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About the Author:
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
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:
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.
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:
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
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
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
she would return at midnight. He read the chapter on Sheely’s ghost to an
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,
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
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
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:
The Cynthiana (Ky.) Democrat, January 10, 2007,
p. 8, cols. 4-6.