Garrard County (/E?E?A�rE?d/ GAIR-id;) is a county located in the U.S. state of Kentucky. As of the 2010 census, the population was 16,912. Its county seat is Lancaster. The county was formed in 1796 and was named for James Garrard, Governor of Kentucky from 1796 to 1804. It is a prohibition or dry county but Lancaster is wet. Lancaster was founded as a settlement of log cabins in 1776 at a springs that later provided a constant source of water to early pioneers. It is one of the oldest cities in the Commonwealth. Boonesborough, 25 miles to the east, was founded by Daniel Boone in 1775. Lexington, 28 miles to the north, was founded in 1775. Stanford, originally known as St. Asaph, is 10 miles south of Lancaster. It too was founded in 1775. The oldest permanent settlemenet in Kentucky, Harrodsburg, was founded in 1774 and is 18 miles to the west. The present day courthouse is one of the oldest courthouses in Kentucky in continuous use. Garrard County was formed in 1796 from parts of Lincoln County, Madison County and Mercer County and was the 25th county of Kentucky out of 120.[4][5] It was named for Col. James Garrard, second Governor of Kentucky and acting governor at the time of the county’s establishment.
Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, visited the Thomas Kennedy home located in the Paint Lick section of Garrard County in her only visit to the South while gathering material for the book. The cabin of the inspiration for Uncle Tom stood behind the plantation house. County officials intend to recreate the slave cabin on the grounds of the Governor William Owsley House.
Garrard County is historically a Whig and Republican County. Its early political leaders were outspoken supporters of Henry Clay. It was strongly pro-Union during the Civil War and has remained a Republican stronghold in the Bluegrass Region which was, until recently, largely Democratic. Histories from the Civil War era record that “On August 6, 1861, Union recruits marched into Camp Dick Robinson [in north Garrard County], making it the first Federal base south of the Ohio River. Union military figures such as Col. George C. Kniffen stated “the wisdom of President Lincoln commissioning . . .Gen. William Nelson to organize a military force on the [neutral] soil of Kentucky” prevented making the state a “battle ground for many months” and … thereby changed the whole direction of the war. In 1864, Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P. Chase declared in a speech at Louisville “when Kentucky faltered, hesitated” in the early stages of the Civil War, that [its] undecided “status was settled by Gen. Nelson, at Camp Dick Robinson.” Six years later, Indiana Senator Daniel D. Pratt reported to the U. S. Senate that Camp Dick Robinson “was one of the most noted military encampments of the war. . . . From its admirable locality and advantages, it was almost indispensable for the successful operations of the” War. Correspondence from President Lincoln indicates the Camp’s importance militarily as well as sympbolically, since pro-Southern elements in Kentucky’s state government urged Lincoln to close it.

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