Marshall County is located in the U.S.
state of Kentucky.
of 2000, the population was 30,125. The 2007 Census Bureau
population estimate was 31,258. Its county seat is
county is named for John Marshall
Chief Justice of the United States from 1801 to 1835. Until 2004, it was a
prohibition or dry county, when residents
City voted to allow sales of liquor by the drink in restaurants.
It is the
only Purchase Region
county to not border another state.
was formed in 1842 from part of Calloway
County. The first settlement was around 1818, when
the area was bought from Native Americans as part of the Jackson
county was named in honor of Chief Justice John Marshall who had
died not long before the founding of the county.
From its settlement until the 1930s, the county was nearly
creation of Kentucky
Lake by the Tennessee Valley Authority in the
1940s brought tourism and industry to the county with resorts along
the lake and chemical and manufacturing plants, mostly in the
City area, attracted by the dam's cheap and plentiful
The creation of the
lake led to the destruction of two Marshall County towns,
Birmingham, about six miles north of the present day town of
Fairdealing, and Gilbertsville, which was at the present dam site.
Gilbertsville was rebuilt somewhat to the west of its original
location. Birmingham residents were dispersed. Gilbertsville was an
incorporated town until the 1970s, when its charter was dissolved
by public vote. Kentucky Lake (created by the impounding of the
Tennessee River) and Barkley Lake (created through the impounding
of the Cumberland River) make up one of the largest man-made bodies
of water in the world.
Historically, Marshall County has been a stronghold of the Democratic Party
. Since the
founding of the county, Democrats have dominated county politics.
Today, all elected county officials are Democrats. However,
Republicans have been making headway in national elections in
Marshall County. Republican George W. Bush
won Marshall County in 2000 and again in 2004. County Judge Mike
Miller, Democrat, has been Judge Executive since 1973 and has
helped secure Democratic control in the county.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau
, the county has a total
area of , of which is land and is water.
Named best county to live in, in the state of kentucky 10 years in
a row. 1999-2009.
As of the census
of 2000, there were 30,125
people, 12,412 households, and 8,998 families residing in the
county. The population density
was . There were 14,730 housing units at an average density of .
The racial makeup of the county was 98.57% White
, 0.002% Black
or African American
, 0.17% Native American
, 0.15% Asian
, 0.01% Pacific Islander
, 0.22% from
, and 0.76%
from two or more races. 0.76% of the population were Hispanic
of any race.
There were 12,412 households out of which 29.20% had children under
the age of 18 living with them, 61.40% were married couples
living together, 7.90% had a female
householder with no husband present, and 27.50% were non-families.
25.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.90% had
someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average
household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.83.
In the county the population was spread out with 21.80% under the
age of 18, 7.50% from 18 to 24, 27.00% from 25 to 44, 26.20% from
45 to 64, and 17.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median
age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 96.10 males. For
every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.50 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $35,573, and
the median income for a family was $43,670. Males had a median
income of $36,673 versus $21,941 for females. The per capita income
for the county was
$18,069. About 6.60% of families and 9.50% of the population were
below the poverty line
11.60% of those under age 18 and 10.90% of those age 65 or
Cities and towns
On the first Monday of April, Benton holds its Tater Day
. Originating in 1842 as a day for
farmers to gather at the County seat to trade their agricultural
goods, today Tater Day is a celebration that includes a festival
and parade. Tater Day derives its name from the main items
traded--sweet potato slips. Tater Day is the world's only
celebration of the sweet potato
On the fourth Sunday of each May, The Big Singing, an all-day
sing-along program of Southern
Harmony shape note
gospel music is
held at the county courthouse. While other major singings (for
example, Sacred Harp Singings) still survive, The Big Singing,
begun in 1884, is the only singing in the world to use the William
Walker Southern Harmony system of shape-note singing. The Big
Singing is also distinguished as the oldest continuously operating
indigenous music festival in the United States.
Other annual events include Hardin Day and Aurora Country Festival,
celebrated in the small towns of Hardin and Aurora. More recently,
the area has become known for the annual Hot August Blues and
Barbecue Festival and the Kentucky Lake Bluegrass Festival, held at
Kenlake State Resort Park. Marshall County is also home to Jackson
Purchase barbecue, a unique style that is found in the Jackson
Purchase region of Kentucky.
- Big Singing Day in Benton, Kentucky: A Study of the History,
Ethnic Identity and Musical Style of Southern Harmony Singers, by
Deborah Carlton Loftis, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Kentucky,