The History of DeMossville, Pendleton County, KY

Story from the Kentucky Explorer Magazine and posted here with permission. Sharon Lynn Rice, the author, was an eighth grade student at Butler School when this story was written in 1970. Her sources included the "History fo Falmouth and Pendleton County" and several interviews with DeMossville residents, namely Maggie McGill and Elizabeth Russell. The story was submitted for publication by Sharon's older sister, Vonnie RIce Heringer.

DeMossville, Kentucky, was settled around 1852 and was located in Pendleton County School District #4, across the Licking River from Campbell County; about 20 miles south of Cincinnati, Ohio.

The town was named for the DeMoss family, of which Peter DeMoss, a French immigrant and veteran of the Revolutionary War, may have come to America with Lafayette. The DeMoss family was buried in a cemetery near the Campbell County line on the banks of the Licking River.


In 1904 there were 28 families living in DeMossville and two tobacco warehouses. One was located on the hill above the iron bridge, the other beside the L&N Railroad tracks. Among the many shops was a millinery, located about 55 yards from the railroad tracks. Its manager sold everything imaginable.

Near the warehouse, above the bridge, was a blacksmith shop owned by Jim Welsher, which is now a barn. Another blacksmith shop was located just above this one, owned by Kelly Likener. It was torn down in the mid-1900's.

DeMossville, in 1904, had a one-room school, where all children in elementary and high school were taught. Two of its first teachers were John Gosney and a Mr. Pfanstiel.

In 1904 the town had a single telephone line, which ran from DeMossville to Williamstown, but only a few homes and store owners had telephones.

W.S. Clark owned the railroad depot, which also contained a post office, telegraph office, and general store. The store later burned, when a spark from a passing locomotive set it on fire. A new store was soon opened near a boardinghouse owned by a Mr. Caldwell. Another store, located about 25 yards from the railroad tracks, was torn down and replaced by a private dwelling.

Animals and livestock, including hogs, sheep, cattle and horses were shipped on trains from the stockyards near the depot.

The first church in DeMossville was the Baptist church, which was lost to a fire and rebuilt in 1935. It is still being used today. The Moore family (then spelled More) lived behind the church in what was called the old Moore Homestead.

A Masonic lodge, built by a Mr. Golden, stood near the railroad depot. Many people attended, and most of them remember the lodge very well. A second lodge was built in 1913 by Tom McMillian, which is still being used today. The bottom level now houses the Mullins General Store.

Down at the iron bridge, leading into DeMossville, was a tollgate. The bridge crossed a small fork of Grassy Creek and is still being used today, since this is the only way into town. The tollgate disappeared many years ago.

A post office, owned by Barry and Maggie McGill, is now a large home. Barry McGill passed away several years ago, and his widow still lives in their home.

A hotel stood where Mrs. Dan Mann's home is now located. Her husband transformed a house into the post office in 1945, and he served as postmaster until the 1960s. The post office is still being used by DeMossville residents and other citizens living along the postal routes.

Alice Moore Daugherty owned and lived in the house that my family and I now live in. She lived alone as a widow and later died in this same house. It is over 100 years old and still in good repair.

DeMossville is surrounded by hills, the Licking River, and Grassy Creek. The L&N Railroad runs between the town and the river.

There is also a lake there, though not a large one; which served as a perfect skating rink, when it froze over in winter.

Before the railroad was built, there were more than 200 people living in DeMossville. They had everything they needed and, for the most part, were quite content. Some residents moved away as railroad usage increased, and a few others have moved into town. DeMossville now has only about 100 residents.

In 1952 my older sister, Vonnie RIce Heringer, compiled a list of residents, buildings, and lots in DeMossville. ENtering town and looking to the right were the homes of the Shotwells, Leona McMillian, the Duncans, Mert Rice, Nell McMillian, Charlie Combs, the Ackmans, Lena Clark, Mr. and Mrs. McGill, Homer Elliott, Lawrence Clark, Gracie Smith, the Lemmingses, the Sextons, a store and garage with the Masonic Hall on the corner, the Haydenses, the DeMossville Baptist Church (up a graveled road), an empty house at the lak, the Archie Covington and Roseberry families at the L&N section house, Bill and Flora Morgan, McClellan White, the Richardsons, an empty lot belonging to the Spauldings (full of buggies, wagons, etc.), a very large house at Rice's Corner, Dan Mann, Oma Brann, Ed Reid, an empty house, Ray Reid (with his daughter, Gladys), the Barnharts, an empty house on a back road, John Gosney, J.K and "Trapper" Bill Mullins, and a barn on the left side of the road going into town.

In the middle of town were Everett Plummer, the post office, the Masonic building (lodge upstairs, general store downstairs), an empty house on the corner, Elizabeth Russell, and the Spauldings.

Rice's Corner, mentioned above, was named for the large family of Carl and Dora Begley Rice, who moved to DeMossville from Leslie County. In 1952 their children were Donald, Alvin Charles (A.C.), Celia, Vonnie, Leon, Presont, Sandra, and Gary. Born later were Sharon (me), John, Kenneth, Carla and Cynthia.

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