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Havilandsville Sketch

The Cynthiana (Ky.) Democrat, Thursday, March 18, 1926, Page 6, Cols. 1 & 2:



Sketch Prepared by VI-VIII

Grades, Richland School,

Pendleton County.


Robert S. Haviland


in the City of New York

Nov. 11, 1796


in Harrison County, Ky.

Aug. 8, 1858


61 Yrs., 8 Mos., 3 Days

So runs the inscription on the tall monument that marks the resting place, under a large pine, of Robert Haviland, the founder of Havilandsville, who is buried in the Old Baptist Cemetery on the hill above Havilandsville. The cemetery is supposed to have four hundred people buried in it. It is generally supposed there was some secret reason why Robert Haviland came here. He married Mary C. Stewart, who was related to the Stewarts and Caseys of Harrison county. The Havilands are distantly related to the Prices and others here.

Robert Haviland reared three sons and four daughters here, namely, William, James[,] and Henry Haviland; Mary, wife of David White; Melinda, who married Oscar Poindexter; Margaret, who married Dudley Conway; and Martha, wife of Washington Hamilton. Descendants of these [are] among Harrison county’s best people

Robert Haviland built his home, a large frame building, on the Haviland hill across the creek from Havilandsville. He built the first mill which ground corn and wheat in Havilandsville, and the next mill one half mile below Havilandsville, which ground corn and barley. The Poston Sawmill was at the mouth of Richland creek. There were a few negroes in Havilandsville, owned by Ham Casey, who had cabins for them to live in. Also, the widow Browning, Robert Haviland[,] and the Caseys owned slaves. Dan Gruell was the only man who ever sold whiskey near Havilandsville. Clay Moore’s grandfather owned the farm and house that his mother owns at mouth of Richland Creek and sold goods in the early days. The last old-fashioned picnic, when they ran three sets at a time, was at the Old Pollard Mill Yard. Collins’ History of Kentucky mentions a Mr. Warner who was a partner of Robert Haviland, but no one remembers him.

Havilandsville had several important men. Two doctors, Rainey and Baltzelle, and one county Judge, Henry Haviland, had lived here.

David, Can[,] and Thomas Casey, James and A.J. Cleveland, William McDowell[,] and Cyrus Blackburn, joined the Confederate army. Henry Cleveland was elected assessor of Harrison county.

His son-in-law, John Hobday, carried the mail from Cynthiana to Covington before the railroad was built. Havilandsville has given to Harrison county two Sheriffs, Thos. and Can. Casey. The famous Brass Band was organized in 1877. Some of its members, still good musicians, are residents of Havilandsville.

Robert Haviland was having a big dinner when the dogs got after a pet deer. The deer ran through the house and jumped over the table where all the guests were eating. We imagine it created a sensation, but perhaps the eats tasted the better for the bit of wild life introduced.

One well known negro family of old slaves were the ‘McGee N******,’ as they were called. They were hard working, honest negroes and white people often visited them.

It is related that one day two white women went to visit the family, one of the negro women being ill.

When dinner was ready, only two plates were set on a clean white cloth. The women would not eat without the negroes sat [sic] down and ate[,] too. So all the negroes put on white coats and sat with the white women at the table. The plates were placed in front of the negro man, who said grace and all ate together.

On the old Doctor Brannock farm, now owned by W.H. King, stood a large beech tree, where the negro slaves used to meet on warm moonlight nights and sing, pick the banjo, dance, talk[,] and “court.”

The negroes are gone now. Even the giant beech is gone and a big hole in the ground tells where it stood.

Havilandsville boasts no Havilands within its boundaries now, yet the ghosts of dead and gone. Havilands are said to haunt the old house on the “Hill Across the Creek,” and on windy nights one can almost hear the patter of black feet in the old kitchen, or the gay laughter of the gay company in the old parlor. Wind or rats? Well, perhaps.

The Cynthiana (Ky.) Democrat (A reprint of a Jan. 13, 1957 article originally published in the Lexington Herald-Leader)

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