General John Edward King


Historical Marker #1403 near Burkesville in Cumberland County commemorates John Edward King, a War of 1812 general.

Born in Virginia in 1757, King fought in the Revolutionary War, serving in the 3rd Virginia Regiment. In 1780, he moved to present-day Bracken County, Kentucky. While in the Bluegrass State, his military service continued. King fought under Col. Isaac Shelby at the Battle of Kings Mountain, North Carolina, on October 7, 1780.

After the Revolution, King moved to present-day Cumberland County, where he built Melmont, a large house near Burkesville. He was active in politics and served as the clerk of the county and circuit courts.

Recognized for his broad military service, during the War of 1812 King was commissioned general. A veteran of the Battle of the Thames, where Shelby commended him for his leadership, the historical marker notes that he was an "outstanding military tactician." King died at Melmont in 1828, and was buried there.

Photos Show

Cumberland County Court House

Postcard showing the Cumberland County Court House in Burkesville, KY.

Image Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society

Public Square. Burkesville, KY.

Black and White postcard showing image of the "Northwest Corner fo the Public Square in Burkesville, KY."

Image Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society

Brass Cannon

The British Army designed this gun as a highly portable infantry support weapon. This example, long known as the "Burgoyne Cannon," was first captured by American forces at the Battle of Saratoga (1777) during the American Revolution. The U.S. Army utilized it until the gun went back into British hands following the fall of Detroit in 1812. In 1813, Colonel Richard M. Johnson's Regiment of Kentucky Mounted Rifles recaptured it from the British at the Battle of the Thames. The gun was presented to Governor Issac Shelby and has remained here in Frankfort since the end of that campaign.

Image Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society


Bugle reputed to have been used by Col. Richard M. Johnson Mounted Kentucky Infantry during War of 1812.

Image Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society


Cite this Page

Sanders, “General John Edward King,” ExploreKYHistory, accessed April 18, 2015, http:/​/​explorekyhistory.​ky.​gov/​items/​show/​54.​
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