Campbell County


Kentucky became the 15th state in 1792 from Kentucky County Virginia and Campbell County was established in Dec 17, 1794 from Scott, Harrison and Mason counties and became the 19th county.  It was named for Col. John Campbell a revolutionary war officer. Later Boone Pendalton, Grant and Kenton counties would split   off of campbell county. 

Newport was established by Hubbard Taylor when he visited the mouth of the Licking River and laid out lots.  He named the spot Newport after Christopher Newport, who captained the ship bringing the first permanent English colonists to Jamestown, Virginia in 1607.

Campbell County's first jail was built in 1796. It was made of round logs and was 16 feet long by 8 feet high. In 1799, another jail was to be built.  This one was to be two stories high.  A third jail was built in 1817.  The dimensions of this jail were 25 feet by 17 feet with a stone foundation. 


Grant's Lick
Marker Number 1642
County Campbell
Location Grant's Lick, at Grant's Lick Funeral Home, Old US 27
Description Ca. 1793, salt water found here by Samuel Bryan, a nephew of Daniel Boone. John Grant, another Boone nephew, and Charles Morgan helped him drill well, which supplied salt to interior of Ky. This territory was owned by John Grant and named for him. John Breckinridge, who also claimed land in area, formed partnership with him. In 1804, James Taylor became third partner.

(Reverse) Grant's Lick - First Court of Quarter Sessions met in John Grant's home, in nearby Wilmington, June 1795. James Taylor was appointed first clerk of Campbell County; Samuel Bryan was among those appointed Justices of the Peace. Grant was authorized to keep a ferry and to build a mill. All three men took part in marking out and planning local roads. Over.


Grant's Lick



Harrisburg Cemetary

Pleasant Ridge School



Four County Seats of Campbell County

Wilmington, Newport, Visalia and Alexandria.

The first court in Campbell County was in Wilmington in 1794. Wilmington no longer exists, but was on what is now the Kenton County side of the Licking, near where the town of Kenton is now. Keep in mind that what you know as Kenton County wasn't created from Campbell until 1840. A court house was never erected in Wilmington.

The first court house was built in Newport. It was likely a log structure, and was built on a public square at York and Bellevue. It lasted until1805, when it was rebuilt. The rebuilt building is also thought to have been a log structure.

A two story brick courthouse was erected in 1815. It had a brick cornice, and a 10 square foot cupola, 15 feet above the roof.

To complicate things, the Kentucky legislature established the county seat as Visalia from 1827 to 1840, because it was near the center of the county, on the Licking, and on the railroad. Was the court house in Newport still active at this time? I don't know. But the establishment of Kenton county in 1840 ended Visalia as the county seat.

In 1840, the courts that were in Visalia moved to Alexandria, the new center of the county. A court house opened there in 1842, and it still stands today.

The current court house in Newport was erected in 1883


Locations of Campbell County Courts

The first courts of Campbell County met, by law, at Wilmington, on the Licking River, 22 miles from Newport, but the county seat was afterwards located at Newport. In 1827, a law was passed fixing Visalia. a site supposed to be at the center of the county, near the present Canton Station, on the Kentucky Central Railroad [later the L&N]; and courts were held there this year. Visalia, was not the center, and the courthouse was launched for Pond Creek, a little lower down on the Licking.

But by the shrewdness of interested parties, it landed at Newport and was made fast until 1840, when, on the erection of Kenton County out of that portion [of Campbell County] lying West of the Linking, the "center" idea again prevailed; and Alexandria became the permanent county seat. At Newport, by a progressive series of legislative acts, are held the long terms of the circuit, criminal, and chancery courts. Campbell, thusly, has practically two county seats.

from Collins' 1878 Historical Sketches of Kentucky


Elopement of a Wife – A Husband Redressing his Wrongs

Some three months ago a man, whose name we refrain from publishing, residing in Kentucky, some five or six miles south of Newport, had occasion to leave home on business, and returning after a fortnight, found his house deserted by his wife; and upon inquiry, learned that she had eloped with a neighbor, a fellow whom the husband had previously suspected of designs to invade his domestic peace. The abandoned Benedick immediately traveled in the direction he supposed his wife to have taken, and finally found her in Louisville, living with her mother, without her lover, who, learning the husband was in pursuit, had placed himself beyond his reach. The husband wished his erring spouse to return to her own hearth-stone, which she refused positively to do. So matters remained until a few days past, when her husband, learning that his wife was once more in Newport, with her lover, determined to seek him out, and made various efforts to do so. On Saturday morning, had heard that the betrayer of his own and his wife’s honor would cross the river at a certain hour, and so stationing himself near the ferry-boat landing, the husband attacked the fellow as soon as he passed (in company with the eloped Madame,) knocked him down and beat him severely with a bowlder. Persons standing by were about to intervene, but when the assailant told them the man had ruined his wife, they permitted him to continue the attack. His appetite for vengeance seemed satisfied when he had reduced the man to a condition of unconsciousness, and he left him bleeding on the ground; no one attempting to arrest him. The wounded man, though seriously injured, will probably recover.

The most singular feature of this affair was, that the faithless wife looked on during the attack upon her lover, without manifesting the least emotion; and when the strife was over, took her husband’s arm, and walked away as unconcerned as if nothing had happened. Women are queer creatures, and sometimes as much of an enigma to men as they are always to themselves.

Reprinted from the New York Times of October 10, 1857. The Times acknowledge that it had reprinted the item - a common practice of the era - from an issue of the Cincinnati Gazette.


1832 Campbell Mail Routes

William DeCoursey is the contractor for carrying the mail from Alexandria to Flag spring, and from Alexandria to Vesalia [sic], Kentucky (distance not stated), once a week, from 1st January, 1832 to 31st December, 1835, at a compensation of eighty-five dollars per annum.

He was directed 4th February, 1833, to run from Berry, by Vesalia [sic], Alexandria, Carthage, and Flag spring, to Point Pleasant [?], and was allowed from that date of additional compensation at the annual rate of $15.00.

He was allowed on 9th October, 1833, for ferriage a cross the Ohio river and Licking rivers, from February to June, 1833, the sum of $6.00.

from the Public Documents of the 23rd Congress, December 1, 1834

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