Explore Simpson County, Kentucky

Tour curated by: Tim Talbott

Located along the Tennessee state line in south-central Kentucky, Simpson County was established in 1819. Simpson County was formed from parts of neighboring Warren, Logan, and Allen Counties. Named for Captain John Simpson, who was killed at the Battle of River Raisin in the War of 1812, Simpson County was Kentucky’s sixty-second county.

The history of Simpson County that is explored here, and is on the county's highway markers, includes people and places that have influenced local, state, and national events. Here you can learn about a hero of the Alamo, a famous hymn writer, and a co-founder of the Pony Express. Simpson’s County's uniqueness is also explored with a look at the architecturally significant Octagon Hall and the county’s irregular border with two Tennessee counties. There are stories about the county's contributions to politics with people such as Beverly L. Clarke and Virgil Munday Chapman. The county’s educational efforts with institutions such as the Lincoln School, which served the African American community before integration, and the Goodnight Library, which was funded by a local woman’s philanthropy, are also examined.

We hope you will use this app to learn more about Simpson County's noteworthy and interesting history.

Locations for Tour

Historical Marker #1947 in Simpson County remembers native son James Bowie, who died at the Alamo in 1836, and that county’s 1869 redrawn boundary with neighboring Logan County. “Remember the Alamo!” is a phrase that has been passed down since…

Historical Marker #2402 in Franklin notes the birthplace of Alexander Majors, a co-founder of the Pony Express. Long before Horace Greely coined the phrase “Go West, young man!” generations had already started looking toward the western…

Historical Marker #1271 in Franklin remembers the service of politician Beverly Leonidas Clarke to the state and nation. Beverly L. Clarke was born in Chesterfield County, Virginia, in 1809. In 1823, he moved with his family to Christian County,…

Historical Marker #2132 in Franklin remembers the birthplace of noted church hymnist Thomas Obadiah Chisholm. T.O. Chisholm was born into a turbulent world on July 29, 1866. The Civil War had ended the year before, but yet random acts of violence…

Historical Marker #912 in Franklin notes Simpson County’s namesake, War of 1812 veteran, Captain John Simpson. Simpson, a native of Virginia, came to Kentucky as child with his family. The Simpsons settled in Lincoln County and John attended a…

Historical Marker #598 in Simpson County notes the movement of Nathan Bedford Forrest’s cavalry while in the area during the Confederate invasion of Kentucky during the summer and fall of 1862. In the summer of 1862, John Hunt Morgan made a raid…

Historical Marker #1369 in Franklin notes the Goodnight Memorial Library’s founding and long service to the community. One never knows how many lives may be impacted through charitable giving, but almost always, good comes from giving. Such was…

Historical Marker #2345 in Franklin remembers the Lincoln School, which served as that city’s African American school from 1940-1965. During the “Jim Crow” era, funding for African American schools in southern states often had to come from a…

Historical Marker #611 in Simpson County notes the location where Tennessee antagonists sometimes met to settle affairs of honor by fighting duels. When a gentleman in the late-eighteenth or early-nineteenth century was publicly humiliated by a…

Historical Marker #503 in Simpson County notes the unique architecture of Octagon Hall, an eight-sided home built in the mid-nineteenth century. Regardless of era, wealth has always had its privileges. If one has the necessary funds, lifestyle…

Historical Marker #1850 in Simpson County notes the irregular boundary protrusion that occurs on the Kentucky-Tennessee state line where Interstate 65 crosses the border. Looking at almost any map of the United States, it is easy to see the unusual…

Historical Marker #978 in Simpson County notes the birthplace of US Representative and Senator Virgil Munday Chapman. Kentucky has produced its fair share of politicians who made a name for themselves on the national stage. Some are better…

Historical Marker #562 in Franklin commemorates Jerome Clarke, who is said to have impersonated a woman to spy on the enemy during the Civil War. There are various ways to win a war, perhaps none as crucial as having spies infiltrate the enemy lines.…