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The second oldest town in the county, the tiny borough of Georgetown, was once a major stopping point for boats sailing along the Ohio River.
It was established in 1793 by Alan Fagan, also known as Benoni Dawson, one of the most numerous families in the settlement and an ancestor of many still living there. Dawson had come from Maryland and erected a log house about seven years earlier. Some history accounts say the town was named after his son George Dawson, but a historical marker standing outside the borough today said it was established in 1797 and named after General George Washington.
The town is located on a high plain at a spot where the Ohio River narrows and its fortunes seem to have risen and fallen with the amount of traffic on the river. One traveller in 1807 said there were about 25 homes in the borough, though it was an active post town and saw a lot of transient traffic.
Another, 11 years later, estimated there were 12 log homes, with nearly a quarter of them taverns. Taverns and hotels, designated by creaking signs in front and a barrel of whiskey inside, did good business in Georgetown.
The first hotel was established in 1802 and in 1805 the owner, Thomas Foster, and another Georgetown man, William Carnagy, were commissioned to keep taverns. A year earlier similar permission had been given to innkeepers Nicholas Krehl and Phillip Ducomb and a few years later John Cameron established the Red Lion, one of the favorite taverns among the rivermen.
The men in the area who didn't operate hotels or taverns were hardy riverboat men. According to one story, there were enough steamboat captains, pilots, mates, clerks, engineers, firemen and stewards living in Georgetown to man a steamboat from the village residents alone.