A Lesson That Daisy Taught

A Lesson that Daisy Taught. One of my favorite homily/retreat
stories is how our milk cow Daisy (they all had names) taught me as a mere youth. Once and only once this occurred. I was perhaps ten and Iwas sent back into the field to find the cow that was laden with a calfand bring her to the barn. As always, when calving occurs it is generally in a remote corner of the farm. When I found Daisy the big event had occurred and a little wet blond calf was staggering around. At the same time heavy dark clouds were piling up in the western horizon, and I was old enough to know that it would most likely storm in a short while. The calf was too heavy for me to carry such a distance. I panicked as the cow would circle back to the calf as I tried to drive her home. The dance lasted a few moments and then I almost gave up.
Daisy gave me a nudge and I looked back and there she was with the calf right behind. I walked faster and faster and the animals followed -- the only time I ever knew this to happen to me. We three reached the barn before any downpour. The lesson I learned that stormy night was not to drive others, but to lead them. Things go better that way.

From The Latch String Is Out
by Al Fritsch, S.J.
Father Al Fritsch was born and raised in Mason County

Mingo Puckshunubbe

By Craig Thompson Friend

Mingo Puckshunubbe, a Choctaw chief around eighty years old, was part of a delegation to Washington, D.C. The delegation arrived in Maysville October 13, 1824, and had supper at Captain Langhorne’s Inn, a popular spot at the time. The chief wanted to see the river and fell off the abutment of the road, a distance of twenty feet. He died two days later and the city gave “every attention that could possibly be paid to a fellow mortal,” according to the newspaper accounts. He was interred in the old pioneer graveyard with full military honors.

Residents of Maysville, Kentucky, gathered to memorialize Puckshunubbe, a Mingo chief who had resisted settlement in the Ohio Valley between the 1760s and 1780s. The ceremony and funeral were, as a historian of the 1930s depicted, “military to the nth degree, . . . [and] the largest concourse ever assembled in the little Kentucky town. They came from all parts of Kentucky those who had warred against him, to pay a just tribute to his great military powers. Then, in a moment of exasperation, the historian concluded, “Pioneers!” Nearly three decades of war against the Mingos, Shawnees, and other northern Indians in the late eighteenth century had brought terror into the homes of Kentucky’s early white settlers, but here in the streets of Maysville were their children and grandchildren celebrating the enemy and praising his military acumen.

Maysville Train Wreck

May 22, 1907

Coach Hurled Down Bank

Woman Killed and Eighteen Persons Hurt in Train Wreck

Observation Car Catches on Piece of Track and Goes Over Fifty-foot Embankment in Kentucky.

Maysville, KY.. May 22.--The observation car of a Chesapeake and Ohio train which left Cincinnati for the East at noon to-day was thrown down a fifty-foot bank at the approach of Lawrence Creek, killing Mrs. Mary Halsey, of Milwaukee and injuring the eighteen other occupants of the car. The forward end of the train caught on a piece of track west of the bridge, throwing the observation car from the track. The derailed car ran along the ties about 100 feet, then went over the bank, rolling over and crushing itself.

MRS. LAZARRE, of St. Louis, had both legs and an arm broken, and she may die. The others injured include:
F.K. SMITH, Pittsburg, shoulder broken and head cut.
MRS. KATE WOOLSEY, Covington, lacerated scalp.
JUDGE L. W. HALSEY, Milwaukee, head severely cut.
MRS. PHERICO, Pikesville, Ky., back broken.
GEORGE STEARNS, Cincinnati, dislocated shoulder.
J.D. PARTOLD, JR., Baltimore, right shoulder dislocated.
MRS. BURKE, Ashland, two ribs broken.
MRS. VAN WALKENBERG, Huntsville, Ala., head cut.
D.P. DAVIS, Cincinnati, superintendent of mails of Chesapeake and Ohio, head and arm cut.
ROBERT J. ALLEN, Richmond, Va., porter cut on head.

The injured were brought to the St. Charles Hotel, where they were attended by Maysville physicians. Judge Halsey's wife is the first passenger that has ever been killed on this division of the Chesapeake and Ohio.

Mrs. Halsey was terribly cut by broken glass. A piece of plate glass as large as a dollar was taken from her head, while her body was peppered with glass.

Maysville Transit System


The Maysville City Commission in an Ordinance dated March 12, 1883 authorized streetcars. The Ordinance provided that they be drawn “by mules only”. ( Why not horses ? Politics ? )

An Ordinance dated May 1, 1890 abolished the mule-drawn cars to make way for electrically powered cars. The Cochran family originally owned the electrically powered cars, but later they became the property of the Kentucky Power and Light Company.

The Maysville Transit Company replaced the streetcars on January 1, 1937. The first nickel fare to be dropped into the Transit Company fare box was from Miss Kathryn Greenlee, daughter of City Patrolman and Mrs. Russell Greenlee. When the Transit Company made the last run on New Year’s Eve night in 1941 at the expiration of their five-year franchise, the last nickel to be dropped into the fare box came from the purse of Miss Greenlee.

The Transit System evolved over the years under the guidance of such prominent families as the Hardymon’s, Tomlin’s and the Duke’s until the City of Maysville took over the system in 1960.

The City of Maysville has been providing public transportation for its citizens for over 40 years.

Courtesy of The City of Maysville

Robert E. Lee's Horse

Traveller had Mason County Roots

Perhaps the most famous and beloved horse was Traveller, the mount of Confederate General Robert E. Lee during the Civil War. What kind of horse was he? Over the years the heritage of Traveller has been given several attributions – Thoroughbred, Arabian and Walking Horse. However, in 1886, the Richmond Dispatch printed his pedigree given by Major Thomas Brown. Brown purchased the horse from Captain James Johnson who gave the pedigree. According to Thomas Brown, General Lee had written his brother in 1868 asking for Traveller’s pedigree, which was provided. General Lee later wrote that Traveller, “ was of Greg Eagle stock.”

Grey Eagle, pride of Kentucky. Traveller was conceived in Mason County, KY, in 1856, when his sire, the great race horse Grey Eagle, was standing on the farm of J.B. Poyntz, near Maysville. Grey Eagle made two seasons there before being sold to Ohio, where he died on July 4, 1863, the day before the Battle of Gettysburg.

Maysville 1829

From The Writings of Caleb Atwater (1833) describing his visit in 1829.
MAYSVILLE is one of the most important towns on the river, between Wheeling and Cincinnati. It presents, from the river, an unbroken front of elegant brick buildings; the streets are well paved; has a good landing, and appears better from the water, than almost any town on the banks of the Ohio. It contains twenty-eight stores of dry goods, three of them large wholesale ones; one large queensware and china store; four groceries; an iron foundry; an extensive paper mill; a manufactory of stone ware, whose make is superior to almost anything of the kind any where; three large churches, belonging to the Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists. As a place of business, it ranks second in this State, Louisville, being the first.
The people of Maysville, for intelligence, industry, enterprise, and sterling patriotism, are surpassed by none in the Union. The town of Maysville was formerly called Limestone; and was either the starting point, or the place where many an Indian expedition ended, in early times. The country back of Maysville is rich and fertile, and the farmers among the best and most wealthy in the west. It contains about three thousand inhabitants, and is increasing in numbers, wealth, business, and importance, every hour. A steamboat runs daily between Maysville and Cincinnati.
The situation of the town is high, dry, and healthy. Stone for building is abundant on the spot, and every article used by the builder is plenty, cheap, and good. It must increase rapidly in all respects, and forever be a town of importance. Why the authors of maps of the United States have neglected, as many of them have, to notice so important a place as this, seems strange indeed.

Washington, KY Old Court House

Washington KY Court House

Mason County’s first courthouse located in Washington, which had been established as a town in 1786 by an act of the Virginia Legislature. Made “of brick and stone,” the building was opened on 26 October 1796. On the outside of the building, in an area called “publick grounds,” there was a section fenced off for “stray pens” where lost or stray livestock were placed for owners to identify and recover. Another outdoors section was the pillory or whipping post where culprits received 20 lashes as punishment. After 115 years, lightning struck the courthouse (Friday, 13 August 1909) and burned the building.

The August 13, 1909 Public Ledger's article states "what yesterday was one of the most venerable and celebrated public buildings in the United States is this morning but a smoking mass of embers. During this morning's storm about 6 o'clock the quietude of the people of Washington was broken and the whole village startled by a flash of lightning, followed by a crashing peal of thunder, and in a few seconds it was seen that the bolt of heaven had found a "shining mark" and that the beloved old Washington Courthouse, after 115 years of dignified public service, had answered the call of time and history, and, wrapped in a pall of smoke, its noble timbers and staunch floors, which had reverberated with the matchless eloquence of Thomas Corwine, T. F. Marshall, Henry Clay, Daniel Webster and scores of other noted world statesmen, became food for the flames and a sacrifice to the remorseless call of nature and destiny. "The old Washington Courthouse" we can truthfully say, was known the world over, and pictures of the venerable structure, whose modest steeple- "a pencil in the sky" - was prominent from Maine to California, was the historic pride of Washington, Mason county and old Kentucky. The building was built of limestone and erected in 1794 by Louis Craig, the pioneer Baptist Minister, who was a charter member of the early settlers of Kentucky. Washington remained the capital of Mason county from 1792 until May, 1848, - 56 years - when the county seat was moved to Maysville.

John Primble, Maysville, KY

Search “ John Primble “ anywhere and you will probably find the name Maysville, KY. However, John Primble pocket knives were never made in Maysville. Here’s the scoop:

John Primble is the longest continuous cutlery line in America. Over 145 continuous years.

John Primble ("Goods of Honour")is a Belknap Hardware (and Manufacturing Co) house brand knife. Some other Belknap Brands were Cyclone, Crusader, Belmont, Old Kentucky Home, Pride of Kentucky and Pine Knot. Primble knives (not those stamped Prussia or Germany) were manufactured under contract by Camillus, Boker, Schrade, Utica and Case.

A business consortium in Maysville, Kentucky purchased the Primble India Steel Works trademark. This group also operates the Blue Grass Cutlery Corporation in Manchester, Ohio. In the late 1980's they released new knives bearing John Primble- India Steel Works with the date of manufacture. (Note: The new cutlery company has continued the pocket knife traditions of the old. Blue Grass Cutlery makes brand new pocket knives, etc. that includes the John Primble, Blue Grass and Winchester brands) Belknap while obviously a hardware and manufacturing leader, is also remembered for its pocket knives. By the 1800's, pocket knives were its primary lines of merchandise. The company carried Russell, I*XL and LF & C, then introduced its own brands; Blue Grass, Pine Knot, Jas. W. Price and most noteworthy, the John Primble brand.

An Incredible Journey

Click On Map To See Entire Journey

Mary Draper Ingles

Kentucky State Highway 8, from the west end of Maysville, along the river, to northern Kentucky is referred to as the Mary Ingles Highway. It approximates the route taken by a pioneer woman, Mary Draper Ingles, and her companion, an elderly Dutch woman, following their escape in 1755 from Shawnee captors at what is now Big Bone Lick, Kentucky. With no maps and only her memory to guide her, Mary reasoned the only way to return home was to follow the rivers. After an incredible 40-day journey over an estimated 450+ miles of rough terrain the two nearly starved women found their way to her home near present day Blacksburg, Virginia.

Mefford's Fort

Mefford’s Fort was one of the earliest structures in Mason County. Supposedly built from the lumber of the flatboat used to come down the Ohio River to Limestone. Its original location was on Maple Leaf Road near its intersection with Hill City Road. Perhaps Hill City Road was one of the earliest paths from Limestone to the village of Washington.

The Russell Home

If the Russell Theatre is architecturally the most interesting commercial building in downtown Maysville, then the Gothic Revival home directly across Third Street is perhaps the most intriguing residence. It too shares a heritage with the Russell family of Maysville and was home to at least three generations of the Tom Russell family. Older folks can remember Tom Russell and his wife, Beatrice, who lived in the house for many years. Tom Russell died and Trice leased rooms to tobacco buyers and others before her death. The Tom Russells had three sons, Chris, Barbour and Milton Russell, and it was Milton and his family who inherited the rambling three-story home built of red brick, gray stone and pink marble. Woody Russell, Milton’s wife, had lived in the home for many years before her death. Actually, the house was built in 1886 by two brothers, George and William Cox…Rooms on the lower floors are huge with massive woodwork and large openings between the double parlors on the ground floor. Stained-glass windows and inlaid stone are other features that make the Russell house unique and unforgettable…

(Portions of an editorial by Robert Hendrickson, editor of the Ledger-Independent, Maysville, Ky., Wednesday, February 12, 1997)

Mason County Cold Case

State Police Request Help Resolving Ralph Bigelow Murder

April 27,1989

On Thursday April 27,1989 at approximately 0900 hours, Ralph Bigelow was killed at his barn while feeding his horses, by a person or persons unknown. The barn was located on Ky. 596, Salem Ridge Road in Mason County. An investigation of the scene revealed that Mr. Bigelow had been shot multiple times by a shotgun, and robbed of approximately $3000.00 in cash.

Detectives are requesting help from the community or anyone who might have information on the robbery and homicide of Ralph Bieglow. Anyone with information can contact the case officer Detective Sherman Royse with the Kentucky State Police Post 8 Morehead, Kentucky at (606) 784-4127 or e-mail him at sherman.royse@ky.gov.

Murder and Politics

Governor Joseph Desha

The Isaac B. Desha Story

Joseph Desha, first Governor of Kentucky, had a tumultuous administration which began shortly after taking office when he was notified that his son Isaac Desha was accused of murder in Mayslick, Kentucky. The trial lasted for over two years until a Fleming County Jury found Isaac Desha guilty and a judge sentenced him to hang.

Governor Desha used his influence to move the trial to Harrison County, the Governor’s Home County, for a retrial. The second jury found his son guilty and sentenced him to hang once more.

Yet again, Governor Desha used his influence to institute a third trial, and it appeared the jury was going to find the young Desha guilty a third time. To escape his fate Desha tried to commit suicide by trying to cut his own throat but he failed at the attempt.

On the day that Isaac Desha was to be sentenced to hang, Governor Desha stood up in the courtroom and issued his son a pardon on the spot.

The Story

It appears that Isaac B. Desha fell in company with Mr.Francis Baker at some place near Mayslick. After some conversation, by which he learned that Mr. Baker was traveling eastward, and intended calling on Captain William Beckly, a relation of his living near Washington, he, Desha, offered to accompany him, to show him the way to that gentleman's, which offer was accepted. Nothing more was seen or heard of Mr. Baker until he was found several days afterwards in the woods covered with logs and rubbish, with his throat cut from ear to ear! The back of his head was much bruised, supposed to have been occasioned by the strokes of a large whip in Desha's possession and the thumb of his right hand had been cut , apparently while resisting the knife of the murderer. Desha, we learn, was met near the place where the murder was committed, by a lad, who asserts that his hands and clothes were bloody, and that he was carrying a bridle, which was also bloody. The horse of the deceased was found in the possession of Desha; and a shirt Desha had on, on being compared with Baker's, was found to be of the same quality, with the mark cut out in precisely the same place where Baker's name was written on the other.

It is a tradition that the Governor pardoned his son and immediately thereafter resigned. The archives of the State show that he served his full term. It is also a tradition that his son recovered from the severe self­inflicted wound and that he went to Central America where he changed his name and married a second time and that his descendants became and are now prominent and influential citizens of Honduras.

Politics got an early start in the Commonwealth !!!!!

Trek To Cain-tucky

This was one of the first “ Kentucky flatboats to leave the colonies for the wilderness.
Edna Kenton tells of Simon Kenton's party who traveled down river from the Boat Yard in Pennsylvania, to Limestone,,Mason County VA in October, 1783. They departed on September 16, 1783. She identifies the party of forty-one persons as: Mrs. Mark Kenton, with a Negro woman and child; Nancy Kenton and child; William Kenton, wife and six children including sons P.C., Joshua, Mason, Jerry and William, and a Negro girl; Thomas Laws and his wife, four Owens boys and girls, and two Laws girls; Elijah Berry, wife, two children, and a Negro man; James Greathouse, wife, and three children; John Metcalf (father of Gov. Metcalf), John Griffith, John McGraw and wife, and Simon Kenton and a Negro woman. Nineteen horses came with them from Virginia . They carried their livestock, sundry supplies, including corn, flour and salt, and the Berry's cat aboard a rectangular "Kentucky flatboat" which she says was "..much larger than the usual thirty or forty-foot one.." At one end were stock pens, at the other was the roofed cabin with its fireplace for warmth and cooking. When they stopped to take on firewood, Simon hunted and returned with turkeys, deer, and once, a bear. George Washington surveyed this region in 1770, and apparently believed the Ohio River to be a perfect means of westward travel. Lest we take for granted the ease of the Kenton journey, and to answer the curious who might wonder why they chose to travel in October, let's read what has been said of this mighty stream before the advent of the Corps of Engineers... "Despite [Washington's] optimism about the convenience of navigation, the natural Ohio was an imperfect highway on several counts. Over its 981 miles, the river dropped only 430 feet, an average of less than six inches a mile. In low water, it was so shallow in places that a child could wade across. It remained low in the dry months of summer and in winter before the snow melt, rising high enough for ready passage only in the rainy months of spring and fall. On his way down the Ohio to rendezvous with William Clark in 1803, Meriwether Lewis had to pay local draymen two dollars to haul his boat over riffles- an exorbitant fee, he complained- and at gravel bars his men often had to climb out and shovel a passage, until the languid current swept a channel clear. Even in high water, sunken trees, rocks, sand bars, and the wrecks of earlier boats made travel hazardous. Drift ice was a problem most winters, and about once in every ten years the river froze solid."

Ponto, The Office Dog, Says

Ponto appeared daily in the lower left hand corner of the front page of the Daily Independent for decades. It was a “must “ read everyday. Ponto would write about people, places and things. Sometimes funny, sometimes serious, and sometimes profound. It was the first thing most folks looked at when they picked up their newspaper. Often daily conversation would include, “ Did you read Ponto this morning?”
For most, Ponto was more famous than Nipper the RCA dog. I can’t speak for everyone, but I, for one, sure do miss him.

A Day In The Life of Early Mason County

It’s about 6 a.m. on an early spring day in 1789. Our pioneer, perhaps John Downing, realizes its time to get up. It’s cold inside his un-chinked cabin. He jumps out of bed, stirs the coals in the fireplace, add a couple of logs, and crawls back in bed to let the cabin warm a little. There is no need for John to dress as he has worn his breechcloth and hunting shirt to bed. John’s wife, Susannah, rises and starts breakfast. After breakfast of corn much and bear grease John shaves a bit of tea from the block for his morning cup. He gives his children their morning chores. Ellis, the oldest at 18, will help his father with firewood, Nancy 17 and James 16 are dispatched to fetch water from the spring. Susanna 13 and Joseph 12 are put in charge of their younger siblings. Mary 10; Sarah 8; the twins Dorcus and Deliah 6; Catherine 4, Lydia 2 and Rachael the newborn.

Although John, Ellis and James had cut nearly 30 cords of wood last year, the supply is almost completely depleted and firewood is a basic necessity. John and Ellis drop a load of wood on the hearth. John picks up his rifle and heads out to his newest field to work. He stuffs some fry cakes and jerky inside his hunting shirt for lunch. Several dogs follow him out as he carries his axe, hoe, and seed bag in his left hand and totes his loaded rifle in his right hand. The rifle will be his constant companion due to the threat of marauding Shawnee. If it comes to a fight he also has a tomahawk and a knife slid through his belt. It wouldn’t be the first or the last time he had to use them.

His first task of the day is preparing a section of next year’s field. Instead of clearing the land he cuts a 6 inch wide strip of bark from around the trunk of several trees. This will kill the trees and let light down to the ground below. He will plant this field like he has all the others. Instead of plowing and grubbing the soil, he burns off the ground cover and makes little 4 inch hills where he can plant between the stumps. Into each hill he places four or five kernels of seed corn. Spring is when food is in short supply. Until the kitchen garden begins producing spring vegetables, their diet is going to be monotonous. Even with the poor quality of game meat John decides to spend the rest of the day hunting.

John heads into the woods with his dogs. The only game he can find this close to home is squirrels. If he was to shoot them with his large caliber rifle most of the meat would be wasted. Instead he shoots the limb just under them. John manages to “ bark “ four good sized squirrels. At least his family will be able to eat for another day. John gets home as night falls and drops his bounty into the stew pot. Dinner is served an hour later. The whole family eats together sharing their cups and the older helping the younger. The conversation is lively as they discuss their day. Everyone is particularly excited when Susannah announces that they are invited to neighbors on Saturday for a barn raising. They are sure to go as it is only a trip of two miles. After dinner everyone has a few little odds and ends to attend to so they gather around the fireplace. John whittles out pegs to join the beams at the barn raising. The oldest children are spinning some wool on drop spindles, and Susannah is busy sewing squares of scrap cloth in with which to make another quilt.

The family retires early. Candles are scarce and there is little grease left for the betty lamp. The children all climb the ladder to the loft, the infants are put down in their boxes. John banks the fire and pulls the latch cord from the cabin door. As the flame dies in the fireplace John and Susannah lie down in their rope bed and nod off to sleep. After all, tomorrow will be another day.

Adapted by Ken Downing
Y'all come back ya hear !
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