Burkesville is Rich in History and Vision
Receiving its name from the Cumberland River, Cumberland County, nestled among the foothills of Appalachia, was organized in 1798 as the thirty-second county of Kentucky. Burkesville-Cumberland County is rich in heritage and small town charm. Thomas Lincoln, the father of the 16th President, served two terms as constable of Cumberland County from 1802 to 1804. Two former governors of Kentucky, Thomas E. Bramlett, and Preston H. Leslie were both born in Cumberland County.
The breathtaking natural beauty of this area was noted by naturalist and "Father of Our National Parks,” John Muir. In his famous Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf, Muir wrote, "Burkesville, in a beautiful location, is embosomed in a glorious array of verdant flowering hills. The Cumberland must be a happy stream. I think I could enjoy traveling with it in the midst of such beauty all my life.”
Portraits of the people who have made an impact on Cumberland County's history are painted in the windows of the old Parkway Hotel located on the square in Burkesville. One such hometown success story is Joel Owsley Cheek. In 1873, Cheek moved to Nashville to set up a grocery firm where he developed his own coffee blend — which we now know as "Maxwell House Coffee.”
In 1892, while drilling for salt, an early settler struck oil three miles north of Burkesville, which is believed to be the first gusher hit in America. This oil was bottled and sold as medicine in the United States and England under the trade name "American Oil." A historical marker has been placed at the site on Renox Creek.
Burkesville is a Kentucky home rule city with a population of over 1,400 where history continues to be made. It’s a place of secret fishing spots, bluegrass gatherings, family reunions, motorcycle rallies, county fairs, and Main Street parades. Come be a part of the small town charm!