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Cynthiana

December 7, 1793 – The towns of Cynthiana, Falmouth, Shepherdsville, Springfield, Winchester, and Wilmington ( Scott county), established.

Collins History of Kentucky, page 24


Tradition is the ignis fatuus that glimmers along the marsh lands that divide the past from the present time.  By its dim and uncertain light we must look at the pioneers who dared the wild beasts and wilder Indians of this part of “The Dark and Bloody Ground,” and founded Cynthiana in the wilderness.  It was named Cynthiana in honor of Cynthia and Anna Harrison.  This passage occurs in the “History of Harrison County:”


     “Tradition relates that Robert Harrison was a gay, healthy, rollicking son of the wilderness, just the man for the times; and that his blooming young daughters, not then grown, were the favorites of all their father’s customers and neighbors.  The name Cynthiana of course gave general satisfaction.  But Robert Harrison soon sold out his rights to the soil here, for his farm was already, in 1793, laid out into convenient streets and alleys, and, before Cynthia and Anna had reached womanhood, he removed to Portsmouth, Ohio.  There he flourished in business, his family grew up, and one of the daughters, we are not informed which, married a successful young merchant of Philadelphia, and became an honored matron in a prosperous family in that city.”

     Imagination takes up the thread where tradition drops it, and pictures these beautiful young girls, of twelve and fourteen years of age, standing by their father’s forge at nightfall, and the red light surrounding them like a halo, watching him shoe the horse of some belated traveler, who must continue his dangerous journey with wild cats screaming in the trees above him, and wild Indians behind their boles ready to shoot him down at any moment.  Robert Harrison’s blacksmith shop was situated near the bridge, just about where Mr. Bower’s shop is now.  The ferry was where the old bridge stands at the present time, and was the only means of crossing the river, until 1810, when the bridge was built.  Cynthia and Anna Harrison must have been often seen by persons who crossed tat the ferry.

     Perhaps it was there that Cynthia–for she was the eldest–met this lover from Philadelphia, who married her, later on, and made her happy ever afterward.

     We are unwilling to believe that Anna wasted her life on the “desert air” of old maidenhood.  She was beautiful; she must have married.

     But what matter, since a hundred years have passed, if Cynthia lived and died in splendor in Philadelphia, or if Anna pined away her days in single wretchedness, a handful of ashes and dust is all that remain of the beautiful children for whom our town was named.

Source:  Boyd, Lucinda Rogers, Chronicles of Cynthiana and Other Chronicles, Cincinnati:  Robert Clarke & Co., 1894, pp. 6-7

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