washington, kentucky

The Union   Republican Auxiliary
The Union, March 18, 1814   Republican Auxiliary, 1807
Vendue Washington, Ky Goods Notice Travelers Rest
Vendue (Auction) from 1807 Goods Notice Travellers' Rest
Two very old newspaper mastheads, published in Washington, and some items from them.
Do you appreciate how early 1807 is in our history??? More here.

In addition, the Library of Congress notes the existence of The Mirror, which began with September 16, 1797 issue, and ceased with the December 19, 1799 issue.
Covington Papers
We know that there were at least these newspapers in pre-Civil War Washington. The dates represent issues that have been found, or referenced, not a start or stop date (the *). W is weekly.


washington, kentucky

Sites in Washington
Key to the plat is here.

A more recent, more comprehensive version of this plat is here. (pdf)

We recommend Old Washington's website for Washington history.

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Catron's Store, 1955. From a Facebook post by Marie Henderson, whose grandmother, Ethel Faul Catron is on the left. This is a forerunner to Maysville's Bank of Maysville, now the oldest continuously operating bank in the state, the Branch Bank of Kentucky opened in 1809

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Washington Post Office, c. 1936
From a Facebook post by Lisa Collins

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The Old Post Office in Washington Post Office, 1955 1934
Washington had the first post office west of the Alleghenies? Nope; second. Danville, KY was first. It is possible however that Washington was used earlier as an unofficial distribution point for Kentucky mail.  The first postmaster here was appointed by George Washington.  You can read that the town of Washington is the very first place in America named after our first president; it's not (Wikipedia). That's Miss Hattie Taylor coming out of the PO.

Mail Routes, 1797, here

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washington, kentucky
Washington Methodist Church
A little background on the church is here.

St. Mary's Catholic School.

Mason County School Washington washington, kentucky School
Washington School Washington School
from a Facebook post by Kirby Wright
Washington School Under Construction, c. 1918

Washington, Ky

Washington School Fire
From a Facebook post by Mike Marinaro


Washington, Ky

Tommy Swartz, having a cold one at the Log Cabin in Washington, July 27, 1955.
From a Facebook post by Larry Swartz



The Presbyterian Church can trace its records to 1792.

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Main Street, Washington, 1910 
"Showing, on the right, the house where Harriett
Beecher Stowe,  Henry Clay, and Daniel Webster  were
 entertained by Col. Marshall Key in the early 1840's"
Catron's Store
Main Street,
 Washington, 1955
Johnson House
 and Main Street


Washington officially created in 1786. Washington's charter was revised in 1793
Washington's charter was re-revised in 1800 Washington's charter was re-re-revised in 1805

Washington bans horse racing, 1793.

Washington's first academy, 1798 Washington's first library, 1811.


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Two citizens of Washington, both unidentified. 1934
from the Frank M. Hohenberger Collection of the Lilly Library, Indiana University


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As late as 1934 this rock structure still existed. It's Washington's slave auction block.
from the Frank M. Hohenberger Collection of the Lilly Library, Indiana University
1934 Street Scene

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Edna Hunter Best's Sketches of Washington, from 1936, is here. This article (pdf) is about Washington celebrating its sesquicentennial.

“When we came along in 1787, they had their cabins at Washington covered with Buckeye bark.  One Sweet had the only cabin covered with shingles.” Mr. Stewart or Col. McDowell, interviewed in the Draper Papers,  13CC37.

"The Maysville (Ky.) Eagle reports the escape of seventeen slaves from Washington, Ky., on Sunday night. Only one had been captured.  This one resisted desperately and cut Pose Waldron and --- Dare of Huntington tp., dangerously with large knife."  The Highland (Ohio) Weekly News, October 22, 1857. “A. Barnes is the contractor for carrying the mail from Owingsville to Washington, Kentucky, seventy miles, twice a week, from 1st January, 1833 to 31st December, 1835, at a compensation of three hundred and ten dollars per annum.”from the Public Documents of the 23rd Congress, December 1, 1834
. The 1834 law governing Washington's taverns.
All of Washington is on the National Register of Historic Places. The 1969 application is here, the revised 1976 application is here. Both are pdf's.
Is Washington really the oldest town in America named for George Washington? Horse racing banned in Washington in 1794.

“Slave Stampede.-The Maysville (Ky) Eagle reports the escape of seventeen slaves from Washington, Ky. on Sunday night.  Only one had been captured.  This one resisted desperately and cut Pose Waldron and ---Dare, of Huntington twp. dangerously with a large knife.”  The Highland Weekly  News (Ohio) October 22, 1857

This excerpt from Uncle Tom's Cabin is why most people believe the novel's story originated in Washington. There are any number of communities that have taken credit for the book's original setting, but NKY Views votes for Washington.
William Henry Harrison is celebrated with poetry in Washington. An account of Miss Stowe's travels in Washington from 1895, is here.
“A resident of Washington, Ky., took a vow that if ever got drunk again he would whip himself all the way home from the tavern. He got drunk and fulfilled his vow with so much vigor that he could not get out of bed for two weeks.” Marin (California) Journal, January 30, 1879
Did you know that the responsibility for the development of Cincinnati was based on a horse theft in Washington?  Take it with a grain of salt, but, maybe . . . Read it here. (pdf) The site Historic Washington is here.
In 1790, Washington had 462 inhabitants, 21 of whom were slaves, 83 females, 95 males under 16, and 163 males over 16. There were 119 houses. In 1790, that made Washington a pretty big place.
Officially, the town of Washington voted to be annexed by, and become a part of Maysville, on August 13, 1990. Edward Harris writes to New Hampshire in 1797 (pdf)describing the Washington area.
The History of the Washington Presbyterian Church is here(pdf)

 Read about an 1870 assault, here.

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Mason's First Courthouse

washington, kentucky washington, kentucky
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Court House in Washington,
“where Harriet Beecher Stowe saw an old colored man sold and whom she named Uncle Tom.”
This building was hit by lightning on August 13, 1909, and was not rebuilt.

A history of this building, by Ms. Lula Reed Boss is here. (pdf)

On the 26th of May, 1779, was held at Washington the first Mason County court.


Old Court house from the back



After the courthouse burned, this building took it's place. It, too, had earlier been a school.


More about Simon Kenton is at Wikipedia, here, or at the Official Simon Kenton Home Page, here. washington, kentucky

Simon Kenton Museum
original was c. 1784

washington, kentucky

Simon Kenton Home, 1929

washington, kentucky Left, in September, 1778 Kenton was tortured by the Shawnee Indians. He was tied, his hands bound, on his back, to a wild horse galloping through the trees. He was forced to run the infamous quarter mile “gauntlet” nine times. It killed most men.


washington, kentucky washington, kentucky
Washington Street Scene Washington Volunteer Fire
Department, 1955

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You can find a remarkable number of Washington Images at the Library of
Congress' American Memory Site.  Start here, and click on the Browse By Place link
on the left.  You can look for Kentucky, and Mason County at that point.

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from the 1800 Census
Louisville 359
Frankfort 628
Paris 377
Washington 570

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A sincere question for the good citizens of Washington.

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