Ballard County is located in the northwest portion of the Jackson Purchase where the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers meet. It was created (93 in formation) in 1842 and named for Captain Bland Ballard (1759-1853). Born in Virginia, Ballard came to Kentucky in 1779. He was a scout for George Rogers Clark’s Ohio expeditions, 1780 and 1882. As a soldier, he fought in the Wabash Campaign of 1786 and in the battles of Fallen Timbers (1793), Tippecanoe (1811), and River Raisin (1813). He was elected to the Kentucky Legislature for five (5) terms. The first county seat, Blandville, took its name from Captain Ballard’s christian name, Bland.
Fort Jefferson, located at Wickliffe, was erected by General George Rogers Clark in 1780 to protect the claim of the United States to a western boundary on the Mississippi River. During the Civil War, the fort was used as a Union supply base.
Wickliffe is also the location of a Woodlands Indians settlement which has been excavated. Now a state park called Wickliffe Mounds, visitors can see the homes and burial grounds of these ancient Indians.
One Ballard County community which has attracted nationwide attention because of its unusual name is Monkey’s Eyebrow. Exactly how the name was derived is unknown, but folklore has it that a traveling salesman was rounding a curve which had bushy banks in the community and exclaimed that the banks looked like a Monkey’s Eyebrow.
- adapted from articles in the Jackson Purchase Sesquicentennial Publication prepared by the Jackson Purchase Historical Society, 1969
The Ballard-Carlisle Historical-Genealogical Society meets on the fourth Monday of each month at 6:00 p.m. in the Ballard-Carlisle-Livingston Library at 134 North 4th Street, Wickliffe, KY; mailing address Box 279, Wickliffe, KY 42087. Dues are $10.00 per year. “The Roots Digger,” the Society’s newsletter is published twice a year. The Society has many publications for sale and also maintains an historical/genealogical collection at the Ballard-Carlisle-Livingston Library.