Shelby County Courthouse is located at 501 Main Street, Shelbyville, KY 40065; phone: 502-633-1220.
Shelbyville was founded in 1792 and named for Kentucky's first governor, Isaac Shelby [1750-1826]. Shelby served as a soldier in both the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
Traditionally, Shelby County has ranked as one of the most productive agricultural counties in the state. Located midway between Lexington and Louisville, with Shelbyville City, the county seat, the only concentrated urban area, the county presents a distinctly rural appearance with the majority of the total land area devoted to agricultural use.
Like many other parts of Kentucky, the Shelby County area was settled in a large wave of immigration beginning in the 1780s following the cessation of hostilities with Britain. Among those arriving in the area was William Shannon, a Revolutionary War veteran who received large land grants from the Virginia government. He owned land in the center of the county and it was his land which was selected as the location for the county seat. Shannon, a leader in the county's early political and social systems, was elected as the region's representative to the State House of Representatives in 1793, the year following the creation of both the county and the state. By 1793, when the first tax list was made for the county, there were 519 taxable male residents. There followed a period of rapid growth and by 1810 there were 14,877 men and women living in the county.
The earliest settlements, known as stations, were semi-fortified settlements providing partial protection from Indian attack and were often established under the sponsorship of a speculator or developer. The earliest station in Shelby County was established by Squire Boone seven miles north of the present day Shelbyville. Settlement was begun in the western part of the county on Tick Creek around Tyler's Station in 1783 and in the east at Humes Station in 1784. Brackett Owen founded a station soon after, to the south, not far south of Shelbyville.