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Jessamine County, Kentucky

Jessamine County lies in the gorgeous Inner Blue Grass Region of the state of Kentucky.  Some like to say it is known for its fast horses, beautiful women and fine bourbon whiskeys.  It is also notorious for having bountiful farm land, thriving livestock and thoroughbred horses.

The county is part of the Lexington-Fayette, KY Metropolitan Statistical Area with Nicholasville being the county seat.Close to 60,000 people make their home in Jessamine County.

Jessamine County dates back to December of 1798 when it was founded.  The land was donated by Fayette County and Jessamine became the 36th county in the state.  It was named for a pioneer settler’s daughter who had made her way through the mountainous country after the American Revolutionary War.

Around the time the county was formed, the legislature decided to establish a commercial wine industry in the area.  The bill determined that the vineyard and winery were to be made of European grapes.  Nicholasville became the First Vineyard.

The vineyard was a huge success until the Prohibition era.  When the era ended in 1933, the county voted to be a dry county with the exception of Nicholasville where alcohol was sold in packaged deals.  Another exception was made as well.  The Chrisman Mill Vineyards was allowed to sell its wine within the dry county.

The First Vineyard is still producing wine today.  The historic vineyard is a very popular attraction in the county that offers a taste in history, literally.  It boasts a tasting room, bed and breakfast and tours of the vineyard.

It is said that the history of Jessamine County is still yet to be written.  The reason for this belief is that through much of its history, it seemed to be overshadowed and forgotten.  Historical accounts are written of the fact until 1801, the area had no post office.

Mail was carried by hand and came infrequently.  Lexington, Danville, Paris, Winchester and Harrodsburg tended to get all the attention from the post master and everyone else, according to the accounts.  When the railroads were constructed, the county was no part of the deal.  But, the community rallied around bettering their county and that, they did.  In 1857 a railroad came to be and opportunities within the county improved drastically.

Jessamine County is known for being spirited.  Between public improvement measures and keeping current with debts, the members of the community have taken great strides to represent their beloved land with undying integrity.

The historical accounts of the county date back to 1767 when a man by the name of John Finley came to the area for adventure and because of his love for hunting.  He was the first white man that was ever able to get through the wilderness to central Kentucky.

Two years after Finley’s first journey through the county, he returned with a man named Daniel Boone.  The land was endearingly termed “God’s Own Country”.

The Taylor Made Farm is a place people come from all ends of the states to visit.  With 1,100 acres, the Thoroughbred farm is heaven to horse lovers.  It is also home to the World’s Richest Horse which is California Chrome.

Chrisman Mills Vineyards is a beloved place for tourists to visit.  The winery and vineyard dates back to before the Prohibition era to 1775.  It is tucked away in the rolling Bluegrass hills of where the soil is extremely fertile and grapes flourish.  Unique taste-tests are offered on the premises as well as catering and accommodations for special event celebrations.  There is also a gift shop on the estate.  The vineyard is highly acclaimed and has won over 200 awards in its time.

The Camp Nelson Civil War Heritage Park is located in the southern part of the county.  Visitors can see the remnants of the 1863 Union army depot that was used during the Civil War.  It ended up becoming a place where new soldiers from eastern Tennessee recruited at as well as escaped slaves.  Tours of the grounds is a popular attraction in the county.

The Wolf Run Wildlife Preserve is a small, USDA and State Licensed wildlife rescue and non-profit organization that protects the misplaced or endangered animals in the area.  At present the public is not able to visit the preserve because the staff is busy focusing on the wildlife.

Jessamine County encompasses 175 square miles.  One hundred and seventy-two square miles is land and 2.4 square miles is water.  One hundred and twenty-nine square miles is totally dedicate to agriculture.

The borders of the county are formed by the Kentucky River in the south and follows the river bank as it meanders through the Palisades.  Nicholasville and Wilmore are the two cities that the county consists of.  High Bridge, Brannon Woods and Keene are the unincorporated areas within the county lines.  Fayette County, Madison County, Garrard County, Mercer County and Woodford County are all adjacent to Jessamine County.

The county’s population was 5,461 in 1800.  It has grown to almost 60,000 at present.  The community is handling the growth by putting into place such measures as transportation solutions.  Carpool matching, air quality forecasting, pedestrian planning, a commuter vanpool program and congestion management are all areas that are being addressed by the Lexington Area MPO.

The county has one Kindergarten/Preschool, Jessamine Early Learning Village.  There are six elementary schools in Wilmore and Nicholasville combined.  Three middles schools abound in the county and five high schools.  A JCTC or career and technology training center is optional in high school which prepares students to directly enter college or the workforce.  The University of Kentucky is in Nicholasville.

The Jessamine County school district received some unwanted national attention recently when two teens were investigated for making terroristic threats.  In such a tight-knit community, the news was shocking to the residents.  The two teens were both arrested.

Those who live in Jessamine County count it a privilege to do so.  For those who would like to join the community, the opportunity to write their own history in the breathtaking blue grass awaits.

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