Explore Whitley County, Kentucky

Tour curated by: Whitney Todd

Whitley County, located in state’s southeastern region, was created on January 17, 1818. The county’s southern edge borders Tennessee. In addition, Whitley County contains part of the Daniel Boone National Forrest and the Cumberland River. Several of the historical markers focus on the Cumberland Falls State Park area, such as the natural phenomenon of the Moonbow, and the construction of access to the park in the early twentieth century during the Great Depression.

Both the county and Williamsburg, the county’s seat, got their names from Colonel William Whitley. He was a famous in the area for guarding the Wilderness Road and fighting off Indians. Colonel Whitley also fought in the War of 1812, where he was killed at the Battle of the Thames.

The University of the Cumberlands is located in Whitley County. The school’s history and several of the historic buildings are featured on the tour. Other markers speak about pioneer Kentucky and Civil War related topics. Whitley County played an important role in Kentucky’s history. We hope that you will use this app to better understand Whitley County’s importance to Kentucky's past.

Locations for Tour

Historical Marker #1067 in Williamsburg commemorates Whitley County's namesake, Colonel William Whitley. Arguably one of Kentucky's hardest-fighting settlers, Whitley was born in Virginia in 1749. He came to Kentucky in 1775. Although he…

Historical marker #1801 in Whitley County celebrates the natural phenomenon of the moonbow at the Cumberland Falls. Officially becoming a state park in 1931, the Cumberland Falls State Park sits on the Cumberland River with a large waterfall…

Historical marker #1837 in Whitley County notes the founding and expansion of the University of the Cumberlands. Prior to 2005, the University of the Cumberlands was called Cumberland College. Cumberland College was originally founded under the name…

Historic marker #1975 notes the history of the Sharpe family and their contributions to Whitley County. The Sharpe family land in Whitley began with John Sharpe. He was a veteran of the War of 1812. After the war, around 1817, Sharpe moved to the…

Historic marker #2002 in Whitley County notes the accomplishments of the Civilian Conservation Corps at Cumberland Falls during the Great Depression. In 1929, the stock market crashed and sent the world into the Great Depression. During these years,…

Historic marker #2084 in Whitley County recounts the history of Mahan Hall on the University of the Cumberlands’ campus. Prior to 2005, the University of the Cumberlands was called Cumberland College. In 1906, Cumberland College built Felix Hall…

Historic marker #2100 in Whitley County recounts the history of Roburn Hall on the University of the Cumberlands’ campus. Prior to 2005, the University of the Cumberlands was called Cumberland College. Roburn Hall was the first building on the…

Historic marker #2101 in Whitley County recounts the history of Gillespie Hall on the University of the Cumberlands’ campus. Prior to 2005, the University of the Cumberlands was called Cumberland College. Originally built in 1893, Gillespie Hall…

Historic marker #2102 in Whitley County recounts the history of Clyde V. and Patricia Bennett Building on the University of the Cumberlands’ campus. Prior to 2005, the University of the Cumberlands was called Cumberland College. In 1906, the Clyde…

Historic marker #513 in Whitley County notes the skirmish that occurred in Williamsburg, Kentucky during the Civil War. On July 25, 1863, Confederate Colonel John S. Scott and his men were met by a group from the Union’s 44th Ohio Infantry in a…

Historic marker #672 in Whitley County commemorates the heroics of Julia Marcum during the Civil War. Born on November 7, 1844, Julia Marcum grew up in Scott County, Tennessee. Her parents were Hiram and Permelia (Huff) Marcum. The family lived on…

Historic marker #898 in Whitley County notes the early surveying expedition of Dr. Thomas Walker and his companions through southeastern Kentucky. In April 1750, Dr. Thomas Walker and his small group of pioneers ventured into southeastern Kentucky.…

Historic marker #919 in Whitley County commemorates the heroism of Charles H. Gatliff and his wife Christina Gatliff. Captain Charles Gatliff was an early pioneer and settler in Kentucky. On May 28, 1748, he was born in Virginia to James and Martha…

Historical marker #1517 in Whitley County celebrates the Kiwanis Trail that connects Corbin to the Cumberland Falls. The Cumberland Falls is a large waterfall in southeastern Kentucky. On October 21, 1921, the Corbin Kiwanis Club was founded and…

Historical Marker #2201 in Williamsburg remembers Roy Martis Chappell, who was one of the famous Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. Roy Martis Chappell was born on September 27, 1927, in Williamsburg, Kentucky. When he was a young boy, his family…