|Founded||December 17, 1796|
|Named for||James Garrard|
|• Total||234 sq mi (610 km2)|
|• Land||230 sq mi (600 km2)|
|• Water||3.9 sq mi (10 km2) 1.7%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||72/sq mi (28/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
Garrard County (// GAIR-id;) is a county located east-central Kentucky. As of the 2020 census, the county's population was 16,953. Its county seat is Lancaster. The county was formed in 1796 and was named for James Garrard, Governor of Kentucky from 1796 to 1804. It is a prohibition or dry county, although its county seat, Lancaster, is wet. Lancaster was founded as a collection of log cabins in 1776 near a spring that later provided a constant source of water to early pioneers. It is one of the oldest cities in the Commonwealth. Boonesborough, 25 miles to the east, was founded by Daniel Boone in 1775. Lexington, 28 miles to the north, was founded in 1775. Stanford, originally known as St. Asaph, is 10 miles south of Lancaster. It too was founded in 1775. The oldest permanent settlement in Kentucky, Harrodsburg, was founded in 1774 and is 18 miles to the west. Garrard's present day courthouse is one of the oldest courthouses in Kentucky in continuous use.
The area presently bounded by Kentucky state lines was a part of the U.S. State of Virginia, and was established as Kentucky County by the Virginia legislature in 1776, before the British colonies separated themselves in the American Revolutionary War. In 1780, the Virginia legislature divided Kentucky County into three counties: Fayette, Jefferson, and Lincoln. In 1785, parts of Lincoln County were divided off to create Mercer and Madison Counties.
In 1791 the previous Kentucky County was incorporated into the new nation as a separate state, Kentucky. This change became official on June 1, 1792. In 1796, a portion of the remaining Lincoln County was combined with areas split off from Mercer and Madison Counties to form Garrard County. It was the 25th county to be formed in the new state. It was named for Col. James Garrard, second Governor of Kentucky and acting governor at the time of the county's establishment.
Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of the powerful antebellum novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, visited the Thomas Kennedy home located in the Paint Lick section of Garrard County in her only visit to the South while gathering material for the book. The cabin that formed the basis of her novel was an actual structure behind the plantation house. In 2008, Garrard County officials announced their intention to recreate the slave cabin on the grounds of the Governor William Owsley House. However, in 2018 newspaper articles showed the proposed site abandoned and grown over; a memorial in another Kentucky county (Mason) was continuing to honor the memory and contribution of Stowe.
Garrard County is historically a Whig and Republican County. Its early political leaders were outspoken supporters of Henry Clay. It was strongly pro-Union during the Civil War and has remained a Republican stronghold in the Bluegrass Region which was, until recently, largely Democratic.
Garrard County is the home of Camp Dick Robinson, the first Federal base south of the Ohio River during the Civil War.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 234 square miles (610 km2), of which 230 square miles (600 km2) is land and 3.9 square miles (10 km2) (1.7%) is water.
Located in east-central Kentucky, most of the county lies within in the rolling hills of the Bluegrass region. The southeastern end of the county near the Cartersville community is in the Knobs region. Garrard County is considered to be part of Appalachia.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 14,792 people, 5,741 households, and 4,334 families residing in the county. The population density was 64 per square mile (25/km2). There were 6,414 housing units at an average density of 28 per square mile (11/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 95.75% White, 3.06% Black or African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.04% Asian, 0.43% from other races, and 0.59% from two or more races. 1.32% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 5,741 households, out of which 33.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 62.60% were married couples living together, 9.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.50% were non-families. 21.10% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.56 and the average family size was 2.95.
By age, 24.40% of the population was under 18, 8.10% from 18 to 24, 30.90% from 25 to 44, 23.60% from 45 to 64, and 13.00% were 65 or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 96.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.00 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $34,284, and the median income for a family was $41,250. Males had a median income of $30,989 versus $21,856 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,915. About 11.60% of families and 14.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.10% of those under age 18 and 17.00% of those age 65 or over.
In the United States Senate, Garrard County is represented by US Senator Mitch McConnell and US Senator Rand Paul. Garrard County is in the 2nd Congressional District, represented by US Rep. Brett Guthrie; in the 22nd State Senatorial District represented by State Senator Tom Buford and in the 36th State Legislative District represented by State Representative Jonathan Shell.
Garrard County is governed by the Garrard County Fiscal Court, composed of the Judge Executive, who is elected countywide, and five Magistrates who are elected in magisterial districts representing different geographic areas of the county. Each member of the Fiscal Court is elected to a four-year term, pursuant to the Kentucky Constitution. Magistrates are addressed by the honorific "Squire." The Fiscal Court is represented by the County Attorney. The County Clerk archives all court records and keeps the minutes of meetings.
Garrard County lies at the northeastern end of the historically Unionist belt of Kentucky, covering the eastern Pennyroyal Plateau, the southern tip of the Bluegrass Plateau, and the southwestern part of the Eastern Coalfield. Although it only provided a modest level of volunteers for the Union Army during the Civil War and had a very high proportion of slave owners amongst its 1860 electorate, Garrard County nonetheless came to form the northernmost border of the rock-ribbed Republican bloc of south-central Kentucky that includes such counties as Clinton, Cumberland, Russell, Casey, Pulaski, Laurel, Rockcastle, Monroe, McCreary, Clay, Jackson, Owsley and Leslie. The only Democratic presidential candidates to carry Garrard County since the end of Reconstruction have been Woodrow Wilson in 1912, Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932, 1936 and 1940, and Lyndon Johnson in 1964, and Roosevelt only won by 24 votes over Alf Landon and 14 votes over Wendell Willkie. Since 1944, when Thomas Dewey defeated Franklin Roosevelt by 278 votes, Garrard has voted Democratic in a presidential contest only once.