The first successful gold rush in the United States occurred in 1806 in Kentucky. The gold was found in the sand and gravel of the Ohio River and its tributaries.
Morgan County, Kentucky, located in the eastern part of the state, has a rich history dating back to the early 19th century. The area was first settled by European Americans in the late 1700s, attracted by the fertile land and abundant wildlife. The county was officially established in 1822 and named after Daniel Morgan, a Revolutionary War general.

Early settlers in Morgan County were primarily farmers and loggers, taking advantage of the region's natural resources. The county experienced steady growth throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, with the establishment of schools, churches, and businesses. The construction of railroads further facilitated economic development and improved transportation.

Like many parts of Kentucky, Morgan County played a significant role in the Civil War. The area experienced both Union and Confederate sympathies, leading to multiple skirmishes and confrontations between opposing forces. The county's proximity to the nearby Battle of Middle Creek in 1862 made it a strategic location for military activities.

In the early 20th century, Morgan County transitioned from an agricultural-based economy to a more diverse one, with the introduction of coal mining and manufacturing. Mines were established, providing employment opportunities for locals. However, the decline of the coal industry in the later decades of the century resulted in economic challenges for the county.

Today, Morgan County remains a close-knit community with a mix of rural and small-town charm. It boasts beautiful natural landscapes, including the Daniel Boone National Forest and the Licking River. The county continues to face economic hardships but remains resilient as its residents work towards revitalizing and diversifying the local economy.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Morgan County, Kentucky.

  • 1807 - Morgan County is established from parts of Floyd and Bath counties.
  • 1833 - Olive Hill, the county seat, is established.
  • 1861-1865 - Morgan County is greatly impacted by the American Civil War.
  • 1900 - Morgan County's population reaches its peak at over 12,000 residents.
  • 1908 - A devastating fire destroys much of the town of West Liberty.
  • 1928 - Morgan Countians vote to move the county seat from Olive Hill to West Liberty.
  • 1930s - The Great Depression brings economic challenges to the county.
  • 1967 - A tornado hits West Liberty, causing significant damage to the town.
  • 2012 - An EF3 tornado strikes West Liberty, causing widespread destruction.