The Harrison County Historical Society

About the Author



Society Home | Publications | Newsletter Archive | @the Museum (@FB) | Queries


Learn more about the authors of books about Harrison County history by clicking on any of the following links:

Visit the Publications page to learn how to get copies for your own library.





About the Author:

Lucinda Boyd

By George Slade 


Lucinda Boyd, author of the book, Chronicles of Cynthiana, was born in Dark County, Ohio, April 12, 1840, the daughter of Rev. Samuel and Elizabeth Irvin Rogers.  Samuel Rogers, a veteran of the War of 1812, entered the ministry and became the head of a great family of ministers in the Christian Church.  He was a widely known evangelist.  Lucinda's parents are buried near Main Street in the Graveyard at the north end of Cynthiana.  In an adjoining grave lie the remains of Lucinda's brother, Captain W.S. (Whip) Rogers, Confederate soldier, killed in the Battle of Augusta.


In 1851, after Samuel Rogers moved his family to Cynthiana, Lucinda married Judge J. Strother Boyd.  From this union there were born seven children, one dying in infancy.  Of the children, Mary became a physician, being the first woman to graduate in medicine at the University of Cincinnati, Frances was a university professor; Montgomery (Gum), a traveling salesman; Hall, a wireless operator, living in Mexico; Joseph, a physician, and Samuel a lawyer.


Mrs. Boyd enjoyed a wide reputation as a literary woman.  She was the author of a number of works, perhaps the most ambitious being The Irvin and Their Kin.  In preparing the manuscript of this book she made a special trip to England and Scotland and spent some time in the ancestral homes of the Irvins.  Of course, her work of greatest interest locally is the book Chronicles of Cynthiana.  She also wrote a wealth of sketches, short stories and poems.  One book, The Sorrows of Nancy (1899), was described in Coleman's Bibliography of Kentucky History:  "An attempt to prove Abraham Lincoln's illegitimate descent from John Marshall and that he was born in Clark County near Thatcher's Mill.  A collection of stories and traditions supported by affidavits, but on the whole the work is unreliable and faulty."


Judge Boyd and Lucinda bought the Gavin Morrison home in 1870 and it was here that they reared their family.  This house, located on West Pike Street, diagonally opposite the Old Jail, was possibly the most historic house in Cynthiana.  It was taken down to provide for a parking lot.  Passages in Lucinda's writings suggest that she may have spent many hours gazing across the river towards the hills beyond.


A contemporary, writing in 1896 observes, "Mrs. Boyd is a woman of striking personnel with traces of her noble ancestors in bearing and general appearance.  In stature rather above medium, with a full, well-rounded form and clear-cut classical features, shadowed by masses of glossy, richly waving black hair.  She has a deep penetrating black eye which ever and anon twinkles with wicked merriment and a mouth whose every curve indicates a love for fun, while the gleaming, strong set teeth show the courage of the Bruce.  Mrs. Boyd is of a responsive, appreciative nature, and a universal favorite.  She numbers among her close friends, quite as many men as women, quite as many poor as rich, goes wherever duty calls and is a noble type of Christian womanhood."


Lucinda Joan Boyd died at Harrison Hospital (Penn St.), October 4, 1913.  About four weeks before she had sustained an operation for the relief of appendicitis.  The operation was considered successful but pneumonia developed and in her weakened condition she was unable to withstand the shock.  She is buried at Battle Grove Cemetery next to her husband, Judge Boyd.


The final chapter of Chronicles of Cynthiana, published in 1894, is titled "To the Historian of 1993:  Greeting."  She ends, "Answer this letter and tell me all that has been done since my soul shook off the dust that encurmbered it here on earth.  I shall come for my letter December 10th, 12 o'clock at night, 1993.  I shall find the post office, move it where you will.  And now fare, fare you well."  Friday night, December 10, 1993, an audience of more than 300 people eagerly awaited the arrival of Lucinda at the post office on Ladish Road.  They were not disappointed.  At the stroke of midnight, "Lucinda" rode into the parking lot atop a black steed.  She wore a flowing black robe and veil and accepted her letter from historian George Slade.


This biography was originally published in the August, 2000 issue of the Harrison Heritage News, the monthly newsletter of the Harrison County Historical Society.




About the Author:

John M. Cromwell

By George Slade 


John M. Cromwell (1862-1951), banker and mayor of Cynthiana, Kentucky, was a local history buff.   He was the son of James W. Cromwell, owner of "Locust Grove" stock farm on the Old Lair Pike, which produced a number of famous horses including Abdallah Mambrino.  His grandfather, Henry F. Cromwell, manufactured the famous Cromwell wagon at the corner of Walnut and Pleasant Streets in Cynthiana.


Mr. Cromwell's popular articles in the Cynthiana Democrat relating to local history and a variety of other subjects first appeared January 26, 1928.  He continued writing these articles, sometimes intermittently, until early 1940. His first article was titled "Additional Church History."  The January 5, 1928, Democrat carried an article by Hubert Hutton concerning local church histories. Mr. Cromwell, fearful that Mr. Hutton was not going to complete the church histories, took on the job. A couple of weeks later his subject was early schools, then newspapers, then fraternal organizations, and so on. His comments were appearing quite frequently in the Democrat.


For the first seventeen months Mr. Cromwell's column had no name. Beginning with the May 30, 1929, issue of the Democrat it was headed "Cromwell's Comments, by John M. Cromwell."  This particular column related mostly to the Confederate Memorial Monument Fund.


Being a city commissioner and later mayor, he was very interested in city government and city properties.  Many of his writings related to elections, city council, fire department, schools and city records.  In the oldest council meeting records at the city clerk's office there are notes left between the pages relating to his research there.  The first minute book is missing and in the oldest book there now (dating from 1859) is a hand-written page, signed by John M. Cromwell, lamenting as to how much he could learn I he could find the "old book."


His column appeared in more than 350 issues of the Democrat.  I will mention a few that were of particular interest to me. Some of his articles related to early fire protection and some to the fires they fought. About fifteen fire cisterns were located at the center of the various street intersections. A pump was installed on a stone foundation near the street, midway between the old stone jail and Bridge Street.  Water was pumped from the river to fill the fire cisterns.  At first, equipment was pulled to the scene of the fire by manpower. Later one horse was used, then a team of horses.  When summoned to fight a fire on a hill they would stop by the livery stable at the corner of Pike and Walnut Streets and hitch an additional team to the heavy pumper to aid in getting it up the hill.


In 1930, upon witnessing the removal of the fire alarm bell from atop the old firehouse on Walnut Street and its re-installation above the new municipal building on Pleasant Street, he wrote its history, titled “The Old Bell.”  The bell today is displayed just outside the city clerk’s office on Pleasant Street.  The inscription thereon reads, "Buckeye Bell Foundry 1889 - Vanduzen Tift, Cincinnati."


An avid reader, Mr. Cromwell wrote a number of columns relating to newspapers.  The titles of some were: “Two Old Newspapers,” “An Old Cynthiana Times,” “Newspapers,” “Making A Newspaper,” “Newspaper-Claysville News,” “Another Old Paper,” “It Sometimes Happens - Printing Errors," "Ancient Advertisements," “Illustrated Edition - The Cynthiana Democrat," "Cynthiana Newspapers," "Old Newspapers," and "My Scrapbook."  The South Licking River was a favorite subject.  His early years were spent on his father's farm, which bordered the river south of town.  Stories about the river were headed; "South Licking" (1929),” "Bridges Etc.," "Ice Skating," "Betsy's Creek or Flat Run," "The Cat Hole," "Cynthiana Bridges, Past and Present," and "South Licking" (1938).


Among the many other subjects of which he wrote, were schools, post offices, Civil War, railroad, county fair, the Graveyard, early merchants and tradesmen, old citizens, weather, Battle Grove Cemetery, elections, antiques, the cholera in Cynthiana, court day, distilleries, horses, hotels, the Bible, hospital, tobacco and baseball. Some titles which interest me are, "Some Dogs I’ve Known," “The Old Corner," "Coon Huntin’," "Senator Vast's Dog Speech," "Chestnut Hall," "Gaiety At Cynthiana," "Death of Old Nell" (a horse) and "Sallies In Our Allies."


Cromwell relied on the two local history books that had been printed up to that time: History of Bourbon, Scott, Harrison, and Nicholas Counties, Kentucky (1882) by William H. Perrin, and Chronicles of Cynthiana (1894) by Lucinda Boyd.  He often quoted from Perrin’s history, who he called “our historian,” explaining that book had been out of print for nearly fifty years and so wasn’t generally available to the younger generation of his day.


My search revealed only four articles by Mr. Cromwell in the Democrat from June 29, 1939, to March 1940. The last was titled "Going Back," a story mostly about the rise and fall of the Cynthiana Businessmen's Club. He was treasurer of the club when it closed.  The treasury had about ten dollars at the time.  The money was donated to the Marshall School Penny Lunch Fund.


John M. Cromwell died January 30, 1951. His wife, Eva Berry Cromwell, preceded him in death July 11, 1929. Their graves are in the Battle Grove Cemetery.  I have inquired as to the whereabouts of Mr. Cromwell's library, mementos and such, and have been told that these were donated to the University of Kentucky Library.  It would be of great interest to browse through these records of our historian.




About the Author:

Virgil Peddicord


Coming Soon . . .




About the Author:

George D. Slade

By William Penn


George D. Slade was born in Harrison County March 12, 1916, and died in Cynthiana, June 6, 2005. (See obituary, Cynthiana Democrat, June 9, 2005). George’s many important contributions to preserving Harrison County’s history will be difficult to summarize on one page, but an attempt will be made.


George was an early member of the Harrison County Historical Society and occasionally contributed programs. One was on his former business of cultivating Irises that attracted his cousin, Harold Slade, to attend, which led to Harold’s longtime involvement with the historical society and museum. George and his wife Helen were not able to attend meetings in recent years due to Helen’s health problems, George’s hearing difficulties, and more recently, his declining health.


George was one of the founders and trustees of the Harrison County Trust, Inc., which organized the Cynthiana-Harrison County Museum in 1994; he was active in acquiring artifacts, as was his cousin Harold, who now volunteers as curator. George enjoyed working at the museum and was often consulted on local history questions from visitors.


When the Harrison Heritage News began publishing monthly in March 2000, George wrote his first History Notes column and continued writing feature articles which were published up to the month before his death. These articles covered a broad range, including ghost stories, jails, courthouse, churches, Cromwell’s Comments columns, whiskey industry, railroad, A. Keller, schools, maple sugar, droughts, post office, chickens, buggies, baseball, hot air balloons, hemp, L.L.L. highway, steam engines, hog days, kitchen stove, community histories, and one of his last, privies.


There will be more George Slade articles for I believe he has left many unpublished writings in his files.


George had several subjects that seemed to hold his interest. One was the Graveyard, and his manuscript on its history, assembled with contributions from Harold Slade, is available at the Museum. He also researched the history of the Cynthiana First Methodist Church. He compiled several useful reference lists which were published in this newsletter on important dates in Harrison County history, a list of major fires, and lists of “whatever happened to” in an effort to locate missing historical artifacts.


George helped organize the “I Waited For Lucinda Boyd” celebration at the Cynthiana Post Office December 10, 1993, the date Mrs. Boyd stated in her Chronicles of Cynthiana she would return at midnight. He read the chapter on Sheely’s ghost to an attentive crowd.


Most of Harrison County’s citizens knew George through his “Museum Musings” weekly column in the Cynthiana Democrat. This popular column started about the time the Museum was established and was intended to bring an awareness to Harrison County’s history and to attract visitors to the Museum. The contents were usually newspaper excerpts from the 1840s up to the 1970s or so, often all on the same subject, ending with a Burma Shave road sign verse. Other sources were Col. Moore’s reminiscences, and more frequently, the Democrat columns of John M. Cromwell, “Cromwell’s Comments.”


George had photocopied from microfilm all of the Cromwell’s Comments columns from 1928 to 1940, which led to his first book, which we co-edited, Cromwell’s Comments, published by the Cynthiana Democrat in 2002. This book, indexed and illustrated, which documents Cynthiana’s history up to 1940, would not have been feasible without the availability of the columns he printed out. His many annotations in the book’s footnotes are valuable for clarifying or sometimes correcting Cromwell’s writings, and for identifying the exact addresses of sites Cromwell referred to.


George Slade’s last book, Railroads in Harrison County, Kentucky, was published only a month before he died, but unfortunately, he was too ill to participate in a celebratory book signing event. This book will be a lasting contribution to not only Harrison County’s railroad history, but will be of interest to railfans regionally. Both of the books George published are on the shelves of the Kentucky History Center research library.


George Slade left his extensive research files to me, which I will place at the Museum for researchers to use, as he would have wanted available to those following in his footsteps, preserving Harrison County’s history.


This biography was originally published in the July, 2005 issue of the Harrison Heritage News




About the Author:

Katherine Wilson

The Cynthiana (Ky.) Democrat, January 10, 2007, p. 8, cols. 4-6.


Society Home | Publications | Newsletter Archive | @the Museum (@FB) | Queries

The Harrison County Historical Society   |   P.O. Box 411   |   Cynthiana, KY  41031

The content of www.HarrisonCountyKy.US has been written, compiled, transcribed, abstracted, extracted and/or edited by Philip Naff, except for content which has been submitted for use at the site by unpaid volunteer contributors or where otherwise noted, and he maintains all rights in these web pages as defined by the copyright laws of the United States of America.  No content of this website may be used at or viewed through any other website without the express written consent of Philip Naff.


Last Edited Update: 01.27.2017

© 2006-17 - Philip A. Naff