The earliest inhabitants of the land that would become Scott County, Kentucky were Native Americans. European explores moved into the area in the 1770s and in 1783, Robert and Jemima Johnson built Johnson’s Station near the north fork of Elkhorn Creek, about five miles west of present-day Georgetown.
Scott County was formed in 1792 through one of the earliest acts of the newly formed Kentucky state legislature. Divided from Woodford County, it was named after General Charles Scott, who served in the American Revolution. General Scott would go on to serve as Kentucky’s fourth governor, serving from 1808-1812.
The county seat, Georgetown, was founded as Lebanon, by Elijah Craig, one of the state’s earliest distillers. Craig also founded a precursor to Georgetown College. Lebanon was renamed in honor of President George Washington in 1790. Georgetown was later joined by Sadieville (1880) and Stamping Ground (originally named Herndonsville in 1817, the town’s name was changed to Stamping Ground in 1834) as the incorporated towns within the county.
The county was home to Richard Mentor Johnson, U.S. Vice President under Martin Van Buren (1837-1841), and Julia Chinn, Johnson’s enslaved wife. Johnson and Chinn were open about their relationship and had two daughters, Imogene and Adaline. The Johnsons also supported the Choctaw Academy, a boarding school for Choctaw children, which forced students to assimilate to white culture while providing education, clothing, and nutrition to attendees.
Scott County remained a primarily agricultural community until the latter half of the twentieth century when manufacturing, especially Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, opened in 1988. The Toyota facility is the largest in the world and one of the region’s biggest employers. As of 2020, Scott County is one of the fastest growing counties in Kentucky and remains a vital manufacturing and transportation hub for the state.