Family Stories

Fatal Fall From Horse

In December of 2017, I wrote a blog about the famous Ben Hardin, a lawyer from Nelson County.  I found the following in the Pioneer History of Washington County, Kentucky.  Although Ben lived in Bardstown, or just outside thereof, he grew up in Washington County where the Hardin families were early settlers.

‘In later years, after his daughter, Emily, had married Dr. Robert C. Palmer of Washington County, and settled on the old Hardin home place, Ben Hardin used to ride horseback to and from Bardstown to visit his daughter and her family.  It was on one of these trips, in the summer of 1852, that he was badly crippled by a fall from his horse.  He was confined for a time at his daughter’s house, but later was removed to his home at Bardstown, where he died, September 24, 1852, aged 68.  In the funeral procession, slowly making its way from Bardstown to the old home place in Washington County were many friends and admirers.  As the cortege passed through Springfield, still others joined in the procession, until the carriages, buggies and persons on horseback, formed a line of great length.

‘A few years ago, the writer, while searching through some old records in the office of the Clerk of the Washington Circuit Court in Springfield, found a deposition made on May 9, 1865, by Dr. John B. Smith, then a resident of Owensboro, but formerly a physician in Springfield.  Dr Smith and Dr. Palmer were partners in the practice of medicine in Springfield and brothers-in-law, Smith having married Palmer’s sister.

‘In his deposition, Dr. Smith had the following to say about Ben Hardin:

‘Mr. Ben Hardin was a lawyer by profession, and, so far as I know or believe, he stood distinguishedly high in his profession.  Mr. Hardin several times talked to me about his difficulties with Mr. Helm and Mr. Riley, and more of his difficulty with Governor Owsley . . . Ben Hardin was a peculiar man when speaking of his family.  He has very often talked with me, or rather to me, about his children; tell their faults or good qualities, upon which occasions he would tell of his advancements to them and the extravagance of his son Rowan, and the amount he paid for him.  He told me more of these things when he and I occupied the same room at Doctor Palmer’s at night.

‘The public services of Ben Hardin, his success as a lawyer, and his talents, are too well known to necessitate recital here.  Suffice to say that he was a son of old Washington County, whose tall and commanding person, keen and penetrating eye, and striking countenance, made him at once, wherever he went, a man of public attention.  Proud indeed, should all Washingtonians be, that the soil of their county cradles the dust of his mortal remains.’

I have yet to find the small graveyard where Ben Hardin is buried – but hope to discover it later this year and will indeed share photos.

Ben Hardin suffered several months from his injuries sustained during the fall from his horse.  His wife was his caretaker, and through his illness, her health failed, and she died August 4, 1852.

The Louisville Daily Courier, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Monday, August 9, 1852

Ben survived another six weeks, dying September 24, 1852.

The Louisville Daily Courier, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Saturday, September 25, 1852

You can find more about Ben Hardin at this post – Famous Lawyer of Bardstown.

2 replies »

  1. The Hon. Ben Hardin is buried on the right side of Lebanon Road, maybe 2 miles from Springfield. A historical marker is located on the left side of the road. If you get to the Marion Co. Line, you missed. In the winter, the tall stone can be seen from the highway. Sincerely Linda Lawson

    On Sat, Jun 1, 2019 at 6:02 AM Kentucky Kindred Genealogy wrote:

    > Kentucky Kindred Genealogical Research posted: ” In December of 2017, I > wrote a blog about the famous Ben Hardin, a lawyer from Nelson County. I > found the following in the Pioneer History of Washington County, Kentucky. > Although Ben lived in Bardstown, or just outside thereof, he grew up in > Washin” >

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