Family Stories

The Garnett Family Biography

from Perrin’s County of Christian, Kentucky, Historical and Biographical, 1884

The Garnett Family

To mark the progress in the history of Christian County during the last three-quarters of a century, one need only compare the condition of the country at the present time, with its flourishing villages and growing cities; its farms with their waving crops, their blooming orchards, groves and hedges, and substantial dwellings; its system of schools; its railroads and its net-work of telegraphic wires, to its condition over seventy-five years ago, when its soil was unbroken by the hand of industry, and the stillness of its forests was undisturbed, save by the noise of the hunter’s tread, and the crack of the Indian’s rifle.  It was at this early day that James Garnett, a native of Virginia and of English parentage, a prominent farmer, and at the head of the Garnett family, in 1821 came to Kentucky and settled in Pembroke Precinct, where, after passing through the different phases of a pioneer’s life, he died, leaving a large family.

Eldred Brockman Garnett, son of James Garnett, was born in Albemarle County, Virginia, on the 10th of May, 1813.  He came to this county with his parents when he was eight years of age; he spent his early life at home, assisting to till the farm, and receiving such an education as could be obtained from the subscription schools of the period.  Arriving at his majority, he embarked on his career in life as a farmer, and become one of the most substantial agriculturists of the county.  Of busy men, he became about the busiest, not for a greed of gain, but because he had an instinct of activity and a fondness for business.  He was the owner of about 500 acres of land in the county; he died July 18, 1870; was a member of the Baptist Church and bore a name and reputation which is an honor to his descendants; he was married, September 23, 1834, to Miss Frances A., daughter of John and Fanny J. (Thompson) Pendleton, early settlers of Christian County.  Mrs. Garnett is a native of Orange County, Virginia, born January 30, 1810; her early education was received under the preceptorship of her father, but, developing an early taste for reading, and having access to a good library, she acquired a good education.  She has led a useful life, and though now over seventy years of age, she still retains a vigorous mind, and is an constant a reader as in her younger days.  She is now residing with her son, W. W. Garnett, enjoying the fruits of a well-spent life.  She is the mother of the following children:  Helen L., wife of Rev. R. W. Morehead; Virgil A., William W., John P., and James B.

Helen L. was born in Christian County, Kentucky, July 31, 1835.  She attended first the common schools of the neighborhood, and was a favorite with the teachers on account of her easy and rapid progress.  When about fifteen years of age she attended for one or more terms the high school at Hopkinsville, Kentucky.  After this she attended the Female College at Clarksville, Tennessee, where she completed her education.  About this time she united with the Baptist Church at Bethel.  She was fond of reading, and after completing her education took a thorough course in general literature.  She was married to Rev. R. W. Morehead February 5, 1863.  This marriage was blessed with five children:  Robert W., died in infancy; Clarence G., born May 10, 1865; John P., died in infancy; Charles S., born June 16, 1869, and Fanny G., born December 18, 1871.  She now resides in Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky, where her husband is the pastor of two churches – New Bethel and Harmony.

Professor Virgil A. Garnett was born in Christian County, Kentucky, February 10, 1837.  His educational advantages were afforded by the private schools in the neighborhood; under the instruction of Richard Durrett, a prominent teacher of the county (who taught in one place for over forty-five years), and Bethel College, Russellville, Kentucky.  He entered this institution in 1854 and graduated June 17, 1858, with the degree of A.B., and afterward that of A.M.  On the 8th of October, 1861, he enlisted in Company H, First Kentucky Cavalry, under the command of Col. Ben Hardin Helm and Captain H. C. Leavell; he was captured and held a prisoner of war at Louisville for three weeks; he received an honorable discharge from the service in 1863; since the war he has spent a portion of his time teaching school, and has been a teacher of the Pembroke schools since January, 1881.  He has also been engaged in farming, and is the owner of the homestead farm of his father, which is located three miles south of Pembroke.  He was married, October 8, 1872, to Miss Maggie, daughter of George O. Thompson, of Hopkinsville; he became a member of the order A.F. and A.M., Gasper River Lodge, No. 391, in 1861, and of the Pembroke Lodge, No. 288, in 1865.  He was a member of the Royal Arch Chapter, No. 75, of Fairview and of Clarksville Council, No. 4, and is now a member of the Moore Commandry, No. 6, Knights Templar of Hopkinsville.  In religion he is a Baptist and in politics a Democrat.

William Warfield Garnett, a prominent merchant, of the firm of W. W. and J. P. Garnett, Pembroke, Kentucky; was born in Christian County, Kentucky, November 9, 1838.  He was educated in the common schools of the neighborhood, and at Bethel College, Russellville, Kentucky.  At fourteen years of age he engaged as a clerk in a store for Faulkner and Slaughter, of Pembroke, and remained thus engaged, thought for different firms, until the spring of 1860, when he engaged in the mercantile business on his own account in the firm of W. H. Pendleton and Co., which was successfully carried on until the war, when it met with heavy losses and the firm was dissolved.  In 1861 he enlisted in Company H, First Kentucky Cavalry, under command of Col. Helm, and was honorably discharged from the service in 1862.  In 1866 he resumed business under the present name of the firm, and it has since continued to proper, and is now one of the solid firms of the county and carries a large and complete stock of general merchandise.  In connection with the mercantile business the partners own a farm of 200 acres in Pembroke district, which they carry on.  Mr. Garnett was married, Mary 3, 1870, to Miss Sally Bailey, a native of Todd County, and a daughter of Thomas G. and Amanda (Small) Bailey.  This union has been blessed with one child:  Fanny Bailey Garnett, born November 30, 1871.  Mr. Garnett and wife are members of the Baptist Church.  He was one of the original projectors, and assisted in the organization of the City Bank, Hopkinsville, Kentucky, in 1879; he was elected on the first Board of directors, and has been re-elected every year since that time.

John P. Garnett is a native of Christian County, Kentucky, and was born January 16, 1841.  He spent his early life at home on the farm, and received his education in the common schools, supplemented by a course at Bethel College; he remained at home engaged in agricultural pursuits until 1866, when he engaged in his present business in partnership with his brother.  He was married, on the 29th of October, 1872, to Miss Rosa, daughter of Drurey and Elizabeth (Mosley) Lacey, a native of Christian County.  They have three children:  Mary A., Sally W., and Anna L.  Mr. Garnett is a Democrat in politics, and with his wife unites with the Bethel Baptist Church; he was Postmaster of Pembroke from 1866 until January 1, 1884, when his increasing business in the store compelled him to resign; he is of a literary turn, and since the age of sixteen has been a regular contributor to many of the newspapers and magazines of the country, both in prose and verse.

James B. Garnett, Commonwealth Attorney, Cadiz, Trigg County, Kentucky, was born in Christian County, Kentucky, July 28, 1845; his early life was spent on the farm, and he there received the benefit of common schools; he afterward attended the Cumberland University at Lebanon, Tennessee, and graduated from the law department of that institution in 1867.  He then located at Cadiz, Kentucky, and engaged in the practice of his profession, and has served the people in the following offices:  County Attorney for one term; County School Commissioner for two years; State Senator, representing the counties of Trigg, Calloway and Livingston, and in 1880 was elected Commonwealth Attorney of the Sixth Judicial District for a term of six years.  He married Miss Virginia Hewett, a native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, who died with her child one year after her marriage.

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