Pioneer Forts In Mason County





Henry Lee's Station (1785), Maysville.
Simon Kenton's Station (3) (1784), on Limestone Creek three miles southwest of Maysville. The town was originally named Limestone.
Bailey's Station (2) (1791), three miles west of Maysville, one mile north of Washington.
Arthur Fox's Station (date ?), Washington.
Basley's Station (1790's), Washington. (same as Bosley's Station below ?)
Bosley's Station (1793), south of Washington, one mile above the main fork of Wells Creek.
Wells' Station (date ?), undetermined location.
George Mafford's (Fort) Station (1787), Washington, built of flatboat planks after family descended down Ohio River. Also spelled Mefford. Marker on Main Street.
John Kenton's Station (1780's), one-half mile south of Washington.
Curtis' Station (date ?), about two miles southwest of Washington.
Thomas Waring's Station (1785), two miles from Maysville.
James McKinley's Blockhouse (1785), near Lewisburg.
George Lewis' Station (1789), Lewisburg. Originally known as George Clark's Station (2) (1785 - 1788). A cabin may have been built here as early as 1780.
Edmund Bryne's Station (date ?), somewhere on the North Fork Licking River. Also spelled Byne.
Whaley's Station (date ?), undetermined location.

Boot Cleaner


On October 31, 1905, Robert Thomas Cummings of Maysville, Ky was issued U.S. Patent No 803471 for a BOOT CLEANER

Tidbits From The Past



The sidewheeler Bostonia No. 3 was a brand new vessel that burned at the lower end of Maysville on August 7, 1866.

On June 28, 1881, the sidewheel Pheaton was racing with the Handy when her boilers exploded at Brooks Bar above Maysville resulting in 4 deaths.

The steamboat Big Kanawha was cut down by ice at Maysville in the spring of 1905.

The mouth of Cabin Creek near Maysville was the northern entry into Kentucky for Indian raids and at one time the trail was marked by Indian symbols cut on rocks and trees. There are several reported treasures located along this trail.

Husking Frolic

The following appeared in the New York Daily Whig in 1838

A fight came off at Maysville, Kentucky in which a Mr.Coulster was stabbed in the side, and is dead; a Mr. Gibson was well hacked with a knife; a Mr. Farr was dangerously wounded. This entertainment was the winding up of a corn husking frolic, when all doubtless were right merry with good whiskey.

husking bee, husking frolic: a social event in which the community came together to husk corn and to drink; they often ended with drunken brawls.

Lower Market Street



Unknown year

" Cox Row " Market Street




Photo taken when trees were planted along the street. "Cox Row" was built by an Englishman, Wm. H. Cox, Lt. Gov. of Ky. The houses looked very similar, so they were called Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. for identification. ca. 1970s

WINTER 1978

These pics should make everybody feel a little cooler

• Jan.16-17, 1978: Worst winter storms up until that time dropped 15.7 inches of snow -- a new single storm record.

• Jan. 25-26, 1978: A little over a week after the heaviest snow on record, the worst blizzard in recorded history hit the Ohio Valley with winds gusting up to 50 mph and generating five-foot snowdrifts.




The Hunt For John Price


The Hunt for John Price
One fugitive slave case that came to national attention began in August 1858 in Maysville, Kentucky, when Andrew Jennings crossed the Ohio River and headed north. Jennings was described as a big, brawny man well over six feet in height. His purpose for going to Ohio was to track down fugitive slaves and return them to Kentucky. He was also a slave owner but in August 1858 his job was that of a bounty hunter. His destination was the small college town of Oberlin Ohio. Why Oberlin? Ever since its founding by Congregationalists in 1833, Oberlin College had a reputation as a base for abolitionists and the education of women. Both were radical departures from the conservative beliefs of many Americans. Jennings suspected that there were fugitive slaves being harbored in or near Oberlin. He quickly contacted Deputy U.S. Marshal A.P. Dayton of the northern district of Ohio, a political appointee, who provided Jennings with information about fugitive slaves in the Oberlin area. The name of John Price, an alleged fugitive from Kentucky, was given Jennings. Jennings learned that a power of attorney from Price's owner, a resident of Kentucky, had been given to another bounty hunter. Jennings quickly obtained the power of attorney and then departed Oberlin for Columbus. Once in Columbus he went to the office of Stone Chittenden the U.S. Commissioner for Ohio to obtain a warrant as required by the Act of 1850. By September 10 Jennings had a warrant issued by Chittenden for "John" a fugitive escaped from his owner John Bacon of Maysville, Kentucky.
Jennings acted quickly on his warrant for "John" and together with Marshal Dayton seized John Price while he was digging potatoes in a field near the village of Pittsfield not far from Oberlin. The citizen of Oberlin who led the men to John Price received $20 for his information. It was a small amount considering the $500 Jennings expected to receive when he delivered John Price to his owner in Maysville.


The Calamitous Conflict:
An Attempt to Learn Why
E.G. (Jay) Ruoff
Price: $7.50 US*
*Price includes shipping
Send Check or Money Order to:
E.G. (Jay) Ruoff
P.O. Box 148
Avon, Ohio 44011

NO EXIT


Monday, April 23, 1956

The following appeared in Time Magazine

In Maysville, Ky., the 76-year no-escape record of the Mason County jail stood intact after police made a surprise search of the building, confiscated four hacksaws, three knives, found prisoners sawing away at the bars.

World War I



Mason County men who paid the supreme sacrifice.


Pvt. Batis, Thomas, Maysville Mason County D.D.
Pvt. Beckley, Elgin, Dover Mason County D.D.
Pvt. Bolender, Hugh E., Maysville Mason County K.A.
Pvt. Bramel, Arthur Glenn, Maysville Mason County D.W.
Pvt. Brierly, Mark, Sardis Mason County
Lt. Calvert, Joseph N., Maysville Mason County D.D.
Cpl. Cosgriff, Earl J., Dover Mason County D.W.
Pvt. Cosgriff, Earl J., Dover Mason County D.W.
Pvt. Davis, Joseph C., Maysville Mason County K.A.
Pvt. Frederick, Grover C., Mays Lick Mason County D.W.
Pvt. Louderback, Grover C., Maysville Mason County K.A
Pvt. Mefford, John W., Springdale Jefferson County or
Kenton County or Mason County D.D.
Pvt. Phillips, William, Maysville Mason County D.W.
Pvt. Pollitt, Robert T., Maysville Mason County D.D.
Pvt. Purdon, Ernest C., Maysville Mason County K.A.
Pvt. Purdon, Ernest C., Maysville Mason County D.W.
Pvt. Ruack, Alva L., Maysville Mason County D.W.
Pvt. Shoemaker, Lee Roy, Lewisburg Logan County or Mason County W.A.
Pvt. Sidell, Ira F., Mays Lick Mason County K.A.
Pvt. Smith, Benjamin F., Maysville Mason County K.A.
Sgt. Thomas, John W., Maysville Mason County D.D.
Pvt. Williams, Daniel E., Lewisburg Logan County or
Mason County D.W. 407
Pvt. Williams, Daniel H., Lewisburg Logan County or
Mason County D.W.
Pvt. Wilson, Dale L., Maysville Mason County D.W.

Earle D. Jones


Kentucky High School Association Hall of Fame Member


Earle D. Jones - This master coach is the winningest coach in the history of the Boys' State Basketball Tournament, his Kavanaugh and Maysvllle teams winning 19 games while losing 10…His 24 years at Maysville saw an overall record of 470 wins against 186 losses, 19 district championships, State Tournament runner-up finishes in 1938 and 1948, and a State Tournament championship in 1947…His
three years at Kavanaugh produced 71 wins against only 11 losses Jones later served Maysville as a principal and superintendent.

C & O Engine # 79



Boiler explosion at Maysville April 4, 1900

Maysville 1820

Henry Alexander



Henry Alexander was from Mayslick, Kentucky. He purchased his freedom when he was 21 years old. He was the husband of Lucy Alexander. Lucy was born in Kentucky. Though Henry had purchased his freedom at the age of 21, it is not known if Lucy was free also. Lucy and Henry worked strenuously to earn money to send their children to school. Their daughter, Maria A. Alexander, graduated from Oberlin College with a Literary Degree in 1854. Maria married Mifflin W. Gibbs and the couple moved to Vancouver Island, Canada. Mifflin Gibbs would become the first African American judge in the United States.

Maysville and Aberdeen About 1910



Click photo to enlarge

Kenton's Station


Kenton's Station near Washington, KY
The following is an early account of the location of Kenton’s Station. In the photo you can see the location of the spring. The house in the photo is still standing.

The bank is quite bluff from the Station locality, or Blockhouse, to the Kenton Spring - from 60 feet above the bed of the creek to the blockhouse & about 35 yards from the Kenton Spring to the blockhouse. The block house commanded the Spring, an excellent spring. Long rifle shot also commanded the Indian Spring, which was about 110 yards from the blockhouse: The Station was about a mile N.W. of Washington, KY. The ground descended each way from the Station except the West - & on the East side, quite abruptly.

Maysville, KY Dec 24, 1816



The undersigned passengers in the Steam Boat Franklin, from Pittsburgh, feel it a just tribute due to the proprietors and captain, to express publicly their approbation of the very handsome manner in which they have been entertained. Her accommodations, speed and safety, as well as the polite attention of Captain Cromwell, are such as will always insure a decided preference.
Chas. Savage, Massachusetts.
J. P. Cambridge, M. D., Philadelphia.
Tho. Sloo, Cincinnati.
Robert J. Baron, London.
W. R. Ord, London.
Louis Caenon, France.
J. W. Simonton, Philadelphia.
Daniel Lewis, New York.

Mrs Amo Peters




Amo Peters has received many awards for community service which has spanned more than 30 years. She has been on the board for the Housing Authority since 1988 when she was appointed by then-mayor Harriet Cartmell. She was elected Chairman of the Board in 1992, 1993, and 2003. The crowing achievement in her long history of public service was the dedication of the Amo Peters Center at the Housing Authority of Maysville in 1998. The building has hosted Leadership Kentucky, college classes, tutoring programs, computer classes, mission outreach from area churches, conferences, and other activities. Mrs. Peters is a retired licensed practical nurse who worked at the Hayswood Hospital for 30 years. Her care extended beyond the hands-on bodily needs to a spiritual and emotional dimension that seems to come so naturally to her. She is a woman of great faith and understanding. Peters has also served on the Retired Senior Volunteer Program Advisory Board, the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Fund Board, the Buffalo Trace Ageing Advisory Board, the Interagency Council and the Buffalo Trace Senior Olympics Steering Committee,

In 1981 Mrs. Peters was honored as the Outstanding Black Woman by the Black Coalition. Four years later the Black Caucus and Morehead State University presented her with the Community Service Award for Outstanding Leadership and Devotion. Mrs. Peters has also received the National Community Service Award in 1989 from the Black Caucus in Washington, D. C. And was commissioned a Kentucky Colonel by Governor Wallace Wilkinson in 1989. A Certificate of Achievement in Recognition of Outstanding Community Service by the Students United for Minority Awareness at Maysville Community College in 1996 and recognition as one of the 28 most important women in Kentucky in 2003 caps off the list. She has been nominated to the Civil Rights Hall of Fame.

On January 15, 2004 Mrs. Peters received the Martin Luther King Jr. Citizenship Award from the Martin Luther King Jr. State Commission. The award is given to an individual that embodies the spirit and energy of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Nominees for the award must have a true dedication to King’s dream. Although Mrs. Peters has received many awards over the years, the Martin Luther King Jr. Citizenship Award is her favorite.

Herman Lee Donovan


Herman Lee Donovan
Born in Maysville, Ky., on March 17, 1887. Educator. President, University of Kentucky. University of Kentucky, B.A., 1914; LL.D., 1933. Died, November 21, 1964.
The sixth President of the University graduated from Minerva High School in Mason County in 1905 and immediately began his career in education. He was named Principal for one year of a two-teacher school at Lewisburg, Kentucky. The experience made him realize the need for further education. He sold a horse his father had given him for $150 and went to Bowling Green with $156.10 to enroll at what then was called Western State Normal School. Following graduation from Western he taught for a year at Ward School, Paducah, Kentucky, two years at Wickliffe, Kentucky, then back to Paducah for a year (as Principal). At Paducah he married Nell Stuart. He became Principal of a school, and won an American flag as prize for his school showing the greatest improvement in buildings and grounds. At Wickliffe, where there was no library, he and Mrs. Donovan organized a dramatic group. They earned $800 from presenting plays and purchased the nucleus of a library.
He then came to the University of Kentucky, where he earned a degree in 1914. The following year he became Assistant Superintendent of Louisville City Schools. During World War I, he took a leave of absence to join the Army as a psychologist; he served at Oglethorpe and Camp Taylor.
A restlessness after the war caused him to resign the Louisville school job and enter the hardware business in Jellico, Illinois. He was successful, but the experience strengthened his desire to be a good teacher. He studied for a year at Columbia University, and returned home to become Superintendent of Catlettsburg, Kentucky, schools (1920-21). After a year he accepted an offer to be Dean of the faculty at Eastern Kentucky State Teachers College, 1921-23. Then, with a $2,200 fellowship, he went to George Peabody College in Nashville to study and serve as professor of elementary education; he went to the University of Chicago for several special courses, and in 1928 was called back to Eastern as its President. He taught at Chicago during the summer of 1930. The following summer he lectured at Colorado State Teachers College. He served the Eastern presidency until 1941, when he was named President of the University of Kentucky, serving until 1956.

Maysville 1889-1900



Photo taken at corner of Market Street and Second Street between 1889 and 1900. Shows a rare glimpse of Maysville's street cars.
Note that the track turns and goes south on Market Street.

Click on photo to enlarge

William "Bull" Nelson


William "Bull" Nelson (September 27, 1824 – September 29, 1862) was a U.S. Navy officer and later a Union general in the American Civil War who commanded the Army of Kentucky. He holds the distinction of being the only naval officer to achieve the rank of major general on either side of the Civil War. He was shot and killed by a fellow Union general, Jefferson C. Davis, during an argument in 1862.

The son of a physician, Nelson was born near Maysville, Kentucky, and attended Norwich Academy. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a midshipman on January 28, 1840, and achieved the rank of lieutenant by 1855. While in the navy, he commanded a battery at the Siege of Veracruz in 1847, served in the Mediterranean and the South Pacific, and in 1858, as commander of the Niagara, transported to Africa the negroes who had been rescued from the slave ship Echo. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he was placed in command of the gunboats on the Ohio River.

Mason County Elevations


Mason County Elevation Above Sea Level

When you leave downtown Maysville and drive up the U.S. 68 hill did you ever wonder how high you drove ?

The Ohio River is the area of lowest elevation. The lowest point, the normal pool level of the Ohio River, is 485 feet. The valley flats of the Ohio are about 520 to 530 feet.

Ridgetop elevations of 900 feet are common throughout the county. The highest elevation in the county, 1,000 feet, is found on a ridge 1.5 miles west of Mays Lick on the drainage divide between Licking River and the North Fork of the Licking River.

The city hall of Maysville has an elevation of 520 feet. Elevations of other communities are Dover, 520 feet; Germantown, on the Mason-Bracken County line, 960 feet; Helena, 830 feet; Lewisburg, 750 feet; Mays Lick, 898 feet; Minerva, 940 feet; Orangeburg, 761 feet; Sardis, 945 feet; and Washington, 900 feet.

Cold Case


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.

Bridge Construction


This is the construction of the bridge at Second and Bridge Streets. November 1936. Also notice the smoke coming from the cotton mill. Neat sidewalk around the construction.

Click the image to enlarge

German Prisoners In Maysville

When the United States went to war in 1941, what to do with enemy prisoners of war was among the last considerations of a country reeling from a Japanese attack and preparing for war in Europe. The nation had never held large numbers of foreign prisoners and was unprepared for the many tasks involved, which included registration, food, clothing, housing, entertainment, and even reeducation. But prepared or not, the country suddenly found itself on the receiving end of massive waves of German and Italian prisoners of war. More than 150,000 men arrived after the surrender of Gen. Erwin Rommel's Africa Corps in April 1943, followed by an average of 20,000 new POWs a month. From the Normandy invasion in June 1944 through December 30,000 prisoners a month arrived; for the last few months of the war 60,000 were arriving each month. When the war was over, there were 425,000 enemy prisoners in 511 main and branch camps throughout the United States.

During WWII German prisoners were housed in a fenced in lot in what now is known as Wald Park. During the week during the summer they worked in Mason County tobacco fields. The following is Father Al Fritsch’s recollection of a Sunday. Father Fritsch is a Mason County native.

The only time I ever had a formal birthday party was when I turned ten in late September, 1943. My mother proved to be one of the first soccer moms. She took a car load of my classmates, after ice cream, down to the Limestone Park on the creek flats behind Maysville to sit on the bluff and watch the German prisoners of war. The camp was quite confined and held about a hundred men They played a modified type of soccer or "football" where they used their heads and feet, but no hands. They were quite animated and enjoyed being far from the front and having an afternoon off. This soccer playing was fascinating for the respectable crowd with little else to do on Sunday afternoons in pre-tv days. In the morning prisoners had services led by a German-speaking Presbyterian minister from Maysville and a similarly talented Catholic priest from Mayslick.

Accused In Theft, Mayor Quits



In 1968 a friend and I had a local weekly radio program on WFTM called “ Jaycee Straight Talk.”
The late Roy Redmond, station manager, donated the airtime as a public service. We would interview various local civic and business leaders on a variety of topics. We had scheduled the Mayor, Ernest Heinisch, to appear on the program. Earlier in the day of the scheduled interview bank examiners and Federal agents visited The State National Bank. The bank was closed and arrests were made. Needless to say we didn’t get to interview the mayor.
It had something to do with issuing loans to people who resided in the Maysville cemetery
The following article appeared in the New York Times
September 13, 1968, Friday

MAYSVILLE, Ky., Sept. 12 (UPI) -- The Maysville City Commission accepted "with sadness" tonight the resignation of Mayor Ernest Heinisch, 50 years old, who faces charges of bank embezzlement. Mr. Heinisch is a former vice president of the Maysville State National Bank.

Martha Purdon Comer


Martha Comer was born on September 8, 1906, in Maysville,Kentucky, and she died on March 5, 2003.
Mrs Comer was the daughter of the late James Purdon and Elizabeth Brown Purdon; she married the late Patrick W. Comer. Mrs Comer attended St. Patrick Grade School and graduated from Maysville High School in 1924, where she was an honor student and salutatorian of her class; she was editor of the school annual, she played basketball all four years, with her team winning the district title her senior year; and she attended Brenau College in Gainesville, Georgia, and she later resumed her education at the Maysville Community College.
Martha Purdon Comer was an esteemed member of the Mason County community where she assumed the duties of editor of the Daily Independent in 1935, and later became editor of the Ledger Independent which had morning and afternoon editions; she was a strong advocate of truth in journalism, and even after her retirement on January 7, 1977, she continued as an editorial consultant and wrote a daily column, "Do You Know," as well as editorials; and, during her career, she was invited by President John F. Kennedy to the White House, and she made a trip with Kentucky leaders to West Germany to explore industrial development in the Rhine Valley and seek industry for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Mrs Comer was a member of the Freedom of Information committee for the Kentucky Press Association and a member of the state Associated Press Managing Editors Association; and, in 1995, she was elected to the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame, and she also was the recipient of an award for distinguished service for education from Maysville Community College; and
Martha Purdon Comer was an active and involved citizen; in 1953, she was chosen First Lady of the Year by Beta Sigma Phi; in 1976, she was chosen as Maysville's Distinguished Citizen by the Chamber of Commerce, and in 1979, she was chosen Distinguished Alumna of Maysville High School; she was a member of the Mason County Historical Society, a patron of the Mason County Museum, and a member of the Limestone Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution; and
Mrs Comer was the first secretary-treasurer of the Dorah H. Merz Memorial Playground; she was the first chairman of the Mason County Cancer Crusade, co-chairman of the Heart Fund, secretary of the anti-poverty program of the Licking Valley Community Action Program, Inc., a member of the board and advisory council of the Mason County Retired Senior Volunteer Program, a member and past officer of the Maysville Woman's Club, and a member of the Business and Professional Women's Club; she was active in the League of Women Voters, the Red Cross Blood Bank, and the Mason County Homemakers; and she was both a patron of the Maysville Players and the Council for the Arts.

She was an advocate of the Maysville floodwall, the county health department, the community college, public housing and civil rights.

Nancy Combs



Nancy Jane Austin Combs is a Maysville native married to another Maysville native Ronald Combs. Ron and Nancy live near Somerset Kentucky. Nancy has worked hard for a lot of years developing her musical talent. In addition to her music career, Nancy is a radio personality heard on WTLO a.m. in Somerset. The following is her on-line bio that, in part, describes her new CD entitled “ The Nearness of You “ The CD is available for purchase. Just click on Nancy Combs above.

This CD is not rock or country. It is a mini album of love as a souvenir of our programs or a taste of being at our performances to cheer you on with a playful, sophisticated wink and a smile reminiscent of the style of Ella, Sarah, Peggy Lee etc. Since she has become a professional vocalist she has been the vocalist for a DANCE BAND TRIO . Accompanied by keyboard artists, NAN-CIY has given JAZZ CONCERTS, BENEFITS and graced SENIOR RETIREMENT CENTERS with her talent. She has entertained at CORPORATE PARTIES and PRIVATE EVENTS. Since becoming title holder for FIRST RUNNER UP, MS. KY. SENIOR AMERICA, she has used her programming skills in radio to salute the VETRANS OF THE GREATEST GENERATION with classical musical gems of the WORLD WAR 11 ERA. NAN-CIY has continued FAMILY VALUES CABARET for fine dining restaurants with her well-known accompanists, JAY FLIPPIN and DAVE KAZEE. A chief trait of this tall attractive blonde is her enthusiastic ability to make audiences feel good and “come alive” during her performances. NAN-CIY’S comedic good humor shows through in her Cabaret Act. When she was asked about similarities between her vocal idol from the same hometown, Maysville, KY. and herself ,Nancy confessed:

“Well , Rosemary Clooney and I were both born blonde, and I’m born again blonde about every six weeks! How do you like this shade?“

The CD is available. Click Nancy Combs Title

We Will Miss You Gene


On Wednesday June 6th the Ledger Independent carried an article,
written by Laurnie Caproni, about the passing of Gene Downing. It began as follows

We could only hope the phone wouldn’t ring. And when it did, we knew the end had come. Gene Downing was gone. It’s hard to find the right words

Laurnie DID find the right words. The article is an outstanding, warm, tribute to a wonderful man.

Gene B. Downing was one of the finest men that I have ever known

To Marty, his wife, and his children Jim, Debbie, Janet and their families we extend our sympathy.

Click the We Will Miss You Gene title to read the entire article

Ken Downing

EKU Athletics Hall of Fame



LARRY WOOD, Bracken County Native and former MHS coach

Larry Wood was a three-year letterman in basketball and a four-year letter winner in baseball at Eastern. He was a three-time Ohio Valley Conference basketball star and received the E Club Award for basketball and the WHAS-TV Kentuckiana Senior Basketball Award in 1959. He scored 1,020 points during his collegiate career. Wood was also a standout on the diamond where he was co-captain of the 1959 Eastern team and finished eighth in nation in hitting in 1958 with his .430 batting average. He served as head basketball and baseball coach at Maysville High School from 1961-66 and directed that team to two district titles, one regional championship and the 1962 Ashland Invitational Tournament crown. His Maysville baseball team also won one district title and finished runner-up three times.

This writer remembers Larry Wood well. He had game !!

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.

Maysville Hanging

August 28, 1878 newspaper article

18 years ago, last Tuesday, Charles Collins was hanged at this place (Maysville - Mason Co.) for the brutal murder of the Cobb family. The execution took place about noon on the road leading from East Maysville to the Flemingsburg pike. Those he had killed and robbed included: Francis Cobb, Sr. age 70 and his two sons George age 15 and Abijah age 17 on July 24, 1861. Also, injured were other members of the Cobb family
Other records state that Collins was hung on a sycamore tree on Limestone Creek directly in front of the J.G.Fee School; which is now the location of the Mason County detention center.

John B. Pickett


He was born in Mason County, Ky on November 30, 1836. As a young man he went to Texas. He joined the Texas Rangers, mustering in with Company B at Houston on September 7, 1861. He died at Orange, Texas on September 27, 1861.
He was 25 years old. Apparently the first Ranger to die. He was the son of Benjamin O. Pickett and Mary L.F. Bacon of Mason County Kentucky
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