When the Kentucky County was divided by Virginia into 3 counties in 1780 what is now Bullitt County was a part of Jefferson County. In 1785 Nelson County was created out of Jefferson County. It lay south of the Salt River and included part of today's Bullitt County.
In 1792, Shelby County was created out of Jefferson County. In that same year, Hardin and Washington counties were created out of Nelson County.
Then on January 1, 1797, Bullitt County officially came into existence. It looked a bit different then. It had been formed from parts of Nelson and Jefferson Counties, and its eastern and western borders which followed waterways were close to where they are today; however changes would come later.
Below is part of the text of the act creating Bullitt County. The various points identified in it are shown by markers on the map below, and included within the description. The original border is shown with a red line. Images of the original act are shown near the bottom of this page.
An ACT for forming a new County out of the Counties of Jefferson and Nelson. Approved December 13, 1796.
SECTION 1. BE it enacted by the General Assembly, That from and after the first day of January next, all that part of the counties of Jefferson and Nelson included in the following bounds to wit: [A] Beginning on Salt River opposite the mouth of Mill Creek thence a straight line to the [B] Elk Lick near Mrs. Chapman's, thence on a straight line to [C] Floyds fork where the public road from Louisville to Bardstown crosses the same at Hickman's, thence a direct line to [D] a point on the boundary line between Shelby county and the said County of Jefferson, seven miles northwardly of the mouth of Plumb creek thence with the said line to [E] Salt River at the mouth of Plumb creek thence with a straight line to the [F] mouth of the west fork of Coxe's creek thence up the same to [G] the head, thence to the [H] nearest waters of Wilson's creek thence down said creek to [I] its junction with the Rolling fork thence down the same to [J] Salt River thence down the same to the Beginning shall be one distinct county and called and known by the name of Bullitt.
The only point in that description that is uncertain is the location of the Elk Lick (point B). We have selected a spot that seems reasonable for it, but at this time it is uncertain.
In 1811, the northern section of the county was shifted from Jefferson to Bullitt County as described below. This section is identified with the X marker above, and shown with a blue line.
An ACT for adding part of Jefferson to Bullitt County. Approved January 18, 1811.
SECTION 1. BE it enacted by the general assembly, That from and after the first day of March next, so much of the county of Jefferson, as lies within the following bounds, to wit: beginning at the Elk lick; thence with the line between the counties of Jefferson and Bullitt to Salt river; thence down Salt river to the mouth of Pond creek; thence up Pond creek to the mouth of Brier creek; thence a direct line to the beginning, shall be added to, and to all intents and purposes, be considered as belonging to the county of Bullitt.
Assuming we have correctly identified Elk Lick, it is possible to locate the new line from it to the mouth of Pond Creek, and then the mouth of Brier Creek. However, the description falters after that (Note the phrase in red print). It is clear from later maps that the line goes northeastward to a point midway between Coral Ridge Road and I-65 before turning toward the east on a straight line to where the original line crosses Floyd's Fork. However there is no indication of this in the text shown above. We do know that the General Assembly passed an act in 1845 to appoint commissioners to re-mark the line between Bullitt and Jefferson Counties.
When Spencer County was created in 1824, part of eastern Bullitt County was shifted to it. With that shift Bullitt County attained its present shape. The section shifted to Spencer County is marked with an S marker on the map above, and shown with a blue line. The act creating Spencer County is partly given below with the part relevant to Bullitt County in bold print.
An ACT to establish the County of Spencer. Approved January 7, 1824.
SECTION 1. BE it enacted by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, That from and after the fifteenth day of January, 1824, all that part of the counties of Nelson, Shelby and Bullitt, contained in the following bounds, to-wit: Beginning at the mouth of Crooked Creek, thence with the Franklin and Shelby line eleven miles, thence with a straight line to Ruble's plantation, including said plantation, thence with a straight line to John Carlan's plantation, including said plantation, thence with a straight line to a point in the Shelby and Jefferson line, two miles above the north-east corner of Bullitt county, thence with the Shelby and Jefferson line to the north-east corner of Bullitt county, thence with the Shelby and Bullitt line, until it strikes the road leading from Shepherdsville to Frankfort, thence with the said road to John Con's, thence with a straight line to the mouth of Dutchman, thence to meander Salt river to Clark's Ripple, thence with a straight line to Joseph Loyd's on the east fork of Coxe's Creek, thence to meander the east fork of Coxe's Creek, to the Roman Chapel, thence with a straight line to Jesse M'Crocklin's plantation, including the said plantation, thence with a straight line to a point one mile north of the Big Spring Meeting-house, thence to continue the line in the same course until it strikes the Washington and Nelson line, thence with the said line to the beginning corner-shall be one distinct County, called and known by the name of Spencer.
This is a work in progress. It is copyright 2013 by Charles Hartley, Shepherdsville KY. All rights are reserved. No part of the content of this page, other than the quoted descriptions of the acts creating counties, may be included in any format in any place without the written permission of the copyright holder.
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