Tag Archives: Ben Hardin

Ben Hardin – Famous Lawyer of Bardstown

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Tuesday Morning, December 18, 1900

Historic

Former Residence of Old Ben Hardin

In Suburbs of Bardstown

The Place Where The Famous Lawyer Lived and Died

[Bardstown Record]

One of Kentucky’s historic residences is ‘Edgewood,’ the former home of Ben Hardin, in his day one of Kentucky’s greatest lawyers.  This old homestead is situated in the suburbs of Bardstown, and is a large and irregular structure built entirely of brick.  It was originally a one-storied building, with two rooms in front.  To this an addition was made on the left, comprising a wide hall and front room and chambers in rear with similar apartments above.  These added rooms and the hall are unusually large and airy.  The hall is entered by a large door in front, and contains a massive old-fashioned staircase, connecting with the upper story.  The present occupant, Hon. Lud. McKay, has added a handsome veranda to the house, which greatly improves its general appearance.

This dwelling was erected between 1819-1822 by Mr. Hardin on land that was contained in the original pre-emption of Bardstown.  The tract contains about two hundred and fifty acres of as fine soil as there is in Nelson County.  A wide lawn in front of the residence stretches down to one of the streets of the town, and is liberally shaded with a fine growth of forest trees.

Ben Hardin, who erected and long occupied the residence, was born in Pennsylvania, February 29, 1784, and at the age of four years was brought to Kentucky by his parents, who settled in Nelson County.  At an early age he was placed in the school of Dr. Priestly, then the most able educator in the West.  At the age of twenty, young Hardin began the study of law, which he soon mastered and was admitted to the bar of Bardstown.  His first case was one in which a large tract of land was involved.  He was alone on his side and opposed by several of the most distinguished lawyers of the day.  However, he won his case and his fame was made, and from that time on he never lacked for clients.  Readers of the Standard are familiar with the history of Mr. Hardin; his public services; his numerous debates in Congress with Henry Clay; how he was dubbed the ‘Kitchen Knife’ by John Randolph, and the ‘Red Fox’ by some other equally as great man.  Suffice it to say that he was one of the shrewdest and most successful attorneys that ever practiced his profession within the domains of this old Commonwealth.

In early life Mr. Hardin was married to Elizabeth Barbour, daughter of Col. Ambrose Barbour, of Washington County, one of Kentucky’s most distinguished pioneers.  She is described as a handsome woman, with many admirable traits of character.  Seven children were the result of this union – three sons and four daughters.

The latter were Lucinda, who married John Helm, afterward Governor of Kentucky; Emily, who married Dr. Palmer, a prominent physician of Washington County; Kate, who married Thomas Riley, a prominent attorney of Bardstown, and Sallie, who married Thomas W. Dixon, a Kentuckian living in the West.  Of the sons, William died of a fever in childhood; James and Rowan married in early life – the former a Miss Chinn; the latter a Miss Cartmell.  James died a short time after his marriage.  Rowan became an able lawyer; served in the State Legislature, and in 1851 was appointed by President Fillmore Secretary of Legation to Guatemala.  During the year it is supposed he was assassinated in the mountains of the Isthmus of Darien, as a skeleton was discovered and identified as his by some papers that were found in the vicinity.

Old Ben Hardin’s home life was always a happy one.  His doors were always open, and he dispensed the most lavish hospitality to all who came beneath his roof.  Many distinguished men were entertained by him at his residence, among whom may be mentioned Gen. William Preston, ex-Senator Garland, Bishop Kavanaugh, Judge John Rowan, gov. William Duvall, and many others who afterward became men of national reputation.  Mr. Hardin’s death occurred in September 1852, and was the result of a fall from a horse which he received as he was journeying from Bardstown to Lebanon to attend court.  He was buried in an old grave yard in a field near the pike leading from Springfield to Lebanon, by the side of his mother.  His grave is marked by an unpretentious stone bearing the simple inscription: ‘Ben Hardin, of Bardstown.’  Mrs. Hardin had preceded her husband to the grave in August, her death being hastened by constant attendance upon Mr. Hardin.  She is buried in the old pioneer cemetery here, in the midst of children and relatives.  A marble shaft, that has been sadly disfigured by vandals, marks her last resting place.  The only inscription is bears is ‘Elizabeth Barbour Hardin, wife of Ben Hardin.’

Ritchey and I have visited the Pioneer Cemetery in Bardstown, but we did not see a stone for Elizabeth Barbour Hardin.

Mark Elliott Huston Biography

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Mark E. Huston, born in Logan County, Kentucky, April 12, 1801; died March 23, 1873.  Old Taylorsville Cemetery, Spencer County, Kentucky.

from Kentucky – A History of the State, Perrin, 1887

Spencer County

Mark Elliott Huston was born in Logan County, Kentucky, April 12, 1801.  His father, William Huston, was the son of James Huston, who immigrated to the United States from Wales with two brothers, John and William Huston.  James settled in Delaware, John in Virginia and William in North Carolina.  James Huston afterward moved to the State of Pennsylvania, where William, the father of Mark E. Huston, was born October 8, 1755.  William afterward moved to the State of Kentucky in the year 1792, and there died September 8, 1808.  William Huston married Nancy McClarty, daughter of Archibald McClarty, a Scotchman.  Her mother, Rachel Dougherty, of Irish descent, was born in Pennsylvania November 1, 1755.  William Huston and Nancy McClarty were married in Pennsylvania April 7, 1776.  Nancy died in Ralls County, Missouri, January 16, 1836.  Mark E. Huston’s grandmother, on his father’s side, was an English lady, of a prominent family, named Jane Elliott, a relation of Colonel Elliott, an officer in the War of 1812.  His grandmother, Rachel Dougherty, was highly connected, well educated, accomplished, and unusually intelligent.  In fact, on both sides the subject of this sketch came of good blood, noted for their intrinsic worth and integrity of character.  The family, immigrating to this country in its early settlement, pushed westward with the opening of the country, until now its collateral branches are scattered throughout the Western and Southern states.  John Huston, uncle of Mark E. Huston, represented Nelson County in the Legislature of Kentucky.  Another uncle, Joseph Huston, represented Breckinridge County in the same state.  Samuel Huston, an uncle by the second marriage of his grandfather with Abigail Brown, was judge of Washington County, Indiana, for a number of years, and Alexander Huston, another uncle, represented the same county for many years in the Legislature of Indiana.  Isabel Huston, his aunt, married John Milroy, at one time surveyor-general of the State of Indiana.  Patsey Huston, another aunt, married Samuel Milroy, a member of Congress from Indiana, receiver in the land office for many years, and father of General Milroy, an officer in the Federal Army during the Civil War.  Joseph Huston, an uncle, married a sister of the famous Colonel John Allen, who was killed in the Battle of the River Raisin, in the War of 1812.  Judge Eli Huston of Natchez, Mississippi, and General Felix Huston, at one time commander in chief of the Texas army were his cousins – the sons of his uncle, Joseph Huston.  General Felix Huston was a lawyer of distinction, and died in Louisiana.  John Boyd Huston, who was an eminent lawyer of Lexington, Kentucky, and speaker of the House of Representatives of Kentucky at one time, was his cousin, the son of his uncle, James Huston.  Mark Elliott Huston received a good education, read law under the renowned Ben Hardin of Kentucky, and after his admission to the bar was a partner of Mr. Hardin for nearly thirty years.  He was four times elected to the Legislature of Kentucky from Spencer County, served eight years in the Senate of Kentucky, and was a member of the convention of 1850, which framed the new constitution of the State.  Mark E. Huston was a man extremely modest and unassuming in his character and disposition, but possessed of a strong natural ability and indomitable energy.  In the strict sense of the work he was what is usually termed a self-made man, and entered upon the practice of law at twenty-eight years of age without other capital than good health and a sound capacity.  His ready ability to judge men, to understand human nature, and to adapt himself to circumstances, rendered him particularly forcible before a jury.  He was married, February 7, 1843, to Martha A. Murphy of Taylorsville, Kentucky.  He and his wife were members of the Presbyterian Church, as were all of his ancestors.  He died near Taylorsville, Kentucky, March 23, 1873.  His only child, William M. Huston, was born May 13, 1844, and was married August 29, 1872, to Miss Sallie B. Gore, daughter of Dr. Joshua and Mary S. (Minor) Gore of Nelson County.  Dr. Gore was prominent in his profession, and a surgeon in the Confederate Army.  Mary S. Minor was a daughter of Spencer and Mary (Guthrie) Minor, of Nelson County, Kentucky, and a niece of Hon. James Guthrie of Kentucky.  There have been born to William M. and Sallie (Gore) Huston four children named Mark E., Joshua G., Mary M. and Nontie W. Huston.  Mr. and Mrs. Huston are members of the Presbyterian Church, and still reside at the old homestead near Taylorsville, Kentucky.

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Martha A. Murphy, wife of M. E. Huston.  Born in Shelby County, Kentucky, March 27, 1825; died June 6, 1844.  Old Taylorsville Cemetery, Spencer County, Kentucky.

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Huston Memorial

The Honorable John Pope

from Pioneer History of Washington County, Kentucky

Washington County has had no more distinguished politician and statesman than her one-time resident, the Hon. John Pope.  He was born in Virginia, in 1770, and brought to Kentucky when a boy.  In early life while attending a cornstalk mill, he lost his right arm.  That misfortune turned him to the study of law.  He was a classmate of several young men who, like himself, subsequently distinguished themselves in their profession.  Pope settled in Shelby County and remained there until 1803, when he removed to Lexington.  He was a member of the Kentucky Legislature from Shelby in 1802, and from Fayette, in 1806, 1807.  He was United States Senator from Kentucky from 1807 to 1813.  He was appointed Secretary of State of Kentucky by Governor Slaughter, but resigned and removed to Springfield in 1820.  In that year he married Frances Walton, widow of General Matthew Walton, and made his home at the Walton House farm, on the road from Springfield to Bardstown.  From 1825 to 1835, Pope was Territorial Governor of Arkansas, which office he held by appointment from President Andrew Jackson.  In 1836, he returned to Springfield and was a candidate for the lower house of Congress, but was beaten by Ben Hardin.  He was successful in the next campaign and continued in Congress until 1843.  he died in his residence at the corner of Walnut and High Streets, in Springfield, in 1845, and was buried on Cemetery Hill.