hall of Governors. Image Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Sanders, “Metcalfe County,” ExploreKYHistory, accessed July 25, 2017,


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