Family Stories

Hon. William Henry Payne Biography

Scan_Pic1583from Kentucky – A History of the State, by Perrin, 1887

Warren County, Kentucky

Hon. William Henry Payne (deceased), a grandson of William Payne, of Revolutionary fame, was born in  Fairfax County, Virginia, in 1817.  He was a son of Edmund and Catherine T. (Hawley) Payne, and was of Scotch-English descent.  Edmund Payne was also born in Fairfax County, Virginia, in 1791, and the paternal grandfather was a native of the same state.  The Payne family immigrated to Kentucky in 1819, and made a settlement in Warren County.  Edmund Payne died in this county in 1851, and his widow in 1859.  Hon. William H. Payne was educated at the early schools of Warren County.  In 1835 he began the study of law and subsequently attended a law school at Lexington, where he graduated in 1837; then located in Bowling Green and began the practice of his profession.  In 1850 he was elected judge of the county court of Warren County, and twice re-elected to that position.  He was the first county judge of this county after the revision of the state constitution.  In 1868 he was elected to the Kentucky Senate, and while a member of that body he took an active and leading part in the improvement of the Green and Barren Rivers and the organization of the Green and Barren River Navigation Company, and was the first president of that company.  In 1883 Judge Payne was elected to represent the Lower House in the State General Assembly, but on account of failing health was not permitted to serve in that capacity.  He was a true Democrat and was always found at the front in the interest of that party.  He was a member of the Masonic fraternity, and was also a Knight Templar.  He married, at the age of twenty-two, Miss Lucy Loving, of Bowling Green, Kentucky, who died one year after marriage.  His second marriage took place in September 1846, with Euphemia Y. Stubbins, a native of this county and a representative of one of the leading families of Warren County.  Mrs. Payne was born in 1828, and is the daughter of Samuel and Hettie (Garrison) Stubbins.  Judge Payne was one of the most enterprising men the county ever knew; he was widely known as the poor man’s friend; the humble and lowly were always placed at ease in his presence, and the distressed never made their appeal to him in vain.  His death, which took place March 25, 1884, was mourned by the entire community.  The judge was a Union man until after the war was fully organized; was very much opposed to secession, and was a strong advocate of peace.  After the Confederate troops came to Bowling Green he made a speech to them and was kindly dealt with by the Confederates, notwithstanding it was generally known his sympathies were with the Union.  He was a great admirer of the Kentucky people and only decided to cast his lot with the Confederacy when it became evident that the war was inevitable.  Previous to the war he belonged to the Whig party, but united with the Democrats after the struggle had begun.  He was endowed with a great deal of natural ability as an artist and draftsman, and was the architect of the beautiful home his widow now resides in at Bowling Green.

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