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 @

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Barbara Paul: Mystery Writer

Sylvia Markey was holding her cat's head in her hands. Just the head.
Sylvia was swaying on her feet; I didn't feel any too steady myself. A whispered Jesus Christ floated from behind me. I snatched Ian Cavanaugh's make-up towel away from him and wrapped up the cat's head, handed the mess to Leo Gunn, the stage manager.

- Barbara Paul, The Fourth Wall

Barbara Paul is a writer of detective stories and science fiction. She was born in Maysville Kentucky, in 1931. In total, she's written no less than sixty-six novels and short stories since her first book, An Exercise for Madmen, was published in 1978.

She was once asked in an interview for her favorite passage from her own work. The opening from The Fourth Wall (quoted above) was her choice. She said she liked it for three things:

First, it establishes the setting (without using the word "theater" - "make-up towel" and "stage manager" take care of that). Second, it introduces four characters, three of them by name. Third, it presents the initiating incident of the plot (the beheading of the cat).

Nice. For more information about Barbara Paul and her work, visit

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

1937 Flood: How High The River Flowed

The depth of the flood was amazing. This is upper Market Street.
- Ken

Second Street, looking West. You can barely see the first floor of the buildings above the water level. Every one of those buildings have high ceilings on the first floor.

Another photo of Second Street. This is the corner of Second and Market. Most of these buildings are still around in some fashion, but First Street (or Front Street rather) is almost completely gone today. The Lee House and a few row houses are all that remain.

Photograph of one of the residential sections of Maysville Kentucky. It's one thing to see tall buildings sticking out of the water. Here we see ordinary houses almost completely submerged.

Finally, a comparison of the 1937 Ohio River flood to other flood dates. By some accounts, the river reached 80' in height. Notice also how long it took for the water levels to subside as compared to the other floods.

When Mother Nature has something to say, she sure can speak loudly.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Sgt. John E. Cooper Laid To Rest

This week's blogosphere article comes from Sean at and his blog post includes video of Sgt. John E. Cooper's funeral services held Sunday. Sgt. Cooper was killed January 15th while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom:
We went to the funeral of Sgt John Cooper of Ewing yesterday. It was held at the Fleming County High School, and was well attended by friends, family, and veterans supporting what this young man gave for his country.

The entire funeral [video] is here in case you couldn't make it.

Rest in Peace, John.

Read the full post

Sunday, January 28, 2007

1937 Flood Still Remembered 70 Years Later

Every town in America has some event that despite the years drifting by is still remembered well by the local people. For Maysville Kentucky, one of these events was the Great Flood of 1937. Some of the shops downtown even have markers showing how high the water rose. To give you an idea of the extent of the damage, no less than twenty buildings downtown or more were eventually demolished, it is said, due to flood damage.

Many local residents either remember the flood or have heard stories about the flood from other locals. There were a number of newspapers that carried a story about it this past week. Interestingly, two articles about the 1937 flood appeared today in two different newspapers - the Herald-Dispatch from Huntington, West Virginia, and the Herald-Leader from Lexington, Kentucky. Despite the similarity of their names, the two papers are owned by different parent companies. The reason for newspapers running the story is that this month is the 70th anniversary of the flood. In all those years, the Great Flood of 1937 is still ranked as one of the worst - if not the worst - natural disasters in American history.

From the Herald-Dispatch:

The Red Cross asked 18-year-old Howard Mayes Jr. and his father to help relief efforts with their two-seater pontoon plane. The younger Mayes remembers taxiing the plane to a porch roof in Proctorville, Ohio, to deliver food, taking 20 or 30 pairs of rubber boots up to Gallipolis, and taking an Ironton woman to Maysville, Ky., because her father was dying.

Picking her up from a rowboat in a flooded cornfield was dicey enough, but the real problem was getting her to land in Maysville. The C&O Railway had spotted a long line of boxcars on the main track, which ran alongside the Ohio River, to stabilize it. The boxcars were sticking about a foot out of the water and the plane couldn't get over them.

"I left her on top of a boxcar," he says. "I said, 'Someone will come and get you,' and I guess they did, because I never heard anything more about it."

From the Herald-Leader:

"You compare it to Hurricane Katrina, and then you realize that in 1937 they didn't have helicopters; they didn't have instant communications; they didn't have supplies of bottled water," says Louisville author Rick Bell, whose book, The Great Flood of 1937, came out last week. "It was an incredible disaster because it covered such a huge area."

Cities all along the Ohio River and its tributaries were inundated, including Louisville, Paducah and communities in Northern Kentucky, as well as Huntington, W.Va.; Evansville, Ind., Cairo, Ill., and many more. Frankfort, on the Kentucky River, was under water. The Mississippi River Valley was struck as well, as the flood crest swept downstream. Ultimately, more than 100 counties in a dozen states were affected.

Some communities remained under water for weeks. Highways and railroads were shut down, schools closed, utilities were knocked out. There were gas explosions and oil fires. Martial law was declared in some places. Damage estimates ranged up to $500 million in 1937 dollars. More than 130 people died, and up to 1 million fled their homes.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

J.B. Russell's Band (Photo, 1922)

The J.B. Russell "Maysville Boys Band" was organized in October 1920, under the direction of Russell with George D. Barnard as director. It was comprised of two groups, the smaller being the "Horseshoe Band" that was pictured in our mystery photo from Jan. 24th.

Here's another photo of the band as it marched down Second Street in a parade held in 1922 (notice the throngs of people who turned out for it).

J.B. Russell you might recognize if you are familiar with some of the local architecture. He was the man behind the Russell Theatre, the Russell Building, and several other notable buildings around town. I believe that's him in the dark uniform leading the band in the photo. In the photo posted on the 24th, he's the man wearing lighter colors in the back of the group on the right. To answer the mystery question from the 24th, the man pictured to the left of the band is George D. Barnard, the band's director.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Veterans to Show Support At Local Soldier's Funeral

A local soldier in Operation Iraqi Freedom was killed January 15th in Mosul, Iraq by an IED. Sgt. John E. Cooper of the US Army was assigned to the 2nd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 4rh Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Bliss, Texas. His funeral will take place Sunday, January 28th, at 1:00 pm, at the Fleming County High School Auditorium with a burial at the Fleming County Cemetery.

In an interview with the Ledger Independent, Sgt. Cooper's mother described her son as a "very strong, very friendly" person. "He was a very nice person, to everyone," she said. It was also said in the Ledger that Cooper was living his lifelong dream to serve in the military.

The Flemingsburg VFW has invited anyone who would like to participate in a patriotic showing of support to gather at the Flemingsburg VFW parking lot by 12:00 PM on Sunday. Many veterans from around the country have already expressed their desire to attend. Information about the Flemingsburg VFW support rally can be found at the Patriot Guards website.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Follow Up On Billy The Kid's Maysville Connection

I bumped this comment up to its own post because I think its really cool. One of our readers, Martha Poe Walls, responded to the article "Maysville Kentucky: Six Degrees From Billy the Kid" from our August 2006 Issue. As you may recall from the post, it was about Maysville's connection to the death of Billy the Kid through Maysville native John William Poe, who had accompanied Pat Garrett to Pete Maxwell's ranch the day Billy the Kid was shot by Garrett. Walls is Poe's 1st cousin, twice removed.

Martha Poe Walls said...

My brother sent me the link to this blog, and I really need to thank him. I've enjoyed reading, found the article on John William Poe neat, since my brother and I are 1st cousins twice removed from him. We still have family in Maysville, our father grew up there in the early teens and twenties on Pleasant Ridge. This is a great site for someone looking for Maysville history, or just looking into the day to day goings on in Maysville.

Please continue writing, we're eating up your words, and liking every one.

Thanks Martha! We'll keep on telling stories as long as there's folks willing to read them. The greatest reward in writing this blog is finding people like yourself, scattered across the world, but tied to Maysville Kentucky.

I also wanted to say thanks for giving me an excuse to do a follow up on this story. One thing that stuck out when re-reading the account is this line: "Waiting outside, Poe saw William Bonney (Billy the Kid) enter the ranch house, though he did not recognize him." I feel that may be important because I've always been intrigued by the idea, famously covered in the movie Young Guns II, that Billy the Kid wasn't actually killed that day, but instead was allowed to escape by Pat Garrett.

Poe watched someone enter the ranch, but didn't recognize him as William Bonney. That seems odd. You would think that someone like Poe would have recognized Bonney since he was directly connected to those involved, even if he had never met Bonney in person. Did Garrett intentionally kill someone else and pass him off as Billy the Kid so that Bonney could escape? Did Poe realize this? Is this one line from the account evidence of the idea that Billy the Kid survived with help from Garrett? The truth is probably lost to history.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Maysville Kentucky Boy Band Mystery Photo

Readers seemed to enjoy tracking down the location of the 1942 photo we posted the other day, so I thought I'd pose another mystery. I actually know the answer to this one, so I can confirm a correct answer.

Long before *NSYNC, New Kids on the Block, or even The Beatles, Maysville Kentucky had its own boy band. It was organized in 1920 and is pictured above. The mystery question is... what is the name of the man with the mustache pictured to the left of the band?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Steve White, Maysville Kentucky Painter

Though I walk by his gallery on Market Street regularly, it's been awhile since I've dropped in on Steve White's website. I'm happy to report that White has posted an extensive catalog of his paintings along with photographs. Now you don't have to just take my word on how amazing his paintings are. Check out the catalog »

Steve White is perhaps Maysville's most prolific painter. He was born near Maysville Kentucky in 1948 and attended local schools before serving briefly in the military. Upon his return from being stationed in Germany, he enrolled in the Maysville Community College and later attended Morehead State University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts with a focus on painting. From there, White's career as a painter grew exponentially.

They say that the true mark of genius is that geniuses produce. White is said to produce anywhere from 40 to 50 oil and watercolor paintings each year, covering a wide range of subjects from local architecture and culture, to landscapes of America and Europe, to a great many paintings of pioneer and Native American history.

White's work has earned him many national and international awards including the Medal of Honor for Aquamedia at the Grand National Exhibition of American Artist Professional League. His full list of awards and nominations far exceed what can be listed here.

His website mentioned that one of his paintings was used for the cover of Rosemary Clooney's CD titled "Still On The Road," so I snagged the above graphic off The image appeared on CBS, The Early Show, and NBC Today Show. Another watercolor painting was included in the 1997 Butler Institute of American Art at Youngstown, Ohio. White has also been featured in Southern Living Magazine.

Today he continues his work in a studio above The White Gallery on Market Street in downtown Maysville.


Monday, January 22, 2007

The Pulse: Dad's Workshop

This week's Pulse comes from "ekalb" and his blog post reminisces about old Kentucky barns:

I saw this on's Flickr stream and was reminded of the many summer visits to my uncle's farm in Maysville, Kentucky. It always smelled of oil and grime with a rush of fresh country air scented by the huge fields surrounding it. I spent hours exploring all the facinating piles of parts, containers, cabinets and obscure tools. Mostly out of sheer boredom being so far out in the countryside. But every once in a while there were inspirations to tinker and figure how something worked. Time would flash away and it would be time to leave too soon.

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, January 21, 2007

1942 Photo of Maysville's Streetcar Rails

Maysville Kentucky used to have a streetcar that rode on rails through the downtown and Eastside area. This photograph from 1942 shows where the rails once were (I believe this is a street on the Lower Eastside, but I might be mistaken). It's long since been paved over, but Maysville's streetcar history is honored today in faux rails installed on Market Street and a streetcar that makes an appearance during festivals and parades.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Civil War Museum & Coffee Shop

I saw this article in the Maysville Magazette a few weeks ago and was waiting for them to put it on their website so I could link to it. It's about the Homefront Cafe on Second Street in downtown Maysville Kentucky. The Homefront Cafe is a full-service coffee shop that just happens to be a museum as well, covering the mid-19th century with a wide range of original and reproduction items on display (think Starbucks if it was started in the South during the 1800s). I should mention that the Homefront is ran by my folks, Lanette and Ernie Parnell. Hi Mom!
If you ask the Parnell's, they will say that it is a constant work in progress. It doesn't take one long to ask the question, "What more can be done to the Homefront Cafe?" Something unique to Maysville, it has a life all its own. With a coffee house theme and Civil War Museum to boot, this place is sure to draw the interest of the local or the out-of-towner.

After owning a traveling Civil War Museum and touring across the country, the Parnell's decided it was finally time to locate a place to call home. Something permanent was needed. That is how, last July, they ended up in Maysville, KY. Their museum, no longer viewed out of the back of their diesel truck, now sits in the back of the Cafe. Don't let the site fool you; the entire place is full of historical artifacts, books, and information that will make the average history buff salivate. (We haven't even talked about the food, yet.)

Although the menu isn't huge, it caters to the common appetite. Steaming home-made soups are offered everyday. Who knows what will be in the pot when you stroll in.... The Homefront Cafe has served about every kind of soup imaginable, from Chicken Noodle to Portabella Mushroom. It even comes with a fresh-baked homemade serving of their very own flat bread. You can smell the aroma when you walk in the door. Mmmmm!

Not hungry? Feel free to sit down with your computer in their Internet Friendly wireless Cafe. Enjoy a Latte, Coffee, or Sweet Tea. If you forget your computer, then read a book, or pursue the extensive collection of books adorning the shelves both up and downstairs.

Full Story

Friday, January 19, 2007

Dave Tomlin: Maysville Baseball Player

Dave Tomlin was born June 22, 1949 in Maysville, Kentucky, and went on to become a a Relief Pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds (1972-73 and 1978-80), San Diego Padres (1974-77), Montreal Expos (1982 and 1986) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1983 and 1985). He helped the Reds to win the 1972 NL Pennant and 1973 and 1979 NL Western Division.

Used primarily against lefthanded hitters, Tomlin averaged 60 appearances a year in relief for the 1974-77 Padres. He was traded to Texas with $125,000 for Gaylord Perry in January of 1978, but in March was sold to the Reds, who had first signed him in 1967. He went 9-1 in '78, despite a 5.81 ERA. He spent most of the 1980s in the minors, and in 1982 he led the American Association in appearances.

Tomlin's pitching stats can be found at Sports Illustrated.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Maysville Kentucky Invented Earmarks

You may have heard the term "earmarks" in the news recently in reference to pork-barrel spending in Congress. It was a hot topic in the recent elections and is surfacing again as newly elected representatives take their chairs. It's a controversial funding scheme - a sort of sounds-shady-on-the-surface way in which lawmakers pad federal bills with funding for state and local projects.

The most famous of these earmarks is the "Bridge to Nowhere". Tucked away in a federal bill was a $225 million funding authorization to connect an Alaska town of 14,000 to an island of 50 people. Critics call it a waste of federal resources on what should be a state matter.

Diverting federal funds to pet projects isn't anything new, however. Mary Todd Lincoln (Lincoln's wife who happened to be from Lexington) once convinced a congressman to hide appropriations to pay for her huge White House redecorating debts in a complex list of military appropriations.

What you may not know is that Maysville Kentucky invented earmarks, or at least is at the heart of what can be argued as the first earmark controversy. In 1830, the Maysville Road bill provided for the federal government to buy $150,000 in stock in a private company to fund a 60-mile long road connecting the towns of Maysville and Lexington. The U.S. Congress passed the bill, with a 103 to 87 vote in the House of Representatives. It was subsequently vetoed by President Andrew Jackson who claimed the bill was unconstitutional since it only dealt with Kentucky.

Historians have speculated, however, that Jackson rejected the bill because it was pitched by his arch-rival Henry Clay. It has also been speculated (at least by me), that Jackson actually vetoed the bill because he once got stuck in the mud while traveling here from Lexington. As a prank, someone turned the road sign outside Paris that pointed to Maysville, causing Jackson's horses and carriages to become mired in mud several miles east of Paris.

Whatever the reason for the veto, this was a landmark decision in the history of how the federal government deals with state and local governments. In addition to the Maysville Road veto, there were seven other vetoes of public works projects that came soon after, including roads and canals. Obviously with the recent debates over earmarks, we are still dealing with the same political issues today.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Simon Kenton Bridge: It's The Size That Matters

Maysville Kentucky's Simon Kenton Memorial Bridge is the 95th largest suspension bridge in the entire world, according to the list of suspension bridges by size at Wikipedia.

OK, so that may not sound that big. It's also true that the 323 feet of the bridge's main span doesn't really measure up to the 1,191 feet of the world's largest suspension bridge (over in Japan). But we did beat out the puny (290 feet) Tjeldsund Bridge in Norway. Norweigan bridges. They're so tiny.

Most importantly - for sheer river rivalry's sake - is that our Simon Kenton Suspension Bridge kicks Cincinnati's John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge's butt, as I'm sure the frontier woodsman Kenton himself would have won out in a fist fight against the architect Roebling. The fist fight's not really important though. What is important is that our bridge beats their bridge by a whopping... alright, so it's just one foot. Cincinnati's bridge is 322 feet long compared to Maysville Kentucky's bridge at 323 feet. But I still say that one foot is a big deal. Yep, imagine if the bridge had a one foot gap missing in the center of it and then tell me the size of the bridge doesn't matter.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Maysville Kentucky's Hemp History

A farmer in North Dakota is poised to become the nation's first licensed industrial hemp farmer pending approval from the DEA. North Dakota is among the seven states, including Kentucky, that have authorized industrial hemp farming. The plant is used to make an amazing array of products because of its sturdy fibers. If the farmer in North Dakota is approved, that may mean that Kentucky farmers might have a new cash crop, and regain some former glory.

According to a historical marker located near the entrance to the Maysville Community College on US 68, Maysville has a hempy past. It reads: "The only major hemp-producing Ky. county outside the Blue Grass area. The 1810 crop income was $70,000. Maysville second to Louisville in finished hemp products, 1830s. Nicholas Arthur's factory, using horsepower, was one of several ropewalks, long buildings for spiral winding of hemp fibers. It processed yearly 600,000 lbs. of rope worth $41,000. See over."

The other side reads: "Hemp in Kentucky - First crop grown, 1775. From 1840 to 1860, Ky.'s production largest in U.S. Peak in 1850 was 40,000 tons, with value of $5,000,000. Scores of factories made twine, rope, gunny sacks, bags for cotton picking and marketing. State's largest cash crop until 1915. Market lost to imported jute, freed of tariff. As war measure, hemp grown again during World War II. See over."

The controversy over growing hemp is that it is very similar to marijuana, especially in appearance. While hemp doesn't have any of marijuana's hallucinogenic properties, law enforcement officials fear that it may be used to hide the illegal growing of marijuana plants.

Ahem, apparently that appears to be a Kentucky tradition as well. Two states from our great country have the dubious honor of being in the top five global producers of marijuana. One of them is California (any surprise there?) and the second is... you guessed it, Kentucky. This may be because hemp grows all over the state. You can even find hemp along interstate highways.

Bluegrass isn't the only kind of grass Kentucky exports.

Full Story

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Pulse: Chamber of Commerce Awards

This week's Pulse comes from Misty at MySpace and her blog post is about winning an award from the Kentucky Press Association and the upcoming Chamber of Commerce Awards:
I recently found I'd won at least one second-prize award in the annual Kentucky Press Association competition, and was thrilled to death with that.

Possibly even more thrilling (mostly because it came out of the blue) was I found I am a finalist in the Printing/Marketing category for the Maysville/Mason County Area Chamber of Commerce's annual awards ceremony.

Granted, this award encompasses a much smaller area, and I'm one of 10 finalists and I don't expect to win. However, someone had to think well enough of me to nominate me to even be considered for the award, so I'm very pleased.

Read the full post

Congrats Misty!

The Chamber Awards ceremony will take place on January 27th at the Washington Opera House. I checked and still no web-related categories. C'mon guys, that's sooo 1990s. : ) Actually I'm only half-serious. John Carpenter, the Chamber's Executive Director, knows the importance of the web to Maysville. Under his direction, the Chamber has maintained their comprehensive website ( for many years now. It was one of the first official sites for the local area. Carpenter himself even kept a blog of the Chamber's activities for a time. Now if only all that tech-savvy can translate to the Awards.

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, January 14, 2007

Maysville Kentucky Martin Luther King Celebrations

Martin Luther King Day is tomorrow. Despite the weather, celebrations were scheduled today by the local chapter of the NAACP, including a march from Scott United Methodist Church to Bethel Baptist Church. Bethel Baptist Church, as you may recall from previous posts, was founded by Elisha W. Green in 1845. Green was himself a champion of rights for African Americans in the local area.

Jerry Gore was scheduled to give a speech after the march as well. We've mentioned him before at this blog and with good reason. Gore is the foremost authority on the area's ties to the Underground Railroad. As the great-great-grandson of Addison White, Ohio's famous fugitive who escaped by the Underground Railroad, Gore is directly tied to African American history in the region. He's also appeared in historical documentaries produced by KET and was featured on the History Channel's "Save Our History: The Underground Railroad" which aired in 53 million homes.

Martin Luther King Day is the only United States federal holiday commemorating an African American and one of only three to commemorate an individual person. story with photos

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Vue de la Riviere, Maysville, Ky. Postcard (1907)

Reads: Vue de la Riviere, Maysville, Ky.

Personal postcard sent by someone traveling by boat from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania to Memphis, Tennessee. Shows a bird's eye view of 1907 Maysville Kentucky, pre-suspension bridge. The suspension bridge was built in the 1930s.

Friday, January 12, 2007

God Is In The Details

I am looking forward to the new Museum Center opening this summer in downtown Maysville Kentucky for obvious reasons. After sinking $3 million plus into the construction through community donations and the promise a huge assortment of new displays, I'd be very suprised if I weren't there on opening day and maybe even first in line. But of all the new things I've heard they'll have, the collection I am most looking forward to viewing is the Kathleen Savage Browning Miniatures Collection. No I don't play with dolls. I do however completely agree with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe when he said, "God is in the details." Accurately created scale models are some of the most amazing art pieces in the world.

According to the Museum Center, Browning's collection is one of the top high-quality private miniature collections available and has an estimated value of over $1 million. Each item is a one-twelfth scale exact reproduction of the original. Reportedly, Browning has collected thousands of these miniatures since she began in 1974. While it is uncertain how many of these miniatures will be on display, press releases from the museum promise the best:

Some are as simple as a single piece of fruit; others are as detailed as a Kentucky log cabin or as elaborate as a scale model of a fine 18th century London mansion. Nearly all are limited edition or one-of-a-kind items from expert artisans, the best in the world. There are also copies of family heirlooms, such as furniture and artwork, all made with exacting detail. One chest of drawers, for example, has a corncob plug in a knothole in the back and a burn mark from a candle on top, just as in the original piece.

A recent article in the Ledger also mentioned that they are currently constructing a new miniature of the Cox Building, brick by brick.

I could waste more time telling you how amazing these pieces are, but it wouldn't be as good as an actual picture. Luckily the Museum Center has a few up on their website. Check them out and you'll see what I'm talking about. Full Story With Photos

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Sports Illustrated Q&A With Chris Lofton

One of our readers gave us the head's up that in Luke Winn's blog over at Sport's Illustrated there is a recent Q&A with Maysville Kentucky's favorite basketball player, Chris Lofton. The Maysville native, Lofton, led Mason County to the 2003 state basketball championship before becoming a shining star in college basketball playing for Tennessee.

From the interview:

LW: A little more about Maysville: Can you describe the basketball court that you liked to shoot on as a kid?

CL: I learned on a few different courts, inside and out, but the main one was where my Mom grew up, in a small town called Flemingsburg [17 miles south of Maysville]. I used to go up there, hang out with the family, and shoot all the time. It was in a place called Hillside Park. A cement court outside.

LW: Do you remember what the rims were like?

CL: The rims were tight there. I think it made me a better shooter. When you play on rims that tight, it's harder -- and you get used to being more accurate.

Read the entire interview at

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Simon Kenton's Flatboat Faced Many Hardships

Edna Kenton wrote in her book Simon Kenton, His Life and Period, 1755-1836 (first published in 1930) of the hardships Simon Kenton's party faced as they traveled by flatboat from Pennsylvania to Limestone, Kentucky (today Maysville), in the chilly October of 1783.

According to her book, the party consisted of 41 people, 19 horses, a cat, and sundry supplies. All of this fit onto one a flatboat that was "...much larger than the usual thirty or forty-foot one." The flatboat was a regular Noah's Ark. It even had a small roofed cabin complete with a fireplace and stock pens. When they'd stop to collect firewood, Simon Kenton and the others would hunt to replenish food supplies. At one point they even returned with a bear.

Robert Reid, in his book Always a river: the Ohio River and the American Experience, explained why they traveled in October, despite the cold weather:

"Despite [George 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."
Source (Thanks to Ken Downing for the lead)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Earl Arrasmith: Former Maysville Kentucky Mayor

According to the Ledger Independent, former Maysville Kentucky mayor Earl Arrasmith passed away this past weekend at the age of 84. Arrasmith served as mayor between 1970 and 1973. He also served in the United States Army Air Corp during World War II. According to his obituary, however, he felt his greatest accomplishment was helping to establish the New Hope Christian Church, of which he was a member. He is survived by his wife, children, grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren. "He was well respected in the Maysville community, like a personal friend," said former mayor Bill Boggs in an interview with the Ledger. "He was always willing to lend advice and very cooperative with the administrations that followed him."

Full Story

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Pulse: A Rosemary Clooney Fan

This week's Pulse comes from Kelly at "Looking At Them" and her blog post is about her love of Maysville Kentucky native Rosemary Clooney's music:
I had originally intended on posting about Rosemary Clooney around the holidays, since several viewings of White Christmas renewed my interest in her music. I've always been a fan of her beautiful voice, and the fact that she was a local celebrity (she's from Maysville, KY) meant that I always heard a lot about her when I was a kid. In fact, I always wanted to see her in concert, but it never was meant to be.

I admit that I don't have very much of her music in my collection. I am slowly starting to gather some great songs, though. These are a few of the gems I'm enjoying right now. I hope you like them as much as I do.

Kelly also linked to some MP3s of Rosemary's songs, including my favorite "Come On-A My House".

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, January 07, 2007

Tony Snow, Helen Thomas: Kentucky Grudge

Have you ever watched White House Press Secretary Tony Snow and outspoken White House Correspondent Helen Thomas (often called "The First Lady of the Press") go at it? Here's a great example of their propensity for getting on each other's nerves from the July 2006 bombing of Lebanon:

I finally know why! Both Tony Snow and Helen Thomas are from the local area. Tony Snow was born in Berea, Kentucky, just south of Lexington, and Helen Thomas was born in Winchester, Kentucky, just east of Lexington. Their hometowns are a little over 30 miles apart. Their famous arguments are Kentucky grudge matches!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Girls' Lives Through Girls' Eyes

According to, Girls' Lives was a national photography and writing project conducted between 1998-2000 with teenage girls living in four diverse American communities: Los Angeles, California; Maysville, Kentucky; Leachville, Arkansas; and Detroit Michigan.

The project combined participants with professional photographers and writers, to help "explore their dreams, challenges, and hopes for the future in words and images."

The body of work was displayed at the Mason County Museum in Maysville as well as centers in Detroit, Michigan and Los Angeles, California.

To view photos from the project, click here.

Friday, January 05, 2007

When Good Buildings Go Down

(Scanned photograph of Maysville Academy, source unknown)

The Maysville Academy was built in 1829. In 1836, Ulysses S. Grant attended there at the age of 14. It was one of the most famous institutions in the Ohio River Valley.

(Scanned photograph of Maysville Academy demolition, source unknown)

Citing structural defects that would prevent renovation, the building was demolished in the Spring of 1998. According to unconfirmed local rumors, the building was torn down to make way for condos on the side of the hill overlooking downtown Maysville. These, of course, were never built. All that remains today are a few stone outcroppings (See: Exploring the Maysville Academy Site from our September 2006 Issue)

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Daniel Boone in Maysville Kentucky

Adapted from the Wikipedia article about Daniel Boone

After the American Revolution, Daniel Boone resettled in what was then known as Limestone, which was later renamed to Maysville Kentucky (1786). Limestone at the time was a booming Ohio River port. He was elected to the Virginia state assembly as a representative from Bourbon County (a vast region that included in part the present day Mason County). In Maysville, he kept a tavern and worked as a surveyor, horse trader, and land speculator. He was initially prosperous, owning seven slaves by 1787, a relatively large number for Kentucky at the time, which was dominated by small farms rather than large plantations. Boone became something of a celebrity while living in Maysville: in 1784, on Boone's 50th birthday, historian John Filson published The Discovery, Settlement And present State of Kentucke, a book which included a chronicle of Boone's adventures.

Although the Revolutionary War had ended, the border war with American Indians north of the Ohio River soon resumed. In September 1786, Boone took part in a military expedition into the Ohio Country led by Benjamin Logan. Back in Limestone, Boone housed and fed Shawnees who were captured during the raid and helped to negotiate a truce and prisoner exchange. Although the Northwest Indian War escalated and would not end until the American victory at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794, the 1786 expedition was the last time Boone saw military action.

Boone began to have financial troubles while living in Maysville. According to the later folk image, Boone the trailblazer was too unsophisticated for the civilization which followed him and which eventually defrauded him of his land. Boone was not the simple frontiersman of legend, however: he engaged in land speculation on a large scale, buying and selling claims to tens of thousands of acres. These ventures ultimately failed because of the chaotic nature of land speculation in frontier Kentucky, as well as Boone's faulty investment strategy and his lack of ruthless business instincts.

Frustrated with the legal hassles that went with land speculation, in 1788 Boone moved upriver to Point Pleasant, Virginia (now West Virginia). There he operated a trading post and occasionally worked as a surveyor's assistant. When Virginia created Kanawha County in 1789, Boone was appointed lieutenant colonel of the county militia. In 1791, he was elected to the Virginia legislature for the third time. He contracted to provide supplies for the Kanawha militia, but his debts prevented him from buying goods on credit, and so he closed his store and returned to hunting and trapping.

In 1795, he and Rebecca (Boone's wife) moved back to Kentucky, living in present Nicholas County on land owned by their son Daniel Morgan Boone. The next year, Boone applied to Isaac Shelby, the first governor of the new state of Kentucky, for a contract to widen the Wilderness Road into a wagon route, but the governor did not respond and the contract was awarded to someone else. Meanwhile, lawsuits over conflicting land claims continued to make their way through the Kentucky courts. Boone's remaining land claims were sold off to pay legal fees and taxes, but he no longer paid attention to the process. In 1798, a warrant was issued for Boone's arrest after he ignored a summons to testify in a court case, although the sheriff never found him. That same year Kentucky named Boone County in his honor.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Photographs of the Marshall Home Interior (1930s)

Yesterday we posted a photograph of the exterior of the Marshall residence located off Green Street in Old Washington, Kentucky. Today we have interior photographs taken around 1935. Presumably the interior has changed much since then, but the basic layout and features should still be the same.

These photos are of the main house. The entire homestead consists of the main house, a slave quarters, and various outlying buildings.

The Marshall home is composed of two floors with a balcony on the front of the house. This is a photograph of the staircase leading to the second floor.

The Marshall residence has three chimneys on the main house. This photograph is of one of the many fireplaces situated throughout the house.

A photograph of a much more elaborate fireplace and mantel. What I'd give just to have a look at the paintings over the mantel. They're obviously quite old. Note the disrepair. As I stated previously, these photographs are from the 1930s. The home today is still in use and well-maintained by descendents of the Marshalls.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Photograph of the Marshall Home (Early 1900s)

The photograph above is of the Marshall homestead in Old Washington, outside of Maysville Kentucky, on what is sometimes called "Federal Hill". It was taken sometime between 1900 and 1950. The building itself was built in 1802 and is still standing today (we'll have some photographs of the interior tomorrow). Today it is a private residence and owned by descendents of the man who built it - Captain Thomas Marshall (brother of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall).

Monday, January 01, 2007

The Pulse: Finding Stanley Reed In Family History

This week's Pulse comes from Brandon at Cierra's Family History and his blog post is about exploring his family genealogy and turning up Maysville Kentucky native and Supreme Court Justice Stanley Forman Reed:
The key with genealogy is to do alot of the work yourself to make sure you have the right information to start with and then you can post your family tree online and let the cousins out there find you and help add to it. Right now, I have about 1,100 descendants of James Tatman (born 1744 in the Virginia Colonies) and his wife Sarah Murdock. So, I would say it is coming along just fine.

Every now and then you run across famous people in someones tree. My father in law Bill has a few of them. One being Daniel Boone. Yup, that Daniel Boone! The other is the fellow below. His name is Stanley Foreman Reed. Stanley is related to the Tatmans by marriage.

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.