Lewis Loder was born October 8, 1819, in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. He came to Boone County with his father, James Loder, and siblings around 1839 and settled in the North Bend area in Taylorsport and Francisville.
A prominent landholder in that area was William Hayden. Two years after the death of William Hayden, Lewis married his widow Julia in Kenton County, Kentucky on March 2, 1849. Julia Hayden, whose maiden name was Goodridge, was born May 19, 1819 in Boone County. Her parents were Fountain Goodridge and Sally McDaniel. Julia had a son from her first marriage, William H. Hayden and Lewis and Julia had five children together. They were: James, Almeda, John C., Anora and Ancilet Leon, usually referred to as Leon. Two of their children, Almeda and John, died young. Lewis and Julia lived on the farm in Francisville until 1854 when they purchased a town lot and moved to Petersburg, leaving relatives to manage the everyday work on the farm in Francisville.
1857 was a momentous year for Lewis Loder. He started writing his diaries in January of that year which would continue until 1904. He was elected Justice of the Peace, an office he would hold for over forty years. And, he moved into White Hall, a two-story frame structure on the corner of Tanner and Front streets in Petersburg that today is known as the Loder House where he ran a tavern and inn. Over the years Mr. Loder also worked for William Snyder and J. C. Jenkins, owners of the distillery, in many capacities including bookkeeping at the distillery and selling cattle in nearby Cincinnati, Ohio.
Through his diary he left a great deal of information on the people who lived in Petersburg and the surrounding area during a time of great importance in American history. The structure of the diary is fairly consistent. He gives the temperature and weather conditions, then mentions any births, marriages and deaths, happenings at the distillery and everyday events like picnics or other entertainments. Petersburg was at that time a bustling community of 400 to 600 people situated on the Ohio River and there was always something happening. With his house being situated right on Front Street he was also able to observe river boat traffic. During the Civil War years he mentions transport ships passing Petersburg on the Ohio River and gives accounts of what was happening in this area.
In 1894, at the age of 75, Lewis Loder moved to Constance to live with his son Leon. His wife Julia had died the previous December. Lewis continues to write in his diary until 1903 when a new hand takes over the writing, most likely Leon. The last entry in the diary is December 15, 1904. Lewis died at the home of his son on the 16th of March 1905. In his obituary it states he had a long illness and that he was to be interred in Petersburg but there is no marker for him.
The Loder diaries were saved from obscurity by E. Y. Chapin, a native of Petersburg, and were microfilmed in 2001 by the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives. The microfilm is available at both the KDLA research room and the Boone County Public Library, Main Branch.