Graves County, Kentucky

Graves County, Kentucky

Graves County Courthouse in Mayfield
Map of Kentucky highlighting Graves County
Location in the U.S. state of Kentucky
Map of the United States highlighting Kentucky
Kentucky's location in the U.S.
Founded 1824
Named for Benjamin F. Graves
Seat Mayfield
Largest city Mayfield
  Total 557 sq mi (1,443 km2)
  Land 552 sq mi (1,430 km2)
  Water 5.0 sq mi (13 km2), 0.9%
  (2010) 37,121
  Density 67/sq mi (26/km²)
Congressional district 1st
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Graves County is a county located in the U.S. Commonwealth of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 37,121.[1] Its county seat is Mayfield.[2] The county was formed in 1824 and was named for Major Benjamin Franklin Graves, a politician and fallen soldier in the War of 1812.

Graves County comprises the Mayfield, KY Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Paducah-Mayfield, KY-IL Combined Statistical Area.

Graves County is a "limited" dry county, meaning that sale of alcohol in the county is prohibited except for wine and beer. The city of Mayfield has full alcohol service in both bars and restaurants.


Graves County was named for Capt. Benjamin Franklin Graves, who was one of numerous Kentucky officers killed after being taken as a prisoner in the disastrous 1813 Battle of Raisin River in Michigan Territory during the War of 1812. He disappeared while being forced by Potawatomi to walk to the British Fort Malden in Amherstburg, Ontario. The Indians killed prisoners who could not keep up.[3] Nearly 400 Kentuckians died in the January 22 battle, the highest fatality of any single battle during the war.

Graves is one of Kentucky's largest counties. The fertile land attracted early settlers from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, who brought with them education, culture, and a fierce determination to succeed. They put down roots to blend a political, economic, and social environment unique, perhaps only to Graves County.

Tobacco was important the local economy. Graves County developed the dark-fired and dark-air-cured leaf tobacco used in smokeless tobacco farming. A woolen mill began operating before the Civil War and continued to expand with the men's clothing market. Several clothing manufacturing companies were added in the area. The county seat's minor league baseball team was named the Mayfield Clothiers for this historical connection.

Graves County made national news in September 2011 for jailing several Amish men who refused to use orange safety triangles on their buggies for religious reasons. The Old Order Swartzentruber Amish used reflective tape instead. They said it was against their religion to use "loud colors" (as they characterized the orange triangles). They did not succeed in their appeal of their 2008 convictions. Menno Zook, Danny Byler, Mose Yoder, Levi Hostetler, David Zook and Eli Zook refused to pay the small fines imposed with their convictions. All served sentences ranging from three to 10 days. Jail officials accommodated them by not forcing them to wear the typical orange county jail uniforms; they allowed the Amish to wear dark gray uniforms.[4]

Among note county natives have been a US Vice President, four US Congressmen, famous heroes, singers and songwriters, and noted writers. The county has numerous historic sites.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 557 square miles (1,440 km2), of which 552 square miles (1,430 km2) is land and 5.0 square miles (13 km2) (0.9%) is water.[5]

Adjacent counties

National protected area


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201537,421[6]0.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
1790-1960[8] 1900-1990[9]
1990-2000[10] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 37,028 people, 14,841 households, and 10,566 families residing in the county. The population density was 67 per square mile (26/km2). There were 16,340 housing units at an average density of 29 per square mile (11/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 92.73% White, 4.44% Black or African American, 0.20% Native American, 0.20% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.30% from other races, and 1.11% from two or more races. 2.40% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 14,841 households out of which 31.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.90% were married couples living together, 10.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.80% were non-families. 26.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.92.

In the county the population was spread out with 24.50% under the age of 18, 8.30% from 18 to 24, 27.30% from 25 to 44, 23.80% from 45 to 64, and 16.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 95.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $30,874, and the median income for a family was $38,054. Males had a median income of $32,016 versus $20,177 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,834. About 13.10% of families and 16.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.70% of those under age 18 and 14.10% of those age 65 or over.


Notable residents

See also


  1. 1 2 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. The Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society, Volume 1. Kentucky State Historical Society. 1903. p. 35.
  4. "Amish men jailed over refusal to use orange safety triangle on buggies". CNN. September 14, 2011.
  5. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  6. "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  7. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  8. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  9. "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  10. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  11. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.

Coordinates: 36°43′N 88°39′W / 36.72°N 88.65°W / 36.72; -88.65

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