Folks of Kenton County, Kentucky

simon kenton Simon Kenton
Simon Kenton   He's buried in Urbana, Ohio.

There's a site devoted to Simon Kenton, the man for whom Kenton County
 is named, here.  Kenton was formed January 29, 1840 from Campbell County.

You can go to Google Books and find several long-ish pieces on the life on Simon Kenton, some book length, some entire chapters in other books.  Search for “Simon Kenton” - use the quotes.  You can read the ones that say “Preview.”


Leonard Covington

Covington is named for Leonard Covington (Wikipedia), whose father came from a noble family from the Neubreisach neighborhood of
Alsace (and who, in 1697 wrote his name not as the anglicized “Covington,” but as the German “Kurfingthan”).

The first man to settle in what is now Kenton County was John Grant.


Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky

These two men are responsible for the Suspension Bridge.
That's John Roebling on the left, and Amos Shinkle on the right. Roebling had the vision of how to design and build it, but it was Covington's Amos Shinkle who had the vision to bet his personal fortune to make it happen.


newIn 1856, the Shinkles rented two steamboats to take 1,000 kids from Covington Sunday schools to an amusement park in Boone County, Parlor Grove.



Covington's most famous son may be the artist Frank Duveneck (Wikipedia).
James Ott has written a feature story about Duveneck, but mostly about Mrs. Duveneck, at this site.


Duveneck   Duveneck
  Duveneck (back, center, hat) and friends at Ryland, 1911   Duveneck home on Garrard


Behringer Behringer
William Behringer Ellis Crawford  
Behringer-Crawford Museum namesakes.  
The museum's history at their web site.  


Salvage Boys

Covington boys collecting salvage, September, 1918



Henry Eilerman



Richard Pretlow Ernst
US Senator and “an active supporter of the different benevolent and charitable institutions of the city”


7th Districtnew

Dr. Alvin Powleit

After graduating from Newport High he went UK for 1 year and then to UC. He then attended the Univ. of Louisville Medical School. Dr. Poweleit enlisted in the army reserves and was called up in 1940. He was assigned as a medical officer in a tank battalion and was shipped to the Philippines. His unit arrived in Manila Bay on Thanksgiving Day 1941. Dr. Poweleit survived the Bataan Death March and provided eye care to northern Kentuckians for decades, whether they could afford to pay him or not. More about Dr. Poweleit at this site.


110th Annivsessary 110th Annivsessary 110th Annivsessary 110th Annivsessary 110th Annivsessary 110th Annivsessary
  The Cincinnati Commercial Tribune, on November 24, 1904 ran a special section in honor of the 110th aniversay of Newport and Covington. Well, mostly Covington. These are very large images.

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Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky

Covington's William Goebel, and his statute in Frankfort.  A controversial political figure elected Governor of Kentucky;  assassinated January 30, 1900.  More on Goebel is at this site.

Four Goebel Funeral Scenes

The story of Goebel's assassination, from an account written in 1905 is here.  (pdf)

James C. Klotter's William Goebel: The Politics of Wrath is online in its entirety at Google Books.

Literary Digest wrote about Goebel in 1899.

On February 6, 1900, Goebel's dead body lay in state in Covington at the Odd Fellows Hall at 5th and Scott. 100,000 people passed by.

Steve Preston wrote this item at the The Kentucky Tribune's site summarizing Goebel's life.

In 1895, Goebel was involved in a gun fight on Madison Avenue.  You can read about it here and at this site. It followed Goebel calling Standford “Gonorrhoea John” in print.

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Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky

The other Governor from Covington, John Stevenson.
You can read more about his life, at Wikipedia, or here. (pdf)

How Did the First Covington Streets Get Their Names? 

For the first five men to serve as Governors of the State of Kentucky

Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky
Isaac Shelby James Garrard Christopher Greenup Charles Scott George Madison


Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky

Dicky Beal Drive is named after the former Holmes & UK basketball player.
See his UK career record at this site.

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The 1992 Northern Kentucky Bicentennial Commission published the biographies of
a number of prominent Northern Kentuckians, including these Kenton Countians: (pdf's)

Daniel Carter Beard John G. Carlisle Frank Duveneck Jacob Price Amos Shinkle

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   Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky

 Read about Covington artist Johann Schmitt at this site. (You may need to hit a “translate” button
at the top of the page). He did paintings inside many of the Covington churches, and throughout the midwest.

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Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky Gastright Niehaus Sommer
Howie Camnitz, bio at this site, MLB stats at this site. Bill Sweeney was an infielder for the Boston Braves and others (1907-1914) Hank Gastright, bio at this site, MLB stats at this site. Dick Niehaus pitched for the Cardinals (1913-1915) Joe Sommer played for several teams (1880-1890)
Neal Brady played for the Yankees (1915, 1917) and the Reds (1925) Bill Niles played 11 games for the Pirates in 1895 Harry Berte played four games for St. Louis Cardinals in 1903. John Black played 54 games for the St, Louis Browns in 1911. Bob Clark played 7 years (1886-1893) in the bigs.
Hohnhorst Johnson Farrell Heving Brothers Heving Brothers
Eddie Hohnhorst played in 1910 and 1912 for the Cleveland Indians Donald Johnson, born in Covington, was a star in Negro League Baseball.  More on him at this site. John Farrell played for Washington (1901) and the Cardinals (1902-05) Covington's Johnnie Heving, a catcher, and brother Joe Heving, a pitcher

Ludlow's Dale Williams pitched 9 games for the Reds in 1876. He was 1-8.

We've omitted more contemporary i.e., non-historic, ball players from our list.

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Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky  
Daniel Carter Beard (June 21, 1850 - June 11, 1941)
The man who “invented” the Boy Scouts grew up in Covington.
His autobiography, long out of print, is good reading about the area, if you can find it.
His Wikipedia page is here.

Charles Geaslen's column on Dan Beard is here.

A few excerpts from Beard's autobiography that are Covington related

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Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky
Local Heroes, of Covington
A 1995 mural formerly on display at the Covington Library
and the key to who's in the pic.


Born and buried in Maysville, noted Kentucky historian Richard Collins practiced law for a while in Covington.
More about him at this site. The state evidently tried to cheat him on his history book, here.
Last and absolutely not least, his book is on line at this site.


Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky

Mr. T. C. Tichenor

Mr. J. A. Caywood

Mr. R. C. Hinsdale

Tichenor Middle School's
site is here.

Caywood Elementary's
site is here.

Hinsdale Elementary's
site is here.

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Tanner   Tanner
Mary Ellen Tanner   George Washington Cutter
Vocalist. Her Enquirer obituary.   Poet.(Wikipedia). His most famous is here.


Tanner Barnhorn     Barnhorn   Barnhorn

Clement J. Barnhorn
Sculptor (Wikipedia)

Fountain of the Water Nymph, 1903,

    Industry Protecting Art and Music, 1930, bronze   Corn Dance, 1918
    A sampling of pieces by Clement Barnhorn. Google will give you lots more.


Ollie Jmes

Ollie James. About Mr. James.


Grace Rothert

Ludlow's Grace Rothert was a vaudeville performer doing “novelty and acrobatic dances.”
This 1919 item describes her success. In Australia.


Tanner Tanner
Mary Francis Taney
Author, suffragette, and founder of the Colonial Daughters of America. More at this site. A pdf of one of her books of poetry is here.


Covington's Eva Wilder McGlasson Brodhead (1870-1915) (Wikipedia), a novelist.
You can find a number of her works in their entirety at Google Books.
A little more about her in this piece.


Meyer Bramlage
Fred J. Meyers George C. Bramlage
Two Covington men who ran the Fred J. Meyers Manufacturing Company, which started in Covington, but would eventually move to Hamilton, Ohio.


We find a number of poems in the Covington Journal by Hiram Martin in the 1850's that strike us superior to most of the utter dreck that can pass as poetry in some of the early newspapers. Here are three:
Drunkard's Wife Slave's Appeal Lone Tree


Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky

One of Kenton's more famous citizens is John G. Carlisle,
who you can read all about on his Wikipedia site, here.

In 1893, Mrs. Carlisle published a cook book.  Her recipe for Kentucky Black Cake is here.

Information about Carlisle and his home is here. (pdf)

“Covington, Ky., - Dec. 5.- The home of John G. Carlisle, this metropolis, is still celebrating his election.  Nineteen tar barrels blazed last evening and threw a lurid glow of Southron victory o’er the cloud curtained sky, visible at a distance of several blocks.  The excitement is intense, and strong men are weeping.” 
New York Times, December 6, 1883


Theodore Hallam was a Congressman from Covington.
Image is from Kenton County Library's Faces and Places collection

The Post ran a story about his imminent death, followed by his obituary.

Charles Geaslen writes about “The Great Theodore Hallam.”

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Thomas Shaw was awarded the Medal of Honor. Details (Wikipedia)

There are two soldiers who are recipients of the US Medal of Honor from Covington, and both achieved the honor in battles against Indians in the American West: 

On August 12, 1881, Thomas Shaw “forced the enemy back after stubbornly holding his ground in an extremely exposed position and prevented the enemy's superior numbers from surrounding his command,” in a battle at Carrizo Canyon, New Mexico. 

Thomas Sullivan was awarded his based on his actions on October 20, 1869 in the Chiricahua Mountains in the Arizona Territory for “gallantry in action against Indians concealed in a ravine.”

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Dora Dean Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky
“Say have you ever seen Miss Dora Dean, She is the finest girl you have ever seen.” Some background at this site.

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Dorothy Spencer (Wikipedia) was a 4-time Academy Award nominee for film editing.

Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky
Ron Ziegler, (Wikipedia) press
secretary to Richard
Nixon, and the man who
declared Watergate, “a
third-rate burglary.“
Ben Lucien Burman
an author of 22 novels
Robert Surtees, born August 9,
1906 in Covington, was a three-time
academy award winning cinema-
tographer.  The impressive list of
the films on which he was the
cinematographer is at this site.

And then there's John Mount, a record-holder.

Elijah Green was an importer of immigrants.

John Hunt Morgan briefly lay in state in Covington.

Park Blickenbecker was born into slavery.

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Arthur Watson, Murderer of Independence's Amanda Cain

The Watson saga, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4



The James Hughes Murderers
The news story.


Van Venison

Harold Van Venison
The last man to be legally hanged in Kenton County. Details.



Dr. George S. Sperti (Wikipedia)

George Sperti was born in Covington, and had a home in Ft. Mitchell, even though he was partial to his Boone County farm. He invented Aspercreme, Preparation H, and a method to make orange concentrate.



Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky

Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky

The Davis Sisters lived in Latonia, and were an early county music duo.  A little more on them here.

Frequently referred to as “Cincinnati Artist Henry Farny,” he lived at 1391 Banklick in Covington from 1890 to 1907. Search Google Images for Henry Farny to see LOTS of his Indian paintings.

Remember Durword Kirby?  He was from Covington.  There's a bio here (He was the inspiration for Rocky and Bullwinkle's "Kirwood Derby," about which he was not amused.)

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Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky

My Father's House in Washington, Kentucky (1886)
a painting by Covington artist Mary Bruce Sharon

Dixie Seldon was a known Covington artist. More on her at this site.
If you search her on Google images, you get lots of her paintings.

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Mary Ann Mongan
Mary Ann Mongan,
for whom the Covington Branch of
the Kenton County Library is named
Eugenia Farmer, early Covington
suffragette. More on here at this site.


Tom Thacker Tom Thacker Tom Thacker
William Grant High School's Tom Thacker is the only player to have played on an NCAA championship team, an ABA championship team, and an NBA championship team. His NBA and ABA record is at this site.


Tom Thacker

Thacker is in the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame


Covington's Una Merkel, was a film actress who starred in many movies from 1930 through 1966. There's a list of her credits and a bio at Wikipedia, and a whole bunch of her movie star pictures, here. She's buried in Highland Cemetery.

John Schlipp wrote about Merkel at the Kentucky Tribune's website, here.

Chester Geaslen has also written about Merkel, here.

Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky


Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky Know who Haven Gillespie was? The man who wrote Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and many other songs, is from Covington.  More at this site, and at this site.  A little more bio information and a picture of his home in Covington are here. (pdf)

From time to time, history gives you one of those magnificent ironies: A compilation of letters from the Kentucky Post of kid's letters to Santa. Including one from a 5-year-old named Haven Gillespie.


This is Marcus Loew. He's one of the most influential men ever in the motion picture industry, and founder of the MGM studios (because he needed content for his large chain of theatres). He originally started in penny arcades in New York, then in Cincinnati. On a walk one day, he wandered into Covington and talked to a Covington house painter wh0 showed films on a sheet in his living room for a nickel. Loew copied the idea, first in Cincinnati, and then in New York. Read Loew's account of the Covington painter here.

The Covington painter was Bromley's George Hackstadt.


Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky


Pohlman Barnes
Many men lost their lives in WWI. These are but two of them, who happened to have been photographed. The full list from Kenton County is here.

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Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky
Benj. Sebastian Jacob May J. H. Mersman,
Jas. M. Rude,
Management of Covington's Sebastian Lathe Co.
J. M. Rude Manufacturing Co, Covington


Citizens of Kenton County,Kentucky Tom Thacker
Wes Wilson
Read about him here.

Covington Attorney W. H. Mackoy
A short biography is here.

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“We publish, to-day, a list of the income tax-payers of Covington, for the year 1868. The following are some of the heaviest incomes reported: Amos Shinkle, $34, 849; Robert Hemingray, $28,113; W. C. Hamilton, $20,550; A. Hathaway, $17, 493; Uriah Shinkle, $13, 880; J. E. Brewster, $12,254; Joel Baker, $12,264; Vincent Shinkle, $11, 962; George A. Hamilton, $10, 865.” from the Louisville Daily Journal, May 4, 1868

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Membership rosters from the 1911 Masonic Lodges of Kenton County:  (pdf's)
Covington #109 Covington #159 Covington #345 Wilmington Ludlow #478
Erlanger Independence Fiskburg Latonia Ludlow #759

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The 1878 Biographical Encyclopedia of Kentucky had these Kenton County-related biographies.  (All are pdf's)

William J. Perrin Rev. Thomas N. Arnold Alexander Campbell Ellis
Henry Clay White Edward Reiley  
Charles Asmann Robert Howe Robert A. Athey
Charles F. Thomas, MD Napoleon B. Stephens John Talbot Levis

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From The History of Kentucky, 1929, published by S. J. Clarke.  This book, like the one immediately above, should not be considered to have a definitive list of important people in the county.  More likely, the book was financed by people who paid to have their name included, and wrote their own bio. Caveat Emptor.   (All are pdf's)

Charles W. Justice, M.D. Captain William H. Strahan, M.D. Charles Purdy Charles S. Durrett
Hon.  Orrie S. Ware John L. Cushing Joseph Noterman  

Who's who in Kenton County in 1840, here.



Last and least. Covington's Virginia Knapp models a wooden bathing suit. 1934.

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