Harlan county is located in far southeastern Kentucky on the border Kentucky on the border with Virginia. Settlement began by 1782 and the county was formed in 1819 and named for Silas Harlan, a pioneer. The county seat is Harlan. Several mountains run through the county, including Pine and Black. The highest point in Kentucky is on Black Mountain just outside Lynch. Coal mining and logging have long been the principle industries in the county and several of its towns, including Lynch and Benham, began as mining camps. Blanton Forest State Nature Preserve, perhaps the largest tract of old-growth forest in the state, is also located in the county.
The town of Harlan is located at the forks of the Cumberland River. It was settled beginning around 1796 and was known as Mount Pleasant, for a local Indian mound, when it became the seat of the new county in 1819. The post office opened in 1828 as Harlan Court House, was known as Spurlock, for the postmaster, in the early 1860s, and was renamed Harlan in 1865. The population in 1990 was 2,686.
Harlan County County Courthouse
Harlan County Genealogical Society
Harlan Heritage Seekers
Harlan County Public Library
Rebecca Caudill Public Library
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