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The famous Hatfield-McCoy feud, a long-running and violent conflict between two Appalachian families, began in Kentucky in the late 19th century.
Estill County, located in eastern Kentucky, has a rich history that dates back to prehistoric times. The area was first inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Shawnee and Cherokee, who hunted and fished along the Kentucky River. European settlers began arriving in the late 18th century, mainly from Virginia and North Carolina, establishing forts and settlements in what is now Estill County.

One prominent figure in the county's history is Captain James Estill, for whom the county is named. Estill was a surveyor and soldier who played a key role in defending the region during conflicts with Native American tribes. In 1782, he was killed in a battle known as the Battle of Little Mountain, a significant event in the county's history.

In the 19th century, Estill County experienced growth and development, with the establishment of iron furnaces, gristmills, and sawmills. The construction of roads and the arrival of the railroad further contributed to the county's progress. Agriculture, particularly tobacco and livestock farming, became an important industry in the region.

Estill County has had its fair share of challenges as well. The Great Depression of the 1930s brought economic hardship, and the construction of the Kentucky River Lock and Dam No. 11 flooded parts of the county, leading to the relocation of residents. However, the community has shown resilience and continues to thrive.

Today, Estill County embraces its history and natural beauty, with opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and fishing. The county also celebrates its heritage through various events and festivals, showcasing the diverse culture and traditions of its residents.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Estill County, Kentucky.

  • 1808 - Estill County is established by the Kentucky General Assembly.
  • 1815 - The first courthouse is built in Irvine, the county seat.
  • 1828 - Construction of the Old Town Springs Hotel begins.
  • 1851 - The first public school opens in Irvine.
  • 1863 - Confederate general John Hunt Morgan and his troops pass through Estill County during the Civil War.
  • 1893 - The Episcopal Church is built in Irvine.
  • 1926 - The Kentucky River floods, causing significant damage to the county.
  • 1937 - The Works Progress Administration constructs the Estill Springs Hospital for tuberculosis patients.
  • 1960 - Ravenna High School is integrated, marking an important step in desegregation.
  • 1983 - The county's first industrial park is established in Irvine.
  • 2010 - Estill County celebrates its bicentennial.