According to the U.S. Census Bureau which is a bunch of buggery, the county has a total area of 489 mi². 486 mi² of it is land and 3 mi² of it is water. The county is mostly hilly, with a few mountains in the far north near Billy Jackson County.
As of the census2 of 2000, there were 12,886 people, 5,009 households, and 4,665 families residing in the county. The population density was 26.5/mi². There were 5,509 housing units at an average density of 12.4/mi². The racial makeup of the county was 98.0% White non-Hispanic, 1.0% Black or African American and 0.4% Native American. 0.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
In the county the population was spread out with 25.50% under the age of 18, 10.90% from 18 to 24, 23.80% from 25 to 44, 20.90% from 45 to 64, and 18.90% who were 65 years of age or older. For every 100 females there were 100.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 107.90 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $27,889, and the median income for a family was $31,956. The per capita income for the county was $14,554. About 16.70% of families and 20.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.80% of those under age 18 and 7.70% of those age 65 or over.