History of Kenton County

The Commonwealth of Kentucky officially created Kenton County on January 29, 1840. Named after Simon Kenton, an early pioneer and explorer.

The City of Independence was established as the county seat since it was the center of the county. Due to the rural location and distance from the major population in Covington, officials decided to recognize two county seats- one in the City of Independence and one in the City of Covington, which still continues today.1

Information provided by the Kenton County Public Library.

History of the Judge/Executive


Justices of the Peace are the key local administrative officials.


The Kentucky Constitution provides for a County Judge elected by the citizens. The County Judge presides over the County Court and the Court of Claims.


The County Judge becomes the chief judicial officer of the county, adding a number of legislative and administrative duties. 


An Amendment to the Kentucky Constitution reorganizes the Commonwealth’s judicial system, eliminating the County Judge’s judicial powers and responsibilities.


The General Assembly restyles the office of County Judge by enacting legislation that strengthens and clarifies its administrative and executive powers.

The title is changed from County Judge to County Judge/Executive, underscoring the altered nature and duties of the position.

Kenton County's Judges/Executive


1851 - 1854

S.C. Perrin

1854 - 1858

Edward Reiley


Charles H. Mooar

1862 - 1866

L. Shaw

1866 - 1869

John P. Harrison

George Gilpin Perkins

1869 - 1874

George Gilpin Perkins1 


1874 - 1874

M.L. Roberts

1874 - 1882

T.J. Phelps


1882 - 1894

Michael T. Shine

Judge Stephens

1895 - 1898

H.P. Stephens2 


1898 - 1902

Michael T. Shine
Judge Stephens

1902 - 1910

H.P. Stephens2 
Judge Clearly

1910 - 1917

Walter W. Clearly2
Judge Read

1918 - 1945

John Read2 
Judge Wehrman

1946 - 1962

W.M. Wehrman2 
Judge Dressman

1962 - 1986

James E. Dressman2 
Judge Aldemeyer

1986 - 1990

Robert Aldemeyer2 
Judge Middleton

1990 - 1997

Clyde Middelton2 
Biz Cain (2)

1997 - 1999

Biz Cain
Judge Murgatroyd

1999 - 2003

Richard Murgatroyd 2 
Ralph Drees (2)

2004 - 2011

Ralph Drees2 
Judge Arlinghaus

2011 - 2015

Steve Arlinghaus2 
Judge Knochelmann

2015 - Present

Kris A. Knochelmann

1 Historic photo provided by the Kenton County Historical Society
2 Historic photos provided by the Kenton County Public Library: Faces & Places
*Historical information provided on this page is to the best of our knowledge. 

County Commissioners

The Constitution requires all Kentucky counties to have Fiscal Court with either 3-8 Magistrates or 3 Commissioners. In Kenton County, there are three Commissioners. 

  • Magistrates-reside and run in district only
  • Commissioners must reside in districts but run county-wide

Kenton County Commissioners

Beth SewellBeth Sewell

District 1

Dr Jon DraudDr. Jon Draud

District 2

Joe NienaberJoe Nienaber

District 3

City Incorporation Dates

Kenton County has nineteen incorporated cities.

City of Covington

February 1815

City of Independence

March 1842

City of Walton

February 1854

City of Ludlow

February 1864

City of Bromley

May 1890

City of Elsmere

May 1896

City of Erlanger

January 1897

City of Fort Mitchell

February 1910

City of Park Hills

June 1927

City of Lakeside Park

May 1930

City of Fort Wright

April 1941

City of Edgewood

November 1948

City of Kenton Vale

January 1949

City of Crestview Hills

October 1951

City of Taylor Mill

May 1956

City of Crescent Springs

September 1957

City of Fairview

December 1957

City of Villa Hills

June 1962

City of Ryland Heights

March 1972


1 Information provided by the Kenton County Public Library.

Historical information provided on this page is to the best of our knowledge.