Tag Archives: courthouses

Casey County Courthouse Built In 1888

Friday Ritchey and I visited the Casey County Courthouse in Liberty, Kentucky.  Although showing its age, it is still quite beautiful!

From a 1995 article in The Advocate-Messenger of Danville, Boyle County, we learn that ‘The stately courthouse, built in 1888 on the Courthouse Square, has Richardsonian architectural features such as a stone foundation, quoins and porch balustrade.  The entrances are arched.  The tower sports Richardsonian brick and stone banding and an Italianate corbeled cornice.  The courthouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.  The original building cost $15,000 and was designed by McDonald Brothers of Louisville.’  Israel Sanford Matherly, originally of Washington County, did the woodwork at the courthouse.  He had a handmade lathe to turn the spindles for the stair rails and balusters at the courthouse.

Richardsonian architecture was named after architect Henry Hobson Richardson, 1838-1886.  His masterpiece is Trinity Church in Boston.

The McDonald Brothers firm included Harry (Henry) McDonald, who served in the Civil War as a Confederate soldier; Donald McDonald and Kenneth McDonald.  Several other courthouses in Kentucky were built by this firm – Adair County, Henry County, Hickman County, Simpson County, Muhlenberg County and Owen County.  Their work also took them out of the state of Kentucky.

Casey County Courthouse

Present seat of justice, built 1888, was preceded by log building, 1809, and brick structure, 1837.  Architects for current courthouse were the noted McDonald Bros. of Louisville.  Its asymmetrical design and lavish use of stone trim (by T. D. Dunhauser of Germany) are unusual features among courthouses on McDonald firm.  Listed on National Register of Historic Places, 1977.

Kirby-Butler 1799 Marriage Record

img_0951Another courthouse we visited on Wednesday was Jessamine County.  Jessamine was formed from part of Fayette County in 1798.  Most of our Kentucky counties are named for a historical person, but Jessamine is named for a flower and Jessamine Creek.

img_0949Legend says that the creek was named for Jessamine Douglass, daughter of an early settler, who was tomahawked by an Indian as she rested on the banks of the creek.

scan208Know all men by these presents that we, Francis Kirby and James Kirby, are held and firmly bound unto his Excellency, James Garrard, Esq., Governor of Kentucky, in the sum of fifty pounds current money of Kentucky, which payment well and truly to be made to the said governor, or his successors, we bind ourselves, our heirs, jointly and severally, firmly by these presents sealed with our seals and dated this 24th day of September 1799.

The condition of the above obligation is such that whereas there is a marriage shortly intended to be solemnized between the above bound Francis Kirby and Polly Butler, for which a license has issued, now if there be no lawful cause to obstruct said marriage then the above obligation to be void or else to remain in full force and virtue.

Francis Kirby, James Kirby

Teste, L. H. Morrison, Clerk

scan209I do certify that my daughter Polly Butler is of age, given under my hand this 23 day of September 1799.

Alice Butler

To Clerk of Jessamine County


I take this opportunity of transmitting to your office the several marriages which I have celebrated, agreeable to you, signed within twelve months last past.  Francis Kirby and Polly Butler the 27th day of October, 1799.  William Phillips and Elizabeth Moss the 28th day of June 1800.  William Lipsay and Margaret Fulkerson the 18th day of September 1800.  Lastly, Woodford Curd and Jenny West October 14th 1800.  I am with due respect yours,  John Metcalf

October 16, 1800