Jackson County
Jackson County courthouse in McKee
Jackson County courthouse in McKee
Where the Mountains and the Bluegrass Blend
Map of Kentucky highlighting Jackson County
Location within the U.S. state of Kentucky
Map of the United States highlighting Kentucky
Kentucky's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 37°25′N 84°01′W / 37.42°N 84.01°W / 37.42; -84.01
Country United States
State Kentucky
Named forAndrew Jackson
Largest communityAnnville
 • Judge ExecutiveShane Gabbard (R)
 • Total347 sq mi (900 km2)
 • Land345 sq mi (890 km2)
 • Water1.3 sq mi (3 km2)  0.4%
 • Total12,955
 • Estimate 
12,973 Increase
 • Density37/sq mi (14/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP Codes
40447, 40402, 40434, 40481, 40486

Jackson County is located in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. As of the 2020 census, the population was 12,955.[1] Its county seat is McKee.[2] The county was formed in 1858 from land given by Madison, Estill, Owsley, Clay, Laurel, and Rockcastle counties.[3] It was named for Andrew Jackson, seventh President of the United States.[4] Jackson County became a moist county via a "local-option" referendum in the Fall of 2019 that made the sale of alcoholic beverages in the county seat, McKee, legal.[5][6]

One fourth of Jackson County is within the Daniel Boone National Forest (56,000 acres), making it representative of eastern Kentucky's unique Appalachian topography, wildlife, and heritage. The county is home to many attractions and recreation spots such as Flat Lick Falls, public national forest campgrounds Turkey Foot and S-Tree, and the centermost trailhead (located in the county seat, McKee) of the historic Sheltowee Trace.[7]

Jackson County is the birthplace of the Grand Ole Opry star David "Stringbean" Akeman, and the site of the annually reenacted Battle of Big Hill, the Civil War skirmish that led to the Battle of Richmond in Madison County.

Outdoor recreation

National recreation areas

The S-Tree campground sits on a ridge above Horse Lick Creek near McKee in Jackson County. A small picnic area features a historic picnic shelter that was constructed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The campground receives heavy weekend use from off-highway vehicle users who ride the adjacent Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail and the Renfro Loop Trail. These trails may be accessed from the campground.[8]

The Turkey Foot campground is nestled along the banks of War Fork Creek in Jackson County. The creek is stocked with trout throughout the year. All of the campsites are wooded. A playfield with a horseshoe pit is located at the end of camping sites alongside the creek. Trails include the Turkey Foot Loop Trail and the Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail.[9]

Flat Lick Falls is tucked into the hills of southern Jackson County and consists of recreational facilities which include primitive camping, picnic shelters, and restrooms. The park features 86.09 acres of wooded land, cliffs and Flat Lick Creek running through the middle of the park with a 28-foot water fall emptying into a large pool at the bottom of the falls. The creek flows into the Laurel Fork Creek. The falls can be viewed up close via the meandering paths along the cliff line including a paved path leading to a wheelchair accessible viewing platform.[10]

Flat Lick Falls

Sheltowee Trace National Recreation Trail is over 300 miles of National Recreation Trail, established in 1979, in the Appalachian region of the Eastern U.S., and reaches from northern Rowan County, Kentucky to the Leather Wood Trail Head in the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area just across the Tennessee border. The Trail runs mostly through the Daniel Boone National Forest, and is named for the Shawnee word for “Big Turtle”, which was the name given to Daniel Boone in 1779 when he was adopted as the son of the great warrior chief Blackfish. Jackson County encompasses approximately 35 miles of the Sheltowee Trace, which is open to hiking, horseback riding, and mountain bikes. Some sections also allow all-terrain vehicles.[11]

Public parks

Lakes and reservoirs

National protected areas


Jackson County is located on the edge of the Cumberland Plateau and Eastern Kentucky Coalfields region of Kentucky, adjacent to the Kentucky Bluegrass region. Because of this, the county's motto is "where the mountains and the bluegrass blend." The elevation of the county ranges from 600 ft. to 1600 ft. above sea level.[12] The Middle Fork of the Rockcastle River originates in southern Jackson County. Karst landscapes can also be found in the northern part of the county, creating notable caves such as Wind Cave near Turkey Foot campground.

Major routes

US Route 421 serves as the county's north–south corridor, connecting it to Madison County, the cities of Richmond and Berea , and I-75 to the north. While it connects the county to Clay County, the city of Manchester, and the Hal Rogers Parkway to the south. This route also connects the communities of Sandgap, McKee and Tyner within the county.

KY Route 30 is a newly constructed highway that serves as the main east–west corridor, passing through the southern part of the county, through the communities of Annville and Tyner. It is referred to as the Interstate 75 - Mountain Parkway connector. It connects the county to both of these major freeways as well as to the cities of London (Laurel County), Booneville (Owsley County), and Beattyville (Lee County).

KY Route 290 connects US Route 421 in McKee to KY Route 3630 in Annville.

Adjacent counties


Jackson County Fair & Homecoming

This event is held annually on the Friday and Saturday before Labor Day. Activities include a show, craft exhibits, musical entertainment, clogging, vendors, food trucks, and a parade.[13]

Sheltowee Trace Artisans Fair

Local and guest artisans from across the state and beyond come to teach, demonstrate, and sell their crafts at this event, which is held during the first weekend in May.[13]

Battle of Big Hill Reenactment

The reenactment takes place the third weekend of August at the Jackson Energy Farm on HWY 290, about 6 miles south of McKee. A family-friendly outdoor event, reenactments generally take place over two days, and consist of games, historical speakers, a ladies and gentlemen's tea, food, and music before the actual battle. After dark, couples can follow the cues of the square dancing caller at the Civil War Ball, featuring local musicians playing songs from the era.[14]

Stringbean Music Festival

Most people remember David "Stringbean" Akemon from the old television show "Hee-Haw" but folks in Jackson County knew him as brother, uncle, and friend. Although a famous performer, "Stringbean" returned often to his home in Jackson County. In June 1996, Porter Wagoner, Grandpa & Ramona Jones, Mac Wiseman and a host of other entertainers and friends gathered to unveil a larger than life statue of Stringbean, and established a memorial in his honor. Since then, the festive has grown tremendously. Today, two festivals are held - one in June and one in October - and both feature nationally known bluegrass music performers, as well as mountain arts and crafts.[15]


The Jackson County Industrial Development Authority (JCIDA) assists with economic development efforts in the county. The authority manages 3 industrial parks in the county which include the Jackson County Regional Industrial Park in Annville, the McKee Industrial Park in McKee, and the Northern Jackson County Industrial Park in Sandgap.[16]

Major employers in Jackson County include:[16]


Jackson County is served by Jackson Energy, which is based in the City of McKee, and serves Jackson County and surrounding counties such as Lee County, Owsley County, Clay County, Laurel County, Rockcastle County, and Madison County. Jackson County, Owsley County, and Clay County are served by Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative, also based in the City of McKee. Water is provided by the Jackson County Water Association and garbage pickup is provided by Woods Sanitation. Residents within the City of McKee are served by McKee Water and Sewer.


Jackson County does not have a hospital. Nearby facilities include Saint Joseph Hospital (Berea), Baptist Health Hospital (Richmond), Advent Health (Manchester), Saint Joseph Hospital (London) and, Rockcastle Regional Hospital. (Mt. Vernon)

Emergency medical services for Jackson County are provided by the Jackson County Ambulance Service. Jackson County does have a few primary care facilities which include the White House Clinic, McKee Medical Clinic, Advent Health Clinic, and Annville Medical Clinic.


Historical population
2022 (est.)12,973[17]0.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[18]
1790-1960[19] 1900-1990[20]
1990-2000[21] 2010-2020[1]

2020 census

As of the census of 2020, there were 12,955 people and 5,417 households in the county. The population density was 37.5 per square mile (14.5/km2). There were 5,978 housing units. The racial makeup of the county was 97.5% White, 0.4% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0% Pacific Islander, 0.8% from two or more races, and 0.9% Hispanic or Latino of any race.

23.3% of the population are under the age of 18 and 18% of the population are 65 years of age or older. There are 529 veterans residing within the county.

The median income for a household in the county was $31,515. The per capita income for the county was $17,573. About 24% of the population are below the poverty line.

The median value for housing units is $83,100 and the average rent is $526 a month.

72.1% of the population has a high school education or higher. 10.2% of the population has a bachelor's degree or higher. 78.8% of households have a computer and 70.7% have a broadband internet subscription.



Census-designated place

Unincorporated places


National politics

In presidential elections, Jackson County has voted Republican since the Civil War and has never voted Democratic.[22] Lyndon Johnson in 1964 and Bill Clinton in 1996 are the only Democratic candidates to ever win as much as 20% of the county's vote. The only time Jackson County has not voted for the Republican Party was in its first election of 1860 when the county went to Constitutional Unionist John Bell, and in 1912 when the Republican Party was split and third party candidate Theodore Roosevelt carried the county with 52 percent of the vote over William Howard Taft with 34 percent.

Jackson County has a strong history of giving Republican candidates some of their highest winning percentages in the nation. This was the case in the 1928, 1948,[23] 1960,[24] 1976,[25] 1988,[26] and 1992 presidential elections.[27] In 1992 Jackson County, along with Sioux County, Iowa, were the only two counties in the U.S. to vote for Republican George H. W. Bush by over 70 percent in his re-election campaign.[27] Additionally, Republican Alf Landon, who lost 46 of 48 states, received over 89 percent of Jackson County's vote in 1936.[28]

United States presidential election results for Jackson County, Kentucky[29]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 5,453 89.20% 605 9.90% 55 0.90%
2016 4,889 88.87% 482 8.76% 130 2.36%
2012 4,365 86.25% 612 12.09% 84 1.66%
2008 4,407 84.36% 743 14.22% 74 1.42%
2004 4,369 84.38% 769 14.85% 40 0.77%
2000 4,079 84.02% 701 14.44% 75 1.54%
1996 3,045 69.98% 960 22.06% 346 7.95%
1992 3,398 74.96% 776 17.12% 359 7.92%
1988 3,926 85.16% 678 14.71% 6 0.13%
1984 3,856 87.38% 542 12.28% 15 0.34%
1980 3,379 81.95% 702 17.03% 42 1.02%
1976 2,766 79.80% 680 19.62% 20 0.58%
1972 5,303 92.18% 436 7.58% 14 0.24%
1968 3,098 84.09% 304 8.25% 282 7.65%
1964 2,654 73.78% 920 25.58% 23 0.64%
1960 3,923 90.35% 419 9.65% 0 0.00%
1956 3,950 88.35% 501 11.21% 20 0.45%
1952 3,104 86.75% 471 13.16% 3 0.08%
1948 2,781 85.99% 429 13.27% 24 0.74%
1944 3,578 91.56% 328 8.39% 2 0.05%
1940 3,722 88.62% 465 11.07% 13 0.31%
1936 3,440 89.05% 420 10.87% 3 0.08%
1932 2,879 84.28% 529 15.49% 8 0.23%
1928 3,552 96.52% 123 3.34% 5 0.14%
1924 2,629 87.96% 284 9.50% 76 2.54%
1920 3,174 92.16% 260 7.55% 10 0.29%
1916 1,968 87.90% 252 11.26% 19 0.85%
1912 577 34.14% 216 12.78% 897 53.08%

Local and state politics

Jackson County is part of Kentucky's 5th Congressional District, which is represented by Republican Hal Rogers. In the Kentucky House of Representatives, the county is in the 89th District and is represented by Republican Timmy Truett. In the Kentucky Senate, the county is in the 21st District and is represented by Republican Brandon Storm.


The entirety of Jackson County prohibited the sale of alcoholic beverages from the years 1937 until 2019 when the City of McKee held a vote during the 2019 General Election regarding the ability for the city to grant licenses to businesses for selling alcoholic beverages. The vote's results were 100 in favor of selling alcohol to 81 who were not.[30]


There are no higher education institutes within the county.

Public education

The county is served by Jackson County Public Schools which operates the following schools:[31]

Private education

Public library

Jackson County has a lending library, the Jackson County Public Library, located in downtown McKee.

Notable people

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See also


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 24, 2023.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ Rennick, Robert M. (1987). Kentucky Place Names. University Press of Kentucky. p. 151. ISBN 0813126312. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
  4. ^ The Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society, Volume 1. Kentucky State Historical Society. 1903. pp. 35.
  5. ^ "Historical Wet/Dry Vote for City of McKee - Results!". Jackson County Sun. Nolan Media Group. November 8, 2019. Retrieved March 22, 2020.
  6. ^ "Liquor Licenses Granted: Alcohol Sales Now Authorized in McKee". Jackson County Sun. May 22, 2020. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  7. ^ Jackson County Tourism. "About". Jackson County Tourism.
  8. ^ "S-Tree Campground". USDA Forest Service: Daniel Boone National Forest.
  9. ^ "Turkey Foot Campground". USDA Forest Service- Daniel Boone National Forest.
  10. ^ "Flat Lick Falls". Jackson County Kentucky Tourism.
  11. ^ Jackson County Tourism. "Hiking". Jackson County Tourism.
  12. ^ "Groundwater Resources of Jackson County, KY". UK Kentucky Geological Survey. Retrieved July 29, 2022.
  13. ^ a b Jackson County Tourism. "Fairs and Festivals". Jackson County Tourism.
  14. ^ Jackson County Tourism. "Civil War History". Jackson County Tourism.
  15. ^ Jackson County Tourism. "Stringbean Memorial Park". Jackson County Tourism.
  16. ^ a b "Kentucky's Advanced Manufacturing Hub". Jackson County Industrial Development Authority. Retrieved July 29, 2022.
  17. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Counties: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2022". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 2, 2023.
  18. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  19. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  20. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  21. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 27, 2010. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
  22. ^ Marshall, Anne E. Creating a Confederate Kentucky: The Lost Cause and Civil War Memory in a Border State, pp. 114-115. ISBN 1469609835
  23. ^ "David Leip's Presidential Election Atlas – 1948 statistics". Uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  24. ^ "David Leip's Presidential Election Atlas – 1960 statistics". Uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  25. ^ "David Leip's Presidential Election Atlas – 1976 statistics". Uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  26. ^ "David Leip's Presidential Election Atlas – 1988 statistics". Uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  27. ^ a b "David Leip's Presidential Election Atlas – 1992 statistics". Uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  28. ^ "David Leip's Presidential Election Atlas – 1936 statistics". Uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  29. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved July 3, 2018.
  30. ^ "Eastern Ky. communities legalize alcohol sales". LEX 18 News - Lexington, KY (WLEX). November 6, 2019. Retrieved September 15, 2023.
  31. ^ "Schools". Jackson County Public Schools. Retrieved August 1, 2022.
  32. ^ "Annville Christian Academy". Grace Covenant Ministries. Retrieved August 1, 2022.
  33. ^ "Murder in the Kornfield: The Life and Death of Stringbean". WFMU's Beware of the Blog.

37°25′N 84°01′W / 37.42°N 84.01°W / 37.42; -84.01