10 May Brief History on Clinton County
Clinton County was formed on February 20, 1835, from parts of Wayne and Cumberland counties. Clinton County was the 85th county formed in Kentucky and is said to be named after Gov. DeWitt Clinton, of New York.
Clinton County has an area of 205 square miles, of lush farmlands, mountains and shorelines of Lake Cumberland & Dale Hollow Lake. The eastern part of Dale Hollow State Park, extends into Clinton County. Both lakes are rich in bass, bluegill and crappie.
Albany, the seat of Clinton County, is located off HWY 127. In 1837 an election was held to determine the location of the seat of government and Benjamin Dowell’s tavern on the site of present-day Albany was chosen as the county seat. Legend relates that during the voting, patrons of Dowell’s tavern enthusiastically shouted, “All for Benny”.
Poplar Mountain is the highest evaluation at 1,500 feet in Clinton County. Poplar Mountain was home to coal mines and mineral springs. In earlier times, people would come from miles around to visit the springs at the top of Poplar Mountain. Coal mines in Clinton County once employed 125 residents.
Governor Thomas E. Bramlette (1863-1861) was born and raised in Clinton County until he was inaugurated governor. Governor Preston H Leslie (1871-1875) was a native of Clinton County. Of the two, Leslie probably was the better known, in later years becoming the Governor of Montana Territory. Another native of Clinton County was, James Semple, U.S. Senator lived in Clinton County for many years.
During the Civil War, Clinton County was troubled by guerrilla raids, as were other places near the border. Late in 1864, too late to possibly affect the course of the war, guerrilla forces burned the courthouse in Albany. One of the most notorious guerrilla raiders was Champ Ferguson, born in Clinton County in 1821. Ferguson, according to reports, showed no mercy to his victims, and is said to have committed over 100 murders. After the end of the war, he was tracked down, tried and hanged by U.S. Army Court in Nashville, TN. Ferguson is buried in White County, TN.
During the twentieth century, Albany began to build a small industrial base. The production of clothing, timber, and agricultural items, as well as the manufacture of stereo tapes, employed many residents of the area.