charles m. meacham



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.”


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.


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


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


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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