Tag Archives: Isaac Shelby

Matthew Harris Jouett’s Portrait of Governor Isaac Shelby

One section of the Hall of Governors at the Kentucky History Center.  Governor Isaac Shelby is at the top, far left.

Last week Ritchey and I visited the Kentucky History Center in Frankfort.  This was not so much a research trip as a photography session!  In a previous blog I wrote about Matthew Harris Jouett – the Mercer County native that became a famous portrait painter shortly after fighting in the War of 1812.  Isaac Shelby, the first governor of Kentucky, was one of his subjects, and the portrait painted in 1820 hangs in the Hall of Governors of the history center.

Governor Isaac Shelby, 1750-1826

This is Governor Isaac Shelby’s portrait, by Jouett.  Since it hangs in the upper section it was rather difficult to get a good shot, without having glare from the lights.  I think it a very good portrait by someone with very little formal training (Matthew Jouett studied with Gilbert Stuart for one year in Boston).  The tie and cravat, with its multitude of ruffles, are interesting, but it is the face of Governor Shelby that captures our attention.  He looks a very no-nonsense man – which I’m sure he was.  There was no time for nonsense in those very early days of Kentucky, creating our state and keeping his citizens safe from Indian raids.  This was after fighting the Indians earlier in Virginia and the Revolutionary War!

Isaac Shelby was governor from 1792-1796.  He served a second term in 1812-1816, during the War of 1812.  It was believed that no one else could lead us through to victory.  Shelby actually led troops during the war, and was not always in the state.  He gave battle beside William Henry Harrison, Commander of the American Northwest Army, and Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry.

Shelby was known as the old Indian fighter.  He lived near Danville at his home called ‘Traveler’s Rest.’  He was escorted from Danville to Lexington, for his inauguration, by a detachment of Lexington horse troops – to his lodging at the Sheaf of Wheat Inn.  This was before Frankfort became the state capital.

In his autobiography Shelby wrote only one line about his terms as governor, since he felt his military career was more important.  But governorship and wars were not what Isaac Shelby truly wanted to do.  He wanted to be a farmer and raise good cattle, living in the spot where he had pitched a tent at the age of twenty-five, in the wilderness of Kentucky!

Colonel Joseph McDowell of Boyle County

The McDowell name is well known to those of us in Mercer and Boyle counties.  The Danville hospital, Ephraim McDowell, is visited by many in the area, named for the eminent doctor of the same name, and brother to Colonel Joseph McDowell.  Following are a couple of old newspaper articles about the McDowell family, the first concerning the colonel’s daughter, Anna.

The Olive Branch and Danville Advertiser, Boyle County, Kentucky

Thursday, December 15, 1825

Married – On Thursday evening last, by he Rev’d Samuel K. Nelson, Mr. Abram I. Caldwell, to Miss Ann McDowell, daughter of Col. Joseph McDowell – all of this vicinity.

The second concerns family members moved from a family cemetery to Bellevue Cemetery in Danville.

Interior Journal, Stanford, Lincoln County, Kentucky

Friday, June 3, 1892

Col. Nicholas McDowell, commissioner of agriculture, completed Tuesday the removal of two of his ancestors from the old Gov. Adair farm, in Mercer County, to the Danville Cemetery [Bellevue].  They were Samuel McDowell, who died in 1830, and his wife, who died in 1816.  A portion of Mrs. McDowell’s coffin was well preserved, showing the walnut wood and velvet bound to wood by brass tacks.  From this same Mercer County farm the remains of Gov. Adair and wife were 16 years ago taken to the Frankfort Cemetery.  In the Danville cemetery, in addition to those placed there Tuesday, and in the same lot, are the bodies of Col. Joseph McDowell and wife, Judge Samuel McDowell, the eminent jurist, and wife.  The dust of Dr. Ephraim McDowell, another of this prominent pioneer family, is in the old cemetery, now called McDowell Park, adjoining the First Presbyterian Church.  Mr. Samuel McDowell, the father of the commissioner, who died in 1859, and his wife, are also buried in the Danville cemetery.

I checked my photographs taken in Bellevue Cemetery, but had none for the McDowell family – I see another trip there in the future!

Historic Families of Kentucky, Green, 1889

Colonel Joseph McDowell of Danville, Boyle County, Kentucky

The fifth son of Judge Samuel McDowell and Mary McClung, Joseph, was born September 13, 1768.  A child when the Revolution commenced, and still a boy when it ended, yet was his character molded by the stirring events transpiring around him, and by the patriotic deeds to the narration of which he was an eager listener.  Coming to Kentucky, with his father, in 1784, his youth was passed in intimate association with the men who, in Danville conventions, prepared the way for separation from Virginia, and who established and gave its peculiar tone to the commonwealth.

In the Indian campaigns, in which Kentuckians were engaged in the North-west, between the dates of his attaining the age for military service and the treaty which followed the victory of ‘Mad Anthony’ Wayne, he was a prompt and brave participant.  He was a private in Brown’s company, in Scott’s expedition of 1791.  He was in both expeditions under General Hopkins, 1812.  The reputation for good sense, sound judgement, military capacity and courage won therein, induced his appointment, by Shelby, to the position of adjutant-general upon the staff of that hard fighting commander.  He served from the beginning to the close of Shelby’s campaign in the North-west, and was at the Thames, where Tecumseh fell.  For good conduct and valuable service rendered in that campaign and battle, he received complimentary mention, not only by his immediate commander, but also from General Harrison.

The occupation of Colonel Joseph McDowell was that of a farmer.  Disdaining all shams, and himself one of the most unassuming of men, his was eminently a veracious character; in the perfect uprightness and simplicity of his life, there was a constant beauty.  One of the most amiable, quiet and unobtrusive of men, of all his sex there was none more resolute and determined.  A ruling elder of the Presbyterian Church for many years, and devoutly religious, in his observance thereof there was no parade.  In the decline of his honorable life, after he had withdrawn from all active participation in public affairs, the writer was witness to the respectful deference shown him by the entire community among whom he lived.  He died, in Danville, June 27, 1856, at the good old age of eighty-eight years.

The excellent wife of Colonel Joseph McDowell was Sarah Irvine, sister to Anne Irvine, who married his brother, Samuel – a relative, whose symmetrical character made her, in every way, worthy of such a man.  Samuel, their oldest son, married, first, Amanda Ball, granddaughter of John Reed, already mentioned, and a cousin of James G. Birney.  Of this marriage, the sole issue was a daughter, who was the wife of Dr. Meyer, of Boyle County.  This Samuel McDowell, married, secondly, Martha Hawkins, by whom he had children, among them Samuel and Nicholas, both farmers in Boyle County.

Colonel Joseph McDowell’s oldest daughter, Anna, married Abram I. Caldwell, descended from one of the most reputable of the Scotch-Irish families of the Valley, and a farmer of Boyle; they have a number of children living in that county.

Sarah, the second daughter of Colonel Joseph McDowell, married Michael Sullivant, of Columbus, Ohio.  Of wonderful energy and the most sanguine temper, Mr. Sullivant engaged in gigantic agricultural enterprises, first upon his inherited acres in Ohio, and afterwards in Illinois.  He is best known to the world as the once owner of the princely estates of ‘Broadlands’ and ‘Burr Oaks,’ in the latter state.  Throughout the most tremendous operations, and amid the saddest vicissitudes, he preserved an untarnished honor and the sunniest of tempers.  Large hearted as well as of herculean stature; free handed as he was unreserved and cordial in manner; frank, generous, hospitable and cheery, his image will continue with the living as the most pleasant of memories.  The only son of Sarah McDowell and Michael Sullivant, Joseph McDowell, is a prosperous farmer near Homer, Illinois.  Annie, one of their daughters, is the wife of E. L. Davison, now of Louisville; and Lucy, another daughter, is the wife of Wm. Hopkins, a grandson of General Samuel Hopkins, and resides in Henderson, Kentucky.

Margaret Irvine McDowell, the third daughter of Colonel Joseph, of Danville, was the first wife of Joseph Sullivant, of Columbus, a younger brother of Michael.  Mr. Joseph Sullivant’s second wife was Mary Eliza Brashear, granddaughter of Judge William McDowell.  He was a man of cultivated tastes, devoted to scientific pursuits, too public spirited for his own welfare in a pecuniary sense, and did much to develop literary and scientific ambitions and enterprises in his native Columbus.  In many ways a public benefactor, in all ways he was a useful citizen, and at all times a gentleman.  He lived to a venerable and respected old age.  His first wife died in giving birth to their only child, Margaret Irvine Sullivant, the wife of Henry B. Carrington, a brigadier-general of volunteers in the Union army, colonel of the Eighteenth Regular Infantry, now on the retired list – a gallant and capable officer.  Mrs. Carrington is dead; two worthy sons survive her.

Magdalen, the fourth daughter of Colonel Joseph McDowell, of Danville, married Caleb Wallace, a lawyer, of Danville; her husband was a grandson of Judge Caleb Wallace, of the Kentucky Court of Appeals, whose wife was a sister of Colonel William Christian.  Mrs. Magdalen Wallace is still living, in Danville, blessed with two manly sons, McDowell and Woodford.

Revolutionary War Pensioner Barnabas Allen and Wife Mary

In his History of Maysville and Mason County, 1936, G Glenn Clift gives a lovely introduction to the pension papers of Mason County soldiers who served in the Revolutionary War, Indian Wars and War of 1812.  I would like to share that with you before continuing with one of the pension abstracts.  We must be thankful that not only did our ancestors receive a pension, but the records, with much information about their lives, is left as record for us!

Kentuckians have long been aware of their debt to those fought our first war for independence.  Many and impressive are the monuments that have been raised to the Revolutionary soldiers who knew Kentucky’s sod.  Eloquent have been the pleas for recognition of their heroic struggles.  ‘Under a long sunshine of peace, we had forgotten much of war,’ said governor Isaac Shelby in his message to the Legislature on December 5, 1816.  ‘Most of those, who in the former war, had stood the battle’s brunt, and led us to victory, were in the silent tomb.  Of those who remained, age had generally unnerved the vigor of early life . . . Whilst we are reaping the fruits of an honorable peace, we should bear in mind, those brave men, who fell in the war, and whose valor, together with that of their compeers in arms, secured to us that peace.  Many of them left wives and children who are dependent upon the bounty of their friends.  I therefore recommend that provision be made by law for the support of the widows, and for the education of the children of the militia of this state, who were killed or died in public service during the late war.’

Governor Shelby, together with his associates and subjects, always maintained a close interest in these old soldiers and their dependents by seeing that all who were deserving should receive pensions.

Sill later a remarkable interest in the living Revolutionary soldiers was evinced in 1842, when the Legislature suggested that the names and residences of all the survivors be secured and some way provided ‘in which a grateful people may do honor to the memory and character of the immortal heroes, and patriots, collectively, by whose toil and valor the boon of freedom is inherited.’

The first few years of 1800 witnessed much activity on the part of the old soldiers and their families:  the pensions were being paid.  There were papers on top of papers to be filled, there were questions to be answered, memories to be revived, battles and campaigns to be described, relived.

Before the Mason County Court, in Washington, began to appear the old soldiers.  Each in his faltering voice related his story.  As campaign after campaign rolled on, aged eyes brightened and white heads wagged in mute agreement.  It was a long and tedious task this identification.  Witnesses were called to swear that a certain old man had married a certain equally aged woman.  But, finally, was coming the long hoped for pension:  a lot could be endured for such compensation.

Barnabas and Mary Allen

Navy and Pennsylvania, No. W8315

The pensioner served in the marines under the command of Captain Porter on the frigate Delaware which had forty guns.  He thus entered the service in 1776, in Philadelphia, by voluntary enlistment for a tour of one year to serve under the command of Lieutenant Henderson and he then served until he was honorably discharged, at which time he joined the land forces by voluntary enlistment in the Seventh Regiment of the Pennsylvania Line in 1780, to serve under the command of Colonel Harmer in the company under the command of Lieutenant McMahen.  These facts were given in August, 1818, in Mason County, Kentucky, in the pensioner’s petition to the Secretary of War of the United States.

On November 28, 1839, in Pendleton County, Kentucky, Mary Allen, widow of the pensioner, at the age of 76, appeared in open court and stated that they had been married in the summer of 1791 in Beaver County, Virginia, and that her husband, Barnabas Allen, died September 2, 1821.

The affidavit of Birkett Colvin was given at the same time.  The deponent stated that he was an acting Justice of the Peace and stated that he was well acquainted with the widow, Mary Allen.  He concluded his statements by saying that she was a woman of veracity.

Affidavits of John Forsythe, William Stites and Samuel Holmes also were taken at the same time and place.  The deponents stated they were acquainted with the widow and that the pensioner had died at the time and place stated by his widow, and that Mary Allen still remained the widow and relict of the pensioner.

The following dates are from the family Bible:  John Allen born July 16, 1802; Henry Allen, born May 12, 1804; Anthony Allen, born November 25, 1806; Eleanor Allen, born February 25, 1797.

On April 27, 1840, in Pendleton County, Kentucky, Eleanor Gifford made affidavit.  The deponent stated that she was the daughter of the pensioner and his widow, and she further swore that her parents were at the age that they had stated, and that the Bible records were to the best of her knowledge the truth.  She also stated that she had been told by her parents that there had been two children born before her, that one had been burned to death and that the other had died from croup.  The deponent further stated that her parents were married as they had stated and that her father died at the time stated by his widow and she concluded her affidavit saying that her mother, Mary Allen, still remained the widow and relict of the said pensioner, Barnabas Allen.

To the above affidavit was also appended the declaration of Joshua Gifford, who swore that the above declaration of his wife was true and he himself had been both well and favorably acquainted with the pensioner in 1791.

Mary Allen, widow of the pensioner, Barnabas Allen, was on the Kentucky roll of pensions at the rate of $40 per annum and her certificate of pension for that amount was issued August 19, 1843, and was sent to William S. Allison.

The pensioner himself, Barnabas Allen, was on the Kentucky Roll of Pensions at the rate of $8 per month, to commence May 11, 1818, and his certificate of pension for that amount was issued March 18, 1818, and was sent to Major Davidson at Washington in the District of Columbia.

Revolutionary Soldiers of Lincoln County, Kentucky

img_0922Tuesday Ritchey and I decided to visit several courthouses in the surrounding counties, particularly looking for marriage bonds, but obtained a few wills in the process, too.

We started in Standford, the county seat of Lincoln County, one of the three original counties formed in 1780 from what was then Kentucky County, Virginia.  Our first stop wasn’t actually the courthouse!  One needs nourishment for such a journey that we would have that day, so we enjoyed a sumptuous breakfast at the Bluebird Cafe – two blocks away.

Once we arrived at the courthouse we found many, many old records, which will be shared at a later date.  On the front of the courthouse, beside the door, was a plaque listing the Revolutionary soldiers of Lincoln County.  I wanted to share those names with you today!

img_0923Lincoln County Revolutionary Soldiers

  • John S. Alverson
  • John Bailey
  • James P. Barnett
  • Robert Barnett
  • Alexander Blaine
  • Gideon Bosley
  • Benjamin Briggs
  • William Bruce
  • Benjamin Burch
  • Adam Carpenter
  • Conrad Carpenter
  • John Carpenter
  • John Colyer
  • Peter Curtis
  • James Davis
  • John Dinwiddie
  • James Divin
  • William Dougherty
  • Samuel Duncan
  • James Durham
  • George Edwards
  • Robert Elder
  • Abraham Estes
  • James Estill
  • John Fleece
  • Micajah Frost
  • Richard Gaines
  • Anthony Gale
  • Isaac Garven
  • George Givins
  • James Givins, Sr.
  • Robert Givins
  • Bartlee Greenwood
  • William Graves
  • Joseph Hackley
  • Joseph Hall
  • Drury Ham
  • Nathaniel Hart
  • Luke Hazelwood
  • George Helm
  • Marquis Helm
  • James Hickman
  • George Hocker
  • Nicholas Hocker
  • Phillip Hocker
  • Samuel Hocker
  • William Hughes
  • Richard Hunt
  • Stephen Huston
  • James Knox
  • Benjamin Logan
  • David Logan
  • Hugh Logan
  • John Logan
  • William Logan
  • Rodham Lunsford
  • Daniel McCormack
  • Joseph McCormack
  • Dennis McKinney
  • Mark McPherson
  • John M. McRoberts
  • Garret Menefee
  • James Menefee
  • Henry Miller
  • Isaac Miller
  • Ezra Morrison
  • Benjamin O’Banner
  • Thomas Owsley
  • William Owsley
  • Alexander Paxton
  • John Paxton
  • James Peak
  • Jesse Peake
  • John Pemberton
  • Valentine Peyton
  • James Renick
  • Dunn Salyas
  • William Sampson
  • William Shanks
  • Isaac Shelby
  • Joseph Skidmore
  • Abraham Sublett
  • Moses Sweeney
  • Benedict Swope
  • John Taylor
  • Andrew Wallace
  • Peter Warner
  • William Whitley
  • Joseph Withers
  • Caldwell Woods


Pension Applications – Jefferson County, Kentucky

Pension Applications – Jefferson County, Kentucky

Henry Hawkins

Henry Hawkins, who was a Private in Captain Frederick Geiger’s Company of Volunteers in the Battle of Tippecanoe, was inscribed on the pension list of the Kentucky agency to commence on December 15, 1814.  Certificate of the pension was issued on January 2, 1816, and sent to Robert Crockett, Esquire, and agent for paying invalid pensioners, Lexington, Kentucky, on December 20, 1820.

Henry Hawkins and Frederick Geiger made affidavit for a pension in Jefferson County, Kentucky, on December 10, 1814, before James Ferguson, Justice of the Peace.  They stated that in the year 1811 a company was raised and started to Vincennes, Indiana.  That said Geiger was chosen by their company as their captain to command them and was received as such by William Henry Harrison, then Governor of said state.  That Hawkins was one of Geiger’s volunteers.  They were marched under the commands and orders of said Harrison to Tippecanoe on the Wabash.  That Hawkins was in action on November 7, 1811, in the battle at Tippecanoe between the Indians and the force under the command of said Harrison.  That said Hawkins was badly wounded in the left leg above the ankle and was so disabled he could not march and was conveyed in a wagon to Vincennes and helped in and out of the wagon and was obliged to return to his home on horseback from Vincennes.  That said Hawkins promptly performed his duty.

The above affidavit was made before James Ferguson, Justice of the Peace.

Dr. John L. Murray made affidavit of having examined the wound of Henry Hawkins and that he had been wounded by a ball passing from out the side of his left leg.  This affidavit was made on December 14, 1814, Jefferson County, Kentucky.

In Jefferson County, Kentucky, on December 14, 1814, Warden Pope made affidavit of being well acquainted with the applicant, Henry Hawkins, and to his belief in his statements.  That they became acquainted in 1783.  That said Hawkins is in moderate circumstances, and has a wife and children and depends on labor for existence.

This affidavit was certified by James Ferguson, Justice of the Peace, and Warden Pope, Clerk.

Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky, made certification that James Ferguson, Esquire, was an active Justice of the Peace in said county and state.  Governor Isaac Shelby made this affidavit in Frankfort, Kentucky, on December 20, 1814.

Colonel Beriah Magoffin Obituary


from The Harrodsburg Herald, Mercer County, Kentucky

The passing of Colonel Beriah Magoffin, 86, at his home in McAlester, Oklahoma, Monday, August 29, was a sincere grief to many here who knew and reverenced him.  His death was due to infirmities of his advanced years from which he had recently gradually grown weaker.  Colonel Magoffin was a man of unusual intellect and a personality that won every person for his friend.  These gifts combined with a high sense of honor, culture and gracious courtesy made him an outstanding man wherever he was placed.  A devout Christian and a devoted husband and father were unassuming qualities that added to his character.  He had a fine public spirit and in the years past that he and his wife spent in Harrodsburg, his old home, he lent himself with deep interest to the affairs of this community.

Colonel Magoffin was of prominent pioneer families whose members were active in founding and establishing Kentucky as a state.  He was the grandson on his mother’s side of Isaac Shelby, the first governor of Kentucky.  His father was Governor Beriah Magoffin, of Harrodsburg, the Chief Executive of Kentucky during the War Between the States.  Many members of his family were outstanding in state and national activities.  During the War Between the States he enlisted on the  Confederate side as a very young man under General John Hunt Morgan.  For many years he returned to Kentucky to meet at the annual gathering of Morgan’s men.

During the war he was taken a prisoner and placed in the noted federal Rock Island prison.  He escaped, but was captured and though little more than a boy, he steadfastly refused to tell who aided him, though subjected to many indignities by the officials.

After the war he was married to Miss Lucy E. Thompson, of Harrodsburg, and later they moved to Minnesota.  After many years of success in business there, they sometime ago went to McAlester, Oklahoma, to live where a son had located.  Both Mr. and Mrs. Magoffin retained to a deep degree the love for Harrodsburg, and for a long time have spent most of their summers here where both were loved and revered.  It has been their custom to celebrate the anniversaries of their honeymoon which they spent in Louisville at the Old Inn Hotel, and to return there and occupy the same room.

Colonel Magoffin is survived by his widow and four of their eight children:  Beriah Magoffin, IV, of Deerwood, Minnesota; Mrs. Jennie Hugo, of Duluth, Minnesota; Messrs. Beck Breckinridge Magoffin and Eben Magoffin, McAlester, Oklahoma.  He also leaves a number of grandchildren, among them Misses Dorothy and Suzanne Shackleford, of Franfort, whose mother, Mrs. Mary Magoffin Shackleford, attended old Daughters College, and also spent much time in Harrodsburg.  Of a large family of brothers and sisters only three survive Colonel Magoffin, a sister, Mrs. John Charles Thompson, St. Paul, Minnesota; Mr. Eb Magoffin, Frankfort; and Samuel Magoffin, St. Paul.

In accordance with his wish Colonel Magoffin was brought here to the home of his youth to rest with his parents in Spring Hill Cemetery, arriving here Wednesday night, when many friends waited at the railroad station and a number threw open their homes to the family.  He was accompanied by his devoted wife and son, Eben Magoffin, and was met here by his niece, Mrs. William Austin, of Knoxville, Tennessee.

The funeral was at eleven o’clock Thursday morning with simple rites at the grave in Spring Hill Cemetery and in the presence of many relatives and friends from this and other places.  In the absence from town of the Presbyterian minister, to which faith he belonged, the services was conducted by his friend, the Rev. T. Hassell Bowen, pastor of the Christian Church.  Resting on the casket were three Confederate flags sent for that purpose by Mrs. R. H. Sampson, of Knoxville, Tennessee, a daughter of the noted Confederate, General Felix Zollicoffer.

Colonel Magoffin was buried in his Confederate uniform.  The casket bearers were Dr. J. Tom Price, W. W. Ensminger, Douglass Curry, Bacon Moore, H. T. Soaper and D. M. Hutton.

My Beloved Jennie

This beautiful and wistful stone is in Spring Hill Cemetery in Harrodsburg, Mercer County, Kentucky.  I was drawn to it not only for the intricacy of flowers on top of the stone, and the leaves at the bottom, but for the fact that no last name is listed.  The inscription on the stone reads:

My Beloved Jennie was born June 25, 1849.  She died August 20, 1873.

Since Jennie is surrounded by members of the Magoffin family I suspected that was her last name.  With a little research at our public library I found I was correct.  Jane “Jennie” Magoffin was the daughter of Beriah Magoffin, Jr., ( governor of Kentucky during the Civil War) and his wife, Ann N. Shelby (daughter of the first governor of Kentucky, Isaac Shelby).  Jennie Magoffin was named for her grandmother, Jane McAfee, wife of Beriah Magoffin, Sr., and her great-great-grandmother, Jane McMichael McAfee, who was among the first to cross the Cumberlands into Kentucky in 1779.  She came with her five sons – Samuel, James, George, Robert and William.  There were many dangers and hardships during those early years, the settlers living at McAfee Station.

Jane “Jennie” Magoffin and William Hutchinson procured a marriage bond on May 16, 1870.  Such a short time together!  I have no obituary or record of her death – it could have been from childbirth – or possibly consumption.  Perhaps we will never know.  But just a little research did give more clues to the elusive “My Beloved Jennie”.