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Mercer County, Kentucky facts for kids

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Mercer County
Mercer County Courthouse in Harrodsburg
Mercer County Courthouse in Harrodsburg
Map of Kentucky highlighting Mercer County
Location within the U.S. state of Kentucky
Map of the United States highlighting Kentucky
Kentucky's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Kentucky
Founded 1785
Named for Hugh Mercer
Seat Harrodsburg
Largest city Harrodsburg
 • Total 253 sq mi (660 km2)
 • Land 249 sq mi (640 km2)
 • Water 4.5 sq mi (12 km2)  1.8%%
 • Total 22,641 Increase
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 2nd

Mercer County is a county located in the U.S. Commonwealth of Kentucky. Its county seat is Harrodsburg. The county was formed from Lincoln County, Virginia in 1785 and is named for Revolutionary War General Hugh Mercer, who was killed at the Battle of Princeton in 1777. It is a prohibition or dry county, though the city of Harrodsburg allow the sale of alcohol by the drink and in package stores. Beer and wine are also available for sale in grocery stores in the city of Harrodsburg. Pleasant Hill allows the sale of alcohol by the drink. In Kentucky this is referred to as being a "moist" county; wet counties sell package liquor, wine and beer, dry counties sell no alcoholic beverages (legally), while "moist" counties serve only by the drink, primarily in restaurants. Boyle County (Danville) immediately to the south along US Hwy 127, is wet, with two large liquor outlet stores, plus several smaller, privately owned ones.


Harrodsburg was the first city formally chartered in Kentucky County, the Virginia territory that later became the 15th American state. It was originally the county seat of Lincoln County when it was formed in 1780, but it became the seat of Mercer County when it was created.

Pleasant Hill, also known as Shakertown, is the site of a former Shaker community, active especially during the years before the American Civil War. It is a National Historic Landmark District, consisting of more than 30 historic buildings. The district also includes acres of farm and parkland.

The American Civil War divided the county. The Union Army's 19th Regiment Kentucky Volunteer Infantry was organized at Camp Harwood in Harrodsburg, and was mustered in for a three-year enlistment on January 2, 1862 under the command of Colonel William J. Landram. However, many other county men served in the Confederate Army.

The Louisville Southern Railroad LS network reached Harrodsburg in 1888. Louisville Southern Railway's construction commenced in 1884 and ran from Louisville through Shelbyville and Lawrenceburg to Harrodsburg, which was reached in 1888. The rail yard and station were located at the corner of Office Street and Merimon Avenue. A spur was later constructed from the station to Burgin, where the Louisville Southern joined the Cincinnati Southern's Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railway CNO&TP mainline which runs through the eastern part of the country from High Bridge of Kentucky to Burgin to Danville was opened in 1877. Now all run and operated by Norfolk Southern Railway.

Company D of the 192nd Tank Battalion, which took part in the World War II Battle of Bataan. was from Harrodsburg.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 253 square miles (660 km2), of which 249 square miles (640 km2) is land and 4.5 square miles (12 km2) (1.8%) is water.

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 7,091
1800 9,646 36.0%
1810 12,630 30.9%
1820 15,587 23.4%
1830 17,694 13.5%
1840 18,720 5.8%
1850 14,067 −24.9%
1860 13,701 −2.6%
1870 13,144 −4.1%
1880 14,142 7.6%
1890 15,034 6.3%
1900 14,426 −4.0%
1910 14,063 −2.5%
1920 14,795 5.2%
1930 14,471 −2.2%
1940 14,629 1.1%
1950 14,643 0.1%
1960 14,596 −0.3%
1970 15,960 9.3%
1980 19,011 19.1%
1990 19,148 0.7%
2000 20,817 8.7%
2010 21,331 2.5%
2020 22,641 6.1%
2021 (est.) 22,850 7.1%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2021

As of the census of 2000, there were 20,817 people, 8,423 households, and 6,039 families residing in the county. The population density was 83 per square mile (32/km2). There were 9,289 housing units at an average density of 37 per square mile (14/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 94.00% White, 3.69% Black or African American, 0.21% Native American, 0.47% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.63% from other races, and 0.96% from two or more races. 1.27% of the population were Hispanics or Latinos of any race.

There were 8,423 households, out of which 31.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.80% were married couples living together, 10.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.30% were non-families. 25.10% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.93.

By age, 24.40% of the population was under 18, 7.40% from 18 to 24, 29.10% from 25 to 44, 24.50% from 45 to 64, and 14.60% were 65 or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 94.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was US$35,555, and the median income for a family was $43,121. Males had a median income of $33,657 versus $22,418 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,972. About 10.00% of families and 12.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.40% of those under age 18 and 12.00% of those age 65 or over.

Local attractions



Census-designated place

Unincorporated communities

Ghost town

Notable people

  • Ralph G. Anderson, founder Belcan Corporation, philanthropist
  • Jacqueline Coleman, 58th Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky (2019- )
  • Maria Thompson Daviess (1872–1924), author
  • Jason Dunn, National Football League player
  • David Winfield Huddleston, Christian author and minister
  • Rachel Jackson, wife of President Andrew Jackson
  • Frances Wisebart Jacobs, philanthropist
  • Dennis Johnson, National Football League player
  • William Logan, politician
  • Beriah Magoffin, Governor of Kentucky (1859 − 1862) and namesake of Magoffin County, Kentucky
  • William Sullivan, politician and lawyer
  • John Burton Thompson, politician
  • Al Wilson, actor and stunt pilot
  • Craig Yeast, National Football League player

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Mercer (Kentucky) para niños

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