Explore Bath County Kentucky

Tour curated by: The ExploreKYHistory Team

Bath County, which was named for the numerous mineral springs that populate the area, is located in northeastern Kentucky, where the rolling hills of the Bluegrass Region transition to the Appalachian Mountains. Today, the county is renowned for its scenic beauty; those same natural features, however, have also greatly influenced Bath County’s history.

Originally part of neighboring Montgomery County, Bath County was formed in 1811. Even before it was founded, the area was involved in the iron industry. Early developers like Thomas Deye Owings—the namesake of Owingsville, the county seat—tapped the area's rich iron ore deposits and built large stone furnaces to manufacture a high-demand product. Bath County's mineral springs also created business opportunities for entrepreneurs like those who variously owned Olympian Springs, a noted hydrotherapy resort that hosted and entertained guests for well over a century.

The people and places of Bath County have impacted both state and national history. For example, Captain John "Jack" Jouett, Jr., who moved to the county later in life, warned Virginia governor Thomas Jefferson of an impending attack during the Revolutionary War. Jouett's son, Matthew, became one of Kentucky's most noted portrait artists. In addition, during the Civil War, Bath County native John Bell Hood became an influential lieutenant general in the Confederate army. These people, the places they interacted with, and the events they influenced, are examined here. We hope you will use this app to learn more about Bath County’s intriguing history.

Locations for Tour

Historical Marker #940 in Owingsville notes several important and influential personalities from the history of Bath County. Founded in 1811, Bath County is named for its mineral and medicinal springs. The famous Olympian Springs resort was a…

Historical Marker #862 in Bath County marks the birthplace of Confederate General John Bell Hood. Born in Owingsville in 1831, Hood graduated from West Point and served on the Texas frontier. When the Civil War erupted, he joined the Confederacy…

Historical Marker #993 in Bath County notes the history of the Bourbon Iron Works, which was built by Jacob Myers in 1791. Myers moved from Virginia to what would become Kentucky in the early 1780s. Upon his arrival, he purchased thousands of…

Historical Marker #1226 in Bath County includes a history of the furnace built on Caney Fork, a branch of the Licking River. Harrison Connor and Joshua Ewing, Sr., began constructing the Caney Furnace in 1837. Ewing operated the Bourbon Iron…

Historical Marker #1528 in Owingsville provides a tribute to the life of Revolutionary War hero, Captain John "Jack" Jouett, Jr. Jack Jouett was born in Virginia on December 7, 1754. During the Revolutionary War, Jouett served as…

Historical Marker #1050 near the town of Salt Lick in Bath County remembers the prodigious output of Clear Creek Furnace. Built in 1839 by W. A. Lane and W. S. Allen, the furnace operated until its last blast in 1875. Production of iron at the…

Historical Marker #592 in Owingsville notes the accidental burning of the Bath County courthouse by Union troops in 1864. While the Civil War disrupted the lives of many Americans, those who lived in the border states, like Kentucky, often…

Historical Marker #1542, near Bethel in Bath County, remembers the life of one of Kentucky's most notable newspaper writers. Joe Cross Creason was born in Benton, Kentucky, on June 10, 1918. After graduating from the University of Kentucky,…

Historical Marker #1342 at Olympian Springs in Bath County notes the history of this fashionable and well-attended resort, which served patrons for more than one hundred years. The fascination with mineral springs and their perceived curative…

Historical Marker #1193 in Owingsville notes the history of the Owings House and it original owner, Thomas Deye Owings. Before the town of Owingsville was founded, most of the surrounding land was owned by either politician Richard Menefee or local…