Beckham County, Kentucky

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Beckham County, Kentucky was a county formed by the Kentucky General Assembly on February 9, 1904. Beckham County was created in the northeastern part of the state from parts of Carter County, Kentucky, Lewis County, Kentucky and Elliott County, Kentucky. The county seat was Olive Hill, Kentucky. Beckham County was dissolved by the Kentucky Court of Appeals on April 29, 1904.

History[edit]

The legislature first proposed to name the county Hardscrabble County. The proposal then became to name it Goebel County in honor of the late assassinated governor William Goebel. Beckham County was ultimately named for then-governor J. C. W. Beckham.[1]

A man named C. V. Zimmerman filed suit against Beckham County - specifically against its county judge, Captain C. C. Brooks - when Beckham County tried to collect a $75.00 debt from Zimmerman. Zimmerman claimed that under an 1891 Kentucky Constitutional amendment, creation of Beckham County was unlawful because it left other counties with less than 400 square miles (1,000 km²) of land, and that Beckham County itself also had less than 400 square miles (1,000 km²) of land. Carter County joined Zimmerman's suit and added the claim that the creation of Beckham County ran its borders too close to the county seats of Carter and Lewis counties, violating the 10-mile (16 km) minimum. Carter County also claimed that the illegal creation of Beckham County would unfairly deprive Carter County of tax revenues that rightfully belonged to Carter County. Beckham County was dissolved by the Kentucky Court of Appeals on April 29, 1904 because it was not created in conformance with state law.

Marriage and postal records from the brief existence of Beckham County, Kentucky still exist. The county records are kept in the Carter County courthouse.

Kentucky's 120 counties average 337 square miles (873 km²) each, and exceed the number in every state except for Georgia which has 159, and the substantially larger Texas which has 254 counties.

Only McCreary County has been created since the 1891 amendment, eliminating the possibility for any additional counties.[2]

Beckham County, Oklahoma which still exists today, is also named for J. C. W. Beckham.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kleber, John (1992). The Kentucky encyclopedia. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky. pp. 65–66. 
  2. ^ "Fiscal Court". County Government in Kentucky: Informational Bulletin No. 115. Frankfort, Kentucky: Kentucky Legislative Research Commission. 1996.