HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN COUNTY KENTUCKY
charles m. meacham
GEN. SAMUEL HOPKINS
Gen. Samuel Hopkins; Getting Down to Business; Officers Who Have Served the County for 133 Years.
Gen. Samuel Hopkins, for whom the town of Hopkinsville was named in 1804, seven years after it was first founded, was born in Albemarle County, Virginia, and was an officer in the Revolutionary War. Gen. Hopkins was still further honored by the General Assembly of Kentucky in 1836, when Hopkins County was created and named in his honor. He was deserving of all of the honors bestowed upon him. Collins’ History, page 351, says of him:
“He bore a conspicuous part in the great struggle for freedom. Few officers of his rank performed more active duty, rendered more essential services, or enjoyed to a higher degree the respect and confidence of the commander-in-chief. He fought in the battles of Princeton, Trenton, Monmouth, Brandywine and Germantown, in the last of which he commanded a battalion of Eighth Infantry, and received a severe wound, and the almost entire force of those under him were killed and wounded. He was lieutenant-colonel of the Tenth Virginia Regiment at the siege of Charleston and commanded that regiment after Col. Parker was killed until the close of the war.”
The following anecdote is told of him:
At the surrender of Charleston, on the 20th of May, 1780, he was made prisoner of war. After a short detention on an island, he and his brother officers, his companions in misfortune, were conducted by a British vessel around the coast to Virginia. During the voyage, which was a protracted one, the prisoners suffered many privations, and much harsh treatment, being often insulted by the captain. Hopkins became indignant at the cruelty and insolenee of the captain of the vessel and determined, at all hazards, to resent the harsh treatment to which they were subjected. On receiving his day’s allowance, which consisted of a mouldy biscuit, he deliberately crumpled it up into a wad, and then presenting it to the captam, demanded of him whether he thought that was sufficient to keep soul and body together. The petty tyrant was taken by surprise, and had no reply. “Sir,” continued Hopkins, “the fortune of war has frequently placed British soldiers in my power, and they have never had cause to complain of my unkindness or want of hospitality; that which I have extended to others, I have a right to demand for my companions and myself in similar circumstances. And now sir,” he continued with great emphasis, “unless we are hereafter treated as gentlemen and officers, I will raise a mutiny and take your ship.”
This determined resolution had the desired effect. His companions and himself, during the remainder of the voyage, were treated with kindness and respect.
In 1797, Col. Hopkins, who had been made a General, came to Kentucky and settled on Green River, then the eastern boundary of Christian County. During the succeeding years, he served several sessions in the legislature, and was a member of Congress from 1813 to 1815.
In October, 1812, he led a corps of two thousand mounted volunteers against the Kickapoo Indians’ villages in Illinois. Being misled by the guides, the party wandered for several days in the prairies without coming in contact with the Indians and finally returned to the capital of Indiana. The following November, Gen. Hopkins led a body of infantry up the Wabash and succeeded in destroying several deserted Indian villages, but lost several men in an ambuscade. As winter came on he retired to Vincennes and the troops were disbanded. After this campaign, Gen. Hopkins served the term in Congress referred to and then retired to private life on his farm near Red Banks, afterwards Henderson.
Gen. Hopkins was the son of Isabella Taylor and Samuel Hopkins of Virginia. Born April 9, 1753, and married to Elizabeth Bugg in 1783.He was a cousin of President Madison, and of President Monroe, and a
double second cousin of Patrick Henry. He was also a cousin of Stephen Hopkins, of Rhode Island, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence; a cousin of the father of President Zachary Taylor, and a near relative of Bishop Hopkins, of Vermont, and of Johns Hopkins, the founder of the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.
He was a staunch member of the Episcopal Church.
He was colonel of the Tenth Virginia Regiment in the Revolutionary War. His title as general was not given him until the War of 1812.
His children were: Samuel Goode, who died unmarried; Elizabeth, who married James Barbour; Anne, who married Judge Thomas Towles, and who lies buried by her father’s side; Jacob Bugg, who married Caroline Brent; Lucy, who married Dr. Wardlow, her second marriage being to Dr. Levi Jones; Sarah Pettus, who first married Mr. Horseley, and afterwards John Bibb; Martha, who married George Lyne, and Mary Bush, the youngest, who died unmarried. Of her, is told the following anecdote: During the Civil War when the Federal soldiers were occupying Henderson, they came to Miss Bush Hopkins and told her she would have to take the oath of allegiance to the United States Government as they had heard she was a Rebel. She quickly retorted, “Yes, I am a Rebel! George Washington was a Rebel !“ And so surprised were they at her candor that she was not made to take the oath.
Gen. Hopkins died September 16, 1819, and was buried on his farm near Henderson. In the month of June, 1929, a marker was placed upon his grave by the Samuel Hopkins Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution of Henderson, named in his honor.
I am indebted to Mrs. Louise Rucker Trafton (Mrs. Spalding Trafton) who compiled these facts concerning the old heirs, for the D. A. R. chapter, and read the paper from which they are taken when the marker was erected. His female descendants who have held membership in the chapter were enumerated as follows: Miss Edith Cheaney, Mrs. Rhoda Tanner Doubleday, Mrs. Alice J. Garth, Mrs. Alice McDaniel, Mrs. Ruth C. Ringo, Mrs. Emma Bunch Tanner, Mrs. Judith T. Arvin Werner, Miss Mary Stewart Bunch, Miss Mary Towles Sasseen, Mrs. Bettie Beverley Powell, Miss Nannie B. Cross, Miss Mary Willie Arvin, Mrs. Mary Cross Strain, Mrs. Martha Lyne Bright, Miss Laura Lyne, Miss Mildred Crutchfield, and Mrs. Louise Crutchfield Wickliffe. Seventeen in all and this does not take into account his numerous male descendants.
His epitaph reads: “Firm with temperance, benevolent with sincerity, and liberal without ostentation, he closed a long life of exemplary usefulness in military and civil employment, characterized by ardent devotion to his country, and the best interests of man.”
Someone has said, “It is laudable and commendable to honor our heroes, for when people forget their heroes, that nation quits producing heroes.”
Mrs. Trafton’s paper concluded with this tribute:
“And so we place today on his grave our official D. A. R. bronze marker. We are proud to do honor to the loyal husband and father, the fine citizen, the conscientious statesman, the patriotic officer and Indian fighter, who has rested here in the soil of his beloved ‘Spring Garden’ for nearly one hundred and ten years.”
GETTING DOWN TO BUSINESS
The records of 1797 show that the money then in use was pounds and shillings. The sheriff’s settlement shows that the building of the courthouse and jail cost thirty pounds, about $150. Young Ewing for surveying the county line from Green River to Tennessee was paid fourteen pounds and twelve shillings. The clerk was paid five pounds and the sheriff seven pounds for “expense of fees.”
Destroying wolves was one of the leading industries of the new county and the “first families of Kentucky” seemed to have engaged in it. Eight shillings was paid for each scalp and thirty-seven were paid for the first
year. Those cashing them in were Peter Carpenter, Henry Wortman, Benjamin Couns, Abraham Hicks, Henry Clark, James Lewis, David Smith, John Clark, Abraham Stewart, William Wallace, Joseph Kuykendali, James Elliott, John Roberts, George Hardin, Benjamin Hardin, Joab Hardin, Bat Wood, who had two to his credit; Peter and John Shaffer, who had three, and Benjamin Garris, who seems to have been the real hunter of the day, as he collected for nine. The name Garris was probably a mispelling of Garrott.
The sheriff’s report showed 388 tithes for 1797, which had increased in 1800 to 592, with Muhlenberg, Henderson and Livingston Counties cut off. For 1800 the county levy, now given in cents, was fixed at 62½ cents and Benjamin Campbell was appointed “Commissioner of Tax” with Young Ewing on his bond.
It was four years before business justified a court of Quarter Sessions, corresponding to the present circuit court. The first meeting was February 17, 1801, with Justices Adam Lynn and Samuel Hardin, presiding. A grand jury was empaneled and from the faded records the names of five can be read, viz.: James Thompson, foreman, Thomas Vaughn, James Lockard, William Stroud, Jr., and Henry Wolf. The names are probably those of settlers whose descendants use a different spelling in some instances, such as Lockett and Wolfe.
Two years later the court of Quarter Sessions was succeeded by the circuit court, with two judges, Samuel Hardin and James Wilson.
The first circuit court met March 28, 1803. Seven lawyers produced their licenses and were sworn in as members of the first bar. They were Rezin Davidge, Samuel Caldwell, Matthew Lodge, James H. McLaughlin, John A. Cape, Robert Coleman and James H. Russell.
Rezin Davidge was appointed commonwealth’s attorney. The grand jury empaneled was: Samuel Bradley, foreman; Isaac Stroud, William Husk, Hugh Johnson, John Wilson, William Cravens, Benjamin McClendon, Bartholomew Wood, John Welsdon, Thomas Martin, Thomas Vaughn, Isaac Hayes, John Caruthers, Joseph Starkley, Peter Thompson, Daniel Bristow, William Stroud and James Barnett. The grand jury returned several indictments against people for “profane swearing.” One of these against Matthew Lodge, a lawyer, was the first case tried. Lodge was fined five shillings and costs. Most of the others were also fined the same amounts. The next term was held June 27, 1803, with three judges, Hon. Ninian Edwards having been made presiding judge with the former two as his assistants. Judge Edwards afterwards moved to Illinois and was one of the early governors of that state.
This court met regularly thereafter in September and March. In 1803 Matthew Gooch was admitted to the bar and in 1804 Henry Davidge, Wilham Wallace and John Campbell were admitted.
About this time, the court was reduced to one judge, Ninian Edwards being retained. The newly organized court held its first term in June,
1804, and the name Hopkinsville appeared for the first time, instead of Elizabeth.
Attorneys now began to come in thick and fast. In June, 1804, William Featherston, Christopher Thompson and John Gray were admitted and in September of the same year Joshua Crow, Henry Toulman and Samuel Work were added. Still another, Alney McLean, came in the following March. At the term of March, 1805, John Campbell was appointed commonwealth’s attorney, succeeding Rezin Davidge. At this period James H. McLaughlan was circuit court clerk. His records were well written and neatly kept and the old records are still quite legible and easily read.
COUNTY CLERKS, 1797 TO 1934
John Clark March, 1797, to May 15, 1798 Justinian Cartwright May, 1798, to July, 1798 John Clark 1798 to 1824 Abraham Stites 1824 to 1853 John S. Bryan 1853 to 1862 George H. Lawson 1862 to 1866 E. M. Buckner 1866 to 1870 Byron M. Harrison 1870 to 1874 John W. Breathitt 1874 to 1891 John P. Prowwse 1891 to 1906 G. L. Campbell Jan, 1906 to 1910 Robert T. Stowe 1910 to 1914 Lucian J. Harris 1914 to 1918 George B. Powell 1918 to 1922 Frank H. Bassett 1929, (reelected for 4 yrs)
Charles Logan Mar 21, 1797, to May 14, 1798 John Wilson 1798 to 1801 Mathew Wilson 1801 to 1803 Samuel Means 1803 to 1806 William Armstrong 1806 to 1808 James M. Johnson 1808 to 1810 James Thompson 1810 to 1812 John Maberry 1812 to 1814 John Wilson 1815 Samuel Bradley 1815 to 1818 James Bradley 1818 to 1820 James Moore 1820 Benjamin Lacy 1821 James Bradley 1822 to 1824 Matthew Wilson 1824 to 1826 Joseph Clark 1826 to 1828 Jonathan Clark 1828 F. P. Pennington 1829 James Bradley 1830 to 1832 Samuel Younglove 1832 - 1834 John Buckner 1834 to 1836 Cons Oglesby 1836 Alfred L. Hargis 1837 Powhatan Wooldridge 1838 to 1840 Edward Payne 1840 R. D. Bradley 1841 Thomas Barnett 1842 William Henry 1843 John Buckner 1844 to 1848 Milton Clark 1846 Daniel S. Hays 1847 to 1850 Larkin T. Brasher 1850 Benjamin Bradshaw 1851 Thomas S. Bryan 1852 to 1854 Richard D. Bradley 1854 to 1857 John B. Gowen (Rep.) 1857 to 1861 Richard T. McDaniel (Rep) 1861 to 1864 John McCarroll (Dem) 1864 to 1867 John D. Steel (Den) 1867 James O Ellis (Dem) 1868 to 1869 James Wallace (Rep) 1869 to 1873 William L. Garth (Rep) 1873 to 1875 Polk Cansler (Rep) 1875 to 1877 Peter F. Rogers (Rep) 1877 to 1881 Cyrus M. Brown (Rep) 1881 to 1885 John Boyd (Rep) 1885 to 1889 W. Moses West (Rep) 1889 to 1893 McJ. Davis (Rep) 1893 to 1898 J. J. Barnes (Rep) 1898 to 1902 Lemuel R. Davis (Rep) 1902 to 1906 David Smith (Dem) 1906 to 1908 John M. Renshaw (Rep) 1908 to 1910 Lowe Johnson, Sr (Dem) 1910 to 1914 Jewel W. Smith (Dem) 1914 to 1918 James J. Claiborne (Rep) 1918 to 1922 Oscar M. Wilson (Dem) 1922 to 1926 Simeon L. Cowherd (Dem) 1926 to 1930 Barrette E. Brown (Rep) 1929-elected for 1930 to 1934
(Under new Constitution)
Alexander D. Rogers 1858 to 1862 H. R. Littell (Rep) 1862 to 1866 A. G. Wooldridge 1866 to 1870 James O. Ellis 1870 to 1874 A. V. Long (Rep) 1874 to 1882 William P. Rinfree (Dem) 1882 to 1886 T. J. Morrow (Dem) 1886 to 1890 John W. Breathitt (Rep) 1890 to 1898 Polk Cansler (Rep) 1898 to 1902 William T. Fowler (Rep) 1902 to 1906 James Breathitt (Rep) 1906 to 1908 Charles O. Prowse (Rep) 1908 to 1910 Walter Knight (Dem) 1910 to 1918 Green H. Champlin (Rep) 1918 to 1922 Larenzo K. Wood (Dem) 1922 to 1930 Frank Rives (Dem) elected for 1930 to 1934
CIRCUIT COURT CLERKS
Young Ewing 1803 to 1805 James H. McLaughlin 1805, several years Nathan S. Dallam succeeded McLaughlin John H. Phelps succeeded Dallam to 1842 Richard Shackelford 1842 to 1853 R. R. Lansden 1853 to 1854 John C. Latham 1854 to 1862 Joab Clark 1862 to 1868 Nat Gaither 1868 to 1880 B. T. Underwood 1880 to 1886 C. M. Brown 1886 to 1892 J. M. Starling 1892 to 1898 J. M. Starling 1898 to 1904 C. R. Clark 1904 to 1910 W. A. Radford 1910 to 1916 Claude R. Clark 1916 to 1922 Walter Ezell 1922 to 1928 Rex Croft 1928 to 1934
No Record 1854 to 1870 Hunter Wood (Dem) 1870 to 1874 No Record 1874 to 1878 Harry Ferguson (Rep) 1878 to 1882 E. G. Sebree (Rep) 1882 to 1886 John W. Payne (Dem) 1886 to 1880 Larkin T. Brasher (Dem) 1890 to 1894 Otho H. Anderson (Rep) 1894 to 1906 John C. Duffy (Dem) 1906 to 1914 Ira D. Smith (Dem) 1914 to 1918 Sam T. Fruit (Rep) 1918 to 1922 W. O. Soyars (Dem) 1922 to 1926 John C. Duffy (Dem) 1926 to 1930 W. H. Southall (Dem) elected for 1930 to 1934
Alfred Younglove 1854 to 1860 Thomas Wiley 1860 to 1862 William A. Sasseen 1862 to 1863 C. W. Mills 1863 to 1864 No record for 6 years Thomas C. Truitt (Rep) 1870 to 1874 J. F. Meacham (Rep) 1874 to 1878 J. C. Courtney (Rep) 1878 to 1882 Beverly Kelly (col Rep) 1882 to 1886 Dr. D. E. Bell (Dem) 1886 to 1890 J. W. Lillard (col, Rep) 1890 t0 1894 J. L. Allensworth (col, Rep) 1894 to 1920 Dr. J. H. Rice (Dem) 1910 to 1914 Dr. G. W. Lovan (Dem) 1914 to 1922 Pat H. Major 1922 to 1930 E. C. Stevenson, elected for 1930 to 1934
Prior to the adoption of the new constitution, in 1851, the assessors were called Commissioners of Tax and were appointed by the county court. Joab Clark served for 18 years prior to 1853.
Beginning in 1853, the assors have been:
John W. Wiley (Rep) 1853 to 1856 O. S. Brown (Rep) 1856 to 1862 J. Milton Clark (Rep) 1862 to 1866 F. P. Stuart 1866 to 1870 J. Milton Clark (Rep) 1870 to 1874 F. S. Long 1874 to 1878 Young J Means (Rep) 1878 to 1882 R. T. McDaniel (Rep) 1882 to 1886 M. A. Littlefield (Rep) 1886 to 1890 D. R. Perry (Dem) 1890 to 1894 J. B. Everett (Rep) 1894 to 1898 J. A. Boyd (Rep) 1898 to 1902 R. A. Cook (Rep) 1902 to 1906 H. C. Helsley (Rep) 1906 to 1910 Lucian J. Harris (Dem) 1910 to 1914 W. J. McGee (Dem) 1914 to 1918 Oscar M. Wilson 1918 to 1922 Lowe Johnson 1922 to 1930 Re-elected 1930-1934
No record from 1854 to 1862 Jack Carr 1862 to 1866 Richard A. Morris 1866 to 1870 Richard D. Williams 1870 to 1874 James W. Yancey (Dem) 1874 to 1878 Aquilla B. Long (Dem) 1878 to 1886 George W. Long (Dem) 1886 to 1894 W. T. Williamson (Rep) 1894 to 1902 John Boy (Rep) 1902 to 1906 William Johnson (Rep) 1910 to 1914 Andrew E. Mullins (Dem) 1914 to 1918 William N. Nichols (Rep) 1918 to 1922 George D. MCord (Dem) 1922 to 1926 J. D. Capps (Dem) 1926 to 1930 W. L. Gore (Dem) elected for 1930 - 1934
COMMISSIONERS OR SUPERINTENDENTS OF SCHOOLS
G. A. Champlin (Dem) 1870 to 1886 F. H. Renshaw (rep) 1886 to 1890 S. L. Frogge (Dem) 1890 to 1894 Miss Katie McDaniel (Rep) 1894 to 1906 W. E. Gray (Rep) 1906 to 1910 Miss Jennie West (Dem) 1910 to 1914 L. E. Foster (Dem) 1914 to 1922 Ben H. Cook (Rep) 1922 to 1926 Harry W. Peters (Dem) 1926 to 1930
Christian County has been represented in the Senate by the following:
Young Ewing 1808 to 1816 Young Ewing 1820 to 1828 Matthew Wilson 1816 to 1820 James Gholson 1832 Ninian E Gray 1843 to 1847 James F. Buckner 1855 Benjamin H. Bristow (Rep) 1863 W. W. McKenzie (Dem) 1865 E. P. Campbell 1871 Walter Evans (Rep) 1878 Cyrus N. Pendleton (Dem) 1875 Dr. J. H. Prewitt (Dem) 1880 Austin Peay (Dem) 1884 William Lunsford (Rep) 1888 Rev. E. A. Edwards (Dem) 1892 J. I. Landes (Rep) 1894 S. R. Crumbaugh (Rep) 1898 J. W. Downer (Rep) 1902 Frank Rives (Dem) 1906 R M. Salmon (Dem) 1914 Frank Rives (Dem) 1918 James R. Rash (Dem) 1922 John L. Thurmond (Dem) 1926 Charles G. Franklin (DemO 1930
Part of the time the county had two members.
James Kuykendall 1799 Young Ewing 1800 to 1802 Young Ewing 1806 to 1807 Jacob W. Walker 1803 to 1804 John Boyd 1809 Matthew Wilson 1809 to 1811 Abraham Boyd 1809-1811-1819 Pen H. Reeves 1812-1814-1817 Benjamin W. Patton 1812-1815-1817-1822 Samuel Orr 1813 Nathan S. Dallam 1816-1818-1824 Morgan Hopson 1816 to 1817 Jams Breathitt 1818 to 1819 William Jennings 1818 Robert Coleman 1819 Daniel Mayes 1825 John P. Campbell 1826 William Davenport 1827 Charles S. Morehead 1828 to 1829 David S. Patton 1830 to 1834 Gustavus A. Henry 1831 to 1832 James C. Clark 1832 John Pendleton 1833 Joseph B. Crockett 1833 William Morrow 1834 to 1837 George Morris 1836 Ninian E. Grey 1837 Benjamin Bradshaw 1838 James F. Buckner 1839-1840-1842-1847 Robert L. Waddill 1839-1843-1844 Daniel H. Harrison 1840-41-44-46-48-49 James Gholson 1841 John McLarning 1843 to 1848 Isaac H Evans 1845 Joab Clark 1846 James F. Buckner 1847 Lysias F. Chilton 1847 Daniel H. Harrison 1849 Edmund Wooldridge 1850 Winston J. Davie 1850 John J. Thomas 1851 to 1853 Drury M. Wooldridge 1853 to 1855 Benjamin Berry 1855 to 1857 James S. Jackson 1857 to 1859 Wilson Brown 1859 to 1861 George O. Poindexter 1861 to 1867 E. A. Brown 1863 to 1865 James A. McKenzie (Dem) 1867 to 1871 Walter Evans (Rep) 1871 to 1873 O. S. Parker (Rep) 1873 to 1875 John Feland (Rep) 1875 to 1881 James Breathitt (Rep) 1882 to 1884 Larkin T. Brasher (Dem) 1884 James Breathitt (Rep) 1886 E.G. Sebree (Rep) 1888 H.B. Clark (Rep) 1890 Polk Cansler (Rep) 1894 J. W. Morgan (Rep) 1896 Andrew Sargent (Rep) 1898 James F. Rogers (Rep) 1902 to 1904 W. H. Southall (Dem) 1906 John Feland (Rep) `1908 W. H. Southall (Dem) 1910 Hiram Brown (Rep) 1912 John C. Duffy (Dem) 1914 H.C. McGehee (Rep) 1918 V. M. Williamson (Rep) 1920 George W. Morgan (Rep) 1922 Ira D. Smith (Dem) 1924 Owen Keller (Dem) 1926 E. Lambert Campbell (Rep) 1928 Denny P. Smith (Dem) 1930
Ninian Edwards 1803 to 1806 William Wallace(Russellville) 1807 to 1815 Benjamin Shackelford 1815 to 1851 Henry J. Stites 1851 to 1854 C. D. Bradley 1854 to 1856 Thos. C. Dabney (Dem-Cadiz) 1856 to 1862 R. T. Petree (Dem) 1862 to 1868 John R. Grace (Dem) 1868 to 1895 -resigned L. C. Linn (Dem) (Calloway) by appointment James Breathitt (Rep) 1895 to 1898 Thos. P. Cook (Dem-Calloway) 1898 to 1910 J. T. Hanbery (Dem) 1910 to 1917 Chas. H. Bush (Dem) 1917 to 1928 Ira D. Smith (Dem) 1928 to 1934
(elected for six-years terms)
J. B. Crockett, part of the time 1854 to 1862 records not complete E. P. Campbell (Rep) 1862 J. R. Hewlett (Dem) 1868 Hunter Wood (Dem) 1874 James B. Garnett (Dem) 1880 to 1898 W. R. Howell (Dem) 1898 Denny P. Smith (Dem) three terms, 1904 to 1922 James H. Coleman (Dem) 1922 John T. King (Dem) 1928 to 1934
Some known to have served before the new constitution of 1850 were:
Rezin Davidge 1803 John P. Campbell 1805 John McLarning 1846
They were appointed and records are imperfect
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