Robert MacRay opened the first trading post in Raystown (which is now Bedford) on the land that is now Bedford County in 1750. The settlers had a difficult time dealing with raids from Indians and the fighting between the French and the British.
In 1759, after the capture of Fort Duquesne in Allegheny County, a road was built between the fort (which was renamed to Fort Pitt) to the newly built Fort Bedford in Raystown. This road followed Indian trails and became "Forbes Road" which passed through Bedford and is now Route 30. When the Pennsylvania Turnpike was built, this interstate toll road became the main highway through Bedford County.
Bedford County was created on March 9, 1771 from part of Cumberland County and named in honor of the Fort Bedford.
The area quickly increased in population once safety became more established. The land with its lush farmland and woodland became an attractive site. It also formed an important center on the way to Pittsburgh and farther west of Pennsylvania. George Washington stayed in the county in response to the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794.
The Bedford Springs Hotel became an important site for the wealthy. Under President James Buchanan, the hotel became the summer White House. The U.S. Supreme Court met at the hotel once. It was the only time that the high court met outside of the Capital.
The 19th century featured a population boom in the county with the population doubling in size between 1870 and 1890. Railroads passing through the town connected the county with the mining industry. The story of the Lost Children of the Alleghenies originates from Blue Knob State Park in the county.