Knox County, Kentucky
|Founded||December 19, 1799|
|Named for||Henry Knox|
|• Total||388 sq mi (1,000 km2)|
|• Land||386 sq mi (1,000 km2)|
|• Water||1.5 sq mi (4 km2) 0.4%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||82/sq mi (32/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
Knox County is a county located in Appalachia near the southeastern corner of the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 31,883. Its county seat is Barbourville. The county is named for General Henry Knox. It is one of the few coal-producing counties in Kentucky that has not suffered massive population loss.
Knox County was formed on December 19, 1799, from portions of Lincoln County. It is usually assumed to be named for Henry Knox of Massachusetts, a Revolutionary War general and the first United States Secretary of War. However, there is strong evidence that it was actually named for James Knox. Knox was a pre-war explorer and long hunter, a veteran of Dunmore's War and the Revolutionary War, a pioneer guide, road-builder, and legislator. Knox had used the Wilderness Road, which traverses the county, as an explorer and later oversaw its improvement into a wagon road.
The Civil War Battle of Barbourville was fought on September 19, 1861, between 800 Confederate soldiers from General Felix Zollicoffer's command and 300 Union troops who attempted to defend the Union's Camp Andrew Johnson. The Union men tore up the planks on the bridge in an attempt to keep the Confederates from crossing, but the more numerous Confederates succeeded anyway. They destroyed the camp and seized the arms and equipment it contained.
The present courthouse, completed in 1964, is the fifth courthouse to serve the county.
The county has long relied on coal production as the basis for its economy. Unlike other areas of southeastern Kentucky, it has continued to maintain jobs and much of its population.
- Clay County (northeast)
- Bell County (southeast)
- Whitley County (southwest)
- Laurel County (northwest)
The largest employers in Knox County are Health Care & Social Assistance (1,406 people), Retail Trade (1,331 people), and Educational Services (1,226 people). But the highest-paying jobs are with mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction. Real estate sales, and rental and leasing also pay well, followed by finance and insurance.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 31,795 people, 12,416 households, and 8,939 families residing in the county. The population density was 82 per square mile (32/km2). There were 13,999 housing units at an average density of 36 per square mile (14/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 97.84% White, 0.82% Black or African American, 0.25% Native American, 0.17% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.08% from other races, and 0.82% from two or more races. 0.57% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 12,416 households, out of which 34.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.30% were married couples living together, 13.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.00% were non-families. 25.70% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.01.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 26.20% under the age of 18, 9.70% from 18 to 24, 28.10% from 25 to 44, 23.20% from 45 to 64, and 12.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.70 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $18,294, and the median income for a family was $23,136. Males had a median income of $24,833 versus $18,390 for females. The per capita income for the county was $10,660. About 29.60% of families and 34.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 42.40% of those under age 18 and 28.90% of those age 65 or over.
Knox County is part of the Unionist bloc of counties covering the eastern Pennyroyal Plateau and the western part of the Eastern Coalfield. Like all counties in this bloc, Knox County is majority white by a high proportion, strongly opposed secession, and has been rock-ribbed Republican ever since the Civil War. The only Democrat to carry Knox County since then has been Lyndon Johnson during his 1964 landslide.
Three public school districts serve the county:
- Knox County Public Schools serves the entire county, including the cities of Barbourville and Corbin. The following are schools funded by the Knox County Public School District (grades served in parentheses):
- Central Elementary (PS–5)
- Dewitt Elementary (PS–5)
- Flat Lick Elementary (PS–5)
- Girdler Elementary (PS–5)
- G.R. Hampton Elementary (PS–5)
- Jesse D. Lay Elementary (PS–5)
- Lynn Camp Elementary (PS–5)
- Knox County Middle School (6–8)
- Lynn Camp High School (6–12)
- Knox Appalachian School (5–12)
- Knox Central High School (9–12)
- Knox County Learning Academy (9–12)
- Barbourville Independent School District serves the city of Barbourville at a single campus with elementary and high school sections (grades PS–12).
- The Corbin Independent School District serves the entire city of Corbin, making it one of the few districts in Kentucky whose boundaries cross county lines. The following are schools funded by the Corbin Independent School School District (grades served in parentheses):
- Corbin Primary School (K–2)
- Corbin Elementary (3–4)
- Corbin Intermediate (5–6)
- Corbin Middle School (7–8)
- Corbin High School (9–12)
Other unincorporated places
- "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "Knox County". The Kentucky Encyclopedia. 2000. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
- The Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society, Volume 1. Kentucky State Historical Society. 1903. pp. 35.
- Stephen, Aron (1999). How the West was Lost: The Transformation of Kentucky from Daniel Boone to Henry Clay. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 27. ISBN 0801861985.
- Secrist, M. (2012). Knox County, Kentucky: History Revealed Through Biographical and Genealogical Sketches of Its Ancestors. ISBN 9781300402084.
- Curry, John. "James Knox and Captain Dick: An Auspicious Encounter". Traditional Artwork by Andrew Knez. Retrieved May 13, 2021.
- Neville, Gabriel (August 19, 2017). "James Knox Was There Before Daniel Boone". The 8th Virginia Regiment. Retrieved May 13, 2017.
- Hogan, Roseann Reinemuth (1992). Kentucky Ancestry: A Guide to Genealogical and Historical Research. Ancestry Publishing. p. 264. ISBN 9780916489496. Retrieved 26 July 2013.
- "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Archived from the original on August 12, 2014. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
- Knox County, KY Economy, Data USA, 2017
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved July 29, 2019.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
- "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
- "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
- "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 17, 2014.
- "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Copeland, James E.; ‘Where Were the Kentucky Unionists and Secessionists’; The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, volume 71, no. 4 (October, 1973), pp. 344-363
- Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved 2018-07-03.
- The Kentucky Highlands Project
- Bradley, Erwin S., Union College: A History, 1889-1954, Written in Commemoration of the Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of Its Founding (Barbourville, KY: Union College, 1954). Available online at: https://archive.org/details/unioncollege18791954brad
- Decker, Elmer, "Knox County Kentucky History," manuscript by a local attorney from the 1930s and 1940s, containing much in the way of raw historical facts as well as documents, available online on the Bell County [KY] Public Libraries website www.bellcountypubliclibraries.org/crm/ky/knox/decker.html
- Fetterman, John, Stinking Creek: The Portrait of a Small Mountain Community in Appalachia (E. P. Dutton, 1967; reprint, Plume, 1970). Also available online on the Bell County [KY] Public Libraries website. See: Bellcountypubliclibraries.org
- Marigold, W. Gordon and Erwin S. Bradley, Union College, 1879-1979 (Barbourville, KY: Union College, 1979).
- Mills, Michael C., Barbourville and Knox County. Arcadia Publishing (August 2, 2000). Also available online at: Arcadia Publishing-Local Interest & American History Books
- Mitchell, Charles Reed, ed., History and Families, Knox County, Kentucky, 1799-1994. With a History of Knox County, Kentucky by William Sherman Oxendine, Charles Reed Mitchell, and Ron Rosenstiel (Paducah, KY: Turner Pub. Co., 1994).
- Warren, King Solomon, History of Knox County, Kentucky (Barbourville, KY: Daniel Boone Festival, 1976).