Site of the Gateway to the West, the Cumberland Gap, the history of Kentucky begins right here in Bell County. Early pioneers like Thomas Walker and Daniel Boone endured the untamed wilderness and opened the door to the Bluegrass for civilizations to follow. Those who subsequently made their homes herewho eked a living out of the rocky soil, survived civil war, world war, labor war and the booms and busts of timber and coalhave preserved this pioneering spirit. Lifelong resident Tim Cornett presents the history of his homeland from its first known inhabitants through the twentieth century, drawing on old letters, memoirs and personal interviews from the men and women who explored the land, exploited the land and shaped it into the Bell County we know today.
About the Author
Tim Cornett is the former news editor of the Pineville Sun and the Barbourville Mountain Advocate. He has also lent his hand to preservation, serving as the director for Main Street Pineville. He is a lifelong resident of the county and has published a pictorial history of Bell County with Arcadia Publishing and self-published a history of Black Star, Kentucky, one of many now-extinct coal mining towns in the state’s Appalachian Plateau. Mr. Cornett is a long-time member of the Bell County Historical Society, and as he puts it, “if I don’t know ‘em, they’re not really from Bell County.”