Smithland [†] was established around 1780. Early deeds include references to "Indian lands," the courthouse lot being no exception. As Livingston County evolved, it would become the mother to present day Caldwell, Crittenden, Lyon and Trigg counties. The so-called "permanent seat of justice" enjoyed short stays at Eddyville (1800-1804) and the historic Centreville (aka Centerville, 1804-1809), as well as Salem (1809-1842), before Smithland was chosen, likely for its easy year-round access via river. Court had been held there since the 1790s, as local tradition holds, beneath a large tree on the banks of the Cumberland in front of Bell's Tavern (aka Gower House). Yet the courthouse and the decision to make Smithland the county's center, would be several years and as many removes in coming.
† Tracy Cothran Jordan; Brenda Joyce Jerome; Jerry Bebout, Livingston County Historical & Genealogical Society, Inc., Livingston County Courthouse and Clerk's Offices, nomination document, 2011, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C., accessed November, 2021.