The son of a Revolutionary soldier and the representative of a distinguished family was Robert P. Henry. He was born in 1788 in Scott County, Ky., where his father, Gen. William Henry, had settled among the first in that region. He graduated in Transylvania University at Lexington, and studied law with Henry Clay. In 1809 he was admitted to the bar, and the same year was appointed Commonwealth’s Attorney for the district. He served in the war of 1812 as aid to his father, with the rank of Major. In 1811 he married Miss Gabriella F. Pitts, of Georgetown, Ky., and some years after the close of the war of 1812 he removed to Christian County, where he continued to reside to the end of his life. Soon after he came to Hopkinsville he was appointed Commonwealth’s Attorney, a position he filled with ability. He was elected to Congress from this district in 1823, and re-elected in 1825. As a member of the Committee on “Roads and Canals ” was instrumental in obtaining the first appropriation ever granted for the improvement of the Mississippi River. While in Congress he was appointed a Judge of the Court of Appeals, an honor he declined. He died suddenly before the close of his second congressional term, and before he had hardly reached the prime of life. As a lawyer, Mr. Henry was...Read More
Location: Hopkinsville Kentucky
Among the early practitioners at the bar of Christian County, none surpassed in profound legal attainments Rezin Davidge. He was a brilliant and forcible speaker, an excellent judge of law, and a faithful and conscientious attorney. Strength of mind and purity of purpose were his leading traits. In his profession of the law, these made him a great chancery lawyer, no doubt one of the ablest the county knew in the early period of its history. In that branch of the law practice, that sometimes requires scheming and cunning diplomacy, he was neither great nor very successful, a proof that his nature was faithful and just, and that his integrity of mind was better adapted to the equity courts. Judge Davidge was a native of Maryland, born in Baltimore County about the year 1770, and came to Kentucky soon after its admission into the Union as a State. He died in Hopkinsville, at ninety-seven years of age, and sleeps in the beautiful cemetery adjacent to the city. He came of a noted and wealthy family, and received all the educational advantages afforded by the infant Republic, with a finishing course in Europe. Thus his mental cultivation had been extensive, and his reading of a wider range than the average young man was able to obtain. In early life he served as midshipman in the United States Navy, and distinguished...Read More
One of the first resident lawyers of Hopkinsville, and one of the able men of the State, was William B. Blackburn. He came from Woodford County about 1799, a young lawyer just admitted to the bar. He remained four or five years, and during his stay made his home in the family of Bartholomew Wood, the pioneer of Hopkinsville. What his success was while practicing law here is not known, as there is no one here now who knew him then, and it is only through Col. Buckner, of Louisville, who served in the Legislature with him many years later that any facts of him have been obtained. He finally returned to Woodford County probably about 1803, and for years was a prominent lawyer and politician there. He served in the Lower House of the Legislature from 1804 to 1816 inclusive, with the exception of 1808-09-10; and from 1825 to 1828 inclusive. He served in the Senate in 1818-20, 1822-24, and 1832-34, and was an active member throughout his long term of service. He was a brother to Dr. Churchill Blackburn, of Covington, Kentucky, and a cousin of Edward M. Blackburn-the father of ex-Governor, and of Senator Joe Blackburn. He died about 1842 at his home in Woodford...Read More
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...Read More
The following sketch was written by Hon. James F. Buckner, of Louisville, for the Kentucky New Era. Col. Buckner was a student of Mr. Crockett, and for several years his law partner, hence no one is better qualified to write an impartial sketch of the man, and he pays a noble tribute to his old friend, partner and preceptor. He says: Joseph B. Crockett, the son of Col. Robert Crockett, was born in 1808, at Union Mills, in Jessamine County, Kentucky, and settled on a farm near Russellville. It was while Col. Crockett was pursuing the vocation of a farmer in Logan County that the son enjoyed the advantages of the tuition of Daniel Comfort, a gentleman who for many years taught a classical school in that vicinity, and to whom many of the most distinguished men of that section were indebted for instruction. In the spring of 1827 he entered the University of Tennessee at Nashville, but in con-sequence of the straitened pecuniary condition of his father he was compelled to leave Nashville after having enjoyed the benefit of the University for less than one year. When only nineteen years of age he came to Hopkinsville and entered upon the study of law in the office of Hon. Charles S. Morehead, who was then one of the most promising young attorneys of the State, and who was rapidly...Read More
Perhaps no member of the early bar of Hopkinsville became more distinguished in a certain branch of the practice than Fidelio Sharp. He came here from Logan County, the cradle of the Southern Kentucky bar, as Greece was the cradle of art and civilization. Although a man of limited education, he was one of the most profound lawyers, in his specialty, of all his contemporaries. While legal documents that emanated from his pen were scarcely models of literary execution and accuracy, yet they possessed the rare merit of saying just what was meant. His speeches were dry, but his pronunciation and emphasis had a peculiarity that rendered them amusing as well as interesting to his hearers. As a ” land lawyer ” he was probably without an equal in the Christian County bar. In those days there was considerable trouble regarding land titles, involving much litigation, and to this branch of the legal profession he gave the closest attention, familiarizing himself with its every detail. In land suits, the side upon which Fidelio Sharp appeared was usually the winner. Many incidents and anecdotes of his life and practice might be given which would be read with interest, but space will scarcely permit. He married Miss Evalina Johnson, and has a son still living in Hopkinsville. He died here years...Read More
Abraham Stites was a son of Dr. John Stites, and was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey, during the Revolutionary war, and with his mother was removed into a cellar to avoid danger resulting from a sharp engagement then going on between the British soldiers and the rebels of that day. A singular coincidence in the life of Mr. Stites is that he died in February, 1864, in Hopkinsville, during a skirmish here between the Confederate and Federal troops. He, with a large family connection of the Ganos and Stiteses, removed from New Jersey to the Ohio Valley in 1808, carrying their goods on horseback across the mountains to Pittsburgh, and thence by flat-boats to Cincinnati; his father’s family settled near Georgetown, Kentucky. Mr. Stites had been educated for a lawyer, and licensed as such by Chancellor Kent. He commenced practice at Georgetown, and soon after married Miss Ann Johnson, daughter of Col. Henry Johnson, a Revolutionary soldier. In 1818 he removed to Hopkinsville, where he resided until his death. Mr. Stites was a man of fine education, and devoted to belles letters and literary pursuits. He was a good lawyer – an excellent counselor – but seldom, after becoming a county official, made any charge for legal advice. He was the confidant of many of the wealthiest men of the county, but was so opposed to litigation, that on...Read More
Interviewer: Anna Pritchett Person Interviewed: Joseph Mosley Location: Indianapolis, Indiana Place of Birth: March 15, 1853 Federal Writers’ Project of the W.P.A. District #6 Marion County Anna Pritchett 1200 Kentucky Avenue, Indianapolis, Indiana FOLKLORE JOSEPH MOSLEY, EX-SLAVE 2637 Boulevard Place [TR: Also reported as Moseley in text of interview.] Joseph Mosley, one of twelve children, was born March 15, 1853, fourteen miles from Hopkinsville, Kentucky. His master, Tim Mosley, was a slave trader. He was supposed to have bought and sold 10,000 slaves. He would go from one state to another buying slaves, bringing in as many as 75 or 80 slaves at one time. The slaves would be handcuffed to a chain, each chain would link 16 slaves. The slaves would walk from Virginia to Kentucky, and some from Mississippi to Virginia. In front of the chained slaves would be an overseer on horseback with a gun and dogs. In back of the chained slaves would be another overseer on horseback with a gun and dogs. They would see that no slave escaped. Joseph’s father was the shoemaker for all the farm hands and all adult workers. He would start in September making shoes for the year. First the shoes for the folks in the house, then the workers. No slave child ever wore shoes, summer or winter. The father, mother, and all the children were slaves in...Read More
Interviewer: Mamie Hanberry Person Interviewed: Annie B. Boyd Location: Hopkinsville, Kentucky Place of Birth: Christian County, KY Date of Birth: August 22, 1851 Place of Residence: Hopkinsville, Kentucky Annie B. Boyd: [TR: Interviewer’s name also spelled also spelled Hanbery.] Annie B. Boyd, born August 22nd 1851, resides at corner of Liberty and First Street, Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Born a slave belonging to Charles Cammack near Gordonsville, Kentucky in Christian County. “My mother and me war put on de block in front of de Courthouse in Hopkinsville and sold to Mr. Newt. Catlett and we brung $500.00. Marse Catlett lived on the corner of Seventh and Clay Streets, Hopkinsville, Kentucky. Wen I was older the white folks had me foh to nurse dar chilluns. I noes wen de war broke out marse had a store and den marsa took me to his wife’s kinfolks down in de country till freedom war declared den my stepfather come an’ got me. Of course I hed ter work and den I went ter nurse foh Dr. Fairleigh and nussed his daughter Madge. De white folks wont good to me. My marster was a good man but my missus wont no good woman. She uster box my ears, stick pins in me and tie me ter de cedar chest and whoop me as long as she wanter. Oh, how I did hate dat woman. “Yes,...Read More
Interviewer: Mamie Hanberry Person Interviewed: Mary Wooldridge Location: Hopkinsville, Kentucky Place of Birth: Washington County, Kentucky, Age: (about) 103 Place of Residence: Clarksville, Pike R.R. #1, Hopkinsville, Kentucky “Mary and her twin sister were slaves born in Washington County, Kentucky, near Lexington, belonging to Bob Eaglin. When Mary was about fourteen years old she and her sister was brought to the Lexington slave market and sold and a Mr. Lewis Burns of the same County purchased her. Mary doesn’t know what became of her sister. Five or six years later she was again put on the block and sold to a Negro Trader but Mary does not remember this traders name. While here she was kept in a stockade and it was several years before she again was bought by a white man. Mr. Thomas McElroy near Lexington bought her and she remained his slave until the slaves were freed. Mary looks her age. She is a tall gaunt black Negro with white hair about one inch long and very kinky, and still she dresses as the older slave woman dressed in the past days. She wears an old bodice with a very full skirt that comes to her ankles and this skirt has very long deep pockets and when I asked her why she had such pockets in her skirt her answer was, “Wal you sees honey I...Read More
Interviewer: Mamie Hanberry Person Interviewed: Cora Torian Location: Hopkinsville, Kentucky Place of Birth: Christian County KY Age: 71 Place of Residence: 217 W. 2nd St., Hopkinsville, KY Story of Cora Torian: (217 W. 2nd St., Hopkinsville, Ky.-Age 71.) Bell Childress, Cora’s Mother, was a slave of Andrew Owen. He purchased Belle Childress in the Purchase and brought her to Christian County. Cora was born in Christian County on Mr. Owen’s farm and considered herself three years old at the end of the Civil War. She told me as follows: “I has dreamed of fish and dat is a sure sign dat I would git a piece of money, an I always did. Dreamed of buggy and horse an it was a sign of death in family and I no’s hits tru. Dream of de ded hit always rains. My Mistus and Marster fed and clothed us good and we lived in a little log cabin of one room and cooked on an open fire. Some Marsters wud whoop ther slaves til the blood would run down daw backs dese slaves would run away sometimes den sum would come to Ise Marse and would have to send dem back to dar own marsters and how my ole marster hated to see dem go. “I hang horse shoes oer my door to keep the Evil Spirits away. My Mammy always wore...Read More
Interviewer: Mamie Hanberry Person Interviewed: Nannie Eaves Location: Hopkinsville, Kentucky Place of Birth: McLain County KY Age: 91 Place of Residence: R. R. #2, Hopkinsville, Kentucky Nannie Eaves, age 91, born in McLain County, Ky. being a slave of William Eaves, never sold, address now R.R. #2, Hopkinsville, Kentucky. “I guess I was about twenty one years old wen I was freed.” I’se was neber once treated as a slave cause my Massa was my very own Daddy. Ben Eaves my husband was a slave en chile of George Eaves my Massa’s brother. He ran away from his Massa en his Daddy en jins the U.S. Army during the Secess War en I’se now drawing a pension from Uncle Sam. I’se sho glad dat he had sense nuff ter go dis way or I’d be jes like dese old niggers dat is now on de Government. “Course I never sweep de trash out de house after sun down jest sweep hit in de corner of de room cause hit is bad luck ter sweep out de door after dark. Lawd yes squeech owls en dogs howling under de house shi God means dar is going ter be a death in de family. Wen I hears one I’se git trembly all ober, hit makes me hot en den cold both de same time.” “Ho I haint neber seed a ghost...Read More
Interviewer: Mamie Hanberry Person Interviewed: Kate Billingsby Location: Hopkinsville, Kentucky Date of Birth: 1828 Place of Residence: R.R. #2, Hopkinsville, Ky Kate Billingsby, Ex-slave, according to a record in a Bible the Buckners gave her when she married was born in 1828. She was owned by Frank and Sarah Buckner. Born in this County and has spent her life in and around Hopkinsville. She lives on what is known as the Gates Mill Road about one half mile east of US 41E and owns her own home. Aunt Kate as she is generally called is a small black negro and in going into her home you will find it furnished in lovely antique furniture in a disreputable state of repair. She met me with a dignity and grace that would be a credit to any one of the white race to copy, illiterate though she may be. Her culture and training goes back to the old Buckner family, at one time one of the most cultured families in Christian County. She is not a superstitious negro. Being born a Buckner slave, she was never sold and her manners and ways proclaim that she surely must have been raised in “De white folks house” as she claims, being a maid when old enough, to one of Frank Buckner’s daughters. She stated, “Dese Buckners war sho good to me, eben now...Read More
Interviewer: Mamie Hanbery Person Interviewed: Annie Morgan Location: Hopkinsville, Kentucky Age: 65 Place of Residence: 207 W. 2nd St., Hopkinsville, Ky Story of Annie Morgan: (age 65, 207 W. 2nd St., Hopkinsville, Ky.) Annie was born of slave parents. Her mother and father were slaves of the Payne family. Ques: Annie can you give me or rather tell me of some of your earlier life with your parents, or what your mother and father has told you of things before and after the Civil War. Ans: Wal, wal, I do declare it has ben so long I’se jes don’t remember. I’se seem to remember de big days we uster hav on Proclamation Day wen we used ter go to Grandmums who lived in Trigg County. Foh days befur weuns would git redy ter go in a wagon and as dar was a heap of chilluns it tuk quite a time an weuns would start by day break and dem wen we got dar why all de rest of the daughters en sons of dar chilluns was alredy that, den weun’s hev a big time wid watermullins and ebything good to eat. Some times Uncle Ben brot hid bajo and us chilluns would dance. Ques: Annie did you ever have a dream to come true? Or do you believe in dreams? Ans: Sho does, sho does, why chile all my...Read More
Interviewer: Mamie Hanbery Person Interviewed: Easter Sudie Campbell Location: Hopkinsville, Kentucky Place of Residence: Princeton, Caldwell Co., Kentucky Age: 72 Place of Residence: Webber St., Hopkinsville, Ky CHRISTIAN CO. (Mamie Hanbery) [HW: Ky 3] Story of Easter Sudie Campbell, (age about 72, Webber St., Hopkinsville, Ky.) Born in Princeton, Caldwell Co., Kentucky, her parents were slaves, the property of Will and Martha Grooms of Princeton. Aunt Easter as she is called has followed the profession of a mid-wife for forty years. She is still active and works at present among the negroes of Hopkinsville. “Yes, sho, I make my own medicines, humph, dat aint no trouble. I cans cure scrofula wid burdock root and one half spoon of citrate of potash. Jes make a tea of burdock root en add the citrate of potash to hit. Sasafras is good foh de stomach en cleans yer out good. I’se uses yeller percoon root foh de sore eyes. “Wen I stayed wid Mrs. Porter her chaps would break out mighty bad wid sores in de fall of de year and I’se told Mrs. Porter I’se could core dat so I’se got me some elder berries en made pies out of hit en made her chaps eat hit on dey war soon cored. “If twont foh de white folks I sho would hev a hard time. My man he jes wen erway...Read More
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