Biography of Gov. Charles S. Morehead
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As a lawyer, legislator and Governor of the Commonwealth Mr. Morehead was alike popular. He was born in Nelson County (this State) July 7, 1802. His education was begun in the schools of his county, but completed at Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky, from which he graduated with honors. Upon the completion of his education, he located in Christian County, and commenced the practice of law in Hopkinsville. He was elected to the Legislature in 1828, and re-elected in 1829. In his first election, he received the almost unanimous support of the county, although his youth rendered him scarcely eligible to the office. When his second term expired, he removed to Frankfort, which he deemed a more ample field for the practice of his profession. He was appointed Attorney General of Kentucky in 1832, and held the office for five years. He was elected to the Legislature in 1838-39-40 in Franklin County, and at the last session was Speaker of the House. He was re-elected in 1841, and made Speaker, again in 1842 and in 1844, and for the third time elected Speaker. He was elected to Congress, serving from 1847 to 1851; was again sent to the Legislature, and in 1855 elected Governor of the State on the American or Know-Nothing ticket by a majority of 4,403 over his opponent, Beverly L. Clark. In 1859, at the expiration of his term as Governor, he removed to Louisville, and formed a law partnership with his nephew, C. M. Briggs, Esq. Such in brief is the record of Gov. Morehead. The foundation of his active life was laid, as it were, in Hopkinsville, and the people, both of the city and county, will ever entertain for him the highest regard and admiration as a man, a lawyer and a statesman. In every position of life to which he was elevated he gained distinguished honors. Firm and conscientious in all his views, and bold and fearless in their enunciation, he always commanded the respect of those who honestly differed from him in his political faith. His personal experience, his education and his reason taught him the fallibility of human judgment, and the liability of honest and wise men to disagree upon almost every question of political philosophy in a government constituted as ours is; and he claimed no charity for himself that he did not cordially extend to others. In all his public acts a sense of duty accompanied him, and disregarding selfish and personal considerations he unflinchingly obeyed its behests. In the spring of 1861, when dark clouds obscured our political horizon, he stood prominent among the conservatives of the State in laboring to avert war, and was a delegate from Kentucky to the “Peace Conference ” at Washington in February, 1861. But notwithstanding his conservative course he was arrested and imprisoned in Fort Lafayette and Fort Warren for several months, exposed to privation that materially hastened his death. He returned to his home in Louisville in January, 1862, but being assured that he would be again arrested he fled to Canada, and subsequently went to Europe. After the close of the war he was allowed to return to his plantation, near Greenville, Mississippi, where he died suddenly, December 23, 1868. He possessed vast wealth before the war, a considerable amount of which was in slaves. But this, as well as much of his other property, was lost through the fortunes or the misfortunes of war, and at his death he was comparatively poor.