Tag Archives: Henry Clay

Graham Springs – Famous Waters Bring Many To Mercer County

Who knew Harrodsburg had the reputation of one of the best mineral springs anywhere around?  Graham Springs and its hotel saw many of important and famous people visit both before the Civil War and after the turn of the 20th century.  It is said its guest registers hold the names of everyone who visited; and one was used in a murder trial in the 1850’s to locate the whereabouts of certain witnesses at the time of the murder.  You guessed it – they were at the Graham Springs Hotel.

Begun in 1820, a large hotel was built in 1843.  In 1853 the property was sold to the US government, and burned in 1865.  In 1911 the idea of the Graham Springs Hotel was reborn with another building, and continued through 1932 when the property was purchased by Glave Goddard.  In 1946 it was decided to build the James B. Haggin Hospital on the site of the Grahm Springs Hotel.

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Sunday, November 17, 1929

Autumn At Graham Springs

To the Editor of The Courier-Journal

Graham Springs Hotel stands upon a beautiful wooded hilltop overlooking the historic town of Harrodsburg, itself one of the oldest and most famous resort hotels in the South.

Twenty-five acres of almost virgin forestry surround it, in unusual beauty of location, its site superb, and its outlook majestic.  As the changing seasons come and go in Kentucky, they write a progressive record of the sylvan beauty upon these woods that thrill an observer with the sheer loveliness of it.  The bluegrass has a marvelous power of resurrection which no amount of scorching in summer drouths can destroy, and late rains of the fall season have laid an aftermath of tender green upon the sunlit slopes in Graham Springs woods.  Upon walnut trees of unusual size and symmetry dark clumps of mistletoe hang in profusion, their waxen berries turning to pearl in a setting of shimmering dark green leaves.  It is no wonder that the Druids worshipped the mistletoe, with its suggestion of everlasting life!  From oak and elm and walnut trees, brilliant autumn colors are flaunted in the face of on-coming winter, with a brave abandon.  As one by one, scarlet, gold and russet-brown leaves float softly to earth, in the still sunlight, a sense of peace and restfulness falls like soothing balm upon the spirit of anyone who may walk there.

In 1820, Dr. C. C. Graham erected a classic building resembling an old world castle upon these grounds, close to the famous Graham0 Springs, whose marvelous curative waters still attract people in search of health and pleasure.  It does not need a page from the United States Dispensary, which states that, ‘Graham Springs and Saratoga are the only saline waters of true worth to be found in America,’ to convince one who has tasted it.  Many have declared it equal to the waters at Baden-Baden.  Kentucky has an asset in this mineral water which she cannot afford to overlook, and progress will surely present it to the world in the fullest measure.  In 1865, that year of the War Between the States anguish, the old hotel was burned.  Its romantic memories, its charm and prestige, however, which are things of spiritual permanence, still cling about the place.

It was in Harrodsburg that George Rogers Clark planned his famous army for the conquest of the Northwest, in commemoration of which event, Old Fort Harrod has been made a State park.  It was within the hotel grounds that a beautiful pageant, representing the early history of Kentucky, was given in celebration of the centennial anniversary of the founding of Harrodsburg, several years ago.  A priceless old record book of Graham Springs Hotel shows names of men famous in the making of America.  Henry Clay was a frequent guest and left his name upon its register.  Pages might be printed of other famous signatures found there.

Old Dr. Graham himself, with his snow-white beard and princely bearing, was a conspicuous figure in the annals of Kentucky, not only leaving a record of his fame at Graham Springs, but at old Transylvania University at Lexington, where he received his education.  Dr. Ephraim McDowell at Danville, and Dr. C. C. Graham at Harrodsburg were men who measured up to the highest standards in the world’s medical records.  The wise old doctor saw to it that his guests had a full measure of exercise and pleasure as well as curative waters to tone up the human system.  A series of dances were inaugurated at Graham Springs before the War Between the States, which became famous for their brilliancy and aristocratic patronage.  The musicians were colored slaves of Dr. Graham, highly trained and gaily liveried.  The singing of ‘spirituals’ before an audience began, in the old South, upon these occasions.

The grave of the unknown girl who died of a heart attack at one of the balls given at Graham Springs.  Her grave is well-tended today.

To this day the weekly dances at Graham Springs are social events of importance in Kentucky, during the season.  Perhaps a mention of the ante-bellum balls may not be complete without reference to the beautiful ‘Unknown’ who danced so gaily and so long at one of them, that she died of a heart attack on the same summer night.  Her grave, marked first by Dr. Graham, and afterward by the City of Harrodsburg, is shown to tourists who never fail to respond to the pathetic appeal of her story.

Mrs. James Harrod, widow of the hardy old pioneer who founded Harrodsburg, lived to a very old age, and was an honored guest at Graham Springs on the first anniversary celebration held there.

Nancy Lewis Greene, Harrodsburg, Kentucky

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Thursday, January 1, 1942

Where Southern Gentry Met to Freshen, Fatten and Flirt

This article of 1942 talks about the many ‘watering places’ or mineral springs located in Kentucky, and used before the advent of the Civil War.  It is said physicians strongly recommended taking the waters and were advertised as being ‘especially beneficial to persons suffering from diseases of the stomach, live and kidneys, as well as from asthma, gout, dyspepsia, rheumatism, bilious disorders, neuralgia, autumnal fevers and general debility.’  I believe that takes in almost anyone!

In 1803 John Kennedy’s stagecoach lines helped bring patrons from the city to the country where they might take the waters.

At Olympian Springs, in Bath County it was said ‘there was much flirting, sometimes by ‘married charmers, thirsting for universal dominion.’  Disputes between the ladies often involved ‘pillows, bolsters, fingernails and the poignant sarcasm of the tongue,’ and, at time, the dueling pistols of sensitive gentlemen could be heard in a nearby woodland settling ‘affairs of honor.’

‘Dr. Christopher Columbus Graham, veteran of the War of 1812 and “for many years the champion off-hand rifle shot of the world,” purchased the Greenville Springs in 1827, and the following year bought the “Harrodsburg or Sutton Springs” from his father-in-law, Captain David Sutton, for $10,000.  Dr. Graham then combined these two watering places under the name of Harrodsburg or Graham’s Springs.

‘A guest, viewing the Springs in retrospect, said of them: “The walk to the spring before breakfast was very fashionable, a long board-walk covered with tan-bark and shaded with locust trees, their branches meeting and arching overhead the whole distance.  The belles and beaux walked up and down the long portico of the hotel in what seemed to me a fair procession.  The ladies with their beautiful elaborately dressed hair in the New Orleans fashion, as from there we got the styles, and their organdy muslins, which were not then to be bought outside of New Orleans.  The envy of all were the exquisite wide embroidered collars and cuffs worn by the Southern belles.  A score of Creole beauties, prim and particular in their lovely, fleecy, muslin dresses were always present.  The ballroom at night was a scene of enchantment; old Dr. Graham, the proprietor, was the master of ceremonies and the life of the party.”’

It was said that during the summer months of 1833, when the Asiatic cholera was rampant in Kentucky, many came to the springs for healing.  ‘Dr. Graham, at Harrodsburg, announced: “These Springs are perfectly free from the cholera and they never have been otherwise,” and “the many who visited the Springs, from the various cholera districts, with the disease upon them, have all quickly recovered.”’

‘By the middle ‘40’s the watering places of the state were in their heyday.  To keep abreast of the times, Dr. Christopher Graham of Harrodsburg Springs erected an elegant and commodious hotel during the late fall of 1842 and winter of 1843.  This splendid building, costing $30,000, was acclaimed by many to the “the finest edifice in the West.”’

And this July 19, 1851, note in The Courier-Journal gives a rousing description of the dance in the Graham Springs Hotel ball room.  ‘Returning from the ball room, brilliantly illuminated by the sparkling eyes, rivaling the stars in their dazzling brilliancy, methought, if in the cool evening zephyrs that continually fanned my brown, (such were a possibility) to collect, my thoughts scattered in the whirling waltz, to the northern extremity of my brain.  Truly the poet says there’s a “magical influence in the wafted breeze;” but I am afraid (like the charming coquette) she has her favorites, for in spite of all my efforts, my thoughts continue to revert to the ball room!  What a potent charm there is in the dance, and how delightfully sounds the music!’

This popularity of ‘taking the waters’ continued into the early 1850’s.  in 1853 Dr. Graham sold the Springs to the United States Government and it was turned into a military asylum for old and disabled soldiers.

In 1856 the main building burned.  And during the Civil War the buildings that remained were used as a hospital.  After the Battle of Perryville on October 8, 1862, in Boyle County, the ballroom was used as an operating room.

But the Springs did revive in the early days of the 20th century.

The Kentucky Advocate, Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

Friday, April 21, 1911

It will be pleasant news to the people of Central Kentucky to learn that the far-famed historical old Graham Springs will be opened as a select summer resort the coming season.  The Cassell mansion, one of the most elegant brick buildings in the Blue Grass has been converted into a choice hotel.  Old fashioned cooking will be provided and food in abundance will be supplied.  The water that pours from Old Graham Springs is the finest in the world and it is a wonder that somebody has not long ago erected a hotel there sufficient to accommodate five hundred guests.  The property is now owned by Mr. Ben C. Allin and Editor T. Sanders Orr has charge of the publicity department.  The water from these springs should be bottled and shipped throughout the country.  Reasonable rates will be made.  Many Danville people will doubtless take advantage of the fine accommodations and benefit themselves by drinking the pure water that made Harrodsburg famous sixty years ago.

This 1923 advertisement for the Graham Springs Hotel touts its ‘tennis, croquet and shady grounds, is located on a high eminence with splendid views and amid beautiful scenery.’  Perhaps this was the first of what today is known as farm-to-table – ‘its table is supplied with the best of foods, old-fashioned cooking, chicken dinners, including pure Jersey milk from our own herd, fresh vegetables and fruit from our own gardens.’

It is also a tourist manual, giving ideas for outings in the surrounding country – ‘beautiful and full of historic interest.  The roads are ideal for riding, driving and motoring and short excursions may be made to the site of the old fort, to Daniel Boone’s Cave, High Bridge, Shakertown, Perryville Battlefield and other points of interest.’

This photo was taken during those early days of the 20th century.

This is what the area looks like today.

Samuel Haycraft of Hardin County Kentucky

I share with you today a short biography of Samuel Haycraft, a very early citizen of Hardin County, who wrote a history of the county in 1869, which was published by the Woman’s Club of Elizabethtown in 1921.  Mr. Haycraft sounds like someone I would love to meet!  He evidently loved history, lived through a big part of the early history of his county, and thankfully wrote it down for later generations!

On May 7, 1866, he wrote a letter to the editors of The Courier-Journal newspaper.  He speaks of the two political parties in the United States at this time – ‘the Radical Abolition party, led by Sumner, Stevens and those of like ilk;’ and ‘that stripe of the Democratic party that met in Louisville on the 1st of May.’  He then gets to the heart of the matter of standing for saving the Union –

‘Now, if that statement be true, then I belong to no party, for I solemnly repudiate both, and set them down as one discordant party with two wings tending to the same end.  The first wing moving heaven, earth and the lower regions to break up the Union and destroy the Constitution, and the second so lately at it that I am afraid to trust them yet, but have some hope that they may yet wheel into ranks.

‘But I do claim to belong to a class of men, Old-line Whigs and Democrats, who, without regard for party names, stood, and still stand, for the Union; and who are determined to stand at the back of that firm and brave patriot, Andrew Johnson, in support of his reconstruction policy, and in the policy shown in two vetoes and his speech following the fist veto, and who wanted the Union speedily restored and our venerated Constitution preserved.  I contend that it is unworthy of the name of an American citizen to stand higgling about a name when our very foundation is sliding from under us.’

Before the war, in March of 1861, we find Mr. Haycraft as an experienced fruit-grower in Hardin County, giving information and advice on the growth of Northern apples.  Has anyone heard of these?  The Northern Spy, Rambo, Lady Apple, Rhode Island Greening, Summer Scarlet Pearmain, Early Strawberry – to name a few.

Thirty years previous, on the 25th of November, 1831, at a ‘meeting of a number of the citizens of Hardin County, Kentucky, friendly to the American System, and to Henry Clay, was convened at the courthouse in Elizabethtown.’  John L. Helm, Esq., was chair and Samuel Haycraft, secretary.

And It was Samuel Haycraft, an old family friend of Abraham Lincoln, that proposed he return to Kentucky for a campaign swing during the presidential race of 1860.  Lincoln, however, felt that it was unlikely to sway any of the Democratic voters to his ticket.

Samuel Haycraft

In the Samuel Haycraft was born August 14, 1795, in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, in a double, round-log cabin.  His father was Samuel Haycraft, a Revolutionary soldier, and a man of great public and private worth, who settled in Kentucky early in the latter quarter of the eighteenth century.  His mother was Margaret VanMeter, daughter of Jacob VanMeter, and belonged to one of the old and honorable pioneer families of the State.  The subject of this sketch, one of the most remarkable men who ever lived in Elizabethtown, spent nearly seven years of his boyhood in the country schools, the last two chiefly in studying the Latin language.  He was a careful, discriminating, and extensive reader and few men of the country were so thoroughly and universally well informed.  His long public career commenced when he was fourteen years of age.  At that time, in October 1809, he began to write in the office of the County and Circuit Clerk, Major Ben Helm.  The duties of this position he performed, with little variation, until 1816, when he received the appointment of Clerk of both Circuit and County Courts of Hardin County, and held this clerkship, uninterruptedly, until 1857.  He said of himself, ‘That, from the time he entered this office, he was attentive to business, and never neglected it; but, in leisure moments was fond of gay and lively company, particularly of dancing parties, but hardly ever descended to low company or rowdyism, but was a wild, wicked sinner.’  On retiring from this office, in 1851, the court and bar adopted, and placed on record, resolutions in every way flattering to him in his official capacity, as well as social and private relations of life.

He, then, began the practice of law at the Elizabethtown bar; but after four years of legal practice, was again called by the people to fill the vacant clerkship of the Circuit Court, caused by the death of the incumbent.  In 1857 he was elected to represent the people in the State Senate and held this position for four years.  He was, therefore, a member of the Legislature during the most important and critical period of the State’s history.  His record made in that body was most honorable to himself, and, in light of the present, is stamped by a wisdom, foresight, and fearless devotion to just and true principles, of which any man might well be proud.  He was instrumental in enacting some measures beneficial to the general good; and it was through his efforts, mainly, that the Legislation was induced to appropriate even the meager sum it did for the erection of a monument to Daniel Boone.  And, in that body, he was one of the most determined and staunch supporters of the Union.  He was then sixty-seven years of age, and, had lived with his father through the greater part of the life-time of the nation, and now stood in the Senate, gray with time and honor, one of the noblest Romans of them all, every ready to say, “The Union must and shall be preserved.”  But neither in that august body nor among his friends and neighbors at home, was he ever obnoxious in his opinions; on the contrary, however, conciliatory generous and discriminating, claiming only to himself his private opinions, and deeply sympathizing with the troubles of his neighbors and the misfortunes of the times.

He was again elected Clerk of the Circuit Court and retired in 1868, at the age of seventy-three, after an unparalleled service of sixty-five years.

He said of himself that, “On the first Saturday in April 1832, my wife and I were baptized by Elder Warren Cash, who also married us; and, in answer to my mother’s prayers, she lied to see all her children in the church, and to hear her youngest son preach the Gospel.”  For over forty years he was a member of the Baptist Church, a teacher in the Sabbath-schools and observed family prayers twice a day.  For several years he was a Trustee of Georgetown College, to which he made some bequests.  Of himself, he says: “I have occupied the same seat in church for over forty years, and never sit back in the scorner’s place.  On the 29th of October 1818, I was married to Sarah Brown Helm, a daughter of Judge John Helm, of Breckinridge County.  I regard the transaction as the most fortunate move of my life, temporally speaking.”  They had four children: Edgar H., DeSoto, Iowa; Sarah M., wife of S. McMurtry, Hardin County; Louisa Ann, wife of William Dix, Breckinridge County; and Margaret J., wife of C. D. Poston, once Representative in Congress of Arizona.  Mr. Haycraft was a fine public speaker and one of the most interesting conversationalists.  His disposition to joke was inveterate and a vein of humor seemed to underlie the most serious moments in his life.  He was a man of fin address, most genial temperament, courteous manner and splendid personal appearance; and few men of his age showed such high preservation of all the noble elements of manhood.  He stood as a monument of the effects of correct principles and practices of life, both physically and mentally.  Ye he modestly said: “My life has been rather quiet and monotonous, and does not afford much matter for history, especially of an extraordinary character.”

His wife died August 14th, 1878.  They had been married 60 years, lacking two months.  To her he repeatedly paid tribute throughout his career, and she was as much of a character in the town as he was.  A gentle, generous, pious woman of the old generation she was “Aunt Sallie” to the whole community.  Many of us still remember her agreeable peculiarity of always having on hand “sweet cakes” for distribution to the children who came to her house.  She and her husband lived in the fine square colonial brick house that stood on the northeast corner of Main and Poplar Streets, the first brick house erected in Elizabethtown.  It was a house of character, and it was a loss to the town when it was destroyed by fire about 1882.

He followed his wife to the grave in his 84th year on December 22nd, 1878, four months after her death.

Ben Hardin – Famous Lawyer of Bardstown

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Tuesday Morning, December 18, 1900


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.

Matthew Harris Jouett – Kentucky Portrait Painter

Last weekend my son, Linton, and I had a day together in Louisville.  He lives in Indianapolis, not the ends of the earth, but not an easy day trip.  When our weekend was planned I told Ritchey and Kate he was mine on Saturday, but I would share him with the rest of the family on Sunday!  We had a huge family dinner and Julian had quite a day with Uncle Linton.

Most of our day together was spent at bookstores, record shops, eating and talking.  Beforehand I searched for those rare and used bookstores and the first we visited was A Book By Its Cover on Dartmouth.  When we turned in it was a residential area.  We searched again and came up with the same place.  Linton called, and, yes, we were in front of the business!  The gentleman told us most of his business is online, but he welcomes those who want to come and peruse.  And he had one room of Kentucky history and county histories – I was in heaven!

One book I found was Matthew Harris Jouett – Kentucky Portrait Painter (1787-1827) by E. A. Jonas.  The book is in excellent condition, being No. 264 of 500 copies of the first edition.  About forty of his portraits are reproduced in the book.  Being a Mercer County resident and having a little knowledgeable about the history of our county, I recognized the last name as the same as the wife of Thomas Allin, our first county clerk.  Thomas Allin married Mary Jouett on February 16, 1789, at the home of her brother, Captain John Jouett, Jr.  Their parents were John Jouett, Sr., and Mourning Harris.  Captain John Jouett, Jr., better known as ‘Jack’, was the father of Matthew Harris Jouett.  Matthew was born in 1787, two years before his aunt’s marriage.

After a local education, Matthew’s father sent him to Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, to be educated as a lawyer.  He studied and became a lawyer, but his free time was spent painting.  In 1812 he married Miss Margaret Allen of Fayette County.

He could not continue his law profession, gave up his business and started painting portraits as his livelihood.  His father was not happy, and that is an understatement.  The War of 1812 changed everyone’s lives, and Matthew Jouett volunteered his services and served valiantly.  He enlisted in Captain Robert Crockett’s Company, Third Mounted Regiment, Kentucky Volunteers, Colonel Allen commanding.  July 13, 1814, he was appointed paymaster, with the rank of captain of the 28th United States Infantry by President Madison.  At the battle of the River Raisin the payrolls and papers, in his care as paymaster, fell into enemy hands and were never recovered.  He found himself in debt to the War Department for $6,000.  That doesn’t sound like a huge sum today, but it would be about a million dollars.  This was not due to negligence or lack of prudence, just a fortune of war.  He was determined to pay the money back – and he did so through painting portraits.  His father was furious and called him a ‘sign-painter’, never realizing how great his talent truly was.

Matthew Jouett went to Boston in 1817 and studied for a year with Gilbert Stuart – who painted the famous George Washington portrait.  Back in Kentucky Matthew painted assiduously.  Those who sat for him sound like a Who’s Who of history – Henry Clay, Judge John Rowan, Andrew Jackson, Hon. George M. Bibb, Mr. Justice Thomas Todd, Captain Robeson DeHart, Colonel Edmund Taylor, Sr., General LaFayette, Hon. John Brown, Hon. Robert S. Todd, George Rogers Clark and many, many others.  It is said that in the ten years of his career he produced over 400 portraits – and there could be more.  In 1964, at an auction in Lexington, a gentleman bought a portrait of a child for $22 – and afterwards found out it was a Matthew Jouett painting, worth $1600-$2000!

Matthew Jouett died after a short illness, August 10, 1827, in his fortieth year and at the top of his professional success.  It is said he accomplished as much in ten years as many others were able to do only in a lifetime.  His fame as a great painter truly began at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.  His paintings were given the best place in the gallery by the Hanging Committee because of their recognized merit.  In 1928 fifty to sixty of Matthew Jouett’s portraits were exhibited at the J B Speed Museum in Louisville.  Some of his work is in the Hall of Governors at the Kentucky History Center, and I believe one hangs in a New York museum.

Matthew and his wife are buried in Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville.  I think there’s another road trip to plan – to the cemetery, J B Speed Museum in Louisville, and the old state house in Frankfort where the life-size portrait of General LaFayette hangs!  I will keep you updated!

Louis A. Bersot Biography

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

Oldham County

Louis A Bersot was born in Carroll County, Kentucky, in 1842.  His father, Julius Bersot, was born in Switzerland in 1803, was of French parentage, and came to America in 1816; settled in Carroll County, and married Miss Maria Poindexter, daughter of Robert Poindexter, of Frankfort, Kentucky, who was in seven campaigns, and twice wounded during the War of 1812, and who was a brother of Governor Poindexter of Mississippi, a trusted friend of Henry Clay.  Mrs. Maria Bersot died in 1868, and her husband, Julius, in 1875, both being members of the Baptist Church.  Louis A. Bersot is the eighth of eleven children, and was reared on the home farm near Ghent, in Carroll County.  He was educated at Eminence College, afterward taught school at Jericho, Henry County, and in 1870 entered the ministry in the Christian Church.  He has had charge of Westport Church about seven years, and the Sandhill Church, about four years, and also of the South Jefferson Church, twelve miles below Louisville.  His residence is on his farm of ninety acres, near Brownsboro.  In 1864 he married Miss Ada R. Smith, of Jefferson County, a daughter of Benjamin Smith, who was a soldier in the War of 1812, a native of Virginia, and of German descent.  The children born to Mr. and Mrs. Bersot are eight in number, and named as follows:  Panolia E., Lizzie J., Letellier F., Julius S., Louis O., Addie M., Vernon C. and Vassie M.  Mrs. Bersot is also a member of the Christian Church, and Mr. Bersot is a Knight of Honor.

Samuel Clay Biography


from History of Bourbon, Scott, Harrison and Nicholas Counties, Kentucky, Perrin, 1882

Bourbon County, Kentucky

Samuel Clay, farmer and stock raiser; P. O. Paris.  This gentleman is the largest land owner, and one of the most successful agriculturists in Bourbon County.  He was born in this Precinct [Paris] April 8, 1815, son of Colonel Henry Clay, a native of Virginia, (his wife’s maiden name was Helm), who emigrated to this county from the Old Dominion about the year 1785.  He came here with his father, Samuel Clay, when a lad of eight years.  He was a successful farmer.  To Henry Clay was born twelve children; eleven grew to maturity.  The eldest was Henry; then in order of birth were John, Sallie, Joseph, Letitia, Henrietta, Elizabeth, Samuel, Mary, Frank, and Matt M., all of whom settled in this county.  Sallie married William Buckner; Letitia became the wife of Daniel Bedinger.  Henrietta married three times; first to Mr. Bedford, by whom she had one son, Frank.  Her second husband was Robert Scott, by whom she had one child.  Her third husband was E. S. Dudley.  Elizabeth Married Douglas P. Lewis.  Mary married E. S. Dudley, the husband of Henrietta.


Samuel Clay, born April 8, 1815, died February 14, 1888.  Nancy T., his wife, 1818-1899.  Paris Cemetery, Bourbon County, Kentucky.

In 1836 our subject married Nancy T. Wornall, who was born January 16, 1816, in Clark County.  She was a daughter of Thomas and Sallie (Ryan) Wornall.  Thomas was the son of Roby and Edie Wornall, who was a native of Virginia.  At the time Mr. Clay started in business for himself, his father gave him 440 acres of land.  From this start he has added to it until he now owns over 7,000 in this county, and several thousand in counties adjoining.  Mr. Clay is a tireless worked, and believes in the adage that it is better to wear out than rust out, and his career has been one of unusual success.  He has had four children:  Thomas H., Susan E., wife of Cassius Clay.  She died in 1879, leaving four children.  James E. resides on farm adjoining.


James E. Clay, born September 25, 1850, died July 17, 1910.  Lizzie A. Clay, born December 25, 1849, died July 2, 1910.


A Beautiful Day at the Lexington Cemetery



‘A rose once grew where all could see, sheltered beside a garden wall.  And, as the days passed swiftly by, it spread its branches, straight and tall.’

On a beautiful day in April Ritchey and I visited the Lexington Cemetery, Fayette County, Kentucky.  It was a glorious day – tulips blooming, trees laden with blossoms of white, purple and pink.  So not only were there gravestones to photo – but the scenery also!


One of the famous persons buried in this cemetery is Henry Clay – the man who was Speaker of the House, senator, secretary of state, five time presidential candidate – but never president.  Clay married Lucretia Hart and together they had eleven children.


Earlier in the year I read Henry Clay – The Essential American by David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler.  I highly recommend it!


Dr. H. H. Sheppard, born August 18, 1797, died January 8, 1859.


Sampson Dots, born May 3, 1800, died March 25, 1863.


Mrs. Margaret R. Rodes, born June 4, 1799, died November 27, 1865.


Levi Todd Rodes, 1831-1890.  A relative of Mary Todd Lincoln.


Caroline V. Waters, born January 23, 1801, died April 7, 1876.


Maj. George Parke Richardson, born March 12, 1795, died July 16, 1851.

Sarah Ann McDougald, wife of George P. Richardson, born September 23, 1802, died March 5, 1875.

Georgia Richardson, died January 30, 1884.  ‘She hath done what she could.’


Livia H., wife of W. L. Gardner, born November 7, 1834, died February 21, 1864.

William L. Gardner, born March 27, 1836, died May 20, 1882.