About Lewis County

Lewis County is situated in the northeast corner of the state in the Northern Kentucky River Region. It has the longest boundary with the Ohio River of all the counties bordering it. Its 484 square miles make it the thirteenth largest of the 120 counties in the state. Founded in 1806, Lewis County is named for Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Vanceburg, the county seat, is on the banks of the Ohio River. It was founded in 1797 and is named for Joseph Vance, one of the founders. It became an important port and its location relatively high above the river made it less susceptible to floods. Vanceburg became the county seat in 1863 when it was moved from Clarksburg. The town was sometimes referred to as Alum City because of nearby deposits of alum. The Vanceburg Post Office opened in 1815. The population of Vanceburg in 2006 was 1,728.

The heavily forested hills of the county have some of the best oak hardwoods in the United States. Throughout the county's history, the forests have been the mainstay for laborers and their income, always producing vast amounts of lumber, barrel staves, tanbark, railroad ties, firewood, and numerous wood products.

The county is watered by several streams, the most notable of them being Kinniconick Creek, well known for its fishing and camping attractions. Other major streams are Salt Lick Creek, Cabin Creek, Indian Creek, the North Fork of Licking River, Montgomery Creek and Quick's Run. The Ohio River, which serves as the county's northern boundary, originally contained four interesting islands (now only three); one group, known as the Three Islands, was a major landmark for early settlers making their way downstream.

The elevation ranges from 485 to 1400 feet above sea level. In 2010 the population was 13,870 with an average of 28.7 people per square mile as compared to the Kentucky average of 109.9 people per square mile.

There are two industrial parks. The Lewis County Industrial Park, near the Ohio River east of Vanceburg, and the Tollesboro Industrial Park located on the AA Highway just west of KY 57.


The Union Monument in Vanceburg, Lewis County, Kentucy, commemorates the Union soldiers of the American Civil War. It is the only monument anywhere south of the Mason-Dixon Line that so honors Union soldiers that is not in a cemetery done by public subscription.

The monument was built in 1884 by the citizens of Lewis County, which was a Union stronghold during the war and one of the few places in Kentucky that was still more sympathetic to the Union cause by the 1880s. It stands thirty-four feet tall, and both the pedestal and base are made of limestone. The base is five feet high and seven feet wide. The pedestal was made from eight separate pieces. The statue depicts a Union soldier in winter gear and kepi hat.

The inscription reads: The war for the Union was right, everlastingly right, and the war against the Union was wrong, forever wrong

In total, 107 men from Lewis County died as Union Soldiers.

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