Ripley, Levanna (417 miles), Higginsport (421 miles), Chilo (431 miles), Neville (435 miles), and Point Pleasant (442 miles) are the Ohio towns to-day; and Dover (417 miles), Augusta (424 miles), and Foster (435 miles) their rivals on the Kentucky shore. Sawmills and distilleries are the leading industries. And there are broad paved wharves; but a listless air pervades them all, as if once they basked in the light of better days.
Foster is rather the shabbiest of the lot. As I passed through to find the postoffice, at the upper edge of town, where the hills come down to meet the bottom, I saw that half of the store buildings were closed, many dwellings and warehouses were in ruins, and numerous open cellars were grown to grass and weeds. Few people were in sight, and they loafing in corners. The postoffice occupied a vacant store, evidently not swept these six months past. The youthful master, with chair tilted back and his feet on an old washstand which did double duty as an office table, was listlessly whittling a finger-ring from a peachstone; but shoving his feet along, he made room for me to write a postal card which I had brought for the purpose.
“What is the matter with this town?” I asked, as I scratched away.
“Daid, I reck’n!” and he blew away the peach-stone dust which had accumulated in the folds of his greasy vest.
“Yes, I see it is dead. What killed it?”
“Oh! Just gone daid – sort o’ nat’ral daith, I reck’n.”
From Reuben Gold Thwaites On The Storied Ohio, 1903