Woodford was established in 1788, and was the last of the nine counties organized in the “District of Kentucky” before that “district” was separated from Virginia and admitted to the Union as the State of Kentucky, in 1792.
The first census of the United States was taken in 1790, while Woodford was still a county of Virginia; the second national census was taken in 1800, eight years after Kentucky became a State ; and both these censuses included Woodford county. The original census schedules of Virginia for 1790 as well as those of Kentucky for 1800, were destroyed by the British troops when they captured Washington City in 1814, and are lost beyond recall. The schedules of the census of Kentucky for 1810 are therefore the earliest census lists of the State now in existence.
These returns show altogether 979 “heads of families” in the county, with a total population of 9,659 persons in the county of whom 488 lived in the town of Versailles. Of the 979 heads of families in the whole county, 60 were women and seven were free persons of color, leaving 912 white men who were heads of families. Of these 912 white men it is practically certain that about 380 (or about 42 per cent. of the whole number) had served as soldiers in the Revolutionary War. These are indicated in the subjoined list by their names being printed in heavy type, except those who subsequently received pensions on account of their services in the Revolutionary War, whose names are printed in heavy capitals. It is believed that practically all those whose names are printed in heavy type (small letters) can be identified as Revolutionary War soldiers, either from the records of the Adjutant General’s Office, War Department, Washington, D. C., or from the records of the State of Virginia, in Richmond. Of course there can be no doubt in the case of any of those who received Revolutionary War pensions.
In addition to the Revolutionary War pensioners printed in heavy capital letters in the subjoined list, the following named soldiers of that war who received pensions settled in Woodford county subsequent to 1810, namely:
John Allison, Daniel Barnet, Nicholas Baker, Stephen Chelton (or Shelton), John Cox, Dennis Dailey, Jane Ellis (widow), Robert Gaines, Henry Goodloe, Michael Kirkham, William McCoy, John McKinney, John McQuiddy, Elijah Milton, John Mitchell, Leonard Moseley, George W. New, George Peyton, John Pollet, Reuben Smithey, and Enoch Wingfield.
Woodford county has always been known as “the asparagus bed of the Blue Grass Region.” It was in the very beginning settled more generally by people of wealth and culture than was the rule in any of the original counties, with the exception of Fayette, of which Woodford was at one time a part.
The county was originally settled principally by people from Virginia, but there were many families from the States of North Carolina, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and quite a sprinkling from Germany and Ireland. Among the very earliest settlers were General Charles Scott, General James McConnell, Major Herman Bowmar, Benjamin Berry, Lewis Subblet, Henry Watkins, Cyrus McCracken, Edmond Wooldridge, and the families of Moss, Stevenson and Wilcox.
The writer of these lines labors under the disadvantage and misfortune of not being generally acquainted with Woodford county families (he having been born and raised in another county), else he might be able to enumerate a long list of Woodford county people whose names appear on the census list of 1810 who were, or became, famous in one way or another; and he feels that he must apologize for the meager list of such names that now follow, to-wit:
Robert Alexander was the founder of the distinguished family of that name in Woodford. In 1801 he was a charter member of the Kentucky River Company, organized to improve the navigation of the Kentucky River. In 1807 he was a member of the board of directors of the First Bank of Kentucky. He ranked among the most eminent men of the State of that day. He and his descendants accomplished more for the improvement of fine live stock than probably any other one family that has ever lived in America.
William B. Blackburn was Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky, 18181820. He was the ancestor of the distinguished Blackburn family of Woodford, which has furnished Kentucky a Governor and a United States Senator, the latter for many years also a member of the lower house of Congress.
Major Herman Bowmar settled in what is now Woodford, but was then Fayette county, in 1789; and when Woodford was established he was the first deputy sheriff of the county, being then hardly more than a boy. In 1827, during the Relief and Anti-Relief excitement, he was a candidate for Congress to succeed Henry Clay, but was narrowly defeated by Judge James Clark, of Clark county, the judge who gave the first decision against the constitutionality of the Relief laws. Major Bowmar was an officer in General Anthony Wayne’s command in the wars with the Indians which closed with the battle of Fallen Timbers. He also served in the State Senate.
Thomas Bullock was a charter member of the Kentucky River Company, which was organized in 1801, to improve the navigation of the Kentucky River.
Marquis Calmes, who was a captain in the Revolutionary War, settled in Woodford at a very early date. He was a grandson of the Marquis de Calmes, of France, a nobleman of high degree and very ancient lineage, who had to leave his native land about 1685, on account of being a Huguenot, or Protestant. He went first to England, but in a few years crossed the seas and settled in Virginia.
Mrs. Judith Crittenden was the mother of the distinguished orator and statesman, John J. Crittenden; and she was the grandmother of two major generals—George B. Crittenden, of the Confederate army, and his brother, Thomas L. Crittenden, of the Union army.
Colonel John Francisco commanded a regiment of Kentucky volunteers in the War of 1812.
Nathaniel Harris was one of the first Methodist ministers that ever settled in Kentucky.
Robert Johnston was a member of the convention held in Danville in 1792, which formed the first Constitution of Kentucky.
Nicholas Lafon1)See “Census of Franklin County” in September, 1915 “Register.” was one of the founders of the city of Frankfort, much of the territory of which he had bought before the city was established. In 1787 he was associated with General James Wilkinson and others in laying off the city of Frankfort, and naming the streets. In 1808 he removed from Frankfort to Woodford county.
Joseph Lindsay was the first man to plant fruit trees and snap-beans in Kentucky. In 1775 he sowed apple seed and planted beans on his land situated on a fork of Elkhorn, three miles south of where Lexington now stands. The next year (1776) he fenced a quarter of an acre of land and set it out with apple saplings.
General James McConnell was a lot owner in the second allotment of lots in Lexington, in 1783. In 1788 lie was one of the founders and one of the first lot owners in Losantivine, the name of which town was changed, in 1790, to Cincinnati—now a great city. He did not settle in Cincinnati.
Virgil McCracken, in 1812, raised a company of men in Woodford county for Colonel John Allen’s regiment of riflemen; and was killed at the battle of the River Raisin. McCracken county, Kentucky, was named in his honor.
Dr. Louis Marshall (born October 7th, 1773; died 1866; married Agetha Smith), brother of Chief Justice Marshall, was one of the most distinguished educators that ever lived in Kentucky, and for a long time conducted a famous academy at his home in Woodford county. In 1854 he was made President of Washington College, Virginia, now Washington and Lee University. He was the father of two of the greatest orators our country has produced—Thomas F. Marshall and Edward C. Marshall, both of whom served in Congress.
John Mosby represented Fayette county in the Virginia Legislature in 1782, and again in 1784.
George Muter had been a colonel in the Revolutionary army. He settled early in Kentucky, and was a member of the conventions held in Danville in 1785 and 1787, looking to the erection of Kentucky into a separate State. In 1785 he was appointed one of the three judges of the District Court, the first court established in Kentucky. He was appointed Chief Justice of the Appellate Court in 1792, when Kentucky became a State. He retired in 1806 when the Legislature granted him a pension, which, however, was repealed the next year.
Tunstall Quarles was a member of Congress, 1817-1820; and a Presidential elector in 1829.
General Charles Scott owned a good deal of land and other property in Woodford county, and his home was there, but he does not appear to have been living in the county in 1810, when the census was taken. He was probably living temporarily in Clark county at that time, where he also had property and land. He served in Braddock’s War, and was present at the disastrous “Braddock’s Defeat” in 1755. He went into the Revolutionary War as a captain and rose to the rank of major general. He settled in Woodford county, Kentucky, in 1785. In 1791 he was with General St. Clair in his disastrous foray against the Indians of Ohio ; in the same year he was with General Wilkinson’s excursion against the Indians of the Wabash; and in 1794 he commanded a portion of General Wayne’s army in the brilliant victory of the Fallen Timbers, where the Indians of Ohio suffered a crushing defeat. He was Governor of Kentucky from 1808 to 1812, and one of his last official acts was to commission William Henry Harrison, of Indiana, as a major general of Kentucky militia, so that he might take command of the Kentucky troops in the War of 1812, Congress or the President having failed to give General Harrison a suitable commission, up to that time. Scott county, Virginia, and Scott county, Kentucky, were named in his honor. General Scott died in 1813 in Clark county, Kentucky, and was buried there; but in 1854 his remains were removed to the State cemetery in Frankfort.
William Steele was a member of the convention held in Danville in 1793 to form the first Constitution of Kentucky, and also of the convention held in Frankfort in 1799, which formed the second Constitution of Kentucky. He was one of the lot owners in Lexington in 1783, at the second allotment of lots in that town; and he was a charter member of the Kentucky River Company, which was organized in 1801 to improve the navigation of the Kentucky River.
John Taylor, the distinguished pioneer Baptist preacher, settled in Woodford county at an early date. He was one of the first of Kentuckians to write and publish a book, and his “History of Ten Churches,” once so famous, is now an extremely rare book.
Caleb Wallace was a member from Lincoln county in 1783 of the Virginia Legislature ; and he was a member of the conventions held in Danville in 1785, 1787, and 1788, looking to the erection of Kentucky into a separate State ; and of the convention held in Danville in 1792, which formed the first Constitution of Kentucky. In 1792, when Kentucky was admitted to the Union as a State, he was made a judge of the Appellate Court then established for.the State ; and in 1797 he was a Presidential elector, when Kentucky cast its vote for George Washington.
John Watkins was a member of the convention held in Danville in 1792, which formed the first Constitution of Kentucky.
Edmond Waller, in 1784, assisted Simon Kenton and others in erecting a blockhouse at Limestone, now Maysville. He was the grandfather of John L. Waller, who is said to have been probably the most eloquent, minister that ever lived in Kentucky.
Richard Young was a member of the convention held in Danville in 1792, which formed the first Constitution of Kentucky.
1810 Woodford County Kentucky Census
|wdt_ID||Name||Males Under 10||Males 10-16||Males 16-26||Males 26-45||Males 45 - up||Females Under 10||Females 10-16||Females 16-26||Females 26-45||Females 45 - up||All other free persons except Indians not taxed||Slaves|
|7||Richard Young Senr||0||1||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||20|
|8||Sam'l Berry Jr||1||0||0||1||0||2||0||1||0||0||0||10|
|10||Robert Moffett Jr||2||0||0||1||0||1||0||0||1||0||0||1|
Source: Descriptive text is from “The Census of Woodford County, Ky., 1810”, by A. C. Quisenberry, as published in the Register of Kentucky State Historical Society, Vol. 14, No. 41 (MAY, 1916), pp. 37, 39-53. The actual census as appears above does not appear in the manuscript, and is copyright 2020 by KentuckyGenealogy.