Maysville Kentucky Blog

The Maysville Kentucky Blog is your guide to the beautiful and historic small town of Maysville Kentucky, snuggled into the rolling hills along the Ohio River. Though this blog has been discontinued, you can get your Maysville Kentucky fix over at Ken Downing's Mason County Kentucky Blog @

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Spooky Footage of Hayswood Hospital

This video was shared with me by a person who wishes to remain anonymous. It's some late night footage of the Hayswood Hospital in downtown Maysville Kentucky. I don't want to spoil it by saying too much, but it's very spooky stuff. Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Pulse: Burrwal Farm Corn Maze

This week's Pulse comes from Lindsay at MySpace and her blog post is about the Burrwal Farm Corn Maze in May's Lick:
I'll admit I was kind of apprehensive because I hate being lost... and I'm slightly claustophobic. Which is pretty much the point.... it's a corn maze (d-duh!). The corn was well over our heads. I'd say probably 10-12 feet tall. And all you can see is corn. 8 acres of corn.

Mary's approach to the maze... well, it uh-mazed me. There was one entrance/exit on either side as we got up to the maze. So as we entered it, Mary reasoned that in order to come out on the other side of the maze, we would have to walk far enough into the maze and make turns in a manner that the sun was at the opposite side of our faces than it was when we entered. With that rationale... we were out of the maze in less than half an hour!

Read the full post

The Pulse is a weekly series at the Maysville Kentucky Blog where we pull something we found in the blogosphere that relates to Maysville and share it with our readers.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Changing of the Guard in Local Media

It was announced recently that The Flemingsburg Gazette has been sold to Barker Publications LLC by Townsend Publications of Flemingsburg. The local weekly newspaper has served the Flemingsburg community for more than 100 years. The new publisher, Garry Barker, is a talented Kentucky writer, author of 9 published books, and writes the "Head of the Holler" column, a newspaper column that has run in regional newspapers since 1988 (see: Kentucky Author: Garry Barker from our February 2006 Issue).

More than just a swapping of editors, however, this sale is part of a wider change in the faces of local media that has been unfolding over the past several years. For those paying attention, we saw Betty Coutant, former news editor of the Ledger Independent, leave to start her own publication. The position of news editor was then filled by Danetta Barker. Danetta Barker, wife of Garry Barker, will now be leaving the Ledger to fill the shoes of editor at the Gazette. This means that the Ledger Independent will have a new news editor before too long (if they don't already). Confusing? Don't worry, all you need to know is that Garfield is still drawn and written by Jim Davis.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Video File: Nick And George Clooney Fight Poverty

Maysville natives Nick Clooney and son George Clooney join several other well-known actors to ask American voters to help fight global AIDS and extreme poverty. More information is available at

Friday, October 27, 2006

Halloween Activities This Weekend

There's a lot of spooky festivities going on this weekend with Halloween just around the corner.

Tonight (Friday):
The Kentucky Gateway Museum Center will be hosting Ghost Night in downtown Maysville. Meet famous spirits of the past, story telling, costume contest, refreshments. Contact 606-564-5865 or

Trick or Treat! Bring the kids to Ghosts & Goblins in Downtown Maysville. Meet at the 2nd Street Mall & Fountain for pumpkin painting, trick-or-treating, scarecrow building. 10 am to 12 noon. Contact 606-564-9419.

Take a walk on the spooky side with the Augusta Ghost Walk. Halloween hayride around town, visit Turtle Creek, home of Augusta's most famous ghost. Contact 606-756-2183 or

All Weekend:
Get lost in the Haunted Corn Maze on R Farm. Prepare to be Scared by ghosts, goblins and other scary creatures. Contact 606-742-2429 or

Scare yourself into the light at the 6th Annual Hereafter House. Walk through drama in haunted house setting. 7 pm to 10 pm. Contact Pastor Riggs 606-301-3901- or

Bring extra pairs of underwear to the Halloween Campout at Blue Licks Battlefield State Park. Jack-o-lantern carving contests, Haunted Trail of Horrors and more. Contact Paul at 859-289-5507 or

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A Photographic History of Brown County

You may recall that in February we mentioned that a new book detailing Brown County Ohio's history in photographs would be heading to the shelves of Barnes and Noble book stores (See: Ripley Photo History Coming to Barnes and Noble from our February 2006 Issue). Well, it appears that the book is complete, according to a recent article in the Ledger Independent. The book is named simply, Brown County, and it's part of the Images of America series by Arcadia Publishing. According to the article, the book contains over 200 vintage photographs.

From the Book Description at

The history of Brown County has been shaped largely by the Ohio River. It has allowed farmers and industries to transport their products and provided recreation, entertainment, and travel opportunities to the residents of the community. Even though flooding of the river brought destruction many times, it also enabled freedom for thousands of slaves. Under abolitionist leaders like John Rankin and John Parker, parts of Brown County became known as the "Grand Central Station" of the Underground Railroad. Interesting and notable Brown County natives include Ulysses S. Grant, who grew up to command one of the largest armies ever assembled and later became president of the United States; Col. Charles Young, the third African American to graduate from West Point and a military attache to Liberia; Rosie Riles, better known as "Aunt Jemima"; and Joe Smith, who inadvertently helped Louis Armstrong's career, also hailed from this great county.

Although it retails for $19.95, you can pick up a copy at for $13.59 by clicking here.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

History Behind The EAT Gallery

From the EAT Gallery web site (recently redesigned):

We are often asked why we would call a gallery that sells jewelry, carvings, mineral specimens and other wonders of nature "EAT"? To explain why, one has to understand something of the history of the building that houses the gallery at 46 West Second Street. For most inhabitants of Mason County, Maysville being the county seat, the building is known as the "EATS" building, because from sometime in the first part of the twentieth century the Morgan family opened a diner there. Even though the establishment was called "Morgan's Restaurant" the large neon sign hanging over the front door was all people remembered. "I'll meet you at EATS", became a sometimes daily saying in Maysville. EATS was known for it's chili, burgers and the unique personality of its owner.

Before the diner, the building started life as a furniture emporium during the period of history when Maysville was the center of commerce in the area. For many years after being founded by among others, Simon Kenton and Daniel Boone, Maysville was the biggest town west of the Appalachians on the Ohio River. The building dates back to the early part of the nineteenth century and on the exposed western side of the building one can still see the word "Furniture" painted there well over a hundred years ago.
When the current owners decided to open a gallery they wanted to keep the history of the building intact and keep the neon sign alive.

Hence the use of the name EAT, which of course stands for Exquisite Art Treasures.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Franklin Sousley & The Battle of Iwo Jima

Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, by Joe Rosenthal / Associated Press

Franklin Sousley was one of the marines in the above famous photograph depicting the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima. The events surrounding the photograph are the subject of the movie Flags of Our Fathers, which is currently in theaters. Sousley was from nearby Fleming County.

Edited from Wikipedia:

Franklin Sousley was born in Hilltop, Kentucky, as the middle child of three sons. When Franklin was three, his five-year-old brother died of appendicitis. Just a year later, Franklin's father died of diabetes at age 35. Only nine years of age, Sousley now found himself the man of the family, keeping his mother's spirits up with his sense of humor and easygoing personality.

Sousley received his draft notice at eighteen and decided to become a U.S. Marine. After extensive training, he eventually found himself as part of the U.S. 5th Marine Division landing force in the Battle of Iwo Jima. Together with John Bradley, Ira Hayes, Rene Gagnon, Harlon Block, and Michael Strank, he helped raise a replacement flag on Mount Suribachi, immortalized along with the others in Joe Rosenthal's famous photograph.

The importance of the photograph as a propaganda tool was recognized immediately, and word had been sent that Sousley was to be brought back to America for a publicity tour. Unfortunately, it did not reach him in time.

On March 21, 1945, Marine PFC Sousley was shot in the back by a Japanese sniper while taking a walk on the nearly-secured island. He was nineteen years old. A fellow Marine saw Sousley lying on the ground and asked, "How you doin'?" Sousley's reply (and last words) were reputedly, "Not bad. I don't feel anything." Originally buried on the island of Iwo Jima, as were all the casualties, his body was reinterred on May 8, 1947, in Elizaville Cemetery, Kentucky.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Pulse: Ballroom Dancing in Maysville

This week's Pulse comes from Meagan at MySpace and her blog post is about Ballroom Dancing in Maysville:
So last week I was reading through the newspaper (part of my job thank you) and noticed that someone was going to teach ball room dancing in Maysville. At first I brushed it off because I didn't figure my husband would be into that.. however much thought and contemplation I decided to give it a shot and ask him if he would be interested in going. Of course he wasn't really into the idea but when I told him that they started on my birthday and it would make an excellent present to me he agreed. So last night we walked into a room full of people not knowing what to expect...

Of course we were the youngest couple there, everyone else has a good 15-20 years on us! A little nervous the class began and 1 hour our amazement we actually knew somewhat how to dance the rumbaa, swing, and foxtrot...

Read the full post

The Pulse is a weekly series at the Maysville Kentucky Blog where we pull something we found in the blogosphere that relates to Maysville and share it with our readers.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Man Attempted To Murder His Family in 1887

This was reported in Maysville Republican June 6, 1887:
John Field lives in the Huddleston neighborhood about half way between Mt. Gilead and Flemingsburg in Fleming County. He is a man of about sixty, has a wife and two grown sons, and until the difficulties stated below, was in good circumstances.

Ferris Bright was a neighbor, and Field had become his security for quite a good sum of money. Bright broke up and the holders of his paper looked to Field for the payment of this debt. In the adjustment of the debt, Field's property got into possession of his sons. After the financial difficulties had been overcome, Field's next move was to regain possession of his property, which was resisted by his sons.

This threw matters into court and got up a family feud, the result of which was the separation of Field from his wife and sons. Thus they lived until recently, when he returned to the family roof-tree. Just how they got along together we do not know, but matters took an ugly shape Saturday night about 12 o'clock.

Reports differ, but of the several that we have heard we give the following. About the hour named, Field shot his wife and his two sons and then sought to end his own life by cutting his throat. Our latest advices say that all parties are still living, though the recovery of the wife and one son is doubful.

There was a follow up article on June 10th saying that although everyone survived, one of the sons had a mini ball lodged in his ear and suffered very much. Field himself was so disgusted by his murder attempts that he tried to suffocate himself to death. It didn't say whether or not he was successful.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Maysville's Sutton Street

The first ferry in Maysville Kentucky was operated by Benjamin Sutton in 1794. The Kentucky side of the Ohio River where the ferry landed became known as Sutton's Landing and was located where the present-day Sutton Street ends at the floodwall. Sutton Street was, of course, named for Benjamin Sutton. Curiously, the floodwall mural depicting Sutton's Landing is actually a few panels East and the mural here is of a tobacco barn.

Both the Kentucky Gateway Museum and the historic Lee House are on Sutton Street. The Lee House, originally named the Washington Hotel, was built circa 1798. Famous guests include Henry Clay, the Marquis de Lafayette and Andrew Jackson.

The bricks that make up the lower end of Sutton Street are originals. City workers began laying the bricks in 1905 from 4th Street to Front Street and finished the job in 1906. Although brick also covers Court and Market Streets, only Sutton Street contains its original bricks. Court Street was reworked while working on water lines in 2001. Market Street has gone through several make-overs and I believe it's current bricks were placed in 2004.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Autumn Is Upon Us!

Main Street in Old Washington Kentucky - Jeremy Parnell

Autumn has arrived in all its splendor. Maysville Kentucky and the entire Ohio River Valley is an excellent place to begin your excursions to watch the leaves change because of its situation between two hill ranges that cradle the river. Here's a few trips I suggest:

  • US 52 or Kentucky 8 between Maysville and Cincinnati - great because you can see an enormous blanket of oranges and reds to the left and right created by the hills that hold the river.
  • Ohio 41 from Maysville to West Union or Ohio 763 outside of Aberdeen to Russellville Ohio - great because you are actually driving through trees that form a canopy above you (if travelling from Ripley, we recommend Scoffield Road as well).
  • US 68 between Maysville and Lexington - in addition to a wonderful drive of autumn leaves, you are also treated to the large horse estates that Kentucky in known for.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Paranormal Road Trip Through The Bluegrass State

Just in time for Halloween, Louisville-based Utopia Dream Productions has released their latest DVD, entitled Haunted Kentucky. Following in the footsteps of popular reality-based television shows such as Sci-Fi's Ghost Hunters, Haunted Kentucky chronicles the adventures of mother and daughter ghosthunting team Starr and Jessi Chaney, from Nicholasville, as they travel to Kentucky's most haunted locations in search of paranormal activity. See the behind the scenes life of an intrepid team of ghosthunters as they explore paranormal Kentucky, visiting such haunted locations as the Whitehall Mansion in Richmond, where mysterious lights have been seen since restoration work began in the 1960s; Camp Nelson in Nicholasville, said to be haunted by restless Civil War soldiers; Victorian homes in Louisville, which has been called "America's Spookiest Town"; and many other historical landmarks throughout the state where witnesses have reported bumps in the night.

"I learned a lot about the paranormal from this experience, but I am left with more questions than before," said documentary film maker Charla Stone, the producer of Haunted Kentucky. I recently spoke with her by telephone and asked what was the coolest thing they experienced. Stone, who isn't a ghost hunter, said she was most impressed by the investigation of the Mansion at Griffin Gate in Lexington, Kentucky. As you'll see on the DVD, during the investigation they were able to capture on film objects moving about, seemingly by unseen hands. "I can't explain it," Stone said. The Lexington historical landmark, Mansion at Griffin Gate, was completed in 1873, and is thought to be haunted by a little girl staff members have nicknamed "Greta". Several of them say they've seen her playing near the staircase.

Haunted Kentucky is a 90 minute documentary of a roadtrip through one of America's most haunted states. I recommend ordering the 2-disc set which offers a bonus disc containing EVPs (electronic voice phenomena), photos, outtakes, and bloopers. I'm sure you'll find Starr and Jessi Chaney as entertaining as I do : )

View the Trailer
Order the Haunted Kentucky DVD

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Video File: Jeff Wayne, Kentucky Mash

Comedian Jeff Wayne grew up in Newport, Kentucky, about an hour from here. This is his take on life in Kentucky

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Ohio River Valley Is Real

An excellent article in the Cincinnati Post, following on the heels of the Tall Stacks celebration, brings awareness to something I've thought for years now:
The 'Ohio Valley' no longer exists in the psyche of most people. Obviously it is a geographical feature, but for the average person, the Ohio River is simply an obstacle to get over, a curiosity to glance down on while whizzing across a bridge at 60 miles per hour.

Dan Hurley, the Post columnist who points out this understated observation, is right on the money when he says the Ohio River finds itself in the curious state of being both one of the region's greatest assets, and yet not a part of people's day-to-day lives in the region. It's barely a thought in the mind's of people who live even a few miles from it. In order to bring life back to this 150-mile corridor between Maysville Kentucky and Madison Indiana, he says, we must first "convince ourselves that the Ohio River Valley is real." We need to reclaim the Ohio River as an integral part of our community instead of just a watery, albeit beautiful, backdrop to it.

I was thinking just this same thing the other day when writing about the upcoming BB Riverboat cruise in Maysville. We really need our own riverboat that has Maysville as a permanent port of call, offering weekly, or even daily cruises.

Full Story

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Pulse: Diabetes Awareness Walk

Explanatory: The Pulse is a new weekly series at the Maysville Kentucky Blog where we pull something we found in the blogosphere that relates to Maysville and share it with our readers. For those who don't know, the blogosphere is the term used to describe all blogs as a community or social network. Many weblogs are interconnected; bloggers read others' blogs, link to them, reference them in their own writing, and post comments on each others' blogs. This interconnectedness forms the blogosphere. If the web in its entirety were a fishbowl, the blogosphere would be one incredibly large air bubble in that bowl... or something like that.

This week's Pulse comes from Rachel at MySpace and her blog post is about the Diabetes Awareness Walk that took place on Oct. 14th in Maysville:

Today was a really good day. Went to the Diabetes Awareness Walk in Maysville, Kentucky with my mom. (We're both diabetic. I was diagnosed in 1989 with type one and she has had type one for several years now after having had type two for several years.)

We walked with everyone else for 1.3 miles on a paved walkway. Every hundred feet or so there were little signs posted along the path with tidbits about diabetes.

Read the full post

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Earlywine Racing: Indoor Motocross

The planners of a Scott County motocross racing facility have received criticism from local residents saying that the facility would add to noise pollution and ruin the area's "scenic beauty and peacefulness". To show why this shouldn't be a problem, the company behind the race track is pointing to Maysville Kentucky based Earlywine Racing as a success story. Measuring at 160ft wide, 300ft long, and 65ft tall, Earlywine Racing is reportedly the nation's largest permanent indoor motocross facility.

Marla Baxter, of the Maysville-Mason County Tourism Commission, says Maysville has only benefitted from the Earlywine Racing facilities, which have been opened for about a year. "They are out and about in the community shopping and eating," she said. "We are hearing comments that they frequent our businesses."

"We thought there was going to be a lot of noise trouble, but there hasn't been," Mason County Judge-Executive Buddy Gallenstein said. "There's more noise from the car and truck traffic on the AA Highway than from his place."

Full Story /

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Mid-Nineteenth Century Day Photos

These are photos from the First Annual Mid-19th Century Day on Court Street. Thanks to all who participated!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Finding A Community Identity

Helens, Georgia, is a small town hidden away in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the Chattahoochee River. By the 1960's, the town found themselves suffering a failing gold mining and timber industry. There was nothing left except a dreary row of concrete block structures. In 1968, local businessmen met to discuss what could be done to improve their town. They approached a nearby artist friend, who had been stationed in Germany and fell in love with the Bavarian villages he saw there. He quickly sketched the buildings, added gingerbread trim, details and colors to the buildings, giving an Alpine look to the entire town. By January of 1969, business owners and local carpenters began turning ideas into reality. Now all downtown stores have been renovated and many buildings and cobblestone alleyways added. Faces of buildings were painted with scenes of Bavaria and North Georgia, mirroring the migration of early settlers. Today Helens, Georgia is an extremely successful tourist destination that draws visitors from around the world.

What's stopping something similar from taking place in Maysville, Kentucky? Honestly, nothing too dreadful. In fact, Maysville has a head start that places it in a much better position than 1960's Helens. Looking through Maysville's list of buildings in the historic district, you can quickly see a pattern of when they were built: 1820, 1830, 1848, 1876, and so on. Where Helens had to invent an identity (an Alpine village despite their rich history linked to the Cherokee Indians), Maysville has one pre-built. Many of the original structures downtown maintain their nineteenth century charm to this day. What is needed is the something Helens had that Maysville lacks: a group effort to run with this community identity and turn it into something bankable.

Don't forget to visit the Mid-19th Century Day, Saturday Oct. 14th. on Court Street. Every good idea has to start somewhere.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

First Annual Mid-19th Century Day on Court Street

Ladies and gentlemen of all ages, come one, come all to the First Annual Mid-19th Century Day in downtown Maysville, Kentucky taking place from 9 am to 5 pm on Saturday, October 14th in Maysville's historic district.

Maysville Kentucky played a prominent role in America's history during the mid-19th century as a gateway port and hub of transportation to points South and Westward. Now you can celebrate in this rich heritage by participating in a show and tell of life during the 1800s.

On Court Street downtown you'll find several exhibits designed to show what life was really like during this fascinating era of Maysville history. These nineteenth century exhibits include a blacksmithing outfit, a broom making machine, an antique washing machine with washboard and ringer, an apple cider press, a cobbler's (shoemaking) station, a cooking station, and surveyor equipment. There will also be a life-sized replica Civil War cannon on display along with a period mortar. Special displays may also include antique veternarian equipment and a travelling medicine show.

In addition to these fixed displays, living history presentors will be on-hand throughout the day performing impromptu skits and educational speeches. Russell Dickson from Magee's Bakery will be presenting a nineteenth century baking demonstration and Rob Milward from the Herb Farm @ Strodes Run will be showing how honey was made back then. At 8 am, there will be a free biscuits and gravy breakfast at the Homefront Cafe for those who dress up in nineteenth century attire. Then at 10 am, there will be nineteenth century games for the kids, including a hoop stick race. At 2:30 pm, Ernie Parnell from the Homefront Cafe will be giving free dance classes featuring the Virginia Reel and the Waltz, two popular dances of the time period. At 1 pm and 4 pm, there will be free walking tours of historic downtown Maysville, where participants can learn the history of many downtown landmarks.

Throughout the day, the Courthouse and First Presbyterian Church will be open to the public. Both of these historic landmark buildings were built during the mid-nineteenth century and kept many of their nineteenth century charms to this day.

The Mid-19th Century event is free and open to the public, including anyone with an ear for history.

Scheduled events include:
8 am - Free biscuits and gravy breakfast at the Homefront Cafe for those who dress up in nineteenth century attire.
10 am - Nineteenth century games (great for the kids) on Court Street, including a hoop stick race.
1 pm and 4 pm - Free walking tours of historic downtown Maysville. Learn the history of many downtown landmarks.
2:30 pm - Nineteenth century dance classes including the Virginia Reel and the Waltz.

The Mid-19th Century Day is brought to you by the Mason-Dixon Line Civil War Roundtable Group with participating organizations that include:

Homefront Cafe
Magee's Bakery
Herb Farm @ Strodes Run
Maysville Explorer
First Presbyterian Church
and the City of Maysville

For more information about the Mid-19th Century Day, you can contact Lanette Parnell at (606) 563-1009 or [email protected]

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Maysville Article in Kentucky Explorer

Make sure you pick up a copy of this month's Kentucky Explorer Magazine. It features the article "Maysville 50 Years Ago", by Ken Downing that we ran back in April.

Kentucky Explorer was founded in June of 1986 in Jackson, Kentucky. For over 20 years they've ran stories from and about Kentuckians, and have gathered over 50,000 readers per month with their 112 page magazine of Kentucky history. You can learn more about them at their web site,

The magazine is available at most newstands throughout the state.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Kentucky Ain't Just For Rednecks No Mo'

The myth that Kentucky is a backwoods state full of rednecks from the movie Deliverance is totally busted (for the record: that movie takes place in Georgia, not Kentucky!). Sure, we still have our rednecks. My wife, who's from Boston, thinks I'm redneck-ish. But that stereotype of the typical Kentuckian is rapidly changing. In May, Esquire Magazine even named Kentucky the most stylish state based largely on the amount of hipsters that the bluegrass state has produced, including the likes of George Clooney, Hunter S. Thompson, Johnny Depp, Muhammad Ali, and others (See Kentucky Declared Most Stylish State from our May Issue).

A recent article in the Ledger Independent explains how organizations like Connect Kentucky are committed to bringing broadband to every nook, cranny, and holler of Kentucky, hoping to attract tech businesses for which broadband is a key component. Silicone Valley in California and Silicone Alley in New York becomes Silicone Holler in Kentucky by laying out this infrastructure (remember you heard the term here first when this all goes down). It seems that everywhere you turn, the idea of what it means to be a Kentuckian is being redefined into something sleek, cool, and hip. Think Porsche over Pacer.

To illustrate my point about the redefinition of Kentucky, I submit the event known as the IdeaFestival. The IdeaFestival was founded in 2000 as a world-class meet up bringing together the most diverse and leading thinkers from across the nation and around the globe to explore and celebrate innovation and cutting-edge ideas. It's a huge think-tank filled with some of the most brilliant and extraordinary problem solvers on the planet. You might think that such a brainy ho'down might take place in New York, Boston, or even Atlanta. This year it takes place in Louisville, Kentucky. That's no small thing.

For more information about the IdeaFestival going on this weekend (Oct. 11th - 14th), visit

Monday, October 09, 2006

Dinner Cruise Aboard The Belle of Cincinnati

Belle of Cincinnati, courtesy of BB Riverboats
Don't get steamed if you missed the opportunity to take a cruise on one of the amazing river boats that graced the port of Cincinnati this past weekend during the Tall Stacks Festival. You've got another chance. In a few weeks, you'll be able to join in a dinner cruise aboard BB Riverboats' premier sternwheeler, The Belle of Cincinnati -- and you won't even need to take a trip to Cincy to do it.

The Belle of Cincinnati will dock in Maysville Kentucky and provide two hour lunch and dinner cruises on November 4th. Seating is limited and reservations are required, so make sure you get in early.

"This is a great way for the citizens of these cities to see the Ohio River's largest riverboat without having to travel to Cincinnati. We always enjoy bringing our boat to these historic cities, and being able to somewhat recreate how entertainment was back in the steamboat days," said Ben Bernstein, VP of Sales and Marketing at BB Riverboats.

For more information or to make reservations, visit the BB Riverboats web site.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

John G. Fee High School Bus Photo, 1940

This photograph from 1940 shows the bus for black students of the John G. Fee Consolidated High School in Maysville Kentucky. Kids, if you think your bus is small today, count your blessings it wasn't as small as this one. It is interesting to see that the basic design of the school bus hasn't changed with time, however. The slide-up windows and accordian side-door that modern buses are known for are all right here in this 1940 photo.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Transparent Pie Days - Live Broadcast

WFTM Radio is doing a live broadcast from the Transparent Pie Days celebration at Magee's Bakery Farm at 8188 Orangeburg Road. Maysville loves their transparent pies and reportedly Maysville native George Clooney orders them periodically for himself and his movie crews.

Sounds like they're having a lot of fun by the radio broadcast. You can listen in online at the Soft 96 web site A bit of apparent trivia: If you decide to do a find the gummy bear inside the pie contest... it is important that you remember that gummy bears don't make it through the baking process. Poor guys went searching for a gummy bear that seems to have dissolved.

The Transparent Pie Days celebration will continue throughout the weekend. The live broadcast is today until 2 o'clock.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Mary Inglis (1729 - 1813)

Mary Inglis is credited for being the first white woman to ever step foot in Kentucky. Sadly, however, it wasn't under celebrated circumstances. Mary Inglis, who was born in 1729, was beset by a serious of unfortunate events in 1756 when her home on Alleghany ridge (now Montgomery county, West Virginia), was attacked by a party of Shawnee Indians. The Shawnees massacred many of the villagers and took Inglis and several others captive.

It was under this captivity that Mary Inglis was brought to Mason County Kentucky.

In a daring escape worthy of a Hollywood movie, Inglis and another prisoner were able to disappear into the woods and follow the Ohio valley over forty days and 400 miles back to civilization. The journey was painfully difficult. They were lucky enough to have found a an old horse and secure some corn and meat for their journey, but the provisions were soon exhausted. They were forced to live upon grapes, walnuts, papaws, and roots for the rest of the journey and nearly didn't make it.

Full Story

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Transparent Pie Days - October 7th and 8th

Promotional video for the Transparent Pie Days celebration this weekend at Magee's Bakery, at 8188 Orangeburg Road, Maysville, Kentucky. Made by Russell Dickson. More information can be found at their web site

Also read the Cincinnati Post article about the event

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Strange Tale Of The Steamer Magnolia

You've probably never heard of the steamer Magnolia, but with the Tall Stacks Riverboat Festival starting today (and continuing through Oct. 8th), this is my tribute to vessels on the Ohio River.

The steamer Magnolia was a wooden, seagoing, sidewheel steamer built at Greenpoint, N.Y., in 1857 by Charles Morgan's Southern SS Co. The South's original plan to arm her as a ram was dropped in favor of turning her into a blockade runner, and a great blockade runner she was! Magnolia made at least two successful runs to nearby British islands in 1861 carrying large cargoes.

The success wouldn't last however. On February 19, 1862, Union vessels South Carolina and Brooklyn caught the sneaky Magnolia and chased her in the gulf after the steamer had slipped away from the Confederate coast carrying a large cargo of cotton. It was also loaded with several secret letters containing valuable intelligence concerning Confederate plans to import arms and to assist the blockade runner Tennessee to escape through the blockade. In an effort to destroy the cargo, Magnolia's crew exploded one of her boilers, set her afire, and attempted to escape; but South Carolina captured the Southerner's boat, boarded the flaming steamer, and put out the fire. Reportedly the prize for catching the notorious Magnolia was $173,955.77, quite a lot for the times.

After the capture and now under a different flag, Magnolia was set to the task of capturing other blockade runners. She also spent a brief period as a floating hospital recovering wounded soldiers from the battle lines. One interesting story has it that Grant, frustrated at his failure to capture Vicksburg (he had attacked the city six times), locked himself in the former ladies' cabin of the steamer Magnolia while he pored over maps pondering the situation. He refused to see anyone until he had derived a plan.

So what's all this have to do with boats on the Ohio River?

Over a decade after it was first commissioned, and long after the cannons of the Civil War went cold, the battle worn steamer Magnolia met its end on the Ohio River not too far from Maysville Kentucky. In what could only be called irony for a boat whose crew once exploded its own boilers to escape capture, on March 18, 1868, one of the boilers on the Magnolia burst, catching fire to and destroying the ship. By some accounts, the explosion ignited gunpowder the boat was carrying. According to the Maysville Republican thirty-five people were killed (though by some accounts it was as many as 70); others were horribly disfigured for life.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Maysville's Other Supreme Court Justice: John McLean

The following article orginally appeared in The Maysville Magazette. Reprinted (digitally speaking) with permission from its author, G. Stephen Manning, Esq.

Having grown up in Maysville with a keen interest in history and the law, I read much about Mason County jurist, Stanley Forman Reed. Justice Reed was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court appointed by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1938. The Minerva native served with distinction until 1957 and spent his summers in Maysville at his historic ''Newdigate Tavern'' residence on Old U.S. 68 until his death in 1980.

During a recent conversation with Maysville Mayor David Cartmell, I was startled to hear of another Supreme Court Justice with ties to Maysville. John McLean was an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court who spent several years of his early life living in Maysville. John McLean was born on March 11, 1785 in Morristown, New Jersey, the son of Irish immigrants Fergus McLean and Sophia Blackford. Fergus McLean was a weaver by trade and served in the Revolutionary War. Fergus moved his family to the Frontier in 1789 and lived for short periods of time in Morgantown, West Virginia and Nicholasville, Kentucky, and later moved to Maysville in 1793. The McLeans' third son William was born in Maysville in 1794 and later served several terms in Congress as a Representative from Ohio's Third Congressional District. While living in Maysville, Fergus McLean purchased a farm on which he later laid out the town of Ridgeville, Ohio. In 1796, when John McLean was 11, he and his father walked the entire 75 miles from Maysville to the farm in Ohio, through hostile Indian territory, to clear the land and plant corn.

The family ultimately migrated north in 1799 to Warren County, Ohio. Young John McLean was sent to Cincinnati where he studied law and apprenticed with a prominent Cincinnati lawyer. McLean was admitted to the Bar in 1807 and commenced his practice in Lebanon, Ohio. His son Nathaniel was educated at Augusta College before it was relocated to Wilmore and became Asbury College.

McLean, a Democrat who later changed parties several times, was twice elected to the United States House of Representatives but resigned in 1816 to take a seat on the Ohio Supreme Court. In 1822 he was appointed by President James Monroe as Commissioner of the General Land Office and served until President Monroe appointed him Postmaster General of the United States in 1829. McLean was to serve as Postmaster General under Presidents, Monroe and John Quincy Adams, until 1829. A strong supporter of Andrew Jackson, he was offered several cabinet posts, including Secretary of War, but chose instead to accept an appointment to the United States Supreme Court. McLean was sworn in on January 11, 1830 and served on the Court for 31 years until his death on April 4, 1861. Many historians believe that Jackson appointed McLean to the Court to quell his political ambitions. Notwithstanding his position on the Court, Justice McLean sought the presidency from the bench, as a member of the new Republican Party in 1856 and 1860, but was unsuccessful primarily due to his fierce anti-slavery position.

During Justice McLean's tenure on the Court, he dissented in one of the most important and controversial decisions in the history of the United States Supreme Court. In the 1856 case, Dred Scott v. Sandford, a slave tried to claim his freedom on the grounds that his former master had taken him to and they had lived for a time in the free states of Illinois and Minnesota before returning to Missouri. The Court decided that all people of African descent, slaves as well as those who were free, were property and could never become citizens of the United States and therefore could not sue in Federal Court. The Court also ruled that the federal government did not have the power to prohibit slavery in its territories. The decision also declared the Missouri Compromise of 1820, legislation which restricted slavery in several territories, unconstitutional. As a result of the decision, Dred Scott remained a slave but was later set free by the sons of his former master and died nine months later. Justice McLean wrote a powerful anti-slavery dissenting opinion which was believed to have forced Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney into a more polarizing opinion than he had originally planned.

The Dred Scott decision greatly influenced the nomination of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 by the Republican Party and his subsequent election, which in turn led to the South's secession from the Union and the Civil War.

Steve is a Maysville native and practices law in Lexington, Kentucky.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Interested In The Story of Maysville Kentucky?

Then visit us online at:

Maysville Explorer is the whole new experience in storytelling that is coming soon to Maysville, Kentucky. Mixing interactive multimedia in a rich storytelling environment, it’s like nothing you’ve seen before in the local area. Maysville Explorer is an online experience you won't want to miss.

The grand opening is by invitation only, so be sure to register online to receive notification.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Grapevine on Third Street

The artist Tanya Beckler stands in front of her newly open shop, The Grapevine. The Grapevine is an eclectic art gallery and boutique that opened during the Rosemary Clooney Festival in the Cox Building on Third Street. Featuring original art by Beckler, you'll also find other unique gift items, or as one commenter put it: "vintage junk and retro kitsch." Be sure to stop in this week and tell them we sent you.