Ninety years ago Crittenden County was little better than a thinly settled wilderness with a population of less than 5,000 including slaves. Only three or four buildings were located where Marion now stands. This was merely a place where roads crossed leading to the more populous communities such as Salem, Dycusburg, Princeton, Weston, Fords Ferry and Morganfield.
In 1846, there were only six stores in Crittenden County. These were located at Dycusburg, Tolu, Weston and Fords Ferry. There were only 49 town lots and they were located in the towns mentioned above. One tavern license was issued that year. In that year there were 696 slaves in the county with a total valuation of over $200,000.
Items of taxation were few in 1846. Taxes on all carriages in the county were only $2.00; on all gold watches, $7.00; on gold spectacles, $2.00.
In 1846, the Crittenden County jailer received 82 cents for committing and releasing criminals, and the cost of feeding criminals for the year was only $1.87.
New and Complete Gazetteer of the United States by Thomas Baldwin and J. Thomas, M.D. (1854) gives us a view of towns and counties across the country, including Crittenden County, Kentucky. Page 291 of this old book tells us this:
Crittenden, a county in the W. part of Kentucky, bordering on the Ohio river, which separates it from Illinois, has an area estimated at 420 square miles. Tradewater creek forms its boundary on the N.E. and Cumberland river on the S.W. The surface is mostly level or gently undulating, but the E. part is more hilly; the soil is fertile; tobacco, Indian corn, oats and grass are the staples. Pork and stone coal are also exported. In 1850 this county produced 386,705 bushels of corn; 5759 of wheat; 45,460 of oats; 505,637 pounds of tobacco, and 12,545 of wool. It contained 14 churches, and 600 pupils attending public schools. Stone coal is abundant in the county, and the mines of lead and iron are said to be inexhaustible. Formed in 1842, and named in honor of John J. Crittenden, for many years senator from Kentucky, and twice attorney-general of the United States. Capital - Marion. Population 6351, of whom 5503 are free and 848 are slaves.
Page 661 of this same book provides the following information on the town of Marion:
Marion, a post-village, capital of Crittenden Co., Kentucky, about 230 miles W.S.W. from Frankfort. It contains a court house and over 100 inhabitants.