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In 1793 the town of Cynthiana was chartered and named after Cynthia and Anna Harrison, daughters of Robert Harrison, who had donated land for its establishment.  Harrison County was named after Colonel Benjamin Harrison, who was an early settler in the area.

Cynthiana is the County Seat of Harrison County.

During the Civil War two battles were fought in Cynthiana; the first on July 17, 1862, was part of a raid into Kentucky by Confederate General John Hunt Morgan; the second on June 11 and 12, 1864, resulted in defeat of Confederate forces on Morgan's last raid into the state.

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