Assistant City Clerk
Williamsburg became a town about the same time as Whitley County was formed in 1818. The land was donated for the courthouse by Samuel Cox. At the same time, he offered lots for sale for the formation of the town. The lots were laid out by Col. Gillis, a surveyor.
Williamsburg was first known as “Cox’s Crossing.” At this time a ferry was being used to cross the Cumberland River and was owned and operated by Samuel Cox. The site for the town was probably selected because of the three fresh water springs nearby which furnished an abundance of good drinking water for the entire Williamsburg settlement.
On December 8, 1886, the first promise of city government took place. “The free male inhabitants of said town above the age of twenty-one years” were allowed to vote in Williamsburg’s first election. A board of trustees (a forerunner of today’s city council) was elected and W. H. Parker was elected to serve as the first “Chairman” of Williamsburg.
Downtown Williamsburg is an important asset to the city for its history, charm, as a center of governmental activities. It will never serve again as the dominant retail center of the city and must reframe itself in a different form, such as preserving the historical, enhancing the cultural and developing the professional areas enherent to our downtown area. Downtown Williamsburg being the County Seat of Whitley County affords additional opportunities for growth due to the new judicial center. Although the City of Williamsburg has continued to grow and prosper over these last 190 years, it still maintains its rich history and prosperity and flourishes with light industry, education, banking, and tourism.