About This Place
Burkesville is a city in Cumberland County, Kentucky, United States. Nestled among the rolling foothills of Appalachia and bordered by the Cumberland River to the south and east, it is the county seat of Cumberland County. The population was 1,756 at the 2000 census.
Burkesville began as a small riverside settlement even before the Iroquois Indians officially sold the land in 1768 to establish Cumberland County. The settlement was originally called Cumberland Crossings. In 1846 it was incorporated as a city and named Burkesville after Samuel Burk, a prominent citizen leader at that time.
Just as Kentucky was a border state in the American Civil War, so was Burkesville a border town. Burkesville stood on the Cumberland River, a major natural barrier between opposing forces, so Union and Confederate troops as well as guerillas led by Champ Ferguson sparred across the countryside. Confederate General John Hunt Morgan tore through the area while conducting Morgan's Raid, and General Hylan B. Lyon's raids in December 1864 burned seven courthouses, ending with the one in Burkesville on January 3.