Historical marker #2541 celebrates the life and contributions of Samuel Cox, 1756-1832.
Cox was an early resident in what became Whitley County and became a leading promoter of the settlement of Williamsburg. Much of the current town is located on land originally granted to Cox by the state of Kentucky for his service during the Revolutionary War. He chose the site because of the plentiful clean water that was available via the Cumberland River, thinking it would make a good spot for a town. Cox donated land for a courthouse and sold lots to other early settlers who saw their future in the fledgling town. Initially, his residence even served as the local school and home to the fiscal and circuit courts.
The settlement went through a number of names over the years, from Spring Ford, Cox's Crossing, and Whitley Courthouse, before settling on Williamsburg and while the town no longer bears Cox's name, it continues to reflect his influence. In many ways, the connection between Samuel Cox and Williamsburg exemplifies common patterns that unfolded across the Commonwealth during the settlement era. Virtually every city, town and hamlet across the state can trace its existence back to a "father" like Cox who shepherded the community into existence.
The marker was dedicated on April 7, 2018 in order to coincide with Williamsburg's Bicentennial Celebration. The event was well-attended and even drew some of Cox's descendants all the way from Texas. The oldest relative in attendance was a 94-year-old great-great-granddaughter of Samuel and Martha Cox. The dedication also featured remarks from Dr. Amanda Higgins from the Kentucky Historical Society, State Representative Ms. Regina Huff, Whitley County Judge Executive Mr. Pat White and Mayor of Williamsburg Mr. Roddy Harrison.
The marker reads:
SAMUEL COX, 1756-1832
Samuel Cox is celebrated as the
"Father of Williamsburg." The
city's first resident & founder,
Cox was instrumental in
Williamsburg becoming the Whitley
County seat of government. He
donated land for a courthouse and
offered lots for sale for the
formation of the city. His home
was used as the first school,
circuit court, and courthouse.
SAMUEL COX, 1756-1832
Cox, given 100 acres by the state
of KY for his service in the
Rvolutionary War, settled here
for the abundance of clean water.
Cox resided here with his wife
Martha and their eight children.
The city was known by the names
of Spring Ford, Cox's Crossing,
Whitley Courthouse, Williamsburgh
and, eventually, Williamsburg.
Sponsored by the City of Williamsburg.