Formation of New County not without controversy

Upon the issue of the formation of a new county a very strong and heated contest was made for the Representative in the year 1819. Those desiring a new county brought out for their candidate, Mr. William Littell, a clear and worthy gentleman, and a brother of James Littell, now one of our oldest citizens. The opposing candidates were, Elijah McClannahan and Dr. John Bennett. Mr. Littell was very warm in behalf of the new county and pledged his very ears to his people that should he be elected, to never let the Legislature rest until the fondest wish of himself and his friends was realized.

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The people knowing that Mr. Littell thought a good deal of his ears, and believing that he would work to the last moment to save them, elected him by a majority of about forty votes. True to his promise, no Legislature was ever more frequently and earnestly reminded of a local bill than was this Legislature of Mr. Littell's bill for the new county.

After much delay and opposition the bill was finally passed by the Lower House and sent up to the Senate. Here it met with opposition from Jesse Bledsoe, a Senator from Bourbon county. Mr. Bledsoe was a prominent member and had a pet bill of his own for an appropriation to Transylvania University, which has been bitterly opposed by Mr. Littell. Being a bluff, humorous old gentleman, he told Mr. Littell that if he would vote for the appropriation in the Lower House, the bill for the new county should be pushed through the Senate, but if he wouldn't vote for it Grant county might go to h-, and he (Mr. Littell) could go home and be cropped.

Mr. Littell, realizing the terrible dilemma in which he was placed, concluded to vote for the appropriation, which he did. His bill was then passed through the Senate, and on the 12th day of February, 1820, was approved by the Governor. This was the sixty-seventh county formed in the State and contained then all the territory that it now has, except a small strip added from Campbell county in 1830, a larger strip (about twelve square miles) from Harrison in 1833, another small strip from Boone in 1868, and that territory which was cut off from Owen and annexed to Grant at the last session of the Legislature.

The county is now a parallelogram in shape, nearly square, and contains about four hundred and sixty square miles. In the bill creating the county it was provided that the new county should be called and known by the name of Grant. As to the reason it took the name of Grant there are various and conflicting opinions.

It is said by some of the oldest inhabitants that owing to Mr. Littell's repeated efforts with the Legislature to grant him al hearing on his pet bill, that the word 'Grant' became in connection therewith quite a stereotyped phrase or saying, and hence when the bill was finally called up, out of a facetious spirit some member had 'Grant' inserted for its name. But the best founded opinion, in our judgment, is that it was named in honor of General Squire Grant, a prominent citizen of Boone county and who was a very particular and warm friend of Mr. Littell.

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