Skip to page content.

Community Profile

Our community possesses all of the qualities, characteristics and charm of small town America - but with easy access to the amenities and conveniences of big city life. You will find Hancock County, Kentucky small and quaint, but rich in heritage and hospitality.

Situated on the magnificent Ohio River, Hancock County is conveniently located between Owensboro and Louisville, Kentucky. The Bob Cummins Lincoln Trail Bridge in Hawesville provides easy access to Indiana and Interstate 64.

We invite you to visit our community - Hancock County, Kentucky.

On January 3rd in 1829, Kentucky Governor Thomas Metcalfe signed into law a statute forming Hancock County from parts of Breckinridge, Daviess and Ohio counties to become Kentucky's 85th county.

The County was named in honor of the Boston patriot John Hancock who headed the Continental Congress and became the most notable signer of the Declaration of Independence.


Virginia native Richard Hawes provided the land for which the county seat of Hawesville was formed. The first post office opened in this city in 1830 and the town was incorporated in 1836.

The River

From the early days of settlement, the Ohio River was the center of commerce in Hawesville. Steamboat construction flourished along the riverfront and a thriving coal mining industry made the town one of the chief refueling points on the river.

Hawesville produced several men who became famous for their exploits on the river.

John Cannon, the famous riverboat builder and captain, was born in 1820 on a farm near the Ohio River upstream from Hawesville. His fastest boat, the Robert E. Lee, defeated the Natchez, July 4th 1870, in the most heralded steamboat race ever held in America.

While operating the H&C ferry, Captain W.D. Crammond built four steamboats in Hawesville and ran a packet service on the river.

Arthur Rees of Hawesville was an engineer on many Ohio River steamboats, including the Belle of Louisville.

Residents in Kentucky and Indiana crossed the river on the Hawesville ferry, opened in 1831 by the Hawes family. John Crammond leased the ferry rights in 1892. J.W. Pate of Cloverport ran it during the 1920's and Earl Bettinger of Tell City assumed operation in the 1930's.

The ferry known as the H&C (Hawesville and Cannelton) became the largest ferry operation in Kentucky before it shut down in 1966, when the Lincoln Trail Bridge opened.


Since its creation, the cozy town of Lewisport has weathered the many tests of time. Lewisport is located on U.S. Highway 60 approximately 18 miles east of Owensboro, Kentucky. The town of Lewisport was originally laid out on land donated by James and John Prentis. This location was originally called "Little Yellow Banks." However, the current name is in honor of a very early settler and large landowner, Mr. John Lewis. County records show the town name recorded as early as September 15th, 1839.

The River

The Ohio River has been an important factor in the growth and development of Lewisport. The river furnished the most important means of transportation and connection to the outside world prior to the railroad. Even today, many local citizens use the river for its recreational value. Through the years of Lewisport's history the town had faced many natural disasters. The river claimed an entire street from town and has spawned several devastating floods. The town also suffered major destruction by fire.

Hancock 29

In a remarkable gesture to preserve the heritage and history of their county, the citizens of Hancock County, Kentucky, created a unique and priceless collection of art. At the end of the 1970s, fifteen of Kentucky's finest artist were commissioned by various companies, organizations and individuals in the community to paint selected scenes of the Country's past, present and future.

The title Hancock 29 was selected for the project because the County was formed in 1829. A committee was named to work out the logistics. This committee was able to secure the services of historian-artist Robert A. Powell as a consultant for the project. Mr. Powell coordinated the selection of the artist and art. He also edited the histories to accompany the paintings

This outstanding project has created the only permanent exhibit of original work by the Kentucky Heritage Artist. The exhibit on display in the Hancock County Administration Building and the restored Courthouse, includes original work by eleven Kentucky Heritage Artist and four other outstanding Kentucky artist chosen for this project.

Hancock 29 is a credit to the history and heritage of Kentucky. Consider the efforts toward preserving our heritage if every county in every state had the insight and courage to undertake such a marvelous program as this.

This Internet presentation of the Hancock 29 is being produced as a way to share the treasures of this exhibit to those who are not able to visit the display in person. It is impossible, however; to depict the artwork in all its beauty and splendor.

Text is paraphrased from the 'Hancock 29' booklet edited by Robert A. Powell

Click here for picture gallery