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.
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