City of Williamstown

Williamstown, KY

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Welcome to Williamstown, KY

History in Brief.

Grant County was a part of Pendleton County until 1820.  There is a marker in the courthouse square that depicts the counties declaration.  Williamstown was founded on June 12, 1820 by Captain William Arnold.  A Revolutionary War soldier, Captain Arnold was also the first sheriff of Grant County.  Arnold donated two and one half acres of land to Grant County to establish public buildings.  He received the land for his service in the war.  Williamstown was first named Philadelphia.  After discovering that Philadelphia was already used as a city’s name in Kentucky, the name was changed to Williamstown in honor of Captain Arnold. 

By December of 1821, Grant County had a courthouse with furnishing order by the court, a jail, and a stray animal pen.  The total cost of the three buildings plus furnishing was $2,345.75. 

The county’s first newspaper was The Williamstown Courier.  The first edition was published on October 10, 1872. The Williamstown Courier was renamed the Grant County News, currently covering news in all of Grant County. 

In 1877, the city felt more secure when Cincinnati, New Orleans and Texas Pacific Railroad (now known as Southern Railway) laid tracks through Williamstown.  There was a depot constructed to serve the needs of the Williamstown citizens.

Source: “History of Grant County, Kentucky”

For more information please contact the Grant County Public Library External Link Iconto check out the History of Grant County, Kentucky.

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Pictures of the moving the William Arnold Home, founder

William Arnold Log Home move             William Arnold Log Cabin move

On May 10, 2007 the log cabin was moved to a more prominent location, across from the new Justice Center on City property.

The Grant County Historical Society opens the home for public viewing during events. Check Community Calendar for dates and times.

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Historical Information Links

Grant County Tourism's Historic PlacesExternal Link Icon

Online Historical Grant County Data can be found at
Kentucky American Local History Network websiteExternal Link Icon

Links to Historic Photos of Williamstown, view them at the Kentucky Digital LibraryExternal Link Icon

And Webmaster Bernie Spencer has put together an impressive collection at NORTHERN KENTUCKY VIEWSExternal Link Icon