Owsley County is one of the smaller counties in the state. It has a land area of 198.09 square miles and a population, according to the Census, of less than 5,000. Owsley County was the 96th county formed in the state. The county was formed from parts of Clay, Breathitt and Estill counties on January 23, 1843 and it was named after Kentucky Governor William Owsley, who was governor from 1844 through 1848. Parts of Owsley County were used in creating Jackson County in 1858 and Lee County in 1870.
All records that were kept in the courthouse were lost in January 1929 when the courthouse burned. There was another courthouse fire in January 1967.
Part of the county is in the Daniel Boone National Forest. The South Fork of the Kentucky River runs through Owsley County. The county is located in the Eastern Coal Fields which is part of the Cumberland Plateau. The county is home to some beautiful farmland, hills and the river.
Owsley County has one public school system, Owsley County School District, and one Christian school, located at the Sugar Camp Baptist Church. Owsley County graduates have gone on to college where some have become doctors, lawyers, nurses and musicians.
The reason for this writing is that just because this is a small county that doesn't have all the things a big town or city has, doesn't mean that it doesn't have anything to offer. This county is rich in so many other ways. There are so many places to explore and visit. If you are into history, why not visit the grave of Daniel Boone's granddaughter, Leah, as well as other family members that are buried there. Maybe a hike to the “Abe Lincoln” sandstone. If you talk to some of the locals, they can direct you to the various waterfalls in the county. Maybe you would like to visit the Veterans Wall or the Owsley County War Memorial, both located at the courthouse. Take a drive down a long winding road and visit places like Mistletoe and Buffalo.
Take an ATV ride in parts of the county (please make sure that you have permission if
you are private land). Go fishing in the South Fork of the Kentucky River or go kayaking/canoeing. You can put your kayak or canoe in the river at the Wolf Creek Bridge/Boat Ramp or at the Fish Creek Boat Ramp. Maybe you just need some peace and quiet that involves fishing.
If you are a motorcyclist, ride the River Dragon. This is a 42 mile winding scenic route starting at the Buckhorn Lake State Resort Lodge and winding down through Perry County, Owsley County and ending in Lee County (Beattyville). Drive on the gravel roads that seem to go on forever and ever.
Visit the Owsley County Park with your kids or take in a game of Bingo or some music at the Owsley County Rec Center. Bingo is the first and third Friday of every month. Music is on Friday/Saturday evenings with different area artists. Bingo and the music both start at 6:30p.m. If you do get out in some of the more remote areas of the county, don't be surprised if you lose cell signal.
Let's not forget about eating. If you like home-cooked meals, then you will enjoy the Old Bus Stop Diner. If you like a place to sit outside or in the comforts of your own car to eat, then maybe Spencer's Dairy Bar is more for you. But if you have pizza lovers in your family, then there is a new pizza place in town: Highway 11 Pizza.
So, despite the quant, small town of Booneville and county of Owsley, it has wonderful things to offer. Come visit and sit down a spell. You will see what I am talking about.