Shelby County, situated in the north-central part of Kentucky, was formed from Jefferson County in 1792, and was itself a parent county of Franklin, Warsaw, Henry, Oldham, and Spencer counties. Willis’s History of Shelby County is still the best source on the founding and founders of this pivotal Kentucky county. Roughly half of the book is devoted to the county’s geology and geography, first settlers and settlements, churches and schools, courts and jails, newspapers, cemeteries, and other county institutions. Another valuable section of the book is the collection of reminiscences assembled by the author, including an account of the 1781 Long Run Massacre attributed to the grandson of Squire Boone, a younger brother of Daniel and one of the county’s founders.
Two other sections hold the greater interest for genealogists. One of them consists of a group of source records, including the first Shelby County tax list, 1792-1795; lists of Shelby County judges, county clerks, and postmasters; Shelby County marriages, 1792-1800; an index to the first will book of Shelby County; a list of Shelby County Revolutionary soldiers and pensioners; and various other listings of Shelby County pioneers. Of equal importance is the section of biographical sketches of the following Shelby County personages: Squire Boone, William Shannon, Bland Ballard, Col. Chas. S. Todd, William Logan, John Allen, Col. Abraham Owen, Gov. John Pope, Capt. John Simpson, Moses Hall, Dr. John Knight, Nicholas Merriwether, and Joseph Hornsby.