HISTORY OF WILLIAMSTOWN




The William Arnold log home was built in 1799 from huge poplar logs.  It was moved by the City from its original site on High Street in 1986.  It has been furnished with donated Grant County items, by the Grant County Historical Society.  Many Grant County ancestors are memorialized on engraved bricks on pathways to the house. 

William Arnold was born in East Jersey in the late 1750’s and at the age of sixteen he moved to Virginia and volunteered for the Virginia Line to serve in the Revolutionary War.  He served three tours in the war according to family traditions, he held the rank of Captain and was a personal friend of General LaFayette.  They served together in Yorktown.  Arnold left Virginia for Kentucky around 1783, and settled on its frontier. 

By 1790, there was constant friction between the Indians and the settlers living on the Ohio River frontier, and settlements deep into Kentucky.  In July of 1790, General Henry Knox, Secretary of War for protection, sent a dispatch to Fort Washington, which stood on the present location of Cincinnati.  William Arnold and Samuel Anderson among others from Northern Kentucky were part of this expedition.  Arnold was commissioned a lieutenant in Captain James Caldwell’s Company of a regiment commanded by Colonel Horatio Hall of the Kentucky Militia.  Arnold fought in many battles and was finally wounded severely, which left him unable to work for the remainder of his life.  William Arnold owned land in Fayette, Mason, Bourbon, Campbell and Pendleton.

In 1798 the County of Pendleton was established from parts of Bracken and Campbell Counties.  Commissioners met on June 4, 1799 at Thomas Anderson’s home to select a sheriff and county clerk.  The next day, Arnold was present for the selection of Justices of the Peace in Campbell County, Arnold was chosen as Possessioner and Justice of the Peace in the third district.  This district, in the western part of the county, is the present Grant County.  He remained in this position a number of years. 

On February 12, 1820, a group of aggressive men separated from Pendleton County and established the new Grant County.  At that time William Arnold was sworn in as the first Grant County Sheriff. 

William Arnold realized the importance of an education and for that reason he was instrumental in organizing the Grant Seminary, the first educational facility in Williamstown, in 1821.  He also donated two- and one-half acres for the county’s public buildings.  He provided timber for houses for three years free of charge, and firewood and stone for seven years.  Water for the community was obtained from a large spring located on site.  The spring is located on the very spot where the Williamstown Baptist Church now stands.  The spring still runs and is piped off the foundation of the church. 

Williamstown was originally named Philadelphia.  After realizing there was another town by that name it was renamed William’s Town.

William Arnold's Log Cabin
moves to new location

On May 10, 2007 the log cabin was moved to a more prominent location, across from the new Justice Center on City property.

The Grant County Historical Society opens the home for public viewing during events. Check Community Calendar for dates and times.

 

GRANT COUNTY HISTORY

Grant County was a part of Pendleton County until 1820.  There is a marker in the courthouse square that depicts the counties declaration.  Williamstown was founded on June 12, 1820 by Captain William Arnold.  A Revolutionary War soldier, Captain Arnold was also the first sheriff of Grant County.  Arnold donated two and one half acres of land to Grant County to establish public buildings.  He received the land for his service in the war.  Williamstown was first named Philadelphia.  After discovering that Philadelphia was already used as a city’s name in Kentucky, the name was changed to Williamstown in honor of Captain Arnold. 

By December of 1821, Grant County had a courthouse with furnishing order by the court, a jail, and a stray animal pen.  The total cost of the three buildings plus furnishing was $2,345.75. 

The county’s first newspaper was The Williamstown Courier.  The first edition was published on October 10, 1872. The Williamstown Courier was renamed the Grant County News, currently covering news in all of Grant County. 

In 1877, the city felt more secure when Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railroad (now known as Southern Railway) laid tracks through Williamstown.  There was a depot constructed to serve the needs of the Williamstown citizens.

Source: “History of Grant County, Kentucky”

For more information please contact the Grant County Public Library to check out the History of Grant County, Kentucky.




William Arnold's Log Cabin - moves to new location


On May 10, 2007 the log cabin was moved to a more prominent location, across from the new Justice Center on City property.

The Grant County Historical Society opens the home for public viewing during events. Check Community Calendar for dates and times.




FOR MORE HISTORICAL INFORMATION

GRANT COUNTY TOURISM’S HISTORIC PLACES

KENTUCKY AMERICAN LOCAL HISTORY NETWORK 
Historical Grant County Data. 

NORTHERN KENTUCKY VIEWS
 An impressive collection of images and text put together by Bernie Spencer

KENTUCKY DIGITAL LIBRARY 
A collection related to Kentucky history and culture. 

Wikipedia Information about Williamstown