Seven Ways To Introduce Hart County Probate Court

by Aaron Finch

The Hart county probate court is the main courtroom for cases pertaining to small estates and succession.  The county was established in 1841 and is located on Main Street in the center of town. In addition, there are several rooms that are not usually open to the public, such as the basement and attic.  There are a variety of resources available for Obtaining Probate Records including: County Clerk’s office, tax assessor’s office, archives room, courthouse library and more. 


All records must be requested through an Inmate Release Form which can be completed online or picked up at a counter inside the courthouse. More information can be found on the paperless online records request form. Hart county probate court is interested in helping you and this website is your go to for information about probate records.


Seven Ways To Introduce Hart County Probate Court :

1. There is a large statue of the warden and his deputy that sits outside the building. 


The warden is depicted holding up a large gavel. In front of them are three men on horseback which represent Native Americans. The story goes that they put in their heads on the night of their escape or death. They were fighting for freedom from their captor’s but in their hurry forgot to replace their heads so they are shown with headless bodies mounted on horseback. This is a very fitting symbol for the courthouse as it will come in handy to decide cases where someone might have lost their head.

2. The oldest building on the courthouse grounds is the jail that was built in 1837 and has been expanded on several occasions since then. 


The Hart county Jail has been home to many famous people including famous outlaws such as Jesse James and Frank James, who were brothers. Hart County is also home to the notorious bandit Jesse Evans Jr. who was executed at the jail in 1860 for his role in a train robbery network that spanned from Abilene, KS (home of 50% of all U.S. train robberies) to Kansas City, MO and St. Louis, MO. 

3. The courthouse is one of the most photographed buildings in Hart county. 


The courthouse has been described as “the most beautiful courthouse” by many travelers over the years and is well known for the images that have been captured there. It has appeared in several magazines and websites including parts of an 1892 article by Charles Waddell Chesnutt on Kentucky’s courthouses, which was published in “The Chautauquan”, a review of national culture, literature, science, philosophy, education and art founded in 1876. 

4. There is a small cemetery adjacent to the courthouse. 


The cemetery was established in 1897 where it joins with the Civil War cemetery which is located on the north side of Main street across from the Stewart County Courthouse. Both graveyards contain many military markers including large marble gravestones and bronze markers. 


There are also several unmarked graves located in both cemeteries that contain individuals who died before they were officially buried. Some of these graves are marked with wooden crosses, memorial stones, and simple headstones while others have sunken ground or no marker at all. 

5. There is a lot of history contained in the Civil War cemetery. 


A small sign marks the site for Confederate soldiers that fell in action fighting against General William Rosecrans at Middle Creek near Buckhorn, Kentucky on January 10, 1863. There are a total of 11 graves in the memorial site which consists of two plots and one marker. 


The marker lies directly behind the two rows of graves aligned North-South with each section containing five graves. The last grave is located just south of this marker which was marked by family members after the war without official approval from the state.

6. There are four flags located outside the courthouse. 


In 2010, Hart County became the first county in Kentucky to fly a flag of the Confederacy since the Civil War. The Hart County Historical Society donated two flags and a third flag was donated by a preservation group that is based in New Orleans, Louisiana called Save our Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp #812. 


The fourth flag was donated by an anonymous donor who saw that there were only three and felt that it should be corrected immediately following a visit to Hart County where he had family living there at one time. Hart County has been home to several Confederate veteran groups including: Kentucky Division United Daughters of the Confederacy and the United Confederate Veterans (UCV).

7. The first order of business is to set the stage for the judge at the start of the day’s court proceedings. 


The clerk begins her day by taking a bow and closing the book or case file. After this she will hand off her warrant to a bailiff while she approaches the judge. The judge then holds up his gavel in front of him to signify that court has begun.

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