Lee County, Kentucky

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Lee County, Kentucky
Lee County Kentucky Courthouse.jpg
Lee County courthouse in Beattyville
Map of Kentucky highlighting Lee County
Location in the state of Kentucky
Map of the United States highlighting Kentucky
Kentucky's location in the U.S.
Founded 1870
Named for Robert E. Lee
Seat Beattyville
Largest city Beattyville
 • Total 211 sq mi (546 km2)
 • Land 209 sq mi (541 km2)
 • Water 2.4 sq mi (6 km2), 1.1%
 • (2010) 7,887
 • Density 38/sq mi (15/km²)
Congressional district 5th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.leecounty.ky.gov

Lee County is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 7,887.[1] Its county seat is Beattyville.[2] The county was formed in 1870 and named for Robert E. Lee.[3]

Although Lee County contained taverns in the 19th century,[4] it is currently a prohibition or dry county.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 211 square miles (550 km2), of which 209 square miles (540 km2) is land and 2.4 square miles (6.2 km2) (1.1%) is water.[5]

Eastern Mountain Coal Fields[edit]

Lee County lies within the Eastern Mountain Coal Fields region of Kentucky. The very rugged terrain greatly defines the area. Roughly half of the county lies within the Daniel Boone National Forest. Timber and coal remain economically significant. Harmful effects from strip mining and clear cut logging are still being corrected. The proliferation of kudzu has proved difficult to address. However, with the growing environmental movement and the developing tourism industry more action is being taken.

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 4,254
1890 6,205 45.9%
1900 7,988 28.7%
1910 9,531 19.3%
1920 11,918 25.0%
1930 9,729 −18.4%
1940 10,860 11.6%
1950 8,739 −19.5%
1960 7,420 −15.1%
1970 6,587 −11.2%
1980 7,754 17.7%
1990 7,422 −4.3%
2000 7,916 6.7%
2010 7,887 −0.4%
Est. 2013 7,260 −7.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 7,916 people, 2,985 households, and 2,122 families residing in the county. The population density was 38 per square mile (15/km2). There were 3,321 housing units at an average density of 16 per square mile (6.2/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 95.10% White, 3.79% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.10% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.06% from other races, and 0.66% from two or more races. 0.37% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 2,985 households out of which 32.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.80% were married couples living together, 12.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.90% were non-families. 26.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.91.

In the county the population was spread out with 22.70% under the age of 18, 9.00% from 18 to 24, 30.30% from 25 to 44, 23.60% from 45 to 64, and 14.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 109.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 111.80 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $18,544, and the median income for a family was $24,918. Males had a median income of $25,930 versus $19,038 for females. The per capita income for the county was $13,325. About 25.20% of families and 30.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 41.00% of those under age 18 and 22.90% of those age 65 or over.

Woody Harrelson Incident[edit]

On June 1, 1996 Lee County was pushed in to the National spotlight after actor and comedian Woody Harrelson made a trip to Lee County to protest hemp production rights for farmers in The Commonwealth of Kentucky. Harrelson arrived in Lee County with his Attorney, his Agent and a camera crew from CNN. While at a local hotel Harrelson phoned then Lee County Sheriff Junior Kilburn to advise him of his intentions. Kilburn and Deputy Sheriff Danny Towsend arrived to the location where Harrelson told them he would be. While camera crews we're rolling Harrelson proceeded to plant four hemp seeds in the ground all while Sheriff Kilburn was watching over his shoulder.

Once the seeds were planted, Sheriff Kilburn placed Harrelson under arrest on the charge of cultivating marijuana. Harrelson was booked into the Lee County Jail later that day June 1, 1996 and quickly was released after posting $200 bail. After his release, Harrelson would sign autographs and pose with a few deputies for pictures. On August 24, 2000, with the help of his attorney former Kentucky Governor Louie B. Nunn, Harrelson was acquitted of the charges after the jury deliberated for only 25 minutes.[11]



Unincorporated communities[edit]

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. 36. 
  4. ^ Collins, Lewis (1877). History of Kentucky. p. 461. 
  5. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 17, 2014. 
  10. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  11. ^ http://kygenealogy.com/2013/10/20/woody-harrelson-busted-in-lee-county-kentucky-for-planting-hemp/

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°35′N 83°43′W / 37.59°N 83.72°W / 37.59; -83.72