HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) – Union County, Kentucky not only has connections to the Revolutionary War, but it also is home to the largest underground coal mine in the U.S.
Union County was established on January 15, 1811, from Henderson County. According to the county website, the county was named for, “The united desire of its residents to form a new county.” Morganfield, the county seat, was established in 1812 on land acquired from the heirs of Revolutionary War veteran Daniel Morgan. Union County officials say most of the land that forms the county was conveyed to military men who served during the Revolutionary War.
Union County has history that involves a president and a baseball star. The county’s website says in 1840, Abraham Lincoln gave the only political speech in his native state at a rally in Morganfield. Jackie Robinson began his professional baseball career while he was a lieutenant at Camp Breckinridge.
In terms of state figures, the Kentucky Historical Society says Union County native Earle C. Clements became governor following service in World War I. Clements was also a sheriff, county clerk, judge and state senator. The Kentucky Historical Society credits him for spurring a massive industrialization effort as well as road and state parks development when he was governor.
Union County’s website says the county is one of the top agriculture producing counties in Kentucky, ranking at or near the top in corn and soybean production. According to a 2021 report, the USDA says Union County had the highest soybean yield in the state at 63.9 bushels per acre, which was a record yield for the county. The USDA says Union County is also the leading corn producing county in Kentucky for 2020, with production totaling 16,235,000 bushels, harvested from 79,000 acres.
County officials say Union County is also known as a top coal producing county in the state, and it is home of the largest underground coal mine in the country. Union County Tourism says the mine’s name is River View Coal LLC, owned by Alliance Coal. A report from the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet states that Union County ranked first in coal production in western Kentucky, followed by Hopkins County. The report states Union County’s tonnage was 3,058,364 for the first quarter of 2019.
According to the United States Census Bureau, as of the 2020 census, the population of Union County was 13,668.
This is the first of a weekly twenty-one-part series that will help educate about each of the counties in the Eyewitness News viewing area. Check in every Tuesday at 9 a.m. for the next one!