The first resident of what would become Masonville was a man named Wiley who settled at the forks of Panther Creek in 1815. Five years later James Kirk settled nearby, and in 1827 Christopher “Kit” Jackson arrived and purchased Wiley’s land. Masonville was named for George Mason of Gunston Hall, Virginia, who was the original owner of a large tract of land he received as a land grant. Mason was an author of the Bill of Rights and had large land holdings in Daviess Count and was the original owner of the plat on which Masonville was built. George Triplett, Daviess County surveyor, who was also county judge and a member of the state Senate and House of Representatives and the Confederate Congress, laid out the plans for the growing village.
The first church in Masonville Precinct was Bethabara Baptist Church, organized in 1825, it was originally open to all denominations and most of its members were women. With the church on the verge of collapse when only two male members remained and the minister and male clerk had left, Polly Stout volunteered to serve as clerk, a position of authority not many women held in that era. A new minister was found and the church went on to prosper. Macedonia Baptist Church was started in 1849 by the Lashbrook and Hale families, and Sugar Grove Baptist was begun in 1861 by the Yewell, Noel, and Dawson families. Masonville Christian Church was organized in 1859.
The first school was built in 1820 where Bethabara cemetery is now located.
A post office was established in 1857 but was shut down during the Civil War, to reopen at war’s end.
Four Masonville men had interesting war records: Capt. William J. Taylor fought in the Mexican War and also served under Confederate Capt. Charles Noel of Masonville during the Civil War. After the War, Taylor returned to his farm and was elected to the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1875. Capt. Noel was credited with helping to organize Sugar Grove Church. He and Taylor raised a company of Confederate cavalry and he was killed in Alabama in 1862. Two other Masonville residents fought for Confederacy—Squire Camp who fought at Battle of Sutherland Hill in 1862, and Adam Yeiser who fought at Perryville and other battles.
By 1876 Masonville had a population of 100 and by 1883, boasted a blacksmith shop, a wagon shop, a general store, and a Masonic Lodge. By 1906, the population of the village was listed as 41, but the surrounding area was sufficiently populated that two physicians—Dr. J.W. Ellis and Dr. Alvah J. Gordon—practiced there. Masonville was located on the Hartford Road, the old buffalo trail which brought the first visitors and settlers to Daviess County, but it never acquired railroad service. With the paving of the highway between Owensboro and Hartford (U.S. 231) the town got a new lease on life as people could now live in Masonville and commute easily to jobs in Owensboro.
Reference to an article by Glenn Hodges.