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.