Crittenden County, Kentucky

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Not to be confused with Crittenden, Kentucky.
Crittenden County, Kentucky
Map of Kentucky highlighting Crittenden County
Location in the state of Kentucky
Map of the United States highlighting Kentucky
Kentucky's location in the U.S.
Founded 1842
Named for John J. Crittenden
Seat Marion
Largest city Marion
 • Total 371 sq mi (961 km2)
 • Land 360 sq mi (932 km2)
 • Water 11 sq mi (28 km2), 3.0%
 • (2010) 9,315
 • Density 26/sq mi (10/km²)
Congressional district 1st
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Crittenden County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. At the 2010 census, the population was 9,315.[1] Its county seat is Marion.[2] The county was formed in 1842 and named for John J. Crittenden, senator and future Governor of Kentucky.[3][4] It is a prohibition or dry county.


Crittenden County, located on the Ohio and Tradewater Rivers in the Pennyroyal region of Kentucky, was formed on April 1, 1842, from the subdivision of Livingston County to become the state’s 91st county. It was named for John J. Crittenden, U.S. attorney general, senator, and governor of Kentucky. The first county seat was the community of Crooked Creek, although the seat was moved a few miles south to Marion in 1844.

Generally pro-Confederate during the American Civil War, both armies passed through the county repeatedly and several skirmishes took place. The county court house was burned by guerrillas in 1865, during the last months of the war.[5]

The county was once crossed by the Chickasaw Road, which was a portion of the Old Saline Trace. This path was used by native peoples to hunt game that crossed the Ohio River heading to the salt licks that lie in Illinois. During the early nineteenth century, Flynn’s Ferry was established at the area where the road crossed the Ohio. The first settler to the region was James Armstrong of South Carolina who arrived and built a cabin in 1786. His family joined him in 1791 along with the many other families that were beginning to move into the area, mostly of English, Scotch, and Irish decent. The county witnessed little fighting during the Civil War, although the county courthouse was burned by General Hylan B. Lyons in 1865.[6] Lyons, a Confederate brigadier general, led a cavalry raid into Kentucky in December 1864. During this incursion his troops burned seven county courthouses that were being used as barracks by the Union Army.

Crittenden County has valuable deposits of fluorspar, zinc, porcelain, coal, limestone, and sand for making glass. Marion was primarily an industrial town in the 1840s associated with the large fluorspar mining industry. This industry peaked in 1947 and has been in slow decline since. Iron production was also a prominent industry in the mid-19th century with several furnaces being built in the county, one owned by Andrew Jackson. Other products produced in the county include lumber, glass, modular homes, and blue crystal that was made famous by Ball canning jars. Today the county has a strong agricultural economy. In 1992, 66 percent of the population lived on farms with 45 percent of the population reporting farming as their primary occupation.[6][7]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 371 square miles (960 km2), of which 360 square miles (930 km2) is land and 11 square miles (28 km2) (3.0%) is water.[8] Its northwestern border with Illinois is formed by the Ohio River.

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 6,351
1860 8,796 38.5%
1870 9,381 6.7%
1880 11,688 24.6%
1890 13,119 12.2%
1900 15,191 15.8%
1910 13,296 −12.5%
1920 13,125 −1.3%
1930 11,931 −9.1%
1940 12,115 1.5%
1950 10,818 −10.7%
1960 8,648 −20.1%
1970 8,493 −1.8%
1980 9,207 8.4%
1990 9,196 −0.1%
2000 9,384 2.0%
2010 9,315 −0.7%
Est. 2013 9,255 −0.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]
1790-1960[10] 1900-1990[11]
1990-2000[12] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 9,384 people, 3,829 households, and 2,707 families residing in the county. The population density was 26 per square mile (10/km2). There were 4,410 housing units at an average density of 12 per square mile (4.6/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 98.24% White, 0.65% Black or African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.09% Asian, 0.14% from other races, and 0.74% from two or more races. 0.51% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 3,829 households out of which 29.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.80% were married couples living together, 8.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.30% were non-families. 27.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the county the population was spread out with 23.20% under the age of 18, 8.00% from 18 to 24, 26.10% from 25 to 44, 26.40% from 45 to 64, and 16.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 93.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $29,060, and the median income for a family was $36,462. Males had a median income of $30,509 versus $18,961 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,262. About 14.70% of families and 19.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.80% of those under age 18 and 15.70% of those age 65 or over.


Students in Crittenden County attend Crittenden County Schools located in Marion.


  • Crayne
  • Dycusburg
  • Frances
  • Marion (county seat)
  • Mattoon
  • Mexico
  • Shady Grove
  • Sheridan
  • Tolu

Notable people[edit]

  • Shelby Hearon(1931- ), author, recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Ingram Merrill Foundation, winner of an American Academy of Arts and Letters Literature Award.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 6, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ The Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society, Volume 1. Kentucky State Historical Society. 1903. p. 35. 
  4. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 96. 
  5. ^ Hogan, Roseann Reinemuth (1992). Kentucky Ancestry: A Guide to Genealogical and Historical Research. Ancestry Publishing. p. 221. Retrieved 26 July 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Kleber, John E., ed. 1992 The Kentucky Encyclopedia. The University Press of Kentucky, Lexington.
  7. ^ Hill, William 2014 "Phase I Archaeological Survey for the Planned Perry and Lisa Jones Wetland Reserve Enhancement Project, Crittenden County, Kentucky" Corn Island Archaeology, LLC. Louisville KY.
  8. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  9. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 13, 2014. 
  13. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

Coordinates: 37°22′N 88°05′W / 37.36°N 88.09°W / 37.36; -88.09