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Mays Lick, Kentucky
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Coordinates: 38°31′03″N 83°50′31″W / 38.51750°N 83.84194°W / 38.51750; -83.84194Coordinates: 38°31′03″N 83°50′31″W / 38.51750°N 83.84194°W / 38.51750; -83.84194
Country United States
State Kentucky
County Mason
Established 1788
883 ft (269 m)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 606 Exchange: 763
FIPS code 21-21161
GNIS feature ID 497750
Other names Mayslick
Mays Spring
New Jersey Colony
William Mays Settlement

Mays Lick (a.k.a. Mayslick, originally known as May's Lick) is census-designated place and unincorporated community located in Mason County, Kentucky, United States, about nine miles southwest of Maysville.


Mayor of May's Lick Joe Jolly

May's Lick was founded in 1788 by the following five families from Scotch Plains, New Jersey.

  1. Abraham Drake (1751–1805)
  2. Cornelius Drake (1754–1833)
  3. Isaac Drake (1756–1832), father of (i) Daniel Drake (1785–1852), American physician and author, and (ii) Benjamin Drake (1795–1841), American historian, editor, and writer; Daniel Drake's son, Charles Daniel Drake (1811–1892), was a United States Senator from Missouri and an anti-slavery politician
  4. David Morris (1746–1798) and wife, Mary née Shotwell (1748–1806)
  5. John Shotwell (1753–1826) and wife, Abigail née Shipman (1754–1835)
Note 1: Abraham, Cornelius, and Isaac Drake were brothers
Note 2: John and Mary Shotwell were siblings

The group purchased 1,400 acres of land from William May (for whom the community was named) near the salt lick in southern Mason county and began to build a community. The Mays Lick Post Office opened in 1800. Kentucky's first consolidated school and first school transportation – consisting of a horse and wagon – was founded in Mays Lick.

When May's Lick was founded (1788), Kentucky was part of the Commonwealth of Virginia. That year (1788), the Commonwealth of Virginia established Mason County. May's Lick became the name of the town after first being called May's Spring.

Mays Lick Consolidated School

The Mays Lick Consolidated School was constructed in 1909–1910 for $32,500 The building was the first high school in Mason County and until 1960, was the only public high school to serve the Mays Lick District. In 1982, the building was added to the National Register of Historical Places

The May family

The same May family for whom the Mason County Seat (Maysville) is named is also the namesake for May's Lick.

  • Mayslick is named after John's brother, William May.
  • Maysville is named after John May ( –1790).
The May brothers
  • George May ( –1795), a surveyor
  • William May
  • Charles May
  • John May ( –1790)
  • Gabriel May (1751–1813), married to Sallie Stokes (Susannah May Stokes, 1759–1815), niece of Ethan Allen (1738–1789), the hero of Ticonderoga and Crown Point

Notable residents

  • Joseph Desha (1768–1842), a US Representative and the ninth governor of Kentucky
  • Daniel Drake (1785–1852), American physician, author
  • Benjamin Drake (1795–1841), American historian, editor, and writer
  • John McLean (1785–1861), Associate Justice, US Supreme Court from 1830 to 1861
  • William McLean (1794–1839), Ohio legislator
  • Charles Young (1864 - 1922), Third African-American graduate of West Point, first black U.S. national park superintendent, first black man to achieve the rank of colonel in the US Army.
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