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History of Russell County


Russell County, Kentucky was named for Col. William Russell. Russell, a military leader, and statesman participated in the American Revolution, various Indian wars, and the War of 1812, as well as holding legislative office in both Virginia and Kentucky. Russell County was the 81st county in Kentucky and was created in 1825 from sections of Adair, Cumberland, and Wayne counties.

The beautiful level bottomland on the Cumberland is very fertile, but the surface of the county generally is hilly and broken. Good streams of water abound and two woolen factories were established before 1847 and many other factories were advantageously established.

The town of Creelsboro, the oldest settlement in the area, was thriving some 16 years before Russell County was formed. It was named for Elijah Creel, an early settler. At one time Creelsboro was the busiest river port on the Cumberland River between Nashville, Tennessee, and Burnside, Kentucky. Kentucky steamboats that supplied most of the transportation of foods for a five-county area put into port at Creelsboro, where there was a bank, a school, three stores, and a building that provided lodging for steamboat passengers. Today, several original buildings stand vacant, devoid of the hustle and bustle of the steamboat days.

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