Explore Clinton County, Kentucky

Tour curated by: The ExploreKYHistory Team

Located in south-central Kentucky along the Tennessee state line, Clinton County was named for early-nineteenth century New York political icon DeWitt Clinton. The county was formed from parts of Cumberland and Wayne Counties in February 1835. The area that became Clinton County was settled later than the Bluegrass Region. Pioneer families began establishing homesteads there in the 1790s.

Albany, the county seat, was incorporated in 1838 and quickly developed into the county's commercial center. Although Clinton County was largely Unionist during the Civil War, its location along the Tennessee border made it susceptible to frequent guerrilla attacks, including Clinton County native Champ Ferguson. One guerrilla raid in late 1864 resulted in the courthouse being burned. Clinton County produced two of Kentucky's Reconstruction Era governors: Thomas Bramlette (1863-1867) and Preston Hopkins Leslie (1871-75).

Today, Clinton County is largely known for the sporting and recreational outlets of Lake Cumberland and Dale Hollow Lake. These man-made reservoirs were created in the 1940s and 50s by damming the area's streams for hydroelectric power. During the summer months, people from across the country visit to fish, boat, and participate in water sports. Much of Clinton County's natural beauty comes from its location in the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains, which surround the lakes.

The people and places of Clinton County have left a lasting impact on both state and national history. Many of these people, places, and events are illustrated on the county's highway markers and examined here. We hope you will use this app to learn more about Clinton County's fascinating past.

Locations for Tour

Historical Marker #1085 in Clinton County notes the location of the birthplace Preston Hopkins Leslie, Kentucky's twenty-sixth governor. Leslie was born on March 8, 1819, in what was then Wayne County. As a teenager, Leslie worked various jobs…

Historical Marker #1927 in Clinton County remembers Bible Mission School and Orphanage, a Methodist academy that operated from 1891 to 1905. Methodist minister John Samson Keen was born in 1848 into a religious family in Wayne County, Kentucky. As a…

Historical Marker #1619 in Clinton County commemorates Clear Fork Baptist Church, which was established in 1802. Thirty-three years before Clinton County became Kentucky's eighty-fifth county, a small congregation was formed on Clear Fork…

Historical Marker #811 in Albany remembers DeWitt Clinton, Clinton County's namesake. Early nineteenth century Americans respected public and military figures who accomplished great feats. Citizens showed their admiration for the era's…

Historical Marker #597 in Albany notes the burning of the Clinton County courthouse by guerrillas during the Civil War. With Kentucky being torn in both its allegiance and its geographical location—between the Ohio River and the seceded…

Historical Marker #1306 in Clinton County notes the birthplace of Kentucky's twenty-third governor, Thomas E. Bramlette. Bramlette's tenure as governor of Kentucky included four of the state's most troubled years. He was elected in…

Historical Marker #1516 in Albany remembers William Wood, an early settler of what became Clinton County, Kentucky. Before Clinton County was formed in 1835 from parts of Cumberland County (established in 1798) and Wayne County (established in…

Historical Marker #1310 in Clinton County remembers the community of Seventy-Six, its noted falls, and state senator Ed P. Warinner. It has long been believed that the community of Seventy-Six derived its named from the height of the waterfall along…

Historical Marker #780 marks the birthplace of Champ Ferguson, a Civil War guerrilla who was hanged by Union authorities after the Civil War. Ferguson was born in Clinton County, Kentucky, in 1821. By the time the Civil War erupted, he had already…