John G. Jefferson Biography

from County of Trigg, Kentucky, Historical and Biographical by Perrin, 1884

Cadiz Precinct

John G. Jefferson is the oldest native born white child now living in Cadiz; he was born here on September 21, 1834, and is a son of Dr. Thomas B. and Martha A. (Graves) Jefferson.  The father was born in Pittsylvania County, Virginia, on the 13th of April, 1805, and was a son of Peter F. and Elizabeth (Harrison) Jefferson.  The former was a cousin of President Jefferson, the latter a cousin of President Harrison.  When Thomas was six years old his father moved to Sumner County, Tennessee.  Here Dr. Jefferson obtained the rudiments of his education.  At the age of eighteen he entered the office of Dr. Rawlings and commenced the study of medicine.  After studying there one year he entered the Transylvania University at Lexington.  At this institution he remained two terms, and graduated with honor to himself and credit to his preceptors.  On his return from college he settled in the vicinity of Nashville, Tennessee.  After practicing medicine one year alone he entered into a co-partnership with Dr. Maxey, at Haysboro, Davidson County, Tennessee.  In 1830 he determined to go to St. Louis, and accordingly started for that place; he was delayed by a severe snowstorm at Hopkinsville, and while stopping there some of the citizens of Cadiz, among them William Cannon, then Clerk of the Circuit Court, petitioned him to settle at this point.  Accordingly in the fall of 1831 he came to Cadiz, and cast his lot with the people of this county.  In 1832, when the Asiatic cholera made its appearance in Kentucky, Salem, in Crittenden County, was smitten by the epidemic.  The people of Cadiz, fearing this disease would appear at that point, solicited Dr. Jefferson to go and investigate the theory of the disease.  With commendable zeal and fearlessness he started to Salem, but on his arrival at Princeton he found the scourge had already reached that point.  Here the citizens stopped him and insisted that he should take charge of the case of Mr. Peter Simmerman, a merchant of that place, then pronounced by the home physicians to be in a hopeless condition.  Our subject now has in his possession two letters concerning his father’s treatment of this case; one written by N. S. Dalman, Esq., the other by Thomas Haynes, Esq., in which the courage, skill and firmness of Dr. Jefferson are spoken of in words of deep admiration.  Simmerman although in a collapsed state when Dr. Jefferson reached him, was cured, and as one of the letter writers remarked, “Dr. Jefferson snatched an estimable citizen from the grave and restored him to the bosom of his family.”  He continued to make tri-weekly visits to Princeton during the prevalence of the disease, and under the treatment of this physician the disease lost its terrors to some extent.  From this time until his death Dr. Jefferson occupied a very high, if not the highest, rank in the medical profession of this and adjoining counties; he died on July 11, 1873, and his loss was severely felt in the community in which he had resided so long, especially by the poorer classes, for whom he had great sympathy.  He loved the right, manly and the noble, and detested fraud, meanness and sham.  The mother of subject was born in Davidson County, Tennessee, and her death occurred in this county in April, 1853.  The schools of the county furnished subject’s education.  When a youth he went to Eddyville, Lyon County, and there taught school for a while, then wrote in the County Clerk’s office.  While engaged in this latter occupation he also found time to read law some, and in 1855 he entered the Louisville Law School.  From this institution he graduated in the class of 1856; he came to this county and practiced his profession for a few months, when he became book-keeper at Laura Furnace, where he remained until his marriage.  During the war he spent most of the time in the South.  In 1866 he returned to Cadiz and remained a short time; he then went to Texas, where he spent several months, and then returned to this county.  In January, 1869, he was appointed County Court Clerk, and in the following August he was elected to the office for one year, and in August, 1870, he was re-elected for four years, and since that time has held the office continuously, being re-elected in 1874, 1878 and 1882;  he is an insurance agent, and also does something in farming, having a tract of land near Cadiz.  Mr. Jefferson was married near Nashville, Tennessee, on May 17, 1861, to Miss Elizabeth S. Banks, a daughter of Samuel M. and Nancy R. (McCarty) Banks.  Mrs. Jefferson was born in Fayette County, Missouri, and is the mother of five children – one girl and four boys.  Subject and family are all members of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.  Mr. Jefferson is also a member of A. F. &  A. M, I. O. O. F., K. of H. and Chosen Friends fraternities.

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