Bennett H. Young Biography

Scan_Pic1341As with any biography that gives extreme deeds I had to check and make sure Mr. Bennett Young was the man proclaimed in Perrin’s book.  I have heard these biographies are not entirely correct because they are written by the family or information given by the family and some parts could be exaggerated, but I’ve always felt that they give a genealogist a starting place.  My great-grandmother’s genealogy was not entirely correct, but I have built on the part that is and eliminated that part that is not.  Anyway, I wanted to check on Mr. Young and found the same information in an old book, The City of Louisville and A Glimpse of Kentucky, by Young Ewing Allison. copyright 1887.

from Perrin’s Kentucky, A History of the State, 1888

Bennett H. Young, one of the enterprising young business men of Louisville, is a native Kentuckian, and was born May 25, 1843, in Jessamine County. He is a son of Robert and Josephine (Henderson) Young, also Kentuckians, and devout Presbyterians. His early education was obtained in Bethel Academy, in his native county, but in 1861 he entered Centre College at Danville. His college life, however, was interrupted by the civil war, and affected by the spirit of the times and the ardor of youth, he enlisted in Company B, Captain William Lewis (of Fayette County), Eighth Regiment, Colonel Leroy S. Clark, Morgan’s famous cavalry. He served with General Morgan, and was captured with him at Buffington Island, Ohio, and imprisoned at Columbus. Afterward he was transferred to Camp Douglas, Chicago, from which he escaped in January, 1864, and finally made his way into Canada. It was too late in the season to pass down the St. Lawrence River, navigation having closed, and so the young soldier matriculated in the University of Toronto, where he remained until April, passing a highly creditable examination. He was placed in command of a number of escaped Confederate prisoners, and took passage on the first boat going down the St. Lawrence after resumption of navigation, and sailed for the West Indies, where they caught a blockade runner for the Confederacy. This was a hazardous undertaking, as the blockader went in under fire, and several of the crew were killed, while the remainder, panic-stricken, became so demoralized that they no longer obeyed orders. In this trying ordeal the young Confederate soldier, with reckless exposure, gave his assistance to the officers of the vessel, and taking the post of a seaman who had been killed, he bore a very prominent part in saving it from capture or destruction. He was appointed first lieutenant in the Confederate service and sent to Canada, where he subsequently engaged in many daring and hazardous enterprises, the last of which was the St. Albans raid. When the Confederacy went down at Appomattox, Lieutenant Young went to Europe, where he remained until his political disabilities were removed under the general amnesty proclamation of President Johnson in 1868. While in Europe he studied several years at the Irish and Scotch universities, taking the first honor in the law course, and third distinction in the literary department of Queen’s University. He returned to the United States, and in 1868 commenced practicing law in Louisville, where he soon won a large and lucrative practice. He became interested in railways, and in connection with St. John Boyle, constructed the Louisville & St. Louis Air-Line road. This was followed by the more difficult but important work of reconstructing an almost dead line. In connection with R. S. Veech and others he secured control of the Louisville, New Albany & Chicago Railroad, rebuilt it, and made it one of the most valuable lines centering in Louisville. In 1885 he undertook the construction of the magnificent cantilever bridge across the Ohio between Louisville and New Albany, followed by the Daisy Belt Railroad, connecting Louisville and New Albany over this bridge, and also extending to the beautiful suburb of Parkland. Since the completion of these enterprises he has constructed (having recently complete it) the Louisville Southern Railroad, destined to be one of the most important roads from Louisville to the South. It involves the development of Eastern Kentucky, a region as rich in mineral resources as Pennsylvania, and hitherto not penetrated by railroads. No public enterprise fails to receive his hearty support. He is president of Bellewood Seminary at Anchorage, Kentucky, which stands as a monument of his liberality toward education. He is president and has always been the moving spirit of the Polytechnic Society. To him and his indomitable enterprise, more than to any other man, it owes its present prosperous and dignified position. Mr. Young is unselfish, charitable, modest, quick to think and act, full of resource and tact, with a bull-dog courage that knows no defeat. He has never sought political preferment, but could have almost any public office he would ask for. He has been prominently mentioned as a candidate for Governor, but has always declined to allow his name to go before a convention. He was married in 1866 to Miss Mattie R., eldest daughter of the late Rev. Stuart Robinson, D. D., the distinguished Presbyterian divine. They have quite a family of children, and their home is noted for its culture, refinement and hospitality.

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