Excerpt on Mason County (Page 545)

of Collins History of KY circa 1887

MASON county-established in 1788 by the legislature of Vir­ginia, and named after George Mason, one of her most eminent lawyers and statesmen-was the 8th formed, of the nine which existed in 1792, when Kentucky , was separated from the mother state and admitted into the Uuion. It was formed out of all that part of the then county of Bourbon which lay to the N. E, of Licking river, from its mouth to its source; thence, by a direct line to the nearest point on the Virginia state line and county
line of Russell; thence along said line to Big Sandy river, down that river to the Ohio, and down the Ohio to the mouth of Lick­ing-embracing all the territory out of which have been formed the following counties: Campbell (part) in 1794, Bracken in 1796, Fleming and part of Pendleton in 1798, part of Floyd and part of Nicholas in 1799, Greenup in 1803, Lewis in 1806, Lawrence and part of Pike in 1821, part of Morgan in 1822, Carter in 1838, Johnson in 1843, Rowan in 1866, Boyd and Magoffin in 1860, Robertson in 1867, Elliott in 1869, and Mar­tin in 1870-nineteen in all.

The present county of Mason lies in the northern section of the state; is bounded N. by the Ohio River for 17 miles, E. by Lewis and Fleming counties. by Fleming and Robertson, and w. by Robertson and Bracken; and measures about 221 square miles. It is watered by Cabin, Bull, Kennedy\;, Limestone, Beasley’s, Lawrence, and Lee’s c1·eeks, which flow into the Ohio River on the north; and the North fork of Lick River in the center and south, with its tributaries, Mill, Wells’, Lee’s, Shan­non, and. Bracken creeks. The surface of the country is generally uneven, part of it hilly and broken, most of it gently undulating; the soil, based upon limestone, is deep, rich, and highly product­ive, except in the N. E. and S. W.; much of it is the finest quality of bluegrass land, not surpassed in the world. The largest productions are corn, wheat, hemp, tobacco, mules, cattle, and hogs. It was once the largest, now the 6th, hemp-producing county. In the amount of taxable property, it is the 8th largest county in the state, in the average value of the land the 6th; while in population it has fallen, by the more rapid increase of others, to the 12th.


  • Maysville, on the Ohio river, at the mouth of Limestone creek (from which the landing or town was generally called Limestone until about 1793), is 65 miles from Lexington by the Mays­ville :md Lexington railroad (Northern Division), and by the Ohio river 405½ miles below Pittsburgh, Pa., 91 below Catletts­burg, Ky., at the mouth of Big Samly river, 52 below Portsmouth, Ohio, 61 above Cincinnati, 193 above Louisville, and 662 above Cairo at the mouth of the Ohio ; was established as a town by the legislature of Virginia, Dec. 11, 1787, incorporated as a city in 1833, and became the county seat, April 1, 1848; is beautifully situated on one of the highest spots along the bank of the Ohio, only a small part of which was overflowed by even the great flood of 1832 ; is handsomely and compactly built, and contains a brick court house and fire-proof clerk’s offices, 13 churches (2 Presbytcrian–one connected with the northern and one with the southern General Assembly-Baptist, Methodist Episcopal South, 2 Methodist Episcopal, German Methodist Episcopal, Reformed or Christian, Protestant Episcopal, German Luthernn, Roman Catholic, and 2 .for colored people, Baptist and Methodist), 3 banks, 24 lawyers, 11 physicians, 4 newspaper and printing offices (Eagle, Bulletin, Republican, and Ohio River Traveler), city high school and 3 district public schools 5 semi­naries (2 male and 3 fomale), several other private schools, gas works, 2 wholesale and 7 retail dry goods stores, 2 drug stores, 5 tinware and stove stores, 2 hardware stores, 4 hotels, and a large number of other business houses, shops, and small factories–be­ sides 2 steam flouriug .mills, 2 steam saw mills, 2 planing mills, 2 very large and several small plow factories, 1 large cotton spining factory, 1 piano-forte factory, 1 chair factory, 1 foundry, 1 very large and several small cigar factories, 2 carriage factories; 1 brewery, 1 railroad car shop, and 1 pork packing establishment; population in 1870, 4,705, of whom 681 were colored.
  • Washing­ton, the ancient county sent (from 1788 to April 1, 1848), 3.5 miles s. w. of Maysville, on the turnpike to Lexington (see the sketch); has 3 churches (Baptist, Presbyterian, and Methodist) ; the population in 1870, 240, of whom 106 whites, 134 colored.
  • Mayslick, on same pike, 12 mi1es w. of s. of Maysville, was named after John May, of Virginia, the former proprietor of the land and of a famous lick near the place (hence its original name May’s Lick); has 3 C’hurches (Baptist, Reformed or Chris­tian, and Presbyterian), and a number. of stores and shops; incor­porated Feb. 1, 1837; population in 1870, 199, whites 128, colored 71.
  • Dover, in importance the second town in the county, in the extreme N. w. corner, on the Ohio River 11 miles below and N. w. of Maysville, and 1 mile from the Bracken county line; is the largest tobacco prizing and shipping point, and has a number of business houses; incorporated Jan. 20, 1836; popula­tion in 1870, 532, whites 465, colored 67.
  • Minerva, 4 miles s. w. of Dover and 10 miles from Maysville; incorporated Jan. 31, 1844; the population in 1870, 159.
  • Germantown, 11 miles S W. of Maysville, lies partly in Mason and. partly in Bracken county; established in 1795; population in 1870, 351, of which 160 in Mason and 191 in Bracken (33 colored).
  • Sardis, 14 miles S. W. of Maysville; population in 1870, 149.
  • Lewisburg, 7 miles 8. of Maysville, on the turnpike to Flemingsburg; population in 1870, 151.
  • Small villages, with one or two stores and churches each, and a population of 40 to 100 each
    • Helena, 11 miles W. of S from Maysville,
    • Mount Gilead, 9 miles E. of S.,
    • Murphysville, 9 miles S. W.,
    • Orange­burg, 8 miles 8. E., .
  • Growing suburbs of Maysville recently laid off
    • Woodville
    • Chester

The main roads and nearly all the intersecting and neighborhood roads, in Mason county, are macadamize.

Consult pages 548 of

History of Kentucky – Lewis Collins -1877 Volume 1 (pdf) for

  1. Members of legislature
  2. Antiquity sites
  3. Much more early history

History of Kentucky – Lewis Collins -1877

Volume 1 (pdf)

Volume 2 (pdf)