Images of America: Hopkins County

Author: Lisa D. Piper and J. Harold Utley

Hopkins County was created in 1806 and named for Gen. Samuel Hopkins, a Revolutionary War veteran and surveyor. The Evansville, Henderson, and Nashville Railroad was completed through the county in 1871, opening transportation for the coalfield. The county became the first to produce more than one million tons of coal per year and has remained one of the top producers ever since. The employment base today is farming, mining, and manufacturing. Hopkins County has also been to many well-known celebrities, including two Kentucky governors; Frank Ramsey of the Boston Celtics; Jim Roberts, vocalist on the Lawrence Welk Show; former Miss Kentucky Mitzi Jones; basketball player and coach Travis Ford; actress Addie Dukes Mcphail; artist Charlies Sebree; the Happy Goodman Family; the Rambos; and Oliver Loving, creator of the Texas Cattle Drive.

Author J. Harold Utley is a retired federal coal mine inspector and surveyor and president of the Historical Society of Hopkins County. Utley has a passionate interest in the county’s coal mining history and in 1993 was designated the official Hopkins County historian. Author Lisa D. Piper is a coal miner’s daughter who enjoys learning and preserving the history of the Bluegrass State. She is the author of several Christian fiction novels as well as two nonfiction works.