The Harrison County Historical Society

Cromwell's Comments



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


Excerpts from Cromwell's Comments

Use the links above to read and learn about Harrison County, as recorded by columnist John M. Cromwell.




Cromwell Comments on Schools


The following two items are excerpts from "Cromwell's Comments" as they appeared in the Cynthiana Democrat in February, 1928.  The book's texts include footnotes by William Penn and George Slade which are not shown here, but which update the references made by John Cromwell in his articles.




Early Schools


Prefacing that which I propose to relate concerning the Early Schools of Cynthiana, I wish to say that the article in Perrin’s History relative to Schools was written by the late Prof. L. G. Marshall, then principal of the graded school of Cynthiana, and in my opinion was very exhaustive, as he seemed to have left no stone unturned in his search for facts bearing on the subject, consulting records, wherever available, and talking with many of the older citizens; and remember that the history was written almost fifty years ago, consequently there were many living men whose memories harked back to almost the year 1800.


In an old deed recorded in 1804 we find that Benjamin Harrison and the original trustees of the town of Cynthiana deeded to the trustees of Harrison Academy a lot, now forming part of the Old Cemetery, in the northern part of Cynthiana, the consideration therefore being fifty Spanish milled dollars.


On the lot, in an old stone structure, the first school was established. Here we find Samuel Endicott, described as a distinguished classical teacher, “swayed the scepter as early as 1806,” and Dr. Geo. H. Perrin, whom we shall find later as the first president of the reorganized Harrison Academy, one of his pupils. In 1813 Jesse Olds and his son, Augustus, occupied the Academy, as principal and assistant, during the absence of Endicott. These seemed to have alternated in teaching in the old stone building during its use as a school. Jas. Kelly is also mentioned as a teacher of those early times, and still another Irishman, William Germany, famed as a teacher of languages, also seems to have been connected with the school after it was moved to the new site. My grandfather, Henry F. Cromwell, and Maj. Newt Miller are mentioned as pupils of William Germany, in the old stone building.


On March 15th, 1817, we find recorded another deed, this time from Benjamin Warfield and Sarah, his wife, conveying to Galvin Morrison and William Brown, trustees of Harrison Academy, parts of lots 1 and 2 in Hinkson's Addition, town of Cynthiana, for the purpose of erecting a “seminary building." ”This would be the site on the east side of Church street, on which stood the school building torn down some years ago, and would also indicate that the citizens had come to the conclusion that the old stone building had outlived its usefulness. So here we will leave it, for, like Mose’s sepulchre, no man knoweth where it stood.


There is no record of a building being erected on the new site till the year 1820, tho it is thought that there was a building of some kind on the lot when it was purchased, and that it was used for a few years, and also that both sites were used for a time.


The building which was erected in 1820 is described as “a pretty considerable one,” and also as having a commodious stone basement, in which, strange to relate, “horses were sometimes stabled and fed,” probably the steeds of country pupils.


In 1851 this building was torn down, and a much larger, brick two-story building was erected, finished in 1853. The upper story was used for a number of years by the Freemasons as a lodge room, under some kind of a joint arrangement not exactly set forth, but that they had some financial interest is evident, for in 1872 when the school was reorganized they were paid the sum of $2,000.00 for a quit claim deed.


Before we proceed to the reorganization proceedings, it is interesting to note on just what basis the old schools were run. It is recorded that very early, it does not appear how early, but probably at the beginning of 1789, the County Court received authority to appoint trustees of Harrison Academy. There is no record of the names of any trustees appointed, but we know that Dr. Geo. H. Perrin was elected President of the Board of Trustees and that he served from 1825 till 1864.


It is further recorded that the trustees elected their principal, allowing him to select his own assistants. It was customary to charge him, at least in the later years of the Academy, $100 annual rent, which, however, he might expend if he thought proper in supplying suitable conveniences about the school building. The principal furnished his own fuel, janitor, apparatus, and paid his assistants. The County Court kept the house in repair, “such as it was,” and the Freemasons defrayed their own expenses. As no salary for the Principal is mentioned, we are to infer that his remuneration depended on the number of pupils enrolled.


On May 14th, 1872, at a regular meeting of the City Council, Mayor Caleb Musser presiding, Councilman A. J. Beale introduced an ordinance to open a public school in the City of Cynthiana. The ordinance on being read was adopted by unanimous vote.


Meanwhile, there had been provided no buildings or grounds for the accommodation of the new City School, but it was soon ascertained that the Board Trustees of the Harrison Academy were willing to transfer their charge to the City Council, under an enabling act of the Assembly, which was duly obtained, and that Saint Andrew’s Lodge, would, for a consideration, transfer their rights to the Council.


In 1878 the City Council relinquished control, by act of the General Assembly, and thus was launched the City School of Cynthiana, which has continued on down to this day, with perhaps a few modifications from time to time as occasion may have required.


The Board, in the year 1882, was as follows: Officers, Dr. Hervey McDowell, President; Luther VanHook, Vice-President; Lewis M. Martin, Clerk; William H. Throckmorton, Treasurer. Trustees, T. A. Frazer, W. W. Longmore, Dr. A. J. Beale, Chas. Rieckle, W. C. Musselman


It would ill accord with my duty were I to close this article without paying tribute to Prof. L. G. Marshall, the beloved principal of the City School for so many years, and under whom I sat as a student for five years. He was an elegant gentleman, an accomplished scholar, and comprehensive instructor. We all loved him, as evidenced by the fact that his remains lie in beautiful Battle Grove today, guarded by an appropriate monument erected to his memory by the Cynthiana City School Alumni.



Early Schools



The records show that the first Catholic school in Cynthiana was taught by Miss Annie Reilly, of Covington, Ky., in 1858. While visiting the family of a Mr. Barrett she was induced to gather the children together and open a school in Wall’s school house, then being used by the congregation as a place of worship. During the Civil War the classes were moved to Main street to a house where now stands the Linehan home; and finally to a frame building in the rear of the present church edifice. Here under various teachers the school continued to flourish until 1886, when it ceased to function for a period of about thirty-five years.


In 1919, when Bishop Brossart came to Cynthiana to administer confirmation he preached a sermon on Catholic Education, and urged the people to complete the parish plant by establishing a school. Evidently his sermon was to bear fruit, for we soon find that the congregation, under the able leadership of their pastor, Father Carroll, quickly subscribed about $12,000.00, and shortly purchased the old Trimble property, fronting on Main street, and soon, under the auspices of the Sisters of Divine Providence, their school was established.


Colored Schools

We find that the first colored school was opened about the year 1868; and our historian says: - “It is pleasantly situated on the so-called ‘Common,’ in a comfortable building, near the river.” This would be the old brick structure on Water street, recently converted into a steam laundry – the school having been removed some years previously to the old hospital site, where it continues to flourish under the management of Prof. Newsom.


The Moore Fund

It is proper here that we mention the name of Henry C. Moore. He was the son of William Moore, the first Clerk of the County and Circuit Courts, and founded what has since been known as the “Moore Fund.” He died in 1832 , and by his will set aside half of his estate, $15,000, for the education of poor orphan children in Harrison County. This disposition of his property was contested by the heirs till 1838, when the will was sustained. The fund was then loaned to the county at six per cent, and the annual income, about $800.00, distributed semi-annually to pay for the education of poor orphans.


On March 12, 1860, the County Court ordered that a marble shaft be erected over the grave of Henry C. Moore, in the Old Cemetery, which order was executed by the same. In 1868, also by Court order, it was moved to Battle Grove Cemetery, and stands today, “a genuine tribute of a grateful people to a noble benefactor.” This was a laudable act on the part of the Court, and yet, had it not been done, the name of Henry C. Moore would have been secure. For it needed no tablet, either of marble or bronze, to perpetuate the memory of this good man in the hearts of each succeeding generation of the people of Harrison County.


Private Schools

The first private school of which we have record was taught by Mrs. J. B. Anderson, on Main street, in 1833. This location was evidently, at the time our history was compiled, lost in the mist of antiquity, as the exact spot was not designated. Then comes Mrs. Isette, possibly a few years later, as it is recorded that as late as 1841 “she taught a school of decided excellence, in the little frame house on the west side of Main street, now the property of J. S. Withers. Many of my readers will doubtless remember “the little frame house;” it stood in the corner of Mr. Withers’ yard at the time the property was cut up into building lots by J. B. Berry.


Mrs. Delling’s School

Next comes Mrs. Louisa Ormsby, and we find her, in 1851, opening a school on the corner of Court Square and Pike Street, in a building erected by Maj. William K. Wall, which later came to be generally known as “Walls’ School House.” Here Mrs. Ormsby taught successfully for several years, and then moved to the “Anderson” site on Main street. Mrs. Ormsby moved again, this time to a little frame house which she had, in the meantime, purchased, corner of Pleasant and Walnut. In this location she continued to conduct a school until 1861, when she was married to Mr. C. T. Delling, at that time one of the prominent merchants of Cynthiana, and of more than usual accomplishments;” also says that she gave up teaching after her marriage, but in more modern times, and after the death of her husband, she again conducted a school at her late residence, now the home of Judge R. C. Clary, her grandson.


The Wall School House

Having brought our private schools down to the year 1861, it appears that we are not able to take them up again until after the Civil War, as in the interim we have no recorded data. Now getting back to the old Wall school house, in which schools appear to have been held, pretty continuously since the early [eighteen] forties. My father was a pupil at the Wall school house, and I have heard him mention many of his schoolmates, none living now, I believe, with the exception of Judge J. T. Simon. I was talking with my friend, W. B. Redmon, a short time ago, who attended the Wall school house, beginning in the year 1867. He mentioned Miss Mollie Mitchell and Miss Fannie Holton as his first teachers. The former was an Ohio woman, and died very recently in Cincinnati; the latter afterwards became the wife of Green R. Keller, for a few years editor of the “Democrat,” and later for a number of years of the Carlisle Mercury. Other teachers mentioned by Mr. Redmon were Jos. Blair, who had been a student at the Cynthiana Graded School and afterwards became a lawyer and moved to Missouri; also Prof. Alex Sanders, brother of the late Mrs. Mattie C. VanDeren.


Prof. N. F. Smith

Now comes Prof. N. F. Smith, who in 1872 established a very superior school for boys, though I think he also had a few girl students at times. This school was located in a large brick residence building; my grandfather, Henry F. Cromwell, once owned it and resided there during the Civil War. It was located on the corner of the Oddville pike and Miller street, and was a very desirable location for a school, the house being roomy and grounds large.


Prof. Smith was a unique character. He had a classical education, was an especially fine mathematician and also well grounded in languages. He had been a Confederate soldier and delighted in telling of his war experiences. I have heard more than one of his old students relate that, when it so happened the boys were not up on their lesson, they would contrive to get him started on one of his war stories, which would usually be drawn out until the time allotted to the class had been taken up. He was, however, an able teacher, and turned out many excellent scholars, one of his boys, William Keller, “handsome Bill,” made his mark in journalism in N. Y. City.


In 1876, Miss Lizzie Corbin opened a select school in the residence of the late Prof. John Henry Smith. Here for several years she conducted an up-to-date school for girls. She later accepted an engagement with the Midway [Female] Orphan School and continued as its head until her death.


John Henry Smith

I am reminded here that I have left out, in its proper sequence, the name of Prof. John Henry Smith, later to be known by one and all as “Pap Smith.” He was an Englishman, and educated at the University of Cambridge. Professor Marshall says of him: “He was perhaps the most learned of the long line of Principals who held the reins in old Harrison.” He seems to have been a man of strong personality and, probably with the exception of Prof. Marshall, the most oft-quoted man of school reputation. He was principal of Harrison Academy in 1848, and also conducted private schools in various places, at one time in the Wall school house. Although a school teacher, he seems to have accumulated considerable means, for we learn that he purchased considerable property on west Pike street, including the brick dwelling now occupied by Mrs. J. H. Smith. The residence he sold later to the late Judge J. S. Boyd, building himself a home just west of it, where he lived the life of a retired scholar, until his death, in 1876. Most of us older folk will remember his widow, Mrs. Nancy West Smith, who lived for a number of years near the corner, on east Pleasant street, dying in the late nineties.


Harrison Female College

In 1878, Mr. J. A. Brown purchased what was then known as the “Broadwell” home later known as the Elks’ Home, now the site of several beautiful residences. At that time it was an ideal location for that which it afterwards became, “Harrison Female College,” as the old residence had many rooms of ample size and the surrounding grounds were spacious and well shaded.


Here, presided over by Mrs. Brown, “Miss Lizzie,” many fair lassies were graduated from time to time; and, altho it was slightly in advance of “co-education.” A few boys, probably the latter, were taken on their solemn obligation under no circumstances to make love to the “fair lassies.” One such I have in mind now, for he not only seems to have taken such an obligation at the time, but also to have kept it, on down to the present day. I refer to my good friend, Mr. W. W. Ammerman.


(Originally published in The Cynthiana Democrat in the issues for February 16 and 23, 1928)




Cromwell Comments on World War I


The following item is an excerpt from "Cromwell's Comments."  The book's texts include footnotes by William Penn and George Slade which are not shown here, but which update the references made by John Cromwell in his articles.




War History of Harrison County


Coming now to the World War, beside which all previous wars sink into insignificance, we stand appalled when we attempt to sum up its consequences.  In the first place it took a toll of 23,000,000 lives: 10,000,000 soldiers and 13,000,000 civilians.  When we add to this the fact that 23,000,000 soldiers were wounded or missing, 9,000,000 children were orphaned and 10,000,000 persons became refugees and the further fact that the toll of lives was taken from the ablest and best of the world’s population, the summing up seems staggering beyond belief.  In money the World War cost three hundred and forty billion dollars, a sum so stupendous that the human mind fails to grasp it.


We are all tolerable familiar with the incident which precipitated the gigantic struggle, beginning on that fateful day of August, 1914, which was to last four long years, and which in the meantime was to embroil most of the first class powers of the world; we are not so familiar perhaps with the causes underlying it all.  In effect, "der tag", that is the day Germany thought she was ready to start her march to World Empire.  We use the word "thought" advisably, for as it fell out she made several mistakes in her reckoning, not the least of them, that little Belgium would allow her a free passage thru her territories to attack France, and then the incident of the scrap of paper, so denominated by the Kaiser.  This incident brought England into the conflict, which, taken together with Belgium’s stubborn opposition, halted Germany at the Somme, and forced her to fight a defensive warfare on the western front there after.  The entrance of the United States into the conflict was also another actor which Germany had not counted on, and so it was that she soon found herself beset on three sides, Russian and Italy on the east, the English fleet controlling the seas, and England, France and eventually the United States holding her on the western front.  And so we find that Germany was soon to learn to use an old adage, that "the best laid plans of mice and men gang oft agley."


But hold on here, we did not start out to write a history of the World War, but rather to tell you about the part the boys of old Harrison played in it.  Come to think of it, however, we are not even equipped to do that, since during most of its duration we were in California.  While there, however, we were, so to speak, right in the midst of it, working part of the time in a munition plant.


North Island, lying at the entrance of San Diego Bay, was the training ground for the boys in the aviation corps; so planes got to be as familiar a sight as, well, flies around a sugar barrel. And here we recall an incident on the day after we heard the news of the armistice.  In the celebration held to celebrate the event 251 planes were in the air.  Not that one could actually count that many, as they were flying in squads of about fifties, V-shape, you know, like wild geese.  A squad came flying over the city (there were crowds atop the tall buildings, this writer among the number).  When suddenly from the leading plane a man came hurtling down.  Naturally the crowd held their breath, but breathed freely again when it was seen that it was a man of straw.


At Camp Kearney there were thousands of Khaki clad boys in training and at Balboa Park hundreds of sailor boys.  Another not to be forgotten incident I recall.  Madam Schumann-Heink sang for the soldier boys on a Christmas Eve night at the Plaza.  Thousands of onlookers crowded the plaza grounds, and I talked to people from a dozen different states.

     But hold on again, two pages of copy, and we have not gotten to our subject yet.  Well, as sure as the Democrat comes out next week, we promise to tell you at least, a little, about the part played by our boys in the "big" war.

. . .  

A promise is a promise, and I’m making good this week, provided the stars do not fall, thus preventing The Democrat from coming out.  As told last week we were not in Cynthiana during most of the duration of the U. S. part in the World War.


However, we may say that we saw the beginning, and the ending in old Harrison.  Since on a September morning in 1917 we saw the first batch of drafted men come from the courthouse and march south on Main street to entrain for camp.  And here’s a funny thing in psychology, it’s been almost exactly 21 years, and while I probably recognized ninety-five per cent of these boys at the time, I am unable to name but two of them at this writing, Dr. Paul Lail and Kinney Smith.  And now for the ending, I reached home in March of 1919, just in time to do my modest bit in the Victory Liberty Loan drive.


But to get down to brass tacks.  In search of information on the subject, I called at the Court House the other day, and the obliging officials placed at my disposal a well bound volume, and told me to help myself.  Opening up the book the first thing to meet the eye was a clipping from The Democrat of May 1, 1919, captioned as follows: "World War Statistics," it went on to say in part:  "As usual Harrison County went over the top in the Victory Liberty Loan drive.  Up to the last night a total of $446,000 has been subscribed, quota was $420,000."


And again.  "The greatest credit should be accorded R. S. Withers, Chairman, and Mrs. J. W. Daizelle, Mrs. W. G. Wiglesworth and their co-workers for their splendid work during the campaign."


Turning over a few pages I found that Harrison county furnished 405 men, 1916 to 1918.  Of these, the following "did not come back:"


Died of disease – Cecil Whalen, Howard Cooper, Herbert Crawford, Luther Debruler, John Fitzgerald, Emery Ferguson, William W. Gardner, John Goodnight, Lieut. J. Quincy Jewett, Orville Jones, Dawson Lemmons, Lonnie Mullin, H. R. Pulliam, Jas. Hardin Sparks, Walter H. Williams, Stephen Woodward, Orie C. Givens, Frazier Smith, the two last named colored. Killed in action – Stephen B. Whalen, Claud D. Wilson, Corp. Jas. H. Parsons.  Died of wounds overseas – James H. McHarney.  Checking back with my original authority, I believe this list is substantially correct, 22 men who made the supreme sacrifice out of 405 enlisted.  But, you know all of them took the chance.


I could go on, from memory, and perhaps name a dozen boys who did not wait for the draft, but enlisted in various branches of the service; but fearful that I might omit some name, I am not going to attempt it.  Anyhow it is a matter of record in the archives of the War Department.  Their names are written there.


I will, however, name an individual.  He did not enlist in Harrison county, but we will ever claim him as our own.  I refer to the late beloved editor of The Democrat.  Joe [Costello] enlisted in St. Louis, was soon sent overseas where he took part in several engagements.  He escaped wounds, but was gassed, which in all probability accounted for his subsequent ill healthy, and untimely death.


(Originally published in The Cynthiana Democrat in the issues for June 30 and July 7, 1938)




Cromwell Comments on the Census


The 1930 Census


    Noticed in The Democrat week before last that in our district it will require 250 enumerators to compile the census next spring, and that they will be appointed by Porter M. Gray, who will open an office in the Federal Building at Cattlesburg about the first of December, and about Jan. first will select his field assistants for the counties.  Now here is a tip to all those who may desire to help Uncle Sam in counting noses--brush up on your civil service, and apply forthwith to Mr. Gray.

     From the Lexington Herald, of recent date, we get some information in regard to the census in the country at large.  It will take approximately 100,000 people to complete it; and on the census of 1930 will be based on the redistricting of congress.  William H. Steuart will be director of the census, and has already appointed nearly all of his 400 lieutenants.  Mr. Steuart in an interview given out at Washington said—“The hardest job we have is to make the people realize that the census can only be as complete as they can make it,” and “to convince them that what they want to know about themselves must come from themselves;” and that “the census takers this year will ask more questions than ever before,” and that, “further, it has always been found that some persons are reluctant about giving information of a personal character.”

     Mr. Steuart also said that by the third week in April the census takers will be able to begin making announcements.


Origins of the Word Census

     It comes from the Latin sensus,which in old Roman times meant a registered itemized statement of one’s property for the purpose of taxation; but in modern times it has come to mean “an enumeration of the inhabitants of a country, accompanied by such other information as may be deemed useful.”  We find that in the following countries a decennial census is taken; the United States, England, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Holland, Belgium and Portugal.


Birth of Christ

     We read in the New Testament, Luke, 2nd, verses 1 and 3—“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed; and all went to be taxed, every one to his own city.”  So in this old Roman custom of taxation we have the fulfillment of the age-old prophecy that Christ should be born in Bethlehem of Judea, for while Nazareth was the home of Joseph and Mary, they were of the house and lineage of David, and therefore must come to the City of David, Bethlehem, to be taxed.

First Census

     Dates back to about 1350 B.C., to the time of the wandering of the children of Israel in the wilderness.  We read in the first chapter of numbers, first and second verses, as follows:  “And the Lord spake unto Moses, in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tabernacle of the congregation, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying, take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers, with the number of their families, every male by their polls.”

     Now let everybody get ready to stand up and be counted.  The 1920 census gave us 3,857.  We want to make it, at least, 4,500 for 1930, so that when asked by some stranger—what’s the population of Cynthiana, we can assume a nonchalant air and reply, oh! About 5,000.

     P.S. —Noticed in the Thanksgiving issue of The Democrat that the “paragrapher” wants a substitute phrase for “getting along nicely.”  Am offering—“fine, thank you.”


(Originally published in The Cynthiana Democrat in the issues for December 12, 1929)




Cromwell Comments on Churches


In the twenties, thirties, and forties John Cromwell, former Cynthiana mayor and columnist for The Cynthiana Democrat, wrote a column entitled "Cromwell's Comments," many of which touched on and explored the local history of Cynthiana and Harrison County.  He often drew on "Our Historian" as a source, a reference to William H. Perrin and the history he edited in 1882 (History of Bourbon, Scott, Harrison and Nicholas Counties, Kentucky), the text of which appears in several other locations at HarrisonCountyKy.US.  By the time John Cromwell began writing his column, nearly half a century had passed since the history's publication, and Cromwell's articles brought each of the segments regarding church history up-to-date.


Links to some of his articles about the churches of Cynthiana follow.  These texts help to further demonstrate the depth and content of what you may find if you should like to add Cromwell's Comments to your own library.

To see more about the history of the churches of Cynthiana or the county, click here and follow the links there to the church of your interest.




Historic African American Churches


The following article was entitled "African Methodist Episcopal" which was originally published in the December 22, 1938 issue of the paper:


     We are told that in September, 1787, Richard Allen, of Philadelphia, Pa., organized the A. M. E. Church.  But we are not informed as to just what period this movement reached Kentucky.  However, we find the following on the subject:  “Long before the Emancipation Proclamation the church had many organizations, preaching missions and meeting places in Kentucky”; and also that the Missouri Annual Conference was organized in Quinn Chapel church at Louisville, Ky., on September 13, 1855, Quinn Chapel having been organized 17 years before in 1838.

     Coming now to Cynthiana, we find that the Negro Methodists built a church in 1853, two years before the conference was organized in Louisville.  We are informed by the historian Perrin, that this building cost $1,000.00, would comfortably seat 300 people and was located on East Pleasant street.  Here the congregation met for a quarter of a century.  But in the early 1870’s the trustees sold the old church building to the Colored United Brethren of Friendship Society for $300.

     Many who chance to read this will recall the old U. B. F. [United Brethren of Friendship] Hall.  It stood on the site now occupied by the brick bungalow erected recently by J. W. “Buddy” Plummer, which is occupied at present by Mrs. Edith Button and her mother.

     The church then purchased from W. L. Northcutt, for $700, a plot of ground on West Pleasant street, a few hundred yards east from the new bridge which is now in process of construction.  On this lot a new brick house of worship was erected, being completed in 1871.  The building cost, including a good bell, was $5,000, and a home for the pastor, adjoining, cost $250.  Our historian commenting on this edifice, writing in 1882, said, “It will easily seat 500 people; it is nicely furnished, has windows of stained glass, carpeted aisles, and is giving general satisfaction.” “The brick work was done by the late J. J. Parish, of our city.”  “The colored Methodists now have a membership of 260.”

     The congregation is still occupying the house of worship as above described, which is being redecorated at this time.  In a recent interview with the pastor, Rev. Edward Arthur Simmons, he kindly placed at my disposal, a handsomely bound little volume, “The Book of Redemption and of Perpetuity of the Church,” recently compiled by himself, which we have used largely in this write up.  In this booklet he given a list of the pastors who have served the church since 1865, in number with their years of service.  He also informed us that they contemplate the erection of a new parsonage in the near future, and that the present membership of the church is 134.

     In 1857, the Colored Baptists of Cynthiana bought of W. J. Parish a lot on the bank of the river, about four hundred yards south of the railroad depot, and thereon built a small brick church, costing about $700.  In a few years the house was enlarged at an expense of $2,500, and then had a seating capacity of 250.  The situation, however, was not satisfactory, as the trains passed too close to the windows.  In 1850 [probably should be 1880], the property was sold to W. H. Wilson, for $275.  Certainly a very low price,” says our historian, and we are inclined to agree with him.  During this same year the trustees purchased of Henry Palmer, colored, for $300, a building lot on the corner of Bridge and Church streets, present site of the church.  In 1881, a new brick edifice was erected on this lot, by Ed Clark, colored, of Lexington.  Our historian says here, “It is a large and spacious building, capable of seating when finished, 500 people.”  At that writing, 1882, the building had not been completed, but services were being held in the basement every Sunday.  It is estimated that the church, when completed, will have cost about $4,000.  The membership, 300.

     Interviewing the Rev. W. D. Mason, who has had charge of the Macedonian church for about sixteen years, we were informed that the congregation numbers 275, also that he has charge, in addition to his duties in Cynthiana, of a little church at Shady Nook of forty odd members.  In connection with the church building is a handsome brick bungalow parsonage, located on Poplar street, between Mill and Pleasant.

     No account of the Colored Baptist church in Cynthiana would be completed without mention of Elder John Johnson, its faithful Shepherd for a quarter of a century.  He was a familiar figure on our streets in the seventies, esteemed alike by whites and blacks.  Many who chance to read this will recall his baptismal services, held in South Licking, usually on Sunday afternoons in the presence of large crowds lining both banks of the stream.  He was proud of the number of his converts, kept an accurate account of his baptisms in a little book which he carried with him, and it is our recollection that they ran well into the eight hundreds at the time of his passing.

     The Ebenezer Episcopal Methodist Church, established in Cynthiana in 1892, under the administration of the Rev. J. H. Ross, who served it as pastor for two years, this little congregation of 65 members is in a flourishing condition.

     The building was erected in 1892 by the late A. T. Rees.  It is of frame, very commodious and stands on Locust street about midway between Penn and Mill. The little congregation had a hard time financially for a number of years, but we were informed, in a recent interview, by its pastor, the Rev. E. E. Hamblen, who is entering upon his seventh year of service with the congregation, that they are now entirely out of debt, and this includes also an indebtedness on the parsonage, which was recently liquidated.  The parsonage directly across the street from the church building, is a comfortable home and taken together with the church building, speaks well for the zeal of so small a body of worshippers and the financial acumen of the present pastor.  We were also informed by Bro. Hamblen that there is a body of Christians of the same persuasion located at Leesburg, who have a house of worship, with a part time preacher.




The Episcopal (Anglican) Church


In the twenties, thirties, and forties John Cromwell, former Cynthiana mayor and columnist for The Cynthiana Democrat, wrote a column entitled "Cromwell's Comments," many of which touched on and explored the local history of Cynthiana and Harrison County.  He often drew on "Our Historian" as a source, a reference to William H. Perrin's 1882 History of Bourbon, Scott, Harrison and Nicholas Counties, Kentucky, the text of which precedes this text, however nearly half a century had passed since its publication, and John Cromwell brought each of the segments regarding church history up-to-date.  The following article was entitled "Episcopal Church" which was originally published in the December 15, 1938 issue of the paper:


The Episcopal or Protestant Episcopal church is that branch of the church in America which became independent of the Church of England in 1789, by adopting a constitution of its own. Previous to 1811 the church made but little progress.  However, during the next ten years such advancement was made that there were churches in thirteen states.

     Altho the first religious service in Kentucky is said to have been held in 1775, at Boonesboro, by Episcopalian minister, Rev. John Lythe, it would seem that this denomination took hold but slowly in the new settlement, which has been attributed to the fact that the Revolutionary War having just ended, the people were still prejudiced against all things English.

     We are told by the late Professor L. G. Marshall, who furnished the data on churches and schools for Perrin’s history of Cynthiana, compiled in 1882 – “The doctrines of the Church of England were first promulgated in Cynthiana by Dr. Berkley, of Lexington, in 1846.”  In 1847 Rev. G. G. Moore, rector of the Episcopal Church in Paris, visited Cynthiana in the interests of his order, once a month, and organized a church of four members.  Service was held in the court house; sometimes by courtesy in the Methodist, and sometimes in the Presbyterian church.

     After the retirement of Mr. Moore, we find no special pastor in charge for two or three years, till 1852, when Rev. Carter Page was church rector, and held the office until 1862.  Mr. Page was an able and popular preacher, and also an eminent teacher of the classics.

     One of the four members who constituted the church at its first organization was Dr. George H. Perrin, of whom more anon.  In 1852 the church had no house of worship, and in that year a lot on Walnut street, fronting Mill, was purchased from Henry F. Cromwell for $225.00 and the building begun.

     Again our historian says – “the building cost only $6,500, and carried to its present degree of completion in 1854, when it was duly consecrated to Bishop Benjamin Bosworth Smith of Kentucky”; and that $5,000.00 of the expense was supplied by Dr. Perrin, and $1,000 contributed by William Thompson.

     We are further told that the church was built according to a model of an old church in England – “Stokes Poges”- which was furnished by Bishop Smith, and that this model was to be seen in Cynthiana for a number of years after the building was finished.   In this connection we also call attention to the fact that the Episcopalians are unique in that they are the only congregation in Cynthiana still using their original house of worship, after an occupancy four score years and five.

     Writing for Cynthiana readers a description of the outside of this fine old church building is scarcely necessary, it may be in order, however, to briefly mention the “inside”.  The three memorial windows, over the altar, are commemorative to Dr. George H. Perrin, Rev. Carter Page and Rev. George Weeks.  The altar is hand carved.  The carving having been done by some members of the church some friends of the church and Rev. Dyer, a former pastor.  At opposite sides of the altar, on the walls, appear the creed, and commandments, gold letters on a black back-ground form the tablets.  The pipe organ, the first to come to Cynthiana, is still in use, bearing the date, 1881.  There are also other memorials of departed loved ones placed there by their families.  Adjoining the church building is a commodious rectory.

     We have mentioned some of the pastors who served the Church of the Advent in its early years.  We now propose to take up the line of pastors who followed them; these according to a list furnished us by Mrs. Henry W. Oxley, who also included in her notes other valuable data in reference to the interior decorations of the church building.  Reverends, G. G. Moore, 1847; H. H. Reid, 1849; Carter Page, 1850 to 1862; Chas. Stewart; Dr. Silas Totten; Walter Tearn; Charles T. Kellog; J. S. Johnson; George A. Weeks; Edward S. Cross; John T. Spivey; C. L. Pindar; Rolla Dyer; F. A. Ridout, Jr.; H. E. Spears; H. H. Sneed; R. C. Caswall; John S. Banks; J. E. Thompson; George Henry Harris; Walter Cain; J. J. Clapton; Paul Due; J. H. Chillington; Harold Boone; Herbert G. Purchase; George R. Madison.  The presiding Bishop of the Cynthiana Diocese at this period is the Rt. Rev. H. P. Almon Abbott, of Lexington, whom we all know and admire.

     Here ends our series of articles on the churches of Cynthiana; and having gone to considerable pains to collect the data relative to each individual church, we hope they have been followed with a modicum of interest by our readers. Not only  so, but we even dare to hope that some scrapbook minded individuals have preserved the clippings for further reference.




Cynthiana Baptist Church


In the twenties, thirties, and forties John Cromwell, former Cynthiana mayor and columnist for The Cynthiana Democrat, wrote a column entitled "Cromwell's Comments," many of which touched on and explored the local history of Cynthiana and Harrison County.  He often drew on "Our Historian" as a source, a reference to William H. Perrin's 1882 History of Bourbon, Scott, Harrison and Nicholas Counties, Kentucky, the text of which precedes this text, however nearly half a century had passed since its publication, and John Cromwell brought each of the segments regarding church history up-to-date.  The following article was entitled "The Baptist Church in Cynthiana" which was originally published in the November 24, 1938 issue of the paper:


     It is recorded that the Baptists were the first of the denominations to establish themselves in the new settlement of Kentucky also that Squire Boone, brother to Daniel Boone, was a Baptist minister, though it is a fact that he seemed to have done more plundering than preaching.  It is further recorded that the first Baptist preacher to arrive in Kentucky, Rev. Thomas Tinsley; conducted services at Fort Harrod in 1776.

     While it is not possible to trace the first Baptist family that settled in the confines of Cynthiana, we do know that there were Baptist families residing in the Indian Creek neighborhood as early as 1790 as witnessed by the fact that the old church building standing there today was erected in that year; which by the way celebrated its148th anniversary with fitting ceremonies a short time ago.

     Coming now right square down to our text, Prof. I. G. Marshall, who by the way I believe was a of the Baptist persuasion, in his opening paragraph on the Baptist church in Cynthiana, writing in 1882, says in part, “The Baptists, tho always numerous in Kentucky, do not seem to have obtained an early foothold here in their church capacity.”  But in 1867 Rev. Dr. S. L. Helm having delivered a powerful series of discourses in Cynthiana, aided by Rev. J. R. Barbee, a life long resident of the vicinity, the first Baptist Church of Cynthiana, composed of twelve members, was organized under their care.

The little church, as usual with houseless churches, held regular services in the court house, Rev. Geo. W. Varden, of Paris, becoming their first pastor.  In 1869, Rev. A. F. Baker had charge; 1870, W. W. Williams; 1872-74 Robert Ryland; 1875-76 , A. L. Jourdan; 1876-77, R. L. Helm; 1877-92, Cleon Keyes.

     We now come to the erection of the first house of worship by the Baptist Congregation.  In August of 1871, a lot was purchased on the east side of Walnut street (now site of the garage adjacent to the Rohs Theatre) from Mrs. Seargeant for $800.   John VanDeren, C. O. Land, Samuel O. Eckler and Paul King were appointed a building committee, and the contract for the erection of the building was given to Samuel O. Eckler.  In the spring of 1875, the house was completed at a cost of approximately $8,000, and all but $500 of the amount paid.  In January of the aforesaid year, Rev. Henry McDonald, professor in the Theological Department of Georgetown College, was invited to deliver the dedicatory address.  Our historian here tells us that every foot of room in the house was occupied, and that when it was announced that a debt of $500 still remained to be paid, it turned out to be an easy matter to raise the money before the congregation was dismissed and that Elder Jordan [Jourdan] in announcing the result said,” We wanted $500; well, we get it, we got more than that, good measure, running over, pressed down and shaken together.”

     Our historian then goes on and mentions some “special” contributions.  Felix G. Ashbrook, presented the bell; Mrs. Artie Ashbrook, the communion set; Mrs. Felix Ashbrook, the carpets; Miss Georgie Richardson presented a fine cabinet organ; Mrs. Paul King supplied the pulpit with an elegant quarto bible; Mrs. John VanDeren and Mrs. W. C. Musselman provided the handsome chandeliers.  The membership of the church, 1882, is given as about 75.

     Coming now to the second church building on the same site, we are drawing our information from “The Baptist Bulletin”, established 1915, by C. W. Elsey and placed at our disposal by C. M. Jewett.  Defective workmanship on the first house of worship was continuous source of expense and annoyance.  In 1890, the church extended a full time call to Rev. H. A. Bagby, and in short, his congregation and of the community at large.

     It only remains now to mention the “third” House of Worship to be erected by the Baptist Congregation in Cynthiana, and we have done.  We shall be brief, as the handsome building standing on the corner of Pleasant and Church streets speaks for itself; the stately Corinthian pillars; the inscription over the Pleasant street entrance, “THE HOUSE OF PRAYER,” and the historical data on the corner stone, “Constituted, 1867; First Building, 1875; second building, 1882; present building, 1914.




St. Edward Catholic Church, Cynthiana


In the twenties, thirties, and forties John Cromwell, former Cynthiana mayor and columnist for The Cynthiana Democrat, wrote a column entitled "Cromwell's Comments," many of which touched on and explored the local history of Cynthiana and Harrison County.  He often drew on "Our Historian" as a source, a reference to William H. Perrin's 1882 History of Bourbon, Scott, Harrison and Nicholas Counties, Kentucky, the text of which precedes this text, however nearly half a century had passed since its publication, and John Cromwell brought each of the segments regarding church history up-to-date.  The following article was entitled "Catholicism in Cynthiana" which was originally published in the November 3, 1938 issue of the paper:


     The first Catholic services in Harrison County were held in Broadwell’s meeting house, on the Ruddle’s Mills pike, by Father Kroeger, from Holy Trinity church, Cincinnati, in 1849.  After Father Kroeger, came Fathers Elkman, Lancaster, McMahon and McGuire.  Then came as missionaries from 1849 to 1853, once to 3 times a year.  In 1853, Rt. Rev. George A. Carroll, first Bishop of the Diocese of Covington, sent Father Force as pastor of this congregation, residence in Paris, he having for his parish Paris, Cynthiana and Falmouth.  Services were held once a month and every alternate fifth Sunday in a month.  After Father Force, there came in succession Fathers Allen, Perry and Brandts, assisted by Fathers Devine, Wright and Quinn; then Fathers Brossart, Major, Cook, Feighery, in succession; and 1882 Father Merschmann, assisted by Father Sang.  

     From 1853 to 1862, services were held in Wall’s Schoolhouse, corner Pike and Court streets, now Smith-Rees Co.  In 1853 Louis Pollmeyer, Thomas English and Patrick McCaffrey, Trustees, purchased a lot from William T. Redmon, on Walnut street, running back to the railroad.  This lot being rejected by the Bishop, was sold, and, in 1861, the Rev. E. H. Brandts purchased of William Roper the lot on which the church now stands for $500.  Father Brandts built a frame church, and a schoolhouse in the rear of it, in 1862, at an expense of $3,000.  The work on these buildings was done by John O. Day.

     In 1871, the frame church was moved back on the lot and the foundation of the present structure was built by Thomas Lowry.  The corner stone was laid the same year under the auspices of Rev. E. H. Brandts by Rt. Rev. A. M. Toebbe, Bishop.  In 1873, Rev. F. Brossart, then pastor, had the building put up and placed under roof.  The brick work was done by J. J. Parish; the lumber work was done by Mills & Spellmire, of Cincinnati, the slate roof was put on by Bierman & Co., also of Cincinnati.

     In 1875, Father Major, then pastor, having had the floor and the windows put in, the church was dedicated in October of that year.  In 1881, Fathers Gadker and Merschmann called and commenced plastering the church; this part of the work was completed July 1st, 1882.  The church when finished cost $30,000, according to the estimate of Mr. Pickett, the architect.

     Thus far, in my story of Catholicism in Cynthiana, I have been following Perrin’s history; compiled in 1882, which left off more than half a century ago with the church unfinished, and Father Merschmann as its presiding genius.  Writing today it is hardly necessary to say that the church building was completed in due course, and stands now as a monument to those of the Catholic faith who wrought so well in the long ago, leaving for their successors in the faith the handsome building as it stands today.

     In conclusion, with the help of my good friend, Miss Maggie English, I am able to give the names of the pastors who have served Saint Edwards Church since Father Merschmann’s time: Father Baumeister, Father F. Donnelly, Father McGrady, Father Jones, Father Kehoe, Father Adeisberger, Father Bealer, Father Lingel, Father D. F. Carroll and the present incumbent, whom we all know, and appreciate, Father Curry.




The Christian Church of Cynthiana


The Christian Church, Main & Mill Streets

(Photo by Philip Naff)

The following article was entitled "The Christian Church in Cynthiana" which was originally published in the December 8, 1938 issue of the paper:


     Dr. A. W. Fortune, in his book, “Disciples in Kentucky,” opens his chapter on the “Beginning of The Barton W. Stone Movement” as follows – on the crest of a greatly sloping bank, a few rods from the pike between Paris and Little Rock, is a little meeting house which was the birth place of the Christian church.  Here “The Last Will and Testament of the Springfield Presbytery” was decreed years before Thomas Campbell published the “Declaration and Address, and before Alexander Campbell, his son, had come to America.

     It would appear, therefore, that the term “Campbellites,” which is sometimes applied to this denomination of christians is a misnomer; if anything, it should rather be “Stoneites.”  As a matter of fact, in the early inception of the movement it was variously termed Christian Reformers and Disciples of Christ, with the first appellation finding favor in Kentucky where the movement had its beginning.

     The Christian church in Cynthiana was organized in 1827, when Barton W. Stone was in the zenith of his fame, and Alexander Campbell had just reached secured greatness.  The adherents of these two great christian leaders had not then united, for John Rogers says.  In his biography of John T. Johnson: “this union did not take place till 1831-32.”  So it was that on a day 111 years ago; eleven individuals met and organized themselves into a church body; their names – Eleven Todd, Rebecca Miller, Patsy Kemp, Eliza Haggerty, Catherine Douglas, Hannah Wall, Margaret Miller, Jemima Todd, Mary Porter and Polly Ann Hagerty.  Note here that there is only one man, which would seem to indicate that then, as now, the ladies took the lead in matters religious.  Commenting here our historian said – “these eleven names ought to form a perpetual church roll of honor”; and as a matter of fact they have since done that very thing, as they are listed today on a bronze plaque affixed to the wall on the right as one enters the church from the Main street entrance.  We are also informed here that the membership at the end of the year 1829 was seventy-eight, and that it gradually increased until by the end of 1841 that was 275.

     The church met for worship in the court house, or in private dwellings as occasion required for three or four years, but measures were taken in the second year to procure a lot and erect a house of its own.  At a meeting held at Bro. John Trimble’s home, on Monday night, the 19th of January, 1829, a building committee hitherto appointed, reported that they had purchased a lot, corner of Main and Mill streets (the present site of the Christian church).  Another meeting was held the next year, but did not show what the church building had progressed in the interim.  Six years later we find the following entry on the minutes (with no explanation in the meantime): “At a meeting of the members of the Christian Church, held at the Christian Meeting House in Cynthiana on Monday the 7th of November, 1836.”  And so ends the old record entire: nothing further is told in writing of the erection of the first Meeting House except register of name of members up to 1840.

     However, we get out of this the fact that the meeting House was built; and we have the following from the Souvenir History of the Christian Church of Cynthiana, compiled in 1901 by W. S. Cason, Lilly Webster, Maud Smith and Bettie M. Cromwell in re the old Meeting House –” It deserves more mention than the existing records of our space allows, for its walls had re-echoed the voices of the most forcible preachers of the first part of the century.  Marion W. Stone, Thomas and Alexander Campbell,  ‘Raccoon John Smith,’ John T. Johnson, Walter Scott and others.”

     Coming now to the second church building on the site, we learn that in 1867 the old house was taken down, and the present edifice was erected as an expense of approximately $8,000.00. Our authority goes on here into an elaborate description of the building, but lack of space forbids that we follow him: many who chance to read this will recall it.  However, we will mention some special gifts with names of the donors – chandeliers furnished by Henry E. Shawhan; work in fresco by T. J. Megibben; pulpit by C. B. Cook; seats by Thos. V. Ashbrook; stained glass window, by G. W. Taylor.

     As pastors serving the church between 1841 and 1850, arranged in the order indicated below, we are advised to place Elders Poole, Weakley, Joshua Irwin, John M. Holton, John A. Gano (1847), John A. Dearbon, R. H. Forrester, and John C. Tompkins. Between 1856 and 1861 we arrange Samuel Rogers assisted by his son, John I. Rogers, T. N. Arnold in 1862, and R. C. Ricketts in 1863 and 1864. In 1866, J. D. Wilroth; in 1867 Allen Broadburne, from 1867 to 1871 D. W. Case.  In 1871, E. Y. Pinkerton and J. B. Jones.  In 1872, J. C. Frank, four years.  In 1876, J. C. Walden, a man who commanded great respect in the community, and served four years.  Mr. Walden was succeeded in 1880 by William Stanley, C. B. Edgar, 1884; J. J. Morgan, Mch. 1889 to end of year G. W. Yancey; 1890-1894; J. J. Haley, 1895-1904; W. E. Ellis, 1905-1912; J. D. Armistead, 1912-1922; Clyde Darsie, 1922-1936; C. N. Barnette, 1937; still with us, and has won the affections of his congregation, as well as the esteem of the community at large.

     We now come to the present house of worship of the Christian Congregation in Cynthiana, the third to stand on the same site. As we remarked in writing of the Baptist church edifice, comment is unnecessary here, just walk around and inspect this handsome church home for yourself. It may be proper, however, that we set down here the names of the building Committee; William Addams, W. T. Lafferty, W. S. Cason, Bailey D. Berry, M. C. Swinford, S. J. Ashbrook, J. S. Withers; all of whom, with the exception of Mr. Swinford, have passed into the beyond since the edifice was dedicated in 1901.  It is also worthy of note that the stone used in the building is a peculiar kind of limestone, scarce in this vicinity, and was quarried, for the most part, from a field south of and adjoining Battle Grove cemetery.  It was owned by W. B. Redmon.  The stone was dressed on the ground, and laid in the walls under the supervision of J. R. Poindexter.  Des Jardins & Hayward of Cincinnati were the architects and the late A. T. Rees was superintendent of construction.




The Methodist Church of Cynthiana


The following article was entitled "Methodism in Cynthiana" which was originally published in the November 17, 1938 issue of the paper:


Methodism had its birth in England, when on the night of May 24, 1738, John W Wesley felt his heart strangely warmed.”  Twenty-five years later the movement reached America.

     It would be interesting to know who was the first Methodist to come to Cynthiana.  But who he was, when he arrived, and where he came to, are matters of history, that lie forever buried in a forgotten past.

     However, when it comes to the matter of trying to establish the site of the first Methodist church building in Harrison County, we are able to approximate the truth, as it would appear from the best data obtainable that an old log building erected at East Broadwell in the late 1790’s, or possibly the very early 1800’s will about fill the bill. At least, we have not been able to obtain any facts which would indicate an earlier Methodist church building in the county.  I am giving here what the “History of Methodism in Kentucky,” brought out in 1935, has to say on the subject:

     “About three miles from Cynthiana, on the road from that place to Ruddle’s Mills, stood old Mount Gerazim, where the Western Conference was held in both 1803 and 1804.  And again, “Mount Gerazim”, or [East] Broadwell, is a historic church.  It was built about the beginning of the “last century” (1800).  The ground where it stands was given jointly by Richard Timberlake and Samuel Broadwell.  The first house was built of blue ash logs. This house was burnt about 1825, accidentally, when the brick house now standing was erected.”

     Many of us doubtless recall the old brick church on East Broadwell, razed fifteen or twenty years ago.  It stood on land now owned by Cleve and Miles McKee, about half a mile from the Jones Filling Station, in the old grave yard.   The writer has good cause to remember it, as he made his debut in pursuit of an education within its walls, more years back than he is willing to admit; later, to change to the old log school house which stood in the church yard, adjacent to the church building.  This old log school house was doubtless coincident with the “first” church building as say grandmother Nichols, uncle Harry Ward and William T. Redmon, (father of W. B. Redmon, were likewise pupils there in their youthful days, along about 1812.)

     But back to our subject, proper.  Calling on “Perrin” now, we learn that “It was twenty-five years after the establishment of the town before any effective steps were taken toward the creation of sacred edifices, but there is ample evidence that almost coincident with the beginning of the place, religious people and religious assemblies were numerous.  Bishop Kavanaugh, when a young resident here about 1815, engaged in the printing office of John Keenan, remembers his uncle, LeRoy Cole, a Methodist who lived about a mile from town (this would be in the rear part of the home of Mr. and Mrs. Chas. Cooper and Lawson Oxley) he also recalled Rev. William Rainey, and Rev. Moreland, as Methodist ministers of the early days.”  And here, if it may be allowed, I will again digress, to say that Bro. Cole rests in the old grave yard at East Broadwell.  

     On the 9th of October, 1818, Richard Henderson, and Fanny, his wife, deeded to Le Roy Cole, Peter Barrett, John Frazer, Joshua Jones, James Finley and Carter Anderson, trustees of the Methodist church, the lot on which the Methodist church stands today, and on this lot a commodious brick church was erected in 1820.  This building burned in 1844, and in the following year was replaced by a smaller edifice, also of brick, and fronting on Church street.  In this second church, we are told by L. G. Marshal, writing for “Perrin” in 1882, that a conference was held in 1869, with Bishop Kavanaugh presiding.

     At this conference, Rev. C. W. Miller, then presiding elder, and resident of Covington, “was assigned in the pastoral charge of the Methodist church of Cynthiana.”  Early in 1870 steps were taken to erect a more suitable house of worship.  The old house fronting on Church Street was razed, and the contractors Humble and Son of Covington, had soon erected a handsome and very comfortable church edifice fronting on Pike street, this time.  The whole cost of the work, including inside decoration and finishing cost about $11,000, and in November of 1870, was dedicated by the Rev. Dr. E W. Schon of Louisville.  In conclusion, our authority, writing in 1882, says: “Meantime, the church under the guidance of an able pastor, with its new house of worship, and with its largely increased membership, entered upon a period of prosperity which has continued until the present time.”

     And now we come to the fourth and present church building to be erected by the Methodist brethren on the same site.  No remarks necessary here, unless it be to state that a stone in two of the corners bears date of 1905.  And that a handsome addition has recently been completed at a cost of $10,000, also a new organ installed.

     We have seen where Rev. C. W. Miller was given charge of the congregation at a conference held in Cynthiana in 1869, and noted the names of several of the early pastors who preached in the first church, but we were unable to obtain the names of the line of pastors in charge from 1820 to 1844, when Rev. W. C. Dandy took charge; then in order we have the following:

     S. S. Deering, 1847; Richard Holden, 1849; James Wells, 1850; Rev. Johnson, 1851; J. W. Minor, 1852; W. W. Trainer, 1853; Rev. Smith, 1854; Jacob Ditzler, 1855; William H. Winter, 1856; B. F. Sedwick, 1858; Samuel Kelley, 1860; W. J. Snively, 1861; S. X. Hall, 1862; Samuel Kelley, 1863-64; J. W. Wightman,[1864, S. S. Deering],  1866, C. W. Miller, 1869; R. Hiner, 1873; Rev. Reynolds, 1874; John R. Deering, 1875; W. J. Snively, 1876; B. F. Sedwick, 1878; James A. Henderson, 1881; M. W. Miner, 1883; H. P. Walker, 1885; D. B. Cooper, 1888; G. W. Young, 1892; E. L. Southgate, 1895; C. F. Oney, 1898; Felix K. Struve;1901; J. L. Clark, 1905; O. T. O’Rear, 1908; M. T. Chandler, 1912; J. P. Strother, 1916; Felix K. Struve, 1919; J. E. Moss, 1921; M. T. Clark, 1927; W. P. Fryman, 1929; R. J. Yoak, 1935; Dr. R. T. Brown, 1936. And we are happy to say, still with us at this writing.  Beginning with Rev. J. A. Henderson, I may state that I have personally known and admired all of these men, and also recall Bro. Sedwick; and was a schoolmate of Felix K. Struve’s back in, but that would be telling.




The Cynthiana Presbyterian Church


The following article was entitled "Presbyterians in Cynthiana" which was originally published in the December 1, 1938 issue of the paper:


     Presbyterianism was established in Scotland in 1560 under the leadership of John Knox and in 1592 it was ratified by the Scottish Parliament.  It gained an early foothold in America and we are told Presbyterians were among the early New England colonists and many settled about Boston and formed the majority of the colony of Massachusetts Bay.  The first American Presbytery was organized in 1707.

     Taking Prof. L. G. Marshall, writing in 1882 for “Perrin,” as our guide and mentor, we learn that no reliable information has been obtained as to the precise time the Presbyterian church was organized in Cynthiana, but on the [21st] day of August, 1820, Richard [Henderson] and his wife Fanny, conveyed as a gift to [Benjamin] Robinson, Alexander [Downing], and Isaac Miller, trustees of the Cynthiana congregation of Presbyterians a lot of ground for the purpose of having erected thereon a house of worship and a pound for horses.   To this was added by Isaac Miller an adjoining lot, also a gift.  Our historian then goes on to bound the lot in the usual terms of legal phraseology which stripped of its verbosity indicated that the lot was directly across the street from the residence of Mr. and Mrs. H. A. Plummer on East Pleasant street.

     Using now as our authority Judge Mac Swinford writing in 1929, we find that a brick building some 40 by 60 feet was erected on the lot presented by the Hendersons but there is no existing record of the building committee, the builders or the cost.  This building was the first Presbyterian church to be erected in Cynthiana and was used until about 1836.

     In 1836-37 William Lamme donated to the church the lot on Main street where the present church building stands.  The building on the Pleasant street lot was taken down and rebuilt on the Main street lot.  The carpenter work was done by Samuel Williams, the brick work by William English.

     Coming now to the erection of the third Presbyterian house of worship, we find that in 1876 the old building was razed, and that during the three or four years succeeding, the present fine edifice was erected.  Our historian remarks that “It is the most beautiful house of public worship ever built in Harrison county.”  The plan was furnished by an architect of Cincinnati.  The building committee composed of J. Q. Ward, D. A. Givens, and R. C. Wherritt.  Cost of the building was $14,000.  It has been suggested that this building was one of the few church buildings that was actually paid for and out of debt at the time it was dedicated.

     In 1909 a beautiful pipe organ was installed, and in 1920 memorial windows.  The W. A. Cook Memorial Annex was built in 1921 at a cost of $7,162.  The new manse adjoining the church property was erected in 1927 at a cost of $8,253.

     The Presbyterian congregation seems to have never had a resident pastor until 1861, when Rev. George Morrison took charge.  Here we are indebted to the late C. A. Leonard, writing for a little booklet compiled by Judge Swinford on the occasion of the Centennial anniversary of the Presbyterian church, 1929, for the line of pastors serving the church.   He gives us a table, beginning in 1830, with the exception of 1843, Rev. A. E. Thorne, and 1855-56, Rev. W. H. Forsythe the years are indicated “vacant”, or “stated supply.”  After Morrison, 1861, came Rev. John D. Kinniard, 1865; Rev. John D. Mathews, 1866; Rev. H. Glask, 1870; Rev. B. M. Hobson, 1873; Rev. J. E. Triplett, 1879; Rev. J. S. VanMeter, 1881; Rev. W. G. Keady, 1886; then Rev. Cary F. Moore, 1908 who served the church over a period of twenty years, resigning on April 1, 1928.  Our historian says of Dr. Moore, “No history of the Cynthiana Presbyterian church would be complete without a tribute to Cary F. Moore and an acknowledgment of the love and esteem with which he and Mrs. Moore were held by all the community.”  And this writer feels sure that the “entire community” subscribed to the statement.  Next in order is the line of pastors we have Rev. Vincent P. Merrell, 1928; then the present incumbent, Rev. E. B. Wooten; comment unnecessary here, as we all know, and like him.





Cromwell Comments on the Calendar Year


From time to time Cromwell would write a column featuring a little history of each month's name as well as offering some perspectives on the events behind the anniversaries celebrated each month.





     The first month of our year, consisting of 31 days. It was by the Romans held sacred to Janus, hence the name.  The Roman year had originally only ten months, to which “Numa” is said to have added January and February.

     Janus, an ancient Latin divinity was held in great reverence by the Romans.  The porter of the Gods, he was the guardian of the doors and gates, and was usually represented with two faces, one looking forward, the other backward.  In times of war the gates of the temple of Janus at Rome were always left open, and in peace they were closed; his principal festival was New Year's Day, when people gave each other presents.  Here, then, we find that our customs are still more or less tinged with these old heathen superstitions, as we still give presents on New Year's Day, and most of us, as it were, kind of pause to take stock; that is to say, "look forward and backward."

New Year's Day

     As shown above we derive our celebration of New Year’s Day from the old Romans; but tho still rated as a National holiday I do not think it is now as much observed as formerly; since if we except the banks and post office you never see a business house closed any more, probably because in this intense commercial age people are less inclined to spare a day from their business.   However, I believe New Year’s Eve is still celebrated in rather a large way in the “big towns.”  New York City for instance, where they pull off the “wild parties;” and where one has to speak weeks in advance in order to reserve a table in the most popular restaurants, and where one pays a huge cover charge, and makes a deep inroad into a bill of “large” denomination before he gets out, so I have been told.

     I very well remember we used to make far more of New Year’s Day in Cynthiana. One very pleasant custom we had, making New Year calls. In the afternoon a bunch of boys would get together and make the rounds, visiting the homes of all the girls, staying at a place just long enough to say “howdy!” and to partake of light refreshments, and, be it known, this was when “coming events” had just begun to cast their shadows before, eggnog or a glass of wine being sometimes included.

     Writing this, am thinking of the last time I “made the rounds.” I was in company with Will Carter, a telegraph operator stationed at Cynthiana for a time. I still recall what a beautiful day it was, ground covered with snow, the sun shining brightly and just cold enough to be bracing. However, this faculty called memory is sometimes baffling.  Altho I recall the day so perfectly, I do not remember but one place that we called, the “Martin Box.”

     That was more than forty years ago, and since that day I have not laid eyes on my friend Carter. He had been transferred, and was leaving Cynthiana the next day.  Often when turning memory’s pages I think of him, and wonder if he is still in the land of the living. If so – here’s looking at you, Will!  Happy New Year.

     Also on Jan. 1st, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, 1863.  6th, Theodore Roosevelt died, 1919.  17th, Benjamin Franklin, one of the "wheel horses," of the American Revolution, born 1706.  18th, Daniel Webster, one of our greatest statesmen, born, 1782.  19th, Robert E. Lee, peerless solider and christian gentleman, born, 1807.  21st, Stonewall Jackson, Lee's greatest lieutenant, born, 1824..  29th, William McKinley, our last martyred president, born, 1843.

Battle of New Orleans

     Fought January 8th, 1815.  This battle was unique in more than one respect.  First, it was fought about two weeks after a treaty of peace had been signed at Ghent in Belgium, between the United States and Great Britain.  No cables in those days, and largely by men entirely untrained in military tactics, against veterans from the battle fields of Europe, some of whom took part in the overthrown of Napoleon at Waterloo.  And again unique in the discrepancy of losses between the two contending forces, the British losing--killed, wounded and captured 2,600 men--the Americans but 21 killed and wounded, and none captured.

      Andrew Jackson, "Old Hickory," had taken his measures well.  The terrain was flat and natural, no cover whatever, so he improvised cotton bales to build parapets, behind which he posted a few field guns and his riflemen, hunters every one, and dead shots with their favorite weapon.

     Packenham, the British general, landed his troops, 10,000 strong, and they came on in serried ranks.  Here quoting our historian, "the British General, Gibbs, attacked Jackson's strongest position.  As they advanced to the charge, they were killed by the hundreds, yet did not falter.  When within 200 yards of the American line, the Kentucky and Tennessee riflemen, deadly shots, four ranks deep, fired line by line.  The slaughter was terrible, but the British[,] now reinforced by Gen. Keene's troops, pressed on up to the very ramparts.  But Gens. Packenham and Gibbs were both mortally wounded.  Gen. Keene and Major Wilkinson, the next in command, were so severely wounded that they were carried from the field and the British fell back in disorder.

     This battle made General Jackson, already famous as a soldier and statesman, the idol of the nation, and in 1824 he received 99 electoral votes for President, but was beaten in the House of Representatives.  Four years later he became President; and again, in 1832, defeating this time "our own" Henry Clay.  Our historian says of Jackson--"he was the first Representative of the new West  of the Masses."

     Closing, I am thinking of the "Hunters of Kentucky," a poem written at the time, but far too long to republish here.  I give the opening lines:

     "Old Packenham he made his brags

     He'd have our girls and cotton bags,

     In spite of old Kentucky."


(Originally published in The Cynthiana Democrat, Jan. 2, 1930)




Jackson's Day


     . . . It would seem that The Democrat is starting in this year to appear on "important" days.  Came out last week on New Year's Day, and is appearing this week on "Jackson's Day," January 8th.

     Andrew Jackson was born Mar. 15, 1767, on the border of North and South Carolina.  He was a man of action and a fighter from his youth up; beginning his military career at the early age of thirteen at the battle of Hanging Rock.  He took up the study of law, and we first hear of him in public affairs when eh became a public prosecutor in the western district of North Carolina, now Tennessee.  he was, 1796-1797, the first Congressman from the state of Tennessee, and in 1797-1798 war U.S. Senator.  From 1798 to 1804 he was a judge of the Supreme Court.

     His life as a planter, frequently chequered with disputes and duels, was broken by the War of 1812.  Jackson, "Old Hickory," as he was called, commanded the southwestern troops against the Creeks, whom he overwhelmed at the Horse-Shoe Bend of the Tallapoosa, March 27, 1814.  He was made a Major-General, stormed Pensacola, and held New Orleans against Pakenham's invasion.

     Jackson's actions in Florida, capture of St. Mark's in 1818, and summary execution of two British subjects, led to considerable discussion at the time.  He was appointed Governor of Florida in 1821; again became United States Senator in 1823; was elected President in 1826 [sic; read 1828], thus becoming the first representative of the new West and of the "masses."

     In 1831 he reorganized his cabinet and the next year, 1832, was re-elected President over Henry Clay.  The chief features of his eight years, 1829-1837, were his vigorous opposition to nullification and to the United States Bank, his censure by the Senate, his introduction of the "Spoils System," his settlement of the French spoliation dispute, and his "Specie Circular" of 1836.

     After his retirement he continued to be regarded as the leader of his party, and died at the Hermitage, near Nashville, June 8, 1845.

     It is said of Jackson that he was of heroic character, but headstrong, arbitrary, vindictive and subject to the influence of politicians.  A strong character, nevertheless, a man among men.

Battle of New Orleans.

 Although twice President, Jackson's chief claim to fame would seem to be his decisive defeat of the British at New Orleans.  This battle was fought Jan. 8, 1814, some six months after a treaty of peace had been signed at Ghent between the United States and England.  The credit for the overwhelming victory belongs entirely to Gen. Jackson, as he organized his army without any aid whatever from the War Department.  His troops consisted, in the main, of riflemen from the various frontiers, Kentucky and Tennessee furnishing the majority of them.  The battle was unique from the fact that while the British loss in killed, wounded and captured was 2,600 men, the American loss was only eight killed and thirteen wounded . . .


(Originally published in The Cynthiana Democrat, Jan. 8, 1931)




Noted Men Born in January


     Noticed in the Lexington Herald a short time ago that Gov. Sampson said, in commenting on the approaching two hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Franklin, "It would be difficult to recall a man who had done so much for his country."

     Have been more or less familiar with the history of Benjamin Franklin since I was a school boy, but did not know that he was born in January; however, we live and learn.

     Looking up the subject of birthdays I was struck with the fact that January is the natal month of no less than seven men who have left their imprint on the pages of our history; as follows:

     10th, ETHAN ALLEN, noted Revolutionary soldier, born in Connecticut[t], 1737.  It will be remembered that when asked by the British officer in command of Fort Ticonderoga by whose authority he demanded its surrender, he replied--"In the name of the great Jehovah and the Continental Congress."

     11th, ALEXANDER HAMILTON.  Born on the island of Nevis, West Indies, 1757.  He was captain of artillery in the Revolution, and Secretary of State in Washington's first Cabinet.  he was killed in a duel with Aaron Burr, 1804.

     13th, SAMUEL WOODWORTH, journalist and poet.  Born in New England, 1785.  Best known as the author of "Old Oaken Bucket."

     17th, BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, born in Boston, 1706.  Learned the printer's trade in his youth.  Went to Philadelphia where he was engaged for a time in the newspaper business.  Published the Pennsylvania Gazette, Poor Richard's Almanack and founded the Saturday Evening Post, 1728.

     He later became interested in scientific research and was the first to demonstrate that electricity could be drawn from the clouds, making use of a kite in his experiments.

     He was sent to France at the beginning of the Revolution, did much to interest the French people in America's struggle for Independence, and was subsequently named one of the Commissioners to negotiate peace with England.

     19th, ROBERT E. LEE, born in Westmoreland county, Va., in 1807.  Died at Lexington, Va., 1870.  Any comment here would be trite, so we pass on to another great soldier of the War between the States.

     21st, THOMAS JONATHAN JACKSON.  Born at Clarksburg, Va., now West Va., 1824.  He was educated at West Point, and distinguished himself as an artillery officer during the war with Mexico.  He resigned from the army and accepted a professorship at the Virginia Military Institute, where he taught mathematics and artillery tactics.

     At the outbreak of the Civil War he opposed secession, but when volunteers were called for to coerce the States, he declared, "I have longed to preserve the Union.  But now that the North has chosen to inaugurate war against us, I am in favor of meeting her by drawing the sword and throwing away the scabbard."  He took part in the first battle of Bull Run, where an account of the firm stand taken by his division earned form himself the sobriquet of "Stonewall" Jackson, by which he was henceforth to be known, and his troops as the "Stonewall" brigade.

     Perhaps Gen. Jackson's greatest claim to fame as a commander rests on his campaigns in the Shenandoah Valley, where with an army at no time exceeding 10,000 men he routed, in detail, the federal generals, McDowell Shields, Freemont and Banks.

     He was later recalled to Richmond, where he took part in the seven days fighting, which resulted in the defeat of McClelland.  Next came the second battle of Bull Run, the invasion of Maryland, and then Chancellorsville, May 1 to 4, 1863.  Here by a masterly flank movement Jackson crushed one wing of Hooker's army, and the Federals withdrew across the river the next day.

      It was a dear bought victory for the Confederates, as their beloved leader in making a reconnaissance was mistakenly fired upon by his own men in the darkness, and mortally wounded.  Thus fell Stonewall Jackson, whose name has gone down in military annals as one of the greatest soldiers of all time.

      29th, WILLIAM McKINLEY.  Born at Niles, Ohio, 1843.  Was educated at Allegheny College, Meadville, Pa..  Taught school for a time, and at the outbreak of the Civil War enlisted in an Ohio regiment, where he gained the rank of Major.  Defeated William Jennings Bryan for the presidency in 1896, thus becoming one of our "War Presidents."  Was reelected in 1900, to become the third of our martyred Presidents, being shot at Buffalo, N.Y., by Leon Czolgosz, Sept. 6, 1901.

     P.S.--Democrat still keeping up its "important days" schedule; coming out on William McKinley's birthday this time.


(Originally published in The Cynthiana Democrat, Jan. 29, 1931)






     From the Roman Februa, a feast of expiation or purification, the second month of the year, and the last of winter.  It has 28 days except in leap year[s], when it has 29; consequently one born on Feb. 29th has a birthday only once in four years, therefore easier on friend husband and father.  The month of Feb. in the old Roman calendar first had 29 days, but the senate declared that the sixth month should bear the name Augustus Caesar, when a day was taken from it and added to August to make it equal to July, which had been named for Julius Caesar.


     Feb. 2nd, Candlemas day, a church feast instituted in the year 492, in commemoration of the presentation of Christ in the temple and of the purification of Mary.  On this day among Roman Catholics candles are lighted and carried about in procession, and all candles and tapers which are to be used in the church during the entire year are consecrated.  Also Ground Hog day.  Judging by the temperature a few weeks ago he must have seen his shadow, when he came out.  3rd, designated on our historical calendar as "peace" day.  Woodrow Wilson died, 1924.  4th, Col. Chas. Lindbergh born, 1902.  6th, fall of Fort Donelson the loss of which forced the Confederates to evacuate both Kentucky and Tennessee, and led up to the first great battle of the war between the states, Shilo[h] or Pittsburg Landing.  This battle, the most important between the western armies during the Civil War, was fought on April 6th and 7th.  The Confederates were led by Gen. Albert Sidney Johnson, the Federals by Gen. U.S. Grant.  In the first day's fighting the Confederates were victorious, but Gen. Johnson being mortally wounded the command devolved upon Gen. Beauregard.  Owing to his hesitant policy the Federals were able to bring up reinforcements with the result that the battle went against the Confederates on the second day.  11th, Thomas A. Edison born, 1847--and the "wizard" is still going strong; Daniel Boone born, 1735, in Bucks county, Pa.  Died in Missouri, Sept. 26, 1820.

     Also on the 11th, Theodore O'Hara, who wrote the famous poem the "Bivouac of the Dead," born in Danvillle, Ky., 1820.  Died in Barbour county, Va., June 6, 1867.  12th, Abraham Lincoln, our Civil War President, born in Hardin county, Ky., shot by John Wilk[e]s Booth in Ford's Theatre, Washington, D.C., and died the next morning, April 15th, 1865.  14th, St. Valentine's Day, no explanation necessary here, at least for the lads and lassies.  15th, destruction of the Battleship Maine in Havana harbor, 1898.  22nd, Washington's birthday, 1732.  Died at Mt. Vernon, Dec. 14th, 1799.  23rd, first R.R. Charter in U.S., B. & O., 1827.

     And now, being an extraordinar[il]y modest man, I've saved this one for the last, so that if necessary I can duck and run away.  Feb. 25th, this writer to quote Mrs. Capitola VanHook, first discovered America.  Not recorded that any joy bells rang on that occasion.  You will observe that the "year" is omitted; however if some reader is sufficiently interested, phone H.F. Maffett or John W. Taylor.

February Weather

     As a boy on the farm I did not seem to recall so much cold weather as we "now" have in February.  Then most of our spring plowing was done in Feb.; we also sowed oats, planted potatoes and I have often, during the warm rains, waded in the creeks.  In support of this assertion here is a record of some February weather dating back for a generation--Lexington Herald report:

     Feb. 1, 1899, 2 below zero.

     Feb. 2, 1917, 4 below zero.

     Feb. 4, 1912, 9 below zero.

     Feb. 5, 1917, 7 below zero.

     Feb. 6, 1906, 1 degree.

     Feb. 7, 1906, zero.

     Feb. 8, 1895, zero.

     Feb. 14, 1905, 7 below zero.

     Feb. 16, 1905, zero.

     Feb. 18, 1903, zero.

     Feb. 19, 1903, 3 below zero.

     Feb. 20, 1896, zero.

     And here we have a report of the "cold week," beginning Feb. 9th, 1899.:

      9th, 15 below zero.

      10th, 17 below zero.

      11th, 6 below zero.

      12th, 12 below zero.

      13th, 20 below zero.

     As you will see, for five consecutive nights the mercury dropped below zero, and it did not warm up a great deal during the day.  I have reason to remember the "cold week;" was laid up with "grip" during the entire time.  Don't recall any furnace heat in residences in Cynthiana in 1899, with the exception of the residence of the late J.S. Withers; so we had to sit close in the day time and pile on the cover during night.


(Originally published in The Cynthiana Democrat, February 27, 1930)




The Perfect Month


     Quoting Will Rogers, "all I know is what I read in the papers."  Have clipped several items recently pertinent to our subject which are briefly mentioned here.

     There will be 28 days in the month and the first week begins on Sunday.  There will be exactly four weeks of seven days each and the month will begin at the beginning of a week and end at the close of the week.  This does not happen but once in every so often; but if the plan of the Calendar Reform Association should be adopted we would have thirteen such months in our year.  The claim is made that such a calendar would e a great improvement, especially along commercial lines.  With this calendar in operation Sundays, holidays and all other fixed anniversaries would fall on the same day of the week in perpetuity.  Of course there would be one day left over in the year, taking the place of January first.  I understand that the name Sol is being considered as a name for the new month, and that it would be placed between June and July.  It is also said that some business houses are now using the plan and that a few such calendars have been printed.

     While it is true that most people are inclined to dismiss the idea of a new calendar with a smile one can never tell, it may be an actuality within the next decade; for remember that the calendar has been changed more than once, and that the old Roman Calendar at one time had only ten months.

     Writing of February we naturally recall the names of two illustrious men, whose birthdays we celebrate in the month--George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  Of course we all know that the former was born on WASHINGTON'S BIRTHDAY; but I may add, A.D. 1732; as to the latter, perhaps I will not duly insult the integrity of my readers if I set down here that he was born in Hardin county, Kentucky, on Feb. 12, 1809.

     It was given to Washington, the soldier, to lead his people to victory in their struggle for independence; to Washington, the statesman, to launch his country on its way to greatness.

     Not so with Lincoln.  It was his fate to fall by the hand of an assassin in the hour of his country's triumph, his work not finished.  The union preserved, Lincoln would have sought to spare the South the stress of those years of reconstruction.  However, in the light of history as we read it today, it is questionable if he would have succeeded as there was at that time in Washington a group of politicians, headed by Thad Stevens, who were out to grind the stricken South into the dust.  They overrode, and sought to impeach President Johnson; would they have ever spared a Lincoln?  Reading Claud Johnson's "Tragic Era," it is a mooted question.

     We also note that the George Washington Bicentennial Association is planning for a nation-wide radio hook up on Washington's next birthday anniversary, and will have the famous old Liberty Bell, which tolled so sadly on the day of his death, Dec. 14, 1779 [sic], to again ring forth from Independence Hall, striking thirteen times, once for each of the original states.  It is proposed to have President Hoover press the button which will start it ringing; while it is true that the old bell cracked many years ago, it is believed that it will ring loud enough to be heard by all radio listeners.

     Again we notice where Lincoln's monument has been undergoing some repairs, and it will be rededicated on this next birthday (and by the way, the services may be going on as you are reading this) as The Democrat is coming out on Lincoln's birthday this time.

     Both Chicago and Springfield, Ill, claimed the honor of entombing the martyred President, but Mrs. Lincoln decided in favor of Springfield.

     In conclusion, here is a bit of history hitherto not known to this writer, which would seem to indicate that all of the thieves and thugs are not living in the twentieth century.  In 1876 an attempt was made, and came very near succeeding, to steal the body of Mr. Lincoln and hold it for ransom.  For a long time thereafter a guard was stationed at the tomb.  The coffin has since been sealed in boulder of concrete and steel, and now rests ten feet beneath the monument.


(Originally published in The Cynthiana Democrat, February 12, 1931)




Valentine's Day


     Selecting valentines for the grandchildren last week brought back to my mind happy memories of the long ago, and with them--alas! the tho[ugh]t "I'm not as young as I uster be."  Oh, well! if we live long enough, we are bound to grow old, so let's to our story.

     It is not easy to trace with any degree of certainty the origin of Valentine's Day, since it would seem that the custom has been derived from a conglomeration of Roman mythology, old English folk lore and lat[t]er day tradition.

     We first find that Valentine was a Saint of the Roman calendar, said to have been martyred in 306 A.D., and that the custom of choosing valentines on this day (Feb. 14) was accidentally associated with his name.  Again we find that a similar custom prevailed in the Roman Lupercilia, a festival celebrated annually on Feb. 15 in honor of Lupercus, an ancient pastoral God.

     The custom was observed particularly in England, but to a certain extent on the continent, too; mention of it is found as early as Chaucer.  We are told that the young people of both sexes used to meet on the eve of Saint Valentine's Day, and each of the men drew from a number of names of the opposite sex.  Each gentleman thus got a lady for his valentine, and he became the valentine of a lady, to whom he was bound to be faithful for a year.  Then we have the still later tradition of the birds choosing their mates in the month of February.

     The day is now celebrated by sending, anonymously, thru the post, sentimental or ludicrous missives, especially prepared for the purpose; also boxes of candy and flowers, the last mentioned, not so often anonymous.

     Writing this I recall a comic valentine received while I was a pupil at the old City School, and thereby hangs a tale.

     On an occasion Joe Boyd and myself, chums before and afterwards, elected to have a fight.  Came Valentine's Day, when I received a valentine very much to the point.  Picture of a wild Irishman swinging a shillalah [sic], with a most appropriate verse appended--something like--"Wrong or right, always ready for a fight."  I did not find out the sender for a long time, when it transpired that my friend, Orie Lebus, then as now found of his joke, had mailed it from Havilandsville.

A Birthday Card.

     With me, it's not such a far cry from valentines to birthday cards; I was born in February.  All of which is by the way of leading up to remark that I still have a birthday card which I received on my 21st anniversary.  How long ago was that you say?  Well[,] I am not telling.  But should it chance that someone who reads this also has an antique in this line, if he will bring it in we will go into executive session, findings in the case to be held strictly confidential.


(Originally published in The Cynthiana Democrat, February 19, 1931)






      Originally the first month of the Roman year, March was named in honor of the old Roman war-god, MARS.  One of the planets was also named after Mars.  It is the most famed of the planets, and its reddish tinge suggestive of blood and war, doubtless explains the significance of the name.  Some one has suggested that the name remains appropriate in our day from the fact that the weather is "mean and nasty," "gusty winds" blow and we sometimes have a little "war" keeping our hats on.

     The first recorded event on our historical calendar recites that postage stamps were first used in the United States March 3rd, 1847.  Prior to that time letters were sent C.O.D.  5th, Ash Wednesday, first day of Lent.  6th ,Boston Massacre, 1770, first blood shed in the revolt of the American Colonies.  The populace of Boston protesting  against the "navigation act," were fired on by the British soldiers.  Also, President Wilson in his inaugural address, 1916, declared in favor of armed neutrality.  Vain hope!  Kentucky tried the same thing at the beginning of the Civil War.  9th, battle in Hampton Roads, between the Monitor and the Merrimac, 1862.  Here, for the first time in naval warfare iron-clads were used.

St. Patrick's Day in the Mornin'

     March 17th, said to be always the fairest or the foulest.  As we all know, Saint Patrick was the patron saint of Ireland, and his memory is still held in reverence by all true sons of Erin.  Writing this it comes to me that nine years ago, on St. Patrick's Day, I was sojourning in Cuba, and that when we received The Democrat it was "a wearin['] of the green"--a splendid edition; wish I had preserved it.

     March 21st, first day of Spring, sometimes; 30th, Alaska Purchase, 1867, Andrew Johnson president.  In 1741 Vitis Bering, sailing for the Russian Government, discovered Alaska, and in 1783 Russia established a fur trading post on one of the islands.  By treaty with Russia the United States bought all of the territory, 580,000 square miles, for $7,200,000.  Our Uncle Samuel can always be relied on to take care of himself in a "real estate" deal.


     March 31st, Japan opened by Com. Perry, 1854.  The Portug[u]ese were the first people to land in Japan, middle of sixteenth century.  For a while they carried on a lucrative trade with the inhabitants, but the ruling powers took alarm, and ordered all foreingers away, also forbidding the introduction of Christian religion, 1624.  From this time on the Japanese government maintained teh most rigid policy of isolation, and foreign vessels were not allowed to touch at Japanese ports under any pretense.  This state of affairs contineud for several hundred years, adn until Com. Perry entered a Japanese harbor with a squadron of U.S. war vessels.  He extorted a treaty of commerce from the "shotgun," [sic] and the example of the U.S. was soon followed by other countries.

     This happened three quarters of a century ago; and while the name--"hermit kingdom"--still sticks, Japan now ranks as one of the World Powers, and is third, I believe, in naval armament.


     If one should ask the average man did the mercury ever drop below zero in March he would be apt to receive a negative reply ;nevertheless it is recorded that it did drop one degree belwo in 1873.  Also whil March is rated a Spring month, we someties have pretty snapy weather; witness the following--March 5th, 1901, 6 degrees; 6th, 1901, 4 degrees; 7th, 1899, 1 degree; 16th, 1900, 8 degrees; St. Patrick's Day, 1900, 4 degrees.

     "Ah March!  We know thou art

     Kind[-]hearted, spite of thy ugly looks and threats,

     And out of sight, art nursing April's violets."


(Originally published in The Cynthiana Democrat, March 27, 1930)






     I happen to have a calendar hanging over my desk recording under the proper dates important events in history which have transpired in that particular month.  In tearing off the "April" pad a few days ago I was struck with the number of events recorded thereon.

     Assuming that not all of the readers of The Democrat have seen the calendar to which I refer I am passing the information along for their benefit.

     April, in Latin, Aprillis, derived from the word, aperire, to open, is the fourth month, and the first of spring; so named because the buds open at this time.

     To begin at the beginning we will take up "all fools day," not strictly an American custom, however, but handed down to us by our English forebears.  The custom also prevails in some of the European countries.  In France, for instance, the victim of an April fool joke is called "un poisson de'acrilll"--An April fish.

     The custom of making fools on the first of April by sending people upon errands which end in disappointment and raise a laugh at their expense has long prevailed.  It has been connected with the "miracle plays" of the middle ages, in which the Saviour was represented as having been sent at this period of the year from Annos to Caiphas and from Pilot to Herod.

     My introduction to April fool's day dates back to a period when I was between four and five years of age, as I distinctly remember when my father took me down in a pasture to see a "little colt," which had not arrived on the scene.

     Our next stop will be April 9th, 1865, to not the surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee, which momentous event for the Southern Confederacy took place at Appomattox Court House in Virginia.  Next we have the 11th, of some importance to the writer at least, since his parents were married on that day at the old Burnett House in Cincinnati, 1861.

     We now come to the 12th, that fateful day which was to usher in the Civil War, Fort Sumter fired on by the Confederates, 1861.  The 13th may be termed a "lucky" for Democracy, Thomas Jefferson born, 1743.  On the 14th an event took place which cast gloom over the nation, President Lincoln shot by John Wilkes Booth as he sat in a private box at Ford's theatre, 1865.  19th, the battle of Lexington, which marked the beginning of our struggle for independence, 17775, now denominated "Patriot's Day."

     Here we drift into English history, William Shakespeare born, April 23, 1564.  This one should interest "staff," first newspaper issued in America, April 24th, 1704--not stated where, but I suspect in Philadelphia, 25th, marks the beginning of our war with Mexico, since on that day a force of Mexicans ambushed a small party of regulars, 1846; also war declared with Spain, 1898.  26th, Confederate Memorial day in far South, first suggested by Mrs. Mary A. Williams of Columbus, Ga.  Also the first shot of the war between the United States and Germany, 1917.  27th, U.S. Grant born, 1822.

     Now we have come to the last day of April, the day on which one of the biggest real estate deals in all history was pulled off.  On that day President Thos. Jefferson purchased from Napoleon Bonaparte the Louisiana Territory, consideration, $15,000,000.  I am also claiming that April 30th will go down in local history as the day on which our new City Building was started, since the option of the new site was signed on that day.

     Summing up, we find that out of six wars which we have fought five began in April.  The sixth, 1812, began in June, and one, the Civil War, ended in April.  Several of our great soldiers and statesmen were born in April, an dos other historical events have also taken place.  SO by all means when the proposed new calendar is adopted, let us see to it that "April" is not dropped from the list, even should we have to make it the "13th" month.


(Originally published in The Cynthiana Democrat, May 9, 1929)






     The fifth month in our year, but in the old Roman calendar the third, seems always to have had thirty-one days, and is the only month in which I have been unable to trace the "origin" of the name.

     The Romans regarded it as unlucky to contract marriages in May, a superstition which is still prevalent in some parts of Europe.

     On the first day of May the old Celtic peoples held a festival called Beltane.  This word in Celtic means the fire of Be'l, and "fires" entered largely into the ceremonies connected with the festival.  Here we can trace a connection between these people and the people of biblical times, since it will be remembered that some of the old Israelitish Kings frequently relapsed into idolatry, erected altars to Bae'l, and caused their children to "pass thru the fire."

     In England outdoor sports and pastimes on the first day of May were formerly universal, and have not yet been discontinued entirely.  They included the erection of a May Pole decorated with flowers and foliage, around which the young men and maidens danced, one of the maidens, the most beautiful, being chosen Queen of the May.

     It was doubtless with this in mind that Tennyson wrote his beautiful pathetic poem, the May Queen, beginning:

     You must wake and call me early, call me early, mother dear;

     Tomorrow it'll be the happiest time of all the glad New Year;

     Of all the glad New Year, mother, the maddest, merriest day;

     For I'm to be Queen O' the May, mother, I'm to be Queen O' the May.

     This custom in its inception probably dates back to the time of the Druids, priests of ancient Gaul and Brittain.  The Druids venerated the mistletoe when growing on the oak, a tree which they esteemed sacred; and had special days set apart for their rites, which were always held in the forests.

     May Day was formerly observed to some extent in America, but has fallen into disuse, if we except some of our colleges.  Noted that a Queen of the May was chosen at Kentucky University this year.

     On the first day of May also we have to record Dewey's Victory in Manila Bay, where he destroyed the Spanish fleet, without the loss of a man or a vessel.  Some of us will doubtless remember his laconic command on that occasion--"fire when you are ready, Captain Gridley."  7th, Lusitania torpedoed, 1915.  The Lusitania was a British trans-Atlantic liner.  She was torpedoed off the coast of Ireland with a loss of 1[,]154 lives, of whom 102 were Americans.  It was that act and the refusal of the German Imperial Government to disavow it that eventually bro[ugh]t the United States into the war.  11th, Mother's Day, this year.  In 1913 by resolution of Congress the observance of a day under this title was instituted, the President issuing a proclamation for the first National Mother's Day, and fixing the second Sunday in May for its recurring date.  An International Mother's Day Association was later organized.  12th to 20th, Blackberry Winter.  So termed because we have a cool spell about the time the blackberry vines bloom.  Have never known it to fail, lasted almost two weeks this time.

     21st, Lindberg's non-stop fight, New York to Paris, 1927.  Lindy is still flying.  Somehow I have a premonition that he will fly once too often some day; hope I'm wrong.   24th, first telegraph message sent, 1844.  Samuel F.B. Morse, born in Charleston, Mass. began in 1829 working on the electro-magnetic telegraph, and in 1835 had demonstrated that it would work.  In 1843 Congress granted him means to construct a line between Washington and Baltimore, and the first message:  "what hath God wrought;" was flashed over the wires.

     28th, Yank's first big victory World War, Cantigny, France, 1918.  29th, Ascension Day.  The day on which the ascension of our Saviour is commemorate; also called Holy Thursday.  Falls on the Thursday but one before Whitsuntide, which occurs fifty days after Easter.

     30th, Memorial Day, commonly known as Decoration Day, is now observed as a holiday in most of the States.  It is said to have originated from an incident which occurred at Vicksburg, Miss.  Shortly after the close of the Civil War some ladies decorated the graves of the Confederate dead, also placed flowers on the graves of the Federal dead.  The Grand Army of the Republic hearing of this graceful act, took the matter up, and the 30th day of May was set apart as Memorial Day.  In the far South, Jefferson Davis's birthday, June 3rd, is observed as Memorial Day.

     We give, in closing, a song--"On May Morning," by John Milton, the blind poet:

     Now the bright morning star, day's harbinger,

     Comes dancing from the east, and leads with her

     The flowery May, who from her green lap throws

     The yellow cowslip, and the pale primrose,

     Hail, bounteous May, that dost inspire

     Mirth, and youth, and warm desire;

     Woods and groves are of thy dressing,

     Hill and dale dost boast thy blessing.

     Thus we salute thee with our early song,

     And welcome thee, and wish thee long.

     P.S.--Lest some reader may think (and rush off in a hurry and cancel their subscription to The Democrat) that I am starting "around " again, like a dog chasing his tail, on the "months," allow me to state that I started in last year with April, in some manner omitted May; which I am herewith supplying.  So the cycle is now complete.


(Originally published in The Cynthiana Democrat, June 5, 1930)




The Month of Roses


     June, from the Latin Junius, is the sixth month of our calendar and the first of summer.  Originally it consisted of 26 days, to which Romulus added 4, and Numa, took away one.  Julius Caesar again lengthened the month to 30 days and it has so remained.

     We always think of the month of June as the feminine gender, and as connected with the goddess "Juno," who on looking up our mythology we find was both the sister and wife of "Jupiter."  She was the Queen of Heaven, and under the name Regina was worshipped in Italy at an early period and bore the same relation to women that Jupiter did to men.  She was regarded as the special protectress of whatever was connected with marriage, so it is more than likely that here we have the foundation of the legend that June is the "month of brides."

     The month of June is generally conceded to be the most beautiful of the entire year, adn from time immemorial poets have sung her praises.  We quote here James Whitcomb Riley's Ode to June:

     O queenly month of indolent repose;

     I drink thy breath in sips of rare perfume,

     As in thy down lap of clover bloom

     I nestle like a drowsy child and doze

     The lazy hours away.  The zephyr throws

     The shifting shuttle of the Summer's loom

     And weaves a damask-work of gleam and gloom

     Before thy listless feet.  The lily blows

     A bugle-call of fragrance o'er the glade;

     And, wheeling into ranks with plume and spear,

     Thy harvest-armies gather on parade;

     While, faint and far away, yet pure and clear,

     A voice calls out of alien lands of shade:--

     Al hail the peerless Goddess of the year.


     June 3rd, Jefferson Davis, born in Kentucky, died at New Orleans, Dec. 6, 1889; 10th, 1752, Franklin drew lightning from the clouds; 14th, Flag Day; 17th; 1775, one of the important days in American history, Battle of Bunker Hill, where the "embattle farmers" stood and repulsed 3,000 English veterans, and man uttered the famous words now so familiar to every school boy, "Don't shoot until you can see the whites of their eyes;" 18th, 1815, Battle of Waterloo, where the English and Prussians utterly routed the French army, thus exiling Napoleon to St. Helena; 21st, longest day of the year; 24th, 1917, Italian victory on Austrian front, World War; 26th, 1917, first American troops arrive in France.


(Originally published in The Cynthiana Democrat, June 13, 1929)






     The seventh month in our calendar, having 31 days.  In the Roman year it bore the name of Quintillis, as originally the "fifth" month.  Its change of name to Julius was in honor of Julius Caesar, who was born on the 12th of the month.

     July, as we hope to show, has been one of the most important months in our history, and equally so, but in an inverse ratio, to that infant nation born amidst the thunder of the guns at Fort Sumpter, and which after a brief but glorious existence was to die, still amidst the thunder of the guns, at Appomattox.

     To begin with, I am writing this on July 4th.  153 years ago today John Hancock, with those other immortals, was affixing his sign manuel to a document which was to usher into being a young Republic, destined to grow by leaps and bounds until today it has become the greatest nation on the face of the globe.  On the first, second and third of July, 1863, we fought the battle of Gettysburg, which was forever to settle the question as to whether we should be a united people.  It is true that the Confederacy continued to exist for almost two years after Gettysburg was fought, but "there" began that process of attrition which was to gradually exhaust her resources, more especially in man power.

     Many have claimed, and still claim, that a Confederate victory at Gettysburg would have meant the independence of the Southern States.  Gen. J.B. Gordon in his Reminiscences of the Civil War, is authority for the statement that Gen. Lee was heard to say after the war that with Stonewall Jackson present he would have won the battle.

     And this reminds me of a story told by Col. Walter H. Taylor in his Four Years with Lee.  A good Deacon, one of Jackson's men, after the war was trying to accept the situation in a spirit of christian resignation, and endeavored to lead his people that way.  On one occasion, being called upon to lead in prayer, he said in part:  "Oh, Lord, Thou hast seen fit to bring distress upon us, and we try to believe that it was for some good purpose that Thou didst permit our enemies to get the better of us, but, oh Lord, Thou who knowest all things, Thou knowest at the same time that it was necessary for Thee to remove from this world Thy valiant servant, Stonewall Jackson, before it could be that way."

     But after all, speaking form myself, I am inclined to agree with Col. Walter H. Taylor, who said on another occasion:  "To me it is as if he who controls the destinies of men and of nations had said:  'You people of the South shall be sorely tried, but the blame is not yours, and therefore to you shall fall the honors--genius, skill, courage, fortitude, endurance, readiness for self-sacrifice, prowess in battle, and victory against great odds; but this great experiment to demonstrate man's capacity for self-government, with its cornerstone of universal freedom, must continue with undivided front, and therefore I decree to the other side determination, persistence, NUMBERS, unlimited resources, and ultimate success.'"

     On July 4th occurred another severe blow to the Confederacy, the surrender of Vicksburg, and the consequent opening of the Mississippi River to her enemies, and on the 17th, in 1864, began Sherman's march to the sea, with its resultant lessening of her resources.

     Now getting back to our historical calendar:  On the 3rd, also, the Spanish fleet was totally destroyed in Santiago harbor.  The 12th is listed as Orangeman's Day.  The Orangeman's Society, still in existence, was founded in Ireland in 1790, and named in honor of William III, Prince of Orange.  Its purpose was the upholding of the Protestant Religion.  18th, successful American counter-attack at Chateau Thierry, 1918.  21st, first battle of Bull Run, and by the way, not the only battle which "some" Northern historians have ever been willing to admit that the South won.  27th, wireless established between the United States and Japan, 1915.  31st, Lafayette arrives in the U.S. and offers his services to Gen. Washington, 1777, the forerunner of the assistance afforded by France in our struggle for independence.  Out of order, but important, President Garfield assassinated, July 2nd, 1881.


(Originally published in The Cynthiana Democrat, July 11, 1929)






     Is the eighth month of our year and was the sixth in the old Roman calendar, hence called sextilis, till the Emperor Augustus affixed to it his own, because Julius Caesar had given his name to the preceding month. He also changed its length to 31 days from the same jealous motive, and thus disturbed the regular succession of the month in the Julian calendar.

     Consulting our historical calendar, we find that the first day of August ushered in the WORLD WAR, an event, which before it ended, was to involve perhaps half of the Nations of the globe, and to cost millions of lives, not to mention billions of treasure.  On the 2nd day of August President Harding died in California, 1923.  On the 6th, Thos. Lynch, signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born in S.C., 1749; also on the 6th, Admiral Farragut attacked the Confederate Forts at Mobile, Ala., 1864.

     Coming down to more modern times, Aug. 6, 1924, we find the new Turkish parliament forbade more than one wife to the man, except in unusual cases.  Wonder why the "unusual case?"  11th, first steamboat voyage in America by Robt. Fulton on the Hudson, 1807.  15th, Panama Canal opened to navigation, 1914.  16th, battle of Bennington, 1777.  This battle led up to Burgoyne's surrender, and was also the occasion of the American Gen. Stark's famous address to his men, noted alike for its brevity, and stern resolution to do or die--"Yonder stands the enemy, we conquer today, or Molly Stark's a widow."  This incident recalls another "Molly," whose name has come down to us from the Revolutionary days.  At the battle of Monmouth, fought on an extremely hot day in June, 1778, Molly Pitcher was carrying water to the gunners.  As she approached the battery her husband fell dead at her feet.  She seized the sponge staff, as it dropped from his hands, and took his place at the gun.  We are told that Gen Washington conferred the degree of sergeant on her after the battle, and that Congress voted her a silver medal.  17th, first Atlantic Cable message, 1858.  23rd, first steamer to cross the Atlantic, 1818.

     Dog Days, always connected in our minds with the month of August, really begin in July and extend over into August. The name, as applied by the ancients, covered a period of about forty days, the hottest of the year, at the time of the rising of Sirius, the dog star. In our own times various traditions have been connected with dog days. It is said that during this period dog are apt to develop rabies, and also that it is dangerous to go into the water. I do not think the facts bear out the theory in the first instance, and the latter theory probably originated from the fact that it is usually dry at this season of the year and standing water stagnates. However this may be, we youngsters were solemnly warned to keep out of the water during dog days, but I do not recall that we paid much attention to the warnings; and it is barely possible that some of us owe our existence today to the fact that germs and microbes were not then so numerous.

     (It would be interesting to know on what Mr. Cromwell bases the statement that “germs and microbes were not then so numerous.” Lack of knowledge of them does not mean they did not exist. – Editor Democrat.)


(Originally published in The Cynthiana Democrat, August 15, 1929)






     From the Latin, septem, ninth month of our calendar, and the seventh of the old Roman year, which began in March.  None of the Roman Emperors seems to have ever taken any liberties with the month of September, as the name was never changed, and it has always had 30 days, hence the old familiar couplet:--

     Thirty days hath September, April June and November,

     The other months have thirty-one,

     Except to February we 28 assign,

     Till leap year gives it 29.

     Ever remember to have repeated these lines in order to fix the number of day sin a given month?

     Consulting our historical calendar we find that the first Monday in September ahs long been designated Labor Day, one of our most popular holidays; this year it came on the second of the month.  6th, President McKinley shot by Leon Czolgosz, and anarchist, at the Pan American Exposition, Buffalo, N.Y., 1901, the third of our presidents to fall by an assassin's bullet.  10th, Com. Perry's victory on Lake Erie, 1813, after which he sent his famous message--"We have met the enemy and they are ours."  This achievement of Perry's was notable in that he cut the standing timber on the lake shore, built his ships on the spot, and sailed out to administer a crushing defeat to the "mistress of the seas."  Also on the 10th, 1887, the British gun boat, Wasp, with crew of 80 men[,] sailed from Singapore and was never heard of again.  11th, 1777, Battle of Brandywine, Pa., in which 11,000 Continentals were defeated by a British force of 18,000; but not routed, as under the skillful management of Washington, backed up by good behavior on the part of the troops, the Americans were able to withdraw from the field in good order, after inflicting heavier losses than they received.  At this battle, for the first time, the Continentals fought under the Stars and Stripes.  12th, 1918, Pershing begins a successful drive on the St. Mihiel Salient.

     16th, 1893, 100,000 persons made a rush for homesteads on the opening of the Cherokee Strip to settlement.  17th, 1787, Constitution of the U.S. adopted.  1856, on the same day of the month the last Whig National Convention met in Baltimore.  18th, 1848, John R. McLean, noted capitalist and newspaper man, born in Cincinnati, died Washington, D.C., 1916.  19th, 1777, battle of Frazer's farm or Bemis's Heights, a decisive victory for American Arms, largely made possible by the splendid leadership of "Benedict Arnold."  What a pity he did not fall at the end of that glorious day!  20th, 1797, the famous U.S. Frigate, Constitution, known as "Old Ironsides," launched at Boston, Mass.  All of us remember, and how many of us have, this well known painting.  23rd, first day of Autumn.  30th, unconditional surrender of Bulgaria, World War, 1918.

     Closing we present the first verse of a little poem--"Miss September:"

     The cardinal flower is flaming,

     The tides are flooded deep;

     A song comes out of misty leagues,

     The old southeasters sweep;

     And there is Miss September,

      With oft tears in her eyes,

      And far across the marshes

     The last blue huron flies.


(Originally published in The Cynthiana Democrat, September 26, 1929)






     I know of no better way of introducing my subject than by giving here some lines from "Each In His Own Tongue," by William Herbert Carruth, in writing his exquisite little verse the poet would seem to have exactly expressed our sentiments in regard to Autumn, held by many to be the most beautiful season of the entire year.

     "A haze on the far horizon,

     The infinite, tender sky,

     The ripe, rich tint of the cornfields,

     And the wild geese sailing high--

     And all over upland and lowland

     The charm of the golden rod--

     Some of us call it Autumn,

     And others call it God."

     Consulting our dictionary for a definition of the word Autumn we find it as follows:  The third season of the year, often called fall, Latin, autumnal, of, pertaining to, or like autumn; ripening; declining.

     In American Autumn is regarded as embracing September, October, and November.  The autumn of the southern hemisphere takes place at the time of the northern Spring.  In England Autumn is generally considered as embracing August, September, and October.

     Gazing idly at my calendar the other day I noticed that September 23rd was registered as the first day of Autumn.  Now it is a fact that the first days of March, June, September, and December are generally regarded as the beginning of our seasons, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter; but astronomically speaking the seasons are governed by the revolution of the earth around the sun and do not begin until the 21st of March, the 22nd of June, the 23rd of September and the 22nd of December.  However, the explanation of this would prove too long and scientific to enter into here; so we spare our readers the attempt and refer them to their astronomies for further light on the subject.

Autumn On The Farm.

     I seem to recall here that in a former treatise I went on record to the effect that I "believed" that the boy who was not reared on a farm missed something.  Think of the Autumn seasons of my boyhood, I am going to make it stronger--I know he did.

     Who of us that were so fortunate can ever forget those Saturday excursions in search of hickory nuts, walnuts, black haws, chincapins, pawpaws, and what not and the long rambles on Sunday afternoons through the woods and over cliffs, chasing rabbits and squirrels, locating the dens of various animals; in short doing the thousand and one things so dear to the hearts of all boys.

     True we were called upon sometimes on Saturdays to assist our elders in picking apples, digging potatoes, gathering cornfield beans, kershaws and squashes; but to the healthy boy such tasks were just like play.  Then cider making.  Perhaps some one who may chance to read this will recall here that gone feeling in their "tummies" caused by imbibing too freely of sweet cider.

     And speaking of digging potatoes, I am reminded of an incident where I cam out second best.  I arose on emorning (ti was a beautiful day) feeling sort of under the weather, kind of a "not able to go to school feeling," you know, and succeeded in impressing my mother to the extent that she allowed me to remain at home.  I played the invalid pretty well until along about ten o'clock, when I concluded it might help some if I took a ramble.

     Passing the potato patch, I was intercepted by my father, who called me in and put me to work; and there I stayed for the rest of the day.  And it did not help any either when I learned later that the teacher also selected that day to be sick, dismissed school and that the pupils took advantage of the occasion to stage a grand picnic.

     Autum also brought with it that sport so dear to the hearts of boys, "rabbit hunting."  Given a few white frosts and we were away with gun and dogs, ranging the fields far and wide, with occasionally a shot at a bobwhite, and, on rarer occasions, at a belated flock of ducks and wild geese winging their way southward.

     Odd, isn't it:  how one thing brings up another; thinking of Indian Summer reminds me of Ka-ton-ka.  Doubtless the latter will prove an entirely strange word to Democrat readers of the present generation; however there will be some who will recall it.

     Along in the middle eighties, 1886 or '88, a Patent Medicine Man pitched his tent on the rear end of the lot, now the site of the Presbyterian manse and the residence property of J.T. Guthrie.  He brought with him a troupe of Indians, with "Scarface Bear," and old Chief, playing in the role of the champion rifle shot.  He put on a first-rate show, and stayed with us for two weeks.  Night after night, beautiful Indian Summer nights they were, the lot was crowded, and Ka-ton-ka sold like hot cakes at a dollar per bottle, great big bottles they were, too.  Being exceptionally healthy at the time I did not invest.  However, I did buy a bottle a few years later from Renaker Bros. and the fact that I am here to tell the tail proves that it was, at least, a harmless preparation.

     Closing, I recall that while the troupe was in Cynthiana a little Indian baby died, and its spirit took flight to the "happy hunting grounds" from Battle Grove Cemetery.


(Originally published in The Cynthiana Democrat, October 16, 1930)






     Takes its name from the latin octo, eight, originally the eight month of the Roman calendar, the name was retained after the beginning of the year had been changed from Mahn to January.

     Consulting our calendar we find that on the first day of October, 1800, Spain ceded the Louisiana territory to France.  About a decade later our Uncle Samuel had a deed for it.  5th, Jewish new year.  7th, first Continental Congress met in N.Y., 1765.  9th, Fire Prevention day.  10th, two cent letter postage went into effect in U.S., 1883.  11th, the first Clearing House in the U.S., comprising 52 banks, went into operation in N.Y. 1853; first shot fired against Paris, France, by the Prussians, 1870, and Fenian raid in Canada, 1871.  12th, "in 1492 Columbus crossed the ocean blue," and yet he never saw the "mainland" of this continent.  Had he sailed just two hours longer when coasting Cuba he would have discovered it was an "island."  14th, Day of Atonement.  15th, fourth Liberty Loan.

     16th, John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry.  Robert E. Lee, then, 1859, Col. in the U.S. Army, was called out to put down the trouble.  Brown was arrested, tried in the civil court for his crime, and hanged.  17th, surrender of Burgoyne at Saratoga, N.Y., 1777.  19th, surrender of Lord Cornwallis, Yorktown, Va., 1781.  Thus we have two of the signal successes of American arms occurring in the month of October.  Saratoqa, so to speak, was the beginning, and Yorktown the end.  21st, 1797, the famous frigate Constitution, "Old Ironsides," celebrated today in story and song, launched at Boston; also, 1879, the first incandescent light was produced by Edison, and in 1805 Lord Nelson defeated the French and Spanish fleets ff Cape Trafalgar.  As the ships went into action Nelson said, "England expects every ma to do his duty," and fell in the moment of victory.

     Hallowe’en, the evening of October 31st, so called as being the eve or vigil of all Hallow’s or All Saints, which falls on the first day of November.  The celebration of it in various ways has been widely spread.  Formerly a good deal of horse play was indulged in, and is yet, more so probably in the smaller towns and villages, where front gates, boxes, benches, and in short everything loose, or which can be pried loose, is removed to some far distant spot; also the down town windows decorated.  I recall here a story often related by my father how the boys of his generation dismantled a farm wagon which happened to be standing in the street, carried it piecemeal to the top of the Court House and reassembled it astride the comb of the roof.

     In the larger cities Hallowe’en is chiefly celebrated by maskers going about the streets blowing horns, scattering confetti, etc. Tonight is the time, good folks! Look well to your front gates.

     In closing I present the first verse of James Whitcomb Ryley's "Old October.."

     Old October's purt' nigh gone,

     And the frost is comin' on

     Little HEAVIER every day--

     Like our hearts is thataway!

     Back from green to gray and red,

     Brown and yeller, with their stems

     Loosenin' on the oaks and e'ms;

     And the balance of the trees

     Gitten' balder every breeze--

     Like the heads we're scratchin' on!

      Old October's purt' nigh gone.


(Originally published in The Cynthiana Democrat, Oct. 31, 1929)






     From the Latin--Novem--nine, formerly the ninth month, but according to the Julian arrangement, in which the year begins on Jan. 1st, November becomes the 11th month, and comprises 30 days.

     We have somewhat of a paucity of historical events occurring in the month of November, but shall do the best we can.  First we have election day, occurring this year on the 5th.  In world affairs we find that Martin Luther, father of the reformation, was born Nov. 10th, 1483.  7th, Charlotte Crabtree, famous actress, born 1847, died 1924.  Probably no actress of modern times had a stronger hold on the affections of a public than "Lotta," and I am sure she will be remembered in "Pawn Ticket Number Eleven" by theatre goes of a generation ago.  In all of her plays she took the part of a young girl, and continued to do so until almost seventy years of age.  Besides being the idol of the public Miss Crabtree was a thoroughly good woman, and a noted philanthropist.

     The 11th ushers in Armistice Day, now observed as a holiday, and probably the most important event which ever took place in the world's history.  23rd, Capt. john Ericsson landed in N.Y., 1839.  Capt. Ericsson was a famous Swedish engineer, inventor of the "screw propeller" which revolutionized navigation, and also of the "turret ship" the first of which, the Monitor, fought the famous Confederate ram, the Merrimac, in Hampton Roads, Va..  25th, the British evacuated N.Y., 1783.

Thanksgiving Day

     Should have a cut of a turkey here; perhaps "Mickie" can furnish it?  Thanksgiving I believe is our only National holiday designated from year to year by the President, always the fourth Thursday in November.  In 1863 President Lincoln recommended its observance, and his example has been followed by every President since.  It falls this year on the 28th.

     The custom originated in New England in 1621, after the "first" harvest of the Plymouth settlement, and slowly spread to the other colonies.  There is a legend connected with Thanksgiving Day in New England to the effect that at one time the settlers were reduced to 7 grains of corn per man per day, and that the friendly Indians came to their rescue, saving them from starvation.  Be this as it may, I opine that the old Puritans would get the surprise of their lives could they sit in with their descendants at a modern Thanksgiving dinner.  30th, peace declared between Great Britain and the U.S. ending the war of the Revolution, 1782.

Indian Summer

     The name given to a period of mild weather which generally occurs towards the end of autumn in North America, usually in November, "usually" is right, as I think it sometimes occurs in the latter part of October.  Looking for an appropriate verse in connection with the month of November, as usual, we find it in Riley's Farm Rhymes:

     "When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,

     And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkeycock,

     And the clackin' of the guineys, and the cluckin' of the hens,

     And the roosters hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;

     O' it's then's the time a feller is a-feelin' at his best.

     With the risin' sun to greet him from a nite of peaceful rest,

     As he leaves the house bare-headed, and goes out to feed the stock,

     When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.


(Originally published in The Cynthiana Democrat, November 25, 1929)




Der Tag


     Today is the DAY – when, that toothsome bird, the turkey, is supposed to be “the piece de resistance” on every well regulated dinner table. Just why, and when the turkey was chosen to grace the board on Thanksgiving Day does not appear to have been recorded.  Enough to say that it is a long established custom, and from a gastronomical standpoint, a very pleasant custom.

     Looking up the origin of Thanksgiving Day, however, we are more fortunate; as we are able to report that the custom originated in New England in 1621, after the first harvest of the Plymouth colony had been gathered; and also that it spread slowly to the other colonies.  Unlike our other National holidays, Thanksgiving Day is designated by proclamation of the President, and is always the fourth Thursday in November.  In 1863 President Lincoln recommended its first observance, and his example ahs been followed by all of our Presidents.

     It is quite likely if one should inquire of the first ten people he met where the turkey originated--the reply would be in the majority of cases, why, in Turkey, of course!  But they would be wrong.  The turkey is strictly and American bird, as we shall proceed to show.

     We are told that when the Spaniards conquered Mexico, 1518, they were especially delighted with a strikingly handsome and finely flavored bird the Aztecs had under partial domestication.  Specimens of the nameless fowl were promptly sent back to Spain, to be traded about by Hebrew merchants, who thought the fine creatures looked more like peacocks than anything else.  The Hebrew word for peacock happened to be "Hukki"; hence the name of the strange fowl came to be "Turkey."

     From Spain the turkey gradually spread over Europe.  It is said that in France, twelve turkeys were considered fine enough for a royal gift to Charles IX on the occasion of his marriage to Elizabeth of Austria.

     At the time of the discovery of America wild turkeys ranged far and wide over the land; and LaSalle, exploring the Mississippi, 1687, wrote--"the plenty of turkeys, whereof we killed many, was an ease of our sufferings."  And even so, the turkey later proved to be a great boon to our forefathers.

     Although the turkey has now been domesticated with us for several hundred years, he is still a shy bird and prone to wander; and the hen, if not watched, will steal away at nesting time.

     I was kind of “raised up” with turkeys, so to speak.  My mother was one of the first to introduce “bronze” turkeys in the county, and sold many pairs for breeding purposes.  I have known her to raise as many as 100 in a single season; and recall as a boy that it was my job to see that they came home to roost (you know turkeys have a habit of roosting where night overtakes them) and many an hour have I put in searching the farm for delinquent flocks.

     Later on, when I became connected with the old National Bank, I was to become tolerably familiar with the market side of the turkey business.  We handled the account of S. Renaker, the first man in Cynthiana, I believe, to begin killing and shipping turkeys east in car load lots; later J. W. Boyd became associated with him.

     It was in 1884, if my memory is not at fault, that one R. D. Wentworth, member of a Boston commission house, first came to Cynthiana, and arranged with Mr. Renaker for his output of dressed turkeys; and continued to come for several years thereafter, always remaining during the killing season.  He was a typical down easter[ner], a keen business man, and became a well known character about town.

     And here I am reminded of a little incident that happened the first year Wentworth came to Cynthiana.  There was a show on at the old Opera House one night, and a large crowd in attendance.  Mr. Wentworth happened to come in late, and in lieu of a better seat, climbed to the top of a step ladder which chanced to be standing at the rear of the room.  This was the cue for the boys, and forthwith they set up a tremendous “gobbling.”  In justice to Wentworth however, allow me to say that he took it like the good sport that he was.  It would be interesting to know, after all the years that have intervened, if any one, reading this, will recall the incident which I have described.

     As this is being written, one week before Thanksgiving Day, the writer is not at all sure where he will eat turkey.  In the meantime, in case any one should happen to read this bright and early on Thanksgiving morning; the phone number is 288.


(Originally published in The Cynthiana Democrat, November 26, 1931)






     The 12th month of our year, from the Latin decem, ten, because in the Roman year instituted by Romulus it constituted the tenth month.  In December the sun enters the tropic of Capricorn, and passes the winter solstice.

     December 2nd, famous battle of Austerlitz, in which the Russians and Australians were overwhelmingly defeated by Napoleon Bonaparte, 1805; also Monroe Doctrine enunciated, 1823, and JOhn Brown, who lead the raid on Harper's Ferry, executed at Charlestown, W. Va., 1859.   4th, Washington bade farewell to his officers at F[r]aunce's tavern, N.Y., 1783.  6th, seat of United State government removed from N.Y. to Philadelphia, 1790.  Jefferson Davis died, 1889; American troops entered Mainz, one of the princiapl German forts on the Rhine, 1918.  19th, first locomotive built in the United States finsihed at the West Point foundry, N.Y., 1830; President's message reached Boston from Washington in 26 hours and 50 minutes, 1835; an instance of most marvelous speed for those days; treaty of peach ending the war between the United States and Spain, 1892.  12th, first wireless across the Atlantic, 1901.  16th, Ludwig Van Beethoven, one of the greatest musical composers, born, 1770, died, 1827.  Germans raided English coast, 18914, killing 99 persons, famous "Boston tea party."  Citizens, protesting against the recently imposed import duties, dumped 340 chests of tea overboard from a vessel lying in Boston harbor.  21st, shortest day of the year.  22nd, Pilgrim Fathers landed at Plymouth Rock, 1620.  It is said that they first fell upon their knees and returned thanks, and someone added later--"then fell upon the aborigines."

     We now come to an event, celebrated in picture, story and song.  All of us remember the old steel engraving, Washington Crossing the Delaware.  he embarked on the evening of Dec. 25th, and early the next morning attacked the British in their encampment, utterly routed them, killing and capturing almost the entire command under the Hessian Col., Rahl, who was among the slain.


     Kris'mas, the festival of the Christian Church observed annually on December 25h, n memory of the birth of Christ, and celebrated by a particular Church service.

     The time when the festival was first observed is not known with certainty, but it is spoken of in the beginning of the third century by Clement of Alexandria.  In the latter part of the fourth century Chrysostom speaks of great antiquity.

     It is a fact that no certain knowledge of the day of Christ's birth exists, but in the fourth century the Western Church had fixed the 25th of December, and the Eastern Church which had hitherto favored the 6th of January gradually adopted the same date.  It is believed that the existence of heathen festivals celebrated on, or about, this day was largely responsible for the adoption of December 25th.  However, be that s it may, the day is now observed as a holiday and occasion of social enjoyment, and is the most widely observed of all festivals thruout Christendom, being a season of good fare, present giving and family reunion.  So here's hoping The Democrat readers have a merry Christmas, and will have a happy New Year.

It was the night before Christmas,

     And all thru the house

Not a creature was stirring,

     Not even a mouse--

     But alas, I've clean forgotten the rest.  Time was when I could reel off all the verses, but that was in the "good old days" when no Christmas school entertainment was complete unless some boy or girl had recited this classic.


(Originally published in The Cynthiana Democrat, January 2, 1930)




The Spirit of Christmas


     Not long since while turning thru the pages of "More Heart Throbs," a little volume compiled in 1905 by Joe Mitchell Chapple, I came across "In The Glow of Christmas."  Just one, among many of the literary gems, by sundry authors, to be found within its covers.  It is from the pen of Mr. Chapple himself.

     Reading it, it struck me as well worth of republication just at this time; when the spirit of Christmas should be abroad in the land.

In The Glow of Christmas

     In the glow of Christmas giving and merriment our hearts become suffused with the Christ-like impulse of kindly, gentle greeting, and respect for the rights of others, obedience to the most lofty ideals of human intercourse, and deference to our fellow-beings as life seems illuminated by the ineffable and softened light of the Star of Bethlehem.

    Let us sit down, in the twilight, by the flickering fire light, and think over for a moment just how much we owe to others for whatever happiness we enjoy.  Think a moment--think reflectively, as did Sidney Lanier when he said:

     "I shut myself in with my soul,

     And the shapes came eddying forth."

     Think tenderly and lovingly--and forms and faces crowd upon the vision that perhaps have been long forgotten in the tumult of life.  Among the first are those of mother and father, from whose ideals, years ago, were gained the impulses that led to honorable achievement.  Here is a vision of the passing friend, whose memory is only preserved in a yellow bundle of letters--letters from whose fading sentences came the inspiration that influences a life career.

     Nor are all faces those of the dead.  Many, indeed, are still seen in everyday life.  Our friends--the people we meet in business or join in pleasures--how many have helped to mold our lives as we reckon them up in the fading light of the dying Christmas fire?

     I am reminded of the famous painting which hangs for universal inspiration in Watts' room in the Wallace collection, on the Thames embankment in London.  A great world circling through infinite space is represented--surmounted by a harp with but one string; but that string vibrates with the spirit of Hope, and underneath is a motto especially appropriate for Christmas-tide--"To give is to gain."

     And unless Christmas can be kept as a time of giving; unless that giving means some sacrifice and some radiance of joy and comfort and hope to a human being, it will indeed be a dull and cheerless Yuletide.

     Let this Christmas be one of happiness, and the new year will be radiant with hope and filled with the impulse of doing SOMETHING for SOMEBODY every day.  The books will balance if the impulse be actuated by fairplay--fair play to every fellow-being.

      With this sublimation will come the great consciousness of peace and benediction from Him, who having lived a perfect life on earth, now reigns over that universal kingdom toward which the heart and soul of men have ever turned for the "peace that passeth understanding" and the good will whose primal chord vibrates the harp-strings of hope.--Joe Mitchell Chapple.


(Originally published in The Cynthiana Democrat, December 22, 1932)



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