Grants Lick History


Information comes from the Grants Lick files at the Campbell County Historical Society


Current day photo of Grants Lick, the Baker farm in foreground and the school at the top of the picture looking west.
Submitted by Buck Seibert April 16, 2009


Salt water was found by Samuel Bryan in early 1793 in the area now known as Grants Lick. The natural salt water there attracted deer, and they came in droves to lick salt.  Hence the name Grants Lick. The salt water which had its outlet into Phillips Creek nearby killed many fish in the creek.  The salt well was later drilled and gas was discovered but was covered over and nothing more was ever done about it. It is now in the front yard of the Grant Lick Funeral Home.

The Campbell County tax list of 1795 show Samuel Bryan and he mother Mary Boone Bryan at Falmouth, and John and his brother Squire Grant at Wilmington.  The town of Wilmington was established by the Second General Assembly for the Commonwealth of Kentucky on December 7, 1793.  Falmouth was established December 10, 1793 by the same assembly.

Samuel, John and Squire are cousins and nephews of Daniel Boone.  Samuel Bryan was trustee of Falmouth when formed and Wilmington was established on 50 acres of John Grant's land. The county's interior residents argued that the government offices should be located at a central location and by that criteria, Wilmington was the leading place.  A village on the west bank of the Licking about twenty miles south of the Ohio, and north of modern Morning View, so strong was its claim to be county seat, that the Campbell County's justices of the peace held their first meeting there June 1, 1795 at the home of John Grant and there took their oaths and designated the officers of the county. The justices of the peace were Washington Berry, Robert Benham, Thomas Kennedy, with Nathan Kelley as the first county sheriff, Richard Southgate as first attorney, and James Taylor as first county clerk.

The Kentucky legislature designated Newport as the county seat on December 14, 1796, and even though John Grant fought against it until 1802 when a panel reaffirmed Newport's claim for the county seat, he then watched his property decline until Wilmington was extinct.

On February 18, 1805 Samuel Bryan was granted a license to keep a tavern at his house at Colonel Grants salt works.  The second post office established in Campbell County was Grants Lick with Samuel Bryan as postmaster on January 1, 1806.  On August 20, 1815 Samuel Bryan bought for $2000, 769 acres from Bartlett Graves in Mosbys 1000 acre 10th survey, and on March 22, 1820 Samuel bought 16 acres containing a salt well from Benjamin Gosney.  This 16 acre joined his previous 769 acres on the south of Phillips Creek.

John Grants cabins are described as being on the north side of Phillips Creek, therefore the salt works and wells were not where the present Grants Lick is.  The salt works and wells were on the Guerant Patent of 2000 acres.  Phillips Creek flows from the north crosses into the Guerant Patent, then turns west toward the Licking River and the north side would be where the Grants Lick Baptist Church and Oakland Cemetery are.

Among early businesses in Grant Lick were a tobacco warehouse, a grain cradle factory, saw mill, Ben Pollard Gosney Hotel, Baptist Church and a school building.  Early residents were W T Wallace, George Zears, N T Rouse, James Thatcher, Charles Hewitt, Adam Cook, William A Sprague, John H Smith, John Keene Sprague, whose father John Keene Sprague Sr. was mail carrier by horseback from Newport to Lexington.  We have no record that he was ever molested but one time two men stopped him on the road and demanded the mail.  They informed him they wouldn't hurt him and took the mail and went on their way.

On September 10, 1816 John Grant conveyed his interest in Grant & Co. in Salt Works to James Taylor.  After Taylor's death in 1848, his son James brought a suit against the heirs of Breckenridge and Guerrant on November 29, 1856 to dissolve the company and divide the assets.  This was rendered in the August circuit court of 1857.

On January 26, 1866 Taylor conveyed to Upton Clary 118 acres along Herringer Licking Pike, now old U.S.27 and Herringer Roads, from Kenton Station Road to the Baptist Church.  In November Upton Clary conveyed 1 acre to the Baptist Church.  On November 1, 1873 Upton and Susan Clary conveyed to Isaac W Dye 52 acres between Kenton Station and Clay Ridge Road along old 27.

On December 4, 1874 Benjamin Boyers laid out for Isaac Dye part of these 52 acres in 1/2 acre lots as the town of Grants Lick.  Early business references were Joseph Wright, dealer in general merchandise with produce taken in exchange for goods; Daniel Caldwell, farmer and justice of the peace; Matthew Rebholtz, also farmer and justice of the peace; Joseph Heringer Sr. notary public; Samuel Bryan, dealer in stock and leaf tobaccos.  Later merchants were Warren and Walter Wright, J S Sheanshang, merchant, P M Store, Smith and Sheanshang funeral directors beginning in 1912.

Among early school teachers were Leo Tibbats, H D Philllips, George W Maddox, S W Gray, John J Wright, W H Herndon, J N Stephens, W H Casson, John N Gosney, T A Daniel, Harvey Hoffman, Lillie Luker, Vinnie North, C E Bonar, W T Hiteman, M Augusta Baker, Martha Jane Baker, Nancy Minerva Baker, Lillie Dale Baker and Nellie Rosetta Baker.

Charles R Drake was a farmer, surveyor and teacher.  J W Yelton was a farmer and constable. John Siry was the only blacksmith to locate in Grants Lick.  Farmers were Joseph Chalk, Samuel Darlington Sr., Charles Baker, Ben Bryan, James Bridewell, Coleman Gosney, Ben Gosney, Frank Vater, Henry Aulick, Philip Schafer Sr., John Spaulding, Frank Harrison Sr., Wesley C Hopkins, Ellis Yelton, Samuel Spaulding, John Drake, Thomas Crail, Moss Casson, Judge Dunn, William Barry, Thomas Hopper, Fletcher Daniel, Alonzo Bryan, Oliver Gosney, Beverly Daniel, and James Webb.

In the late 1800s the area on Route 154 and Burns Road was known as the Dry Ridge Community.  The area on the east side of U.S. 27 and Route 154 is known as Fairlane even though local residents just refer to the whole area as Grants Lick.  The Fairlane Baptist Church is on the west side of that intersection.

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