Bullitt County History

Bullitt County in 1891

Tobias Wilhite Carpenter was selected by Charles Y. Wilson. the Kentucky Commissioner of Agriculture, to write the Bullitt County section of the Ninth Biennial Report from the Bureau of Agriculture, Labor and Statistics of the State of Kentucky, 1891. It appeared on pages 77-81 of that report. Carpenter had been Bullitt County Judge on four different occasions, and had served in the General Assembly as well being a local merchant in the county.

You can read more about Judge Carpenter on another page. His report is transcribed below.



(1.) This county was once a part of Jefferson and Nelson. It was established in the year 1796, and was named after one of its first settlers, Lieut-Gov. Bullitt. The soil is of various kinds, from the poorest to the richest, and is productive of nearly all the different kinds of grain, fruits, grasses, etc., usually grown in Kentucky. It is healthy and prosperous, and the people are as generous and as hospitable as in any county in the State. We have good order. Crime is promptly suppressed. Bullitt is temperate and law-abiding. Lands are low compared with other counties. It has no bonded debt. Our citizens are generally out of debt and prosperous, and by reference to the Auditor's Report you will see that Bullitt compares favorably with the best counties of the State. There are homes here with us for all who may want cheap and good homes, close to market, schools and churches of nearly all denominations; and to all who may desire to come amongst us we give a hearty welcome, and invite all to come.


(2.) There are twenty-eight miles of railroad in the county in running order. The Louisville and Nashville crosses the county from north to south, passing through Shepherdsville, the county seat; and the Springfield Branch of the same runs from Bardstown Junction to the Nelson county line. Two or three other surveys have been made for new lines, but none of them have been adopted.

A double track railroad is now in use from Louisville to Shepherdsville, and track graded, ready for cross-ties and steel rails, to Lebanon Junction.


(3.) Besides the railroads and turnpikes, there are a great number of dirt roads that are worked by the citizens, and are generally very good, except in extreme wet weather. There is nothing but that to hinder fair teams from hauling good loads over the roads the year round. The law compels the Supervisor to keep the roads in good order, and, upon his failure to do so, he can be indicted and fined. This may be so done by any one feeling aggrieved on account of the Supervisor's failure to do his duty.


(4.) There are about forty miles of good turnpike in the county, none of which are entirely free, but the tolls are very moderate. Turnpikes are now (1891) much discussed, and I think a number of additional miles will be built in the near future.


(5.) Salt river, the Rolling Fork and Floyd's Fork, both of which empty into Salt river; Wilson's Creek, Long Lick, Knob and Coxe's creeks (with many other smaller water-courses that give plenty of water for mills, etc., a portion of the year), are the principal streams of the county.


(6.) Oak, beech, pine, walnut and poplar are the natural growth of this county, with many other kinds, such as hickory, cottonwood, lind or linden, etc.


(7.) The principal agricultural products, of which a surplus is grown for market, are corn, wheat, rye, oats, potatoes, and fruits of all kinds in abundance.


(8.) Clover, timothy, blue-grass and red top or herds' grass are best adapted to the soil; all grow most luxuriantly, and all are considered very profitable, both for live stock and for market. In fact, the grasses adapted to our county are nearly all the grasses known or grown in Kentucky, and they all grow well here.


(9.) The farmers of Bullitt county are improving in their methods of agriculture, their endeavor being to increase their production of the various staples by fertilizing and better cultivation.


(10.) As a consequence, the soil in most sections of the county is greatly improved in fertility and productiveness.


(11.) There has been no noteworthy immigration into our county from any quarter during the past two years. As in most other counties, there is moving in and moving out. Many who left this county to better their condition elsewhere have found it advisable to come back.


(12.) I can not say that there has been much increase of our county's population in the last two years, except the natural increase, as in most other counties.


(13.) The mills of Bullitt have been much improved during that time, but no new manufacturing establishments have been added to the county's industries.


(14.) Very little of our original forests remain as of old. Here, as elsewhere in the agricultural districts of our State, there has been great waste, and unnecessary, undiscriminating and wanton destruction of timber, with little or no effort to renew or reforest the waste places.


(15.) There is a very decided disposition among the farmers of Bullitt county to use improved field and garden seeds. Most of our citizens are using new varieties every year, and they are generally energetic and enterprising in all their farming operations. Indeed, there is no reason why our county should not be at the forefront, instead of in the background. In short, I believe she will soon be equal in her agricultural products to any county in Kentucky of her area.


Farm laborers are scarce in this county.

The average price paid to a laborer without family, board and lodging furnished by employer, is $13 per month.

Average price paid the laborer where he furnishes his own board and lodging, is $18.14 per month.

Average price paid a laborer with a family, the employer furnishing board and lodging for all, is $— per month.

Average price paid a laborer with family, the laborer furnishing his own and his family's board and lodging, is $17.75 per month.

The county has 24 churches, parsonages, and 36 schoolhouses.

The average assessed value of land in this county, according to the Assessor's returns for 1890, is $6.96 per acre-177,172 acres. Bullitt county bas no coal mines.


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The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday appointments are available by calling 502-921-0161 during our regular weekday hours. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 12 Jan 2024 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/bchistory/bc1891.html