In 1799 or 1800, Alexander Curran laid out a village on the Licking
River at the mouth of Beaver Creek. Tradition relates that he
named the village Marysville, in honor of the wife of Benjamin
Harrison. In December 1821, the village was incorporated and
the name changed to Claysville in honor of Henry Clay. Before
the railroad was completed through Harrison County, Claysville was
one of the county's most important commercial villages. From
this point tobacco, grain and stock were shipped by flat-boat to New
Orleans. (p. 7)
Historical Accounts, Images, & Personal
I can only present a rather incomplete
picture of the history of Claysville in Harrison County,
Kentucky, and so I would prefer to let what few fragments I have speak for themselves and have
compiled a short list of the few items that I have found which you can link to
There is no mention of Claysville in
any of the following works, or chapters of which are devoted to the county or
Rennick, Robert M., Kentucky Place Names,
Lexington, Ky.: The University Press of Kentucky, 1984
However, quite a few items of interest
regarding Claysville appear in the following publications:
History of Kentucky, Lexington, Ky.: Henry Clay
Press, 1968, pp. 340-344 (Harrison County Chapter) (A reprint of the
1847 "History of Kentucky" by Lewis Collins)
History of Kentucky, Covington, Ky.: Collins & Co., 1874, pp.
321-322 (Harrison County Chapter)
History of Bourbon, Scott, Harrison and Nicholas
Counties, Kentucky, Chicago: O. L. Baskin & Co., Chicago, 1882
If you can think of any additional
materials to add to this page or any of those linked to it, I would certainly welcome any suggestions, and
would be willing to add them to this page.
Accounts of Claysville, Kentucky
History of Kentucky
A R R I S O N C O U N T Y .
. . .
and villages of the county are Cynthiana, Broadwell, Claysville, Colemansville,
Havelandville and Leesburg. CYNTHIANA, the county seat and chief town, is
situated on the right bank of the south fork of Licking, thirty-seven miles from Frankfort.
It contains the usual county buildings, three churches (Methodist, Presbyterian
and -----), five physicians, ten lawyers, thirteen stores, six groceries, two
taverns, one academy, two common schools, one drug store, one auction store, one
rope walk and bagging factory, one wool factory, on job printing office, two
tanneries, one masonic lodge, 30 mechanics’ shops, market house, &c., Population
about 1,000. Incorporated in 1802, and named after Cynthia and Anna,
two daughters of Mr. Robert Harrison, the original proprietor.
Claysville is situated at the mouth of Beaver creek, on Main
Licking--contains a Republican church, two taverns, on physician, three stores,
one merchant mill, three tobacco factories, one woolen factory and fulling mill,
two warehouses, and about fifty inhabitants. Formerly called Marysville, but
changed in 1821 to its present name, in honor of Henry Clay. Colemansville
is thirteen miles north-west of Cynthiana--contains four stores and groceries,
one church, one tavern, four physicians, eight mechanics’ shops, and about one
hundred inhabitants. Incorporated in 1831, and called after Robert Coleman, the
original proprietor. Havelandville is a small manufacturing town, owned
by a gentleman named Haveland, containing a cotton mill, and a large number of
small residences. Leesburg is situated ten miles west of Cynthiana, and
contains three churches (Episcopal, Reformed, and Republican), five stores and
groceries, one tavern, one wool factor, seven mechanic’s shops, and one bagging
factory and rope walk.
SOURCE: Collins, Lewis,
Henry Clay Press, 1968, pp. 340-344 (A reprint of the 1847 'History of
Kentucky' by Lewis Collins)
History of Kentucky
A R R I S O N C O U N T Y .
county—the 17th county in order, and the 8th formed after Kentucky became a
state—was made in 1793 out of parts of Bourbon and Scott counties, and named
after Col. Benj. Harrison, who was at the time a representative from Bourbon
county in the Kentucky legislature. From the original territory of Harrison,
portions have been taken to help form Campbell
county in 1794, Pendleton and Boone in 1798, Owen in 1819, Grant in 1820, Kenton
in 1840, and Robertson in 1867. It is situated in the north middle section of
the state, lying on both sides of South Licking river; is bounded N. by
Pendleton county, N.E. by Bracken and Robertson, E. by Nicholas, S. by Bourbon,
W. by Scott, and N.W. by Grant county. Main Licking river runs through a small
portion of the county in the N.E., and the creeks emptying into it are Cedar,
West, Beaver, and Richland, while Indiana, Silas, Mill, Twin, and Raven put into
South Licking. About one-half of the county is gently undulating, rich, and
very productive; the other portion, hilly and also quite productive; the whole
well adapted to grazing; the soil based on red clay, with limestone foundation.
This “blue limestone formation seems to be traversed by veins containing some
sulphuret of lead, accompanied by sulphate of barytes. In the S.W. part,
commencing 4 miles N. of Cynthiana, is a dark crumbling soil, based on a mulatto
sub-soil derived from rough weathering sub-crystalline, close-grained,
the county seat and chief town—named after Cynthia and Anna, two
daughters of the original proprietor, Robert Harris, established Dec. 10, 1793,
incorporated as a town in 1802 and as a city in 1860—is situated on the right
bank of South Licking, or the South fork of Licking, 37 miles from Frankfort and
66 from Cincinnati, being connected with both cities by railroad. It contains a
brick court house, 7 churches (Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Presbyterian,
Methodist, and Reformed or Christian, besides 2, Methodist and Baptist, for
colored people), 10 lawyers, 9 physicians, 8 dry goods stores, 16 groceries, 5
hotels, 2 academies, 2 common schools, and 1 select school, 2 public halls, 2
drug stores, 2 mills, 3 distilleries, 5 wholesale whisky houses, 9 saloons and
restaurants, 1 wool factory, 2 printing offices, 40 mechanics shops, and a
number of other stores and occupations; population in 1870, 1,771. Large
quantities of stock [Page 322] are annually shipped from this point,
north and east. Oddville, 6 miles N. of Cynthiana, contains a Methodist
church, school house, 1 doctor, 4 preachers, 3 stores and shops, and a steam
mill; about 60 inhabitants. Claysville, on Licking river at the
mouth of Beaver creek—laid out by Alex. Curran and called Marysville, about 1799
or 1800, incorporated Dec., 1821 and name changed to Claysville—grew to be quite
a flourishing commercial village, being a shipping point for the upper parts of
Harrison and Bourbon counties, until the K.C.R.R. was completed, when it began
to decline; population 125—93 whites and 32 blacks; contains 3 stores and shops,
hotel, school, 1 doctor; 2 congregations, Reformed or Christian, and Methodist,
worshipping in the same edifice. Havilandsville, named after Robert
Haviland, a small village near the Pendleton county line, 15 miles from
Cynthiana, contains 1 store, a steam mill, school house, and church.
13 miles from Cynthiana on the state road to Falmouth,
contains 5 stores and shops, a flouring and saw mill, school house, church
(Reformed), and 2 physicians. Berryville, formerly called Berry’s
Station, on the E. bank of South Licking, and a station on the K.C.R.R.;
contains 3 stores, several shops, 2 hotels, 1 public school, and 1 distillery,
which makes annually 3,000 barrels of Bourbon whiskey; population 230.
Colemansville, 1¼ miles from Berry’s Station on the K.C.R.R., has about 100
inhabitants; 2 churches (Baptist and Reformed), one public and one private
school, 4 stores and shops, 1 tavern, and 2 physicians; has suffered greatly
from destructive fires. Boyd’s Station, on K.C.R.R., 16 miles N. of
Cynthiana, contains 80 inhabitants, a store, hotel, steam mill, and distillery;
named after Andrew Boyd, a solider of the war of 1812, who was still living,
June, 1872. Robertson Station, 9 miles N. of Cynthiana, has 50
inhabitants, a store, school house, and mill.
7 miles W. of the county seat, population 100; 4 stores and shops, a school
house, and a doctor; named after Lewis Conner. Leesburg, 10 miles S.W.
of Cynthiana, contains 160 inhabitants, a carding factory, 6 stores and shops,
hotel, 2 churches (Reformed or Christian, and Presbyterian), and 4 physicians;
this part of Harrison county is noted for the extreme fertility of the soil.
Leeslick, 8 miles from Cynthiana, noted for its white sulphur springs, is a
small village with a store and school. Lair’s Station, on the K.C.R.R.,
4 miles S. of Cynthiana, contains a store, wagon and blacksmith shop, 2 flour
mills, 2 distilleries, and a school house; population 125. Tricum, 6
miles W. of Cynthiana, on the Raven creek turnpike, has 40 inhabitants, 2 stores
and a school house.
Scott Station, and
are small villages, each containing a store, church, school and physician.
SOURCE: Collins, Lewis,
“History of Kentucky,” Covington, Ky.: Collins & Co., 1874, pp.
History of Bourbon, Scott,
Harrison and Nicholas Counties, Kentucky
CLAYSVILLE PRECINCT--SURFACE AND PHYSICAL FEATURES--ADVENT OF THE
PIONEERS--THEIR BUFFETS WITH SAVAGE BEASTS AND SAVAGE MEN--PIONEER
INDUSTRIES--CHURCHES AND SCHOOLS--VILLAGES, ETC., ETC.
though old, is swift in flight,
years went fleetly by--”
CLAYSVILLE PRECINCT, which is No. 8 of the election precincts,
though the last in number, is one of the early settled and important sections of
the county. The village of Claysville was once an enterprising place, and
shipped largely to New Orleans by way of the raging Licking.
The precinct of Claysville lies in the northeast part of the
county, and is somewhat broken and hilly. It is bounded on the north and east
by Robertson County, on the south by Sylvan Dell, or Precinct No. 2, on the
southwest by Cynthiana Precinct, and on the west by Richland, or Precinct No.
3. The land is mostly hilly and broken, but produces well, growing the finest
of tobacco, which is the main staple. Corn and wheat are also cultivated to
more or less extent. The streams are the East Fork of Licking and Beaver Creek,
with their tributaries, of which Harrison and West Creeks are the most
important. These streams, with a number of branches, which are nameless on the
maps, drain the lands well, and afford the greatest abundance of stock water.
The original timber growth was very fine, but the settler's ax has despoiled
much of the finest forests.. Hickory, black walnut, sugar tree, wild cherry,
oak, hackberry, buckeye, etc., etc., grow in abundance. Little of the natural
forest is now left, the timber having been thinned out, even where the land has
not been cleared up for cultivation.
The settlement by white people of Claysville Precinct was coeval
with the settlement of other portions of Harrison County. Among the pioneers
were the families of Harrison County. Among the pioneers were the families of
John Whitehead, Stephen B. Curran,--Dean, Daniel Durbin, the Obey family, etc.
Whitehead and Curran settled near Claysville, lived to be very old, and are long
dead. Dean died at an advanced age. Durbin was a very early settler. He was
the grandfather of the Rev. Mr. Durbin, the celebrated traveler in Palestine and
the Holy Land. These are but a few among the pioneers of Claysville Precinct.
Names of others are lost.
the rubbish of forgotten things.”
The first years of the settlers of Claysville were
years of toil and privation. The people had many trials to contend with, not
the least of which was the depredations of Indians. Even after the savages
ceased to wantonly murder the settlers, they never let an opportunity pass to
steal whatever they could lay hands on, on the principle that what they obtained
from the pale faces was clear gain. There were may other troubles to be met and
overcome. The trouble of procuring bread was sometimes great. The settler's
trusty rifle could easily furnish his family with meat, but bread had to be
otherwise obtained. This led to the building of mills very early, and the
Licking River and Beaver Creek were the scenes of some of the earliest mills
built in Kentucky. Distilleries were not far behind mills in the way of pioneer
manufacture, and, as a modern industry, they have kept pace with mills, if they
have not even passed them, in the onward march. There are still both mills and
distilleries in operation in this section.
The roads of Claysville are not to be compared to
other and more favored sections of the county. The rough nature of the ground
renders turnpiking rather an expensive operation; hence roads of that character
are scarce in this precinct. The dirt roads are good--in summer.
The first school in the precinct is somewhat obscure,
but is supposed to have been taught in a little log cabin erected for school
purposes in the village of Claysville more than fifty years ago. The teacher
was a man name Duncan, and was of the old-time style. He believed in the use of
the rod, and, it is said, enforced his belief very vigorously. There are at the
present day four schoolhouses in Claysville Precinct, including one in the
The church history of the precinct compares with that
of other portions of the county. But we learned little of the erection of
church buildings and the organization of church societies in Claysville
The village of Claysville, years ago, was of the most
important business points in Harrison County. As we have already stated, it
shipped largely by flat-boats to New Orleans. It is situated on the Main
Licking, twelve miles northeast of Cynthiana, and nine miles from Poindexter
Station on the Kentucky Central Railroad. It exports tobacco, grain and stock,
and has a tri-weekly stage line to Milford and Brownsville. Its business
comprises two general stores, one grocery, one physician, one tavern, two
blacksmith shops, two carpenters, one teacher and one flour-mill. The building
of the Kentucky Central Railroad, some miles distant from Claysville, killed its
trade, and from that date its business has greatly declined.
SOURCE: Perrin, William Henry,
Ed., History of Bourbon, Scott,
Counties, Kentucky, Chicago: O. L. Baskin & Co., Chicago, 1882,
Antioch Mills |
Connersville | Cynthiana