When looking for the records of your Metcalfe County ancestors you may want to look in other counties as well. Anything prior to 30 Jun 1780 would be found in either the Fincastle County or Kentucky County VA records. From 30 Jun 1780 to 1 Sep 1792, records would be in Lincoln County. On 1 Sep 1792 Logan County was created, followed by Green County on 1 Jan 1793. Effective with that date, you might find records in either Logan or Green counties, but probably no longer in Lincoln County. Then on 1 Mar 1797 that part of Logan County that might contain the records you seek became Warren County. On 10 May 1799, Barren County was created from parts of Warren and Green counties, and you would no longer find your Metcalfe ancestors in Warren County. Cumberland County (1 Jul 1799) and Adair County (1 Apr 1802) were created out of Green County. Finally, Monroe County was created on 1 Apr 1820. Each of these counties would contribute to the formation of Metcalfe County in 1860.
Here is a detailed explanation of the political footprints that led to the formation of Metcalfe County.
On 1 Dec 1776, all of Fincastle County VA which lay to the south and westward of a line beginning on the Ohio, at the mouth of Great Sandy creek, and running up the same and the main or north easterly branch thereof to the Great Laurel Ridge or Cumberland Mountain, thence south westerly along the said mountain to the line of North Carolina became Kentucky County.
On 30 Jun 1780, Kentucky County was divided into the counties of Jefferson, Fayette, and Lincoln. All of the counties that would contribute to the formation of Metcalfe County were originally a part of Lincoln County.
On 1 Sep 1792, Logan County was created from out of Lincoln County. "Beginning at the Elk Lick on Little Barren River, thence a South course to the North Carolina [Tennessee] line, thence along the said line to the Mississippi, thence up the same to the mouth of Ohio and up the same to the mouth of Green River, thence up the same to the mouth of Little Barren River thence up the same to the Beginning shall be one distinct County and called and known by the name of Logan."
On 1 Jan 1793, Green County was created. While it came from parts of Lincoln and Nelson counties, the part that concerns us all came from Lincoln County.
On 1 Mar 1797, Warren County was created out of the eastern part of Logan County, up to the border with Green County. Then on 10 May 1799, Barren County was created from parts of Warren and Green counties. The description of the Barren County boundary reads like this:
"Beginning at the Junction of Skegg's Beaver Creek and big Barren River to run north to Green River, thence up the same to the mouth of little Barren River, thence up the same to the Elk Lick, thence with the Green County line four miles thence a straight line to the Pilot Knob, thence a straight line to the mouth of the east fork of Little Barren River, thence up the same until on a reduced line, there shall be six miles taken from Green by running a parallel or south line so far that a due west line from the Marrowbone Spring will intersect the Green line, thence with the Green line to the Tennessee State Line, thence with the same a due west course so far that a due north course will strike the Beginning..."
Shortly thereafter (1 Jul 1799) Cumberland County was created out of Green County. Here is the boundary description: "all that part of the County of Green included in the following bounds, to wit, Beginning on the Warren line, a west course from the Marrow Bone spring, thence east until it strikes the dividing ridge between the waters of Cumberland and Green river, and with the same to the wagon road leading from Colonel William Casey's to Burksville at the head of Renicks Creek, thence eastwardly so as to leave the settlement of William Butler junior in Green County, thence to continue such a course as will just leave the settlement of Greasy Creek in Green also, thence east to the Lincoln line, thence south to the State line, and with it to the Warren Line, thence with the Warren line to the Beginning..."
On 1 Apr 1802, Adair County was created out of southern Green County, and was situated between the remainder of Green County and Cumberland County.
On 1 Apr 1819, Hart County was created out of parts of Barren and Hardin counties. Later its southern boundary would become Metcalfe County's northern border.
One year later (1 Apr 1820), Monroe County was created out of parts of Barren and Cumberland counties. The Monroe County boundary description is "beginning on the Tennessee state line on Cumberland river; thence east with said line four miles; thence to a point twelve miles from the court house in Burksville in a direct line to Tompkinsville, including Fleming Jones' residence in the proposed county; thence in a direction to the place where the road from Glasgow to Burksville crosses the county line, as far as the main branch of Marrow-bone creek; thence to the Marrow-bone spring; thence to Skeggs' creek one hundred yards below the house of Col. David Hardin; thence to big Barren river, at the most eastern point thereon, below the mouth of Hungry creek; thence up said river, and with the Allen county line to the Tennessee state line; thence with said line to the beginning..."
For the next 40 years, the land that would become Metcalfe County remained scattered within the counties of Adair, Barren, Cumberland, Green, and Monroe. Then effective 7 May 1860, Metcalfe County was created with these boundaries:
"Beginning one mile west from the Dripping Spring meeting-house in Barren county; thence a straight line to Lazarus' store: Provided, Said line will exclude the residences of William Winlock and W. J. Wood. If said line will not exclude said residences, making an angle at said residences, so as to exclude them, and then to Lazarus' store, as before named; thence on the same course to the Hart county line; thence with the Hart county line to the Green county line; thence with the Green county line to the junction of the south and east forks of Little Barren river; thence a straight line to where the Cloverdale and Greensburg road crosses Caney Fork creek; thence a straight line to intersect the Green and Adair county line, near the Pleasant Ridge meeting-house; thence a straight line to Hiram Pendleton's, (leaving him in Adair county); thence up the East Fork creek, with its meanders, so as to include the residences of Jas. Estes, Thos. Estes, William Penick, J. L. Yates, Jane Estes, A. York, deceased, J. H. Hamilton, P. T. Ellison, Sebastian Bell, Z. D. Wheat's old farm, Herbert Kinnaird, Harrison Kinnaird, J. B. Dixon, Eliza Kinnaird, William Hamilton, Sr., Edward Hamilton, and S. W. Marrs; and thence with the meanders of said creek to the head waters; thence a straight line to the nearest point to intersect the Cumberland county line; thence with the Cumberland line to the head waters of Marrowbone creek, above Arch. Ferguson's; thence a straight line to William Morrison's, who resides about a half mile above Matthew Amy's (leaving said Morrison in the county of Cumberland); thence a straight line to the nearest point in the Monroe county line; thence with the Monroe county line one mile from the Barren county line; thence a straight line to intersect the Monroe and Barren county line, at a point where a straight line to the beginning will include the residence of P. W. Grinstead, Esq.; thence to the beginning."
Chronology of Changes to Metcalfe County
When Metcalfe County was created in 1860, it did not have the same boundary lines that it has today. In May 1861 small areas were transferred to Barren and Hart counties to accommodate local property owners. Then in October, approximately 10 square miles of Adair County became part of Metcalfe. Also the land ceded to Barren in May was returned to Metcalfe. Then in March 1863, that piece of land was transferred back to Barren again. The next change occurred in February 1866 when approximately 20 square miles of Cumberland County was transferred to Metcalfe County.
In 1870 a small part of Metcalfe moved to Barren; then in 1876 and again in 1886 small parts of Barren moved to Metcalfe. The final change occurred at the end of 1939 when approximately 10 square miles was transferred from Metcalfe County to Cumberland County.
On this map, the heavy line represents the historical boundary. The underlying base map shows present-day information.