About This Place
Maysville is a city in and the county seat of Mason County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 8,993 at the 2000 census, making it the fiftieth largest city in Kentucky by population. Maysville is on the Ohio River, 66 miles (106 km) northeast of Lexington. It is the principal city of the Maysville Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Mason and Lewis counties. Two bridges cross the Ohio River from Maysville to Aberdeen, Ohio: the Simon Kenton Memorial Bridge built in 1931, and the William H. Harsha Bridge built in 2001.
On the edge of the outer Bluegrass Region, Maysville was historically important in its settlement. Frontiersmen Simon Kenton and Daniel Boone were among the city's founders. Later Maysville was an important port on the Ohio River for the northeastern section of the state. It exported the commodity crops of hemp and tobacco, both produced chiefly by enslaved labor before the American Civil War. It was once a center of wrought-iron manufacture, sending fancy ironwork down the Ohio to decorate the buildings of New Orleans, Louisiana. Other small manufacturers located early in Maysville. Manufacture remains an important part of the modern economy. Under the early leadership of Henry Means Walker, for most of the 20th century Maysville was home to one of the largest tobacco auction warehouse systems in the world.
Maysville was an important stop on the Underground Railroad, as the free state of Ohio was just across the river. The abolitionist author Harriet Beecher Stowe visited the area in 1833 and witnessed a slave auction in front of the county court house in Washington, Kentucky (then the county seat, since annexed to Maysville). Stowe included the scene in her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin, published in 1852.