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Out of 120 counties in the state, Washington County is the 65th largest according to the 2010 Census, covering a little over 297 square miles.
If you convert that figure to acres, Washington County covers approximately 190,252 acres.
Who owns those over 190,000 acres?
Lots of people, it turns out.
The top 10 landowners in the county own approximately 10,443 acres of that. That’s about 5.5 percent of the land in the county.
It’s important to note that on the Washington County property valuation administrator’s website there is a disclaimer that says the PVA office “makes every effort to produce the most accurate information possible. No warranties, expressed or implied, are provided for the data herein, its use or interpretation.”
Only Washington County was researched for the purposes of this story. No other counties were included in this total.
So, who owns the most land in Washington County? And how much?
1) Thomas R. Hamilton
Thomas R. Hamilton is the largest landowner in the county, according to records kept on the PVA website.
According to the PVA records, Hamilton owns roughly 2,372 acres in Washington County, approximately 1.25 percent of all the land in the county.
Seventeen parcels of land were found belonging to Hamilton, the largest being 342 acres.
2) Leon F. Simms, Jr.
Leon F. Simms, Jr. is the second-largest property owner in the county.
He owns all or part of 1,371 acres.
Simms owns approximately 384 acres in partnership with Mark Hamilton Simms, the fourth-largest property owner in the county.
He also owns 327 acres under the registered business SWK Company. Simms also owns land under companies such as SKG LLC, Springfield Excavating Company, HFC LLC, T.C. LLC and TO JO LE LLC.
Over 55 parcels are registered to him, the largest covering 327 acres.
3) The Mudd family
Roughly 1,160 acres belong to the Mudd family under different listings.
On most listings, the names included were Linda, Austin, Jason and Amy Mudd.
One property was listed under Mudd Farm, Inc.
According to the Kentucky Secretary of State’s website, the registered agent for that business is Jason A. Mudd.
Other officers and entities associated with the business are Amy L. Mudd, Austin Mudd and John Mudd.
Nine parcels were listed as belonging to these owners, with the largest covering 314 acres.
4) William A. Riney and William A. Riney, Jr. and family
The Riney family owns approximately 1,060 acres.
Most deeds list William A. Riney and William A. Riney, Jr. jointly owning the property, but not all. Spouse names are also included on most deeds.
Twelve parcels are listed under these names, with the largest covering 160 acres.
5.) Mark Hamilton Simms
Mark Hamilton Simms is the fifth-largest landowner, owning all or some of 957 acres.
Simms owns approximately 384 acres in partnership with Leon F. Simms, Jr., the second-largest property owner in the county.
Seventeen parcels are registered to Simms, with the largest covering 288 acres.
6) Joe and Margie Coulter
The Coulter family isthe sixth-largest property owners in the county. They own nearly 914 acres.
They own six parcels of land, the largest covering 260 acres.
7) Whitetail Manor
The seventh-largest property owners are a bit of a mystery.
The property owners are listed as Whitetail Manor on the PVA website and in the deed book at the county clerk’s office.
They own 871 acres.
Whitetail Manor has an Osprey, Fla., mailing address.
According to the Florida Department of State website, agents for Whitetail Manor are Spiegel & Utrera, P.A.
That firm has a Miami, Fla., address.
The Florida Department of State website lists the officer and director of the firm as Lawrence J. Spiegel, PTD, and Natalia Utrera.
Their mailing address is the same one listed for their firm.
The property formerly belonged to country music star John Michael Montgomery.
8) White Cloud, LLC
White Cloud is the eighth-largest landowner in Washington County, with 871 acres.
According to the Kentucky Secretary of State’s website, White Cloud is registered to Mark Haupt.
Three parcels are registered to White Cloud, the largest being 542 acres.
9) Carlton Shewmaker
Shewmaker is listed as having 666 acres on eight parcels of land.
The largest of those parcels is 247 acres.
10) Elizabeth Frances Grundy
Elizabeth Frances Grundy owns 664 acres on four parcels. The largest parcel is 361 acres.