Cynthiana Kentucky is located on the banks of the South Licking River, 28 miles north of Lexington. The town was established in 1793 on the lands of Robert Harrison. According to tradition, the town was named in honor of Harrison's daughters, Cynthia and Anna. Cynthiana is the seat of Harrison County. The court house, the third, was completed in 1853. The municipal building, the third, was occupied in 1930.
For its first 67 years, the town was governed by a board of trustees. In 1860, it was changed to a council form of government with Samuel January, the first mayor. As of 1998, this form of government still exists with four council persons and a mayor.
During the first 60 years, access to the outside world was gained by traveling about 12 miles overland on foot or by horse drawn equipment to Claysville, on the banks of the Main Licking River, then by barge or boat to the Ohio River. In 1854, the Covington and Lexington Railroad was completed to the town. This allowed round trip travel to Covington and Cincinnati in one day's time. CSX Railroad now routes several trains daily over the same roadbed, but none stop to pick up or discharge freight or passengers.
† City of Cynthiana, www.cynthianaky.com, accessed September, 2021.