Bracken County General Information & Brief History
Bracken County is located in northern Kentucky, along the Ohio River. It is bordered by Mason, Pendleton, Robertson and Harrison counties, and occupies 206 sq. miles in area. The population in the year 2000 was 8,279.
The beautiful rolling hills of Bracken County
One of the first settlers to Bracken County was William Bracken, for whom the county is named. He arrived in the 1770s and was known for his skills as an animal trapper. The County was formed in 1797 out of portions of Mason and Campbell counties. The original county seat was located in the City of Augusta, but was moved to Woodward’s Crossing (now Brooksville) in 1833.
Historically, Bracken County’s economy was mostly agricultural with tobacco and corn the most prolific crops. The county is best known as the birthplace of the White Burley strain of tobacco, and is still known today as the center of the “burley belt.” In the 1870s, the county achieved great notoriety as one of the nation’s leaders in wine production, making over 30,000 gallons of wine annually from locally grown grapes. Agriculture continues to be a driving source for the county’s economy with cattle, feed corn, tobacco and hay being the principle farming products.
A typical tobacco barn in northern Bracken County
Joel and William Woodward settled Brooksville in the late 1700s. Woodward’s Crossing was located at the intersection of several major roads in the area. In 1839, State Rep. David Brooks introduced legislation that authorized the relocation of the county seat from Augusta to Woodward’s Crossing. The town was renamed Brooksville in his honor. The present day courthouse was erected in 1915.
Bracken County Courthouse in Brooksville
Another important Bracken County community is the city of Germantown, which has a portion of its land in both Bracken and Mason counties. It was originally known as Buchanan Station and is located on KY 10. One of the oldest homes located here is the Patterson Home, circa 1800. Germantown hosts the “Old Reliable” Germantown Fair, which is Kentucky’s longest running fair, dating back to 1854. One of the oldest covered bridges in Kentucky still stands near the community of Wellsburg. Known as the Walcott covered bridge, it was built in 1824 and is located over Locust Creek.
The Walcott Covered Bridge
The community of Milford can be found on KY 19, situated on the North Fork of the Licking River in the southern part of the county. Milford was once a thriving town of grist and saw mills and had a shallow ford for crossing the river at that location. Several ancient Indian mounds are located near Milford along KY 539. The town of Foster, located on KY 8 in the northwestern portion of the county, is known as the ancestral home of Dr. C.B. Schoolfield. Located near Foster is Snag Creek, where Simon Kenton, a famous explorer and pioneer in this region, had one of his final skirmishes with the Indians. Other small communities in Bracken County include Bradford, Lenoxburg, Johnsville, Mt. Zion, Chatham, Sharon, Neave and Powersville. The Hunting Lodge of Augusta’s founder, Capt. Phillip Buckner, is located in Powersville. Buckner is buried in a small cemetery located there.
Philip Buckner’s grave marker in Powersville
"HISTORY on the river...AUGUSTA, my old Kentucky home."