Tag Archives: Jefferson County Kentucky

Capt. D. T. Bligh – Famous Detective From Louisville Kentucky

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Sunday, March 2, 1890

Capt. Delos T. Bligh, the veteran Chief of Louisville’s detective force, is dead.  The melancholy event occurred last evening at his residence, 1024 Seventh Street.  The immediate cause of death was organic disease of the heart, although, since he first became ill, he had suffered with dropsy.

Capt. Bligh’s illness dates some five months back, and he has been growing gradually weaker ever since.  He had not been out of the house for three months, but during that time had rallied frequently, sufficiently to create strong hopes in the breasts of his family that he would eventually recover, despite his advanced age.  He had, however, told Capt. Daly that he would never get well.  He was conscious up to the supreme moment and passed away with a struggle.  He had been growing noticeably weaker during the forenoon and had caused Capt. Daly to be telephoned for.  While conversing with Capt. Daly he exhibited signs of weakness, dozing off after speaking a few words and rallying with an effort.  His eyes would roll, and he gave every evidence of approaching dissolution.  He seemed to realize the fact, and when Capt. Daly left, about 12:30 o’clock, the sufferer said, ‘Good-bye, Jim,’ and feebly waved his hand, his manner and tone indicating that he knew the farewell was for all time.

Had Capt. Bligh lived until the 19th of this month he would have been sixty-seven years old.  He was not a member of any church, but all his family belong to the Broadway Methodist Church, of which Dr. Gilby C. Keller is pastor.  He leaves a widow, Mrs. Kate Bligh, and six daughters, three of whom are married.  All were present at the time of his death, except Mrs. C. P. Williamson, wife of the well-known foundryman of Birmingham, the eldest daughter, who has been summoned by telegraph and will reach this city today.  The next daughter is Mrs. Dr. Wiley Rogers, and the others are Misses Anna and Amy, twins, Miss Lois and Mrs. Nellie Watts, now a resident of Winfield, Kansas.  Miss Anna is a teacher in the Tenth Ward school, Miss Amy in the Ninth Ward, and Miss Lois occupies the position of critic teacher in the Normal School.

Capt. Bligh was an old and honored member of the Masonic fraternity, having been made a Mason in Abraham Lodge, No. 8, of which Judge R. H. Thompson is the present Master, May 28, 1857.  He was made a life member of the lodge October 25, 1872.  As soon as the tidings of his death reached the City Hall, the fire bells were tolled, conveying the sad news to many friends who, anticipating the event, would know to whom this honor was paid.  A detail of officers was made to watch beside the body.  Detectives Daly and Fritsch were on the first part of the night, to be succeeded by Detective Cassin and Officer Leatherman the latter part, with Officer Wash Slater to perform a similar service after daylight this morning.  Maj. Owens will make still further details today.

No funeral arrangements have been made, and none will be made until after the arrival of Mrs. Williamson from Birmingham.  It is probable, however, that it will take place tomorrow afternoon.  It is the desire of the family that the obsequies shall be as quiet as possible, but Capt. Bligh was so universally known, and so popular, that it is likely that this will have to be in a measure abandoned, in order that his friends may testify their appreciation of the worth of the man who, more than any other individual, has been of such great service to the city in ridding it of evil-doers and keeping them away.

The Detective’s Life

Capt. Delos T. Bligh was one of the most notable detectives of this country.  By his sobriquet of ‘Yankee’ Bligh he was known far and near.  To the crooks of the land the mere mention of his name caused a feeling of uneasiness.  The sight of his towering figure and searching eye gave them a frigid sensation.  He knew and had handled nearly all the clever thieves.  Many of the cracksmen, konjacker, bunko steerer, forger, murderer and dark worker in every avenue of crime had felt the power of his hand, and one and all knew his reputation was not the result of fulsome praise or nerveless dread.  The terror of his name alone, in keeping knaves away from the city, was worth all he ever received for his services.

He ranked second in his profession, Allan Pinkerton alone enjoying a more redoubtable position in the estimation of the people they had to deal with.  And this fact arose largely from the latter having at his command a far greater number of assistants.  In many respects Bligh was the equal and in some the superior of the founder of the Chicago detective bureau.  They were great personal friends and always had a high regard for each other.  Whenever Pinkerton wanted anything in Capt. Bligh’s territory, the latter was the man consulted.

The bare recital of all the detective work done by ‘Yankee’ Bligh would furnish a volume as thrilling as the most ingenious weavings of Gaboriau or Du Boisgobey or their rivals in the field of detective fiction.  But Capt. Bligh had one trait that many others in his business lacked.  He never sought notoriety and praise for his achievements.  He was sometimes considered a little too reserved about telling the stories of his arrests and the facts about the captives.  His mind was a storehouse of information about criminals that might have brought him a large pecuniary return had he consented to publish it.  But his he never would.  He kept most he knew to himself or imparted it only to his colleagues and subordinates when the occasion required.  He was always careful not to allow a picture of himself to get into the hands of any one.  He thought it might be reproduced and destroy a part of his effectiveness as a detective.  But, two years ago, feeling that his active service in he field was about closing, he consented to allow his likeness to be published, and the first authentic sketch and portrait of him was given to the Courier-Journal at that time.

The afterward famous detective was born in the Empire State.  It was at the little town of Franklin, Delaware County, New York, March 19, 1823, that he first beheld the light of day.  While he was a mere boy, his parents removed to Meadville, Pennsylvania.  As he grew up he was apprenticed to the trade of bricklaying and became a fair mechanic with the trowel.  But this vocation was not entirely to his liking.  The outdoor work developed a naturally grand constitution, and when he attained manhood his physical strength was equaled by that of few men.  Added to this was an ignorance of such a sensation as fear.  Still, he was very different from most men endowed with attributes.  He was never overbearing or in the remotest degree brutal.  On the contrary, he had a keen sense of right, and never abused the power of his personal strength or official position.

In his youth he read the stories of the great Far West.  He heard the occasional tales of stragglers who had crossed the rolling prairies and slept in the shadows of the snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains.  So, when he was nineteen years of age, he packed his carpet-bag and started.  He had very little money.  Up to that time he had never had much he could call his own.  So, he had to work his way.

Reaching Pittsburgh, he halted for a time to replenish his exchequer.  He remained there only a short time.  In the meantime, he had cogitated his plans for the future.  He was scarcely able to decide upon the course he would take, but finally concluded to go to the Rocky Mountains and enter the fur trade at the first round.  But for the chance that caused him to locate in Louisville, he might have become to that craggy land what Kenton and Boone were to Kentucky, what Crockett and Houston were to Texas.

Stopped Here By Accident

However, young Bligh’s home was never nearer to the Occident than in the city beside the Ohio Falls.  When the boat on which he took passage at Pittsburgh reached Louisville it had to lay up, because of low water preventing navigation.  The first morning he walked up the levee into the city that was destined to become the scene of his later triumphs, he little thought he would make it his home.  Still less did he anticipate the course he afterward pursued in his life.  But that day he learned it would be a long wait before he could get further west.  The only means of travel was by water.  He could not live on nothing, so he sought work and found it, as a hod-carrier on the old Louisville Theater, the erection of which had just been begun on the site of the present Courier-Journal building, at Fourth and Green Streets.  For a few weeks he climbed the ladder literally, bearing upon his broad shoulders the bricks and mortar for the Thespian temple.  Then he metaphorically climbed the ladder of life one notch by receiving a promotion to the somewhat more exalted place at the top of the walls.  He served as a brick-layer until the structure was completed.  By this time, he had become attached to Louisville.  He liked the people and they took well to the herculean young stranger whom chance had thrown among them.

When the United States threw the mantle of protection over the struggling Lone Star State, then smarting under the Mexican yoke, and war was declared, among the first to answer the call for troops was the Louisville Legion.  Young Bligh was in the van.  In May 1846, he enlisted in Company A, and a few days later went with it to help the Texans whip the greasers.  Over the Rio Grande the Kentuckians went, to plant the stars and stripes above the cactus-covered Mexican soil.  Private Bligh was a great favorite with his comrades.  His presence seemed to make the bivouacs on the parched soil more endurable and the sharp marches less fatiguing.  But he was not destined to stay with his company till the moment of triumph arrived, when Gen. Scott entered the City of Mexico at the head of the United States soldiery.  At Bareta, nine miles from the mouth of the Rio Grande, he had his left arm broken, but he remained with his company.  When the great battle of Monterey occurred, young Bligh entered the fray with his arm still in the sling.  In the engagement it was again injured, and that time so badly that he never again was able to use it as effectively as he had before.  The surgeon ordered him home and he arrived here in November 1846, after an absence of six months.  It was a few weeks later that he entered first upon the duties of the vocation that brought him into prominence.  Mayor Kaye sent for him and appointed him a deputy under Capt. William A. Ronald, then City Marshall.

At that time the entire police force consisted of sixteen Deputy Marshalls, two for each of the eight wards into which the city was divided.  He remained in that position for several years, and then resigned to take the place of a private policemen at the theater he had helped to build.  In 1856 he was again appointed to a place on the Louisville police force, this time by Mayor Barbee.  He was soon made a day watchman-at-large and was the first officer of that character Louisville had.  Later he was joined in the same capacity by Joe Jeans and still later by Capt. Jack Gallagher.  For a long time, Capt. Bligh watched the river front, where all travelers arrived and departed from, before the days of the iron horse.  Here he became acquainted, at least by sight, with all the crooks who traveled up and down the Ohio River.

He had developed remarkable aptitude for his work.  While he had not himself given it any thought when he first began police duty, he was possessed of almost unequalled natural gifts as a detective.  His memory of names, faces and facts were extraordinary, and this was of invaluable assistance to him.  Many are the anecdotes related in criminal and police circles about his recollection.  It has been frequently asserted, and most of his confreres still stoutly asseverate that if he saw a man once and had reason to bear him in mind, as he would in the case of a crook, he never forgot him.  No matter what the circumstances, he would know him again wherever he saw him.  But the only disadvantage he had was that the rule worked both ways.  If ever a crook had dealings with Capt. Bligh, he, too, remembered the detective.  It was next to impossible for him to disguise himself.  He stood six feet one inch tall and weighed usually from 240 to 250 pounds.  Whatever else he might do, he could not disguise the form.  Capt. Bligh was fully aware that the value of disguise existed principally in the imagination of ‘Old Sleuth’ romances.  The best detectives of all time have put little stress upon the assistance of disguises.  Capt. Bligh scarcely gave them a consideration.  He depended largely upon his mind.  He studied criminal life from personal observation.  So diligent was he in this regard that he mastered the details of the methods pursued by each actor in the drama of crime.

When a regular detective force was established in this city Capt. Bligh was one of the four men who composed it.  He was made Chief Detective and had remained in that capacity through every change political or municipal ever since.  When the clashings of Mayoralty or other contests made every other officer in the department quake for his head, Capt. Bligh remained unconcerned, and, with the best of men being decapitated all about him, he always remained in his position undisturbed.  It was a tribute every Mayor had to pay the man’s genius, his value to the public, that none ever thought of displacing him.  He formerly made frequent trips to all parts of the country but had ceased to do so of late years.  Nearly forty-four years ago Capt. Bligh first became a public officer.  The last term of service had extended over a continuous period of thirty-four years, and altogether he had devoted about forty-three years of his life to the vocation of public peace officer and detective.

Capt. Bligh was twice married, and his domestic relations were always of the most felicitous nature.  The great hunter of criminals had a dual side to his character.  Away from home he was ever the alert, shrewd detective, dispassionately and cleverly doing his duty.  At home he was simply the man, wrapped up in the love of and for his wife and children.  He was largely endowed with a love for domesticity, and not the least praiseworthy of his characteristics was the manner that characterized his every act as husband and father.  He ten children, all daughters, five by his first marriage and five by his second.  His first wife was Miss Cassandra Davis, a native of Virginia, who, however, with her parents, resided in Louisville at the time of her marriage to Capt. Bligh, about forty-five years ago.  Three of the daughters who blessed this union are dead.  The other two are Mrs. Emma Rogers, wife of Dr. Wiley Rogers, the well-known druggist, and Mrs. Mary H. Williamson, wife of Mr. Charles P. Williamson, head of the Williamson Iron Company, of Birmingham, Alabama.  Their mother died in 1858, at the age of thirty-three years.

Capt. Bligh’s second marriage took place in 1859, when Miss Kate Ovington, of this city, became his wife.  Four of their daughters and Mrs. Bligh survive the noted detective.  The daughters are Misses Amy, Anna and Lois Bligh and Mrs. Nellie Watts, who, until recently, lived here, but now resides in Kansas.

Some of His Famous Cases

To attempt to enumerate the famous cases in which Capt. Bligh played a part would involve the criminal history of this section of the country.  On many occasions he would probably have lost his life had he not been ever watchful in handling criminals.  On only one occasion did he find it necessary, however, to take a human life.  That was when, a few years ago, in the purest self-defense, he shot an infuriated Chinaman, who was charging on a crowd with an uplifted hatchet.  Had he not fired his life would beyond doubt have been taken by the unrestrainable Celestial.  Capt. Bligh was very promptly acquitted and fully exonerated both by the courts and public opinion.

One of the notable arrest he made was in company with Detective Gallagher, when George Shepherd, one of the Younger gang, was caught.  The Youngers, Shepherd and two other members of the band of outlaws, named Cummings and Samuels, had robbed the bank at Russellville and killed the cashier.  This was in 1866.  A few months later Capt. Bligh located Shepherd in Nelson County.  Taking Detective Gallagher with him he went to arrest him.  Shepherd was found in a little cross-road grocery, armed to the teeth.  As Bligh and Gallagher walked into the store Shepherd saw them.  He threw a hand back to each hip, where a couple of revolvers adorned his cartridge belt.  But before he could draw either pistol the two detectives were upon him.  He struggled hard, and it looked several times as if the only way to save their own lives was to kill the desperado.  Here was where Capt. Bligh’s physical strength served him well.  Shepherd was subdued and disarmed.  But for Capt. Bligh’s strength human blood would almost certainly have paid the penalty of an attempt to arrest the outlaw, who seemed to rather court death than submit to arrest.

Capt. Bligh and Gallagher also worked out the clues and traced down the famous counterfeiter Pete McCarthy, the most renowned maker of the queer that ever infested the Central United States.  He was located and did his work at an old frame house, at Twenty-Ninth and Bank Streets, and there he was caught.

Another gang of counterfeiters that had been flooding the country with base coin was broken up by Capt. Bligh about 1866.  It was known as the ‘Dago band’ and had their headquarters on Second Street, near Main.  The plan was to make the money here and ‘shove’ it in all other parts of the country.  Capt. Bligh worked a long time, tracing the counterfeiters to the seat of manufacture, and captured the whole band at one bold stroke.  They were all sent to the penitentiary for long terms.

Brice McPhun, the Calcutta, forger, who had mulcted his victims in India for a quarter of a million, was also captured in this city by Capt. Bligh and Detective, now Maj. William Owens.  The failure of the Calcutta officer to bring one paper allowed McPhun to go free on a technicality, habeas corpus being the means of his release.

When Stephen A. Douglas was stumping the country in his presidential canvass, in 1860, Capt. Bligh captured a whole busload of English pickpockets, who were following the campaign speakers, fleecing the people.  Again in 1876, when Hayes was here, he repeated the operation, only this time the pickpockets were of all nationalities.

The consequence of such achievements as continuously marked his public career was to make thieves shun Louisville as the one place in the country where their most dangerous foe was.  ‘Don’t go to Louisville,’ they would say to any ‘pal’ who had never been here, ‘that “Yankee” Bligh will nab you, sure.  He is the toughest fly cop in the country and can’t square him.’

D. T. Bligh, born March 19, 1823, died March 1, 1890.  Kate Ovington, wife of Delos T. Bligh, born June 29, 1836, died May 26, 1912.  Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky.

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Monday, May 27, 1912

1790 Will of Valentine King

According to an article on the King family published in Genealogies of Kentucky Families, Valentine King was born in Stafford County, Virginia, about 1747, ‘the son of William King, Clerk of the Court, and Justice of Stafford County, 1742-1760, and his wife, Elizabeth Edwards, daughter of John Edwards and his wife, Jane Arrington, of Westmoreland County, Virginia.’

Valentine King, along with his brothers, John, William and Nimrod, fought in the Revolutionary War as members of the Stafford County Militia, 3rd Virginia Regiment.  They were all discharged from the camp at Valley Forge, February 16, 1778, and returned to Stafford County.  They soon moved to Kentucky, receiving land for their military service.

Valentine King received land in Jefferson County, Kentucky.  He died in early April 1790.

In the name of God amen.  I, Valentine King of Nelson County and district of Kentucky, being of sound mind and memory, thanks be to God for the same, do make and ordain this my last will and testament in manner and form following.  That is to say, first of all, I recommend my soul to God who gave it and my body to the earth from whence it came, to be buried in a Christian-like manner at the discretion of my executors hereafter named, and as to the worldly estate it hath pleased God to give me I dispose of it in the following manner.

Imprimis.  My will and desire is that all my just debts and funeral charges be first paid and satisfied.

Item.  I give and bequeath to my beloved sister, Elizabeth Owens, during the term of her natural life, one third of the profits arising from the plantation I purchased of Patrick McGee, which said plantation after her decease goes to my brother, John Edwards King.  I also give and bequeath to my said sister, Elizabeth Owens, during her natural life one Negro girl called Cate, which said Negro after my said sister’s decease goes to my brother, John E. King, and I further give to my said sister, Elizabeth Owens, one half the increase of the said Negro

Cate, that shall be raised from her during the life of my said sister, to her and her heirs forever.

Item.  I give and bequeath to my beloved brother, John Edwards King, the plantation and land I purchased of Patrick McGee, he, paying annually to his sister, Elizabeth Owens, one third part of the profits arising from the said plantation during her life, to him and his heirs and assigns forever.  I also give my said brother, John E. King, after the death of his sister, Elizabeth Owens, one Negro called Cate and one half the increase that shall have been raised from her to him and his heirs and assigns forever.  I further give my said brother, John E. King, two hundred acres of land in Jefferson County, known by the name of the Poplar Level to receive the same and have possession after the death of Elizabeth Crips, to whom I have left the said land during her natural life and I further give to my brother, John E. King, my wearing apparel with my saddles, bridle and saddle bags to him and his heirs forever.

Item.  I give and bequeath to Elizabeth Crips, daughter of Nancy Brashear, during her natural life, two hundred acres of land, her choice, out of five hundred acres of my

land in Jefferson County, known by the name of the Poplar Level on Floyd’s Fork, which said land at her death goes to my brother, John E. King.  I also give to the said Elizabeth Crips my mare called Jenix and three thousand weight of tobacco to her and her heirs and assigns forever.

Item.  My will and desire is that all the rest of my estate, real and personal, be equally divided between my beloved mother and my brothers William and Withers King and that my mother’s part at her decease go to my two brothers, William and Withers, to them, their heirs and assigns forever.

And lastly I do hereby appoint my trusty and beloved friends, George and Cuthbert Harrison, Executors of this my last will and testament, hereby revoking and making void all other wills by me heretofore made, declaring this and only to be my last will and testament, in testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 22nd day of February 1790.

Valentine King

Signed, sealed, published and declared by this testator in presence of – Anthony Foster, Paul Kester, Cuthbert Harrison.

At a Court held for Nelson County on Tuesday the 13th day of April 1790.  This last will and testament of Valentine King, deceased, was presented in Court by Cuthbert Harrison, one of the Executors herein named and proved by the oaths of Anthony Foster, Paul Kester and Cuthbert Harrison, subscribing witnesses thereto and ordered to record.

Teste.  Gen Grayson, Clerk of the Court

Nelson County – Will Book A, Pages 1-4



John M. Kaufman, Wagonmaker, Obituary

John M. Kaufman, May 31, 1812 – August 1, 1900.  Regina Kaufman, February 25, 1836-January 6, 1918.  Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky.

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Thursday, August 2, 1900

Long Life Ended

John M. Kaufman, Oldest Wagon Maker In Louisville, and Fifty Years An Odd Fellow

Mr. John Michael Kaufman, the oldest and one of the best-known wagonmakers in the city, died at 9:35 o’clock yesterday morning of old age at the family residence, 1619 Frankfort Avenue.

Mr. Kaufman was born in Metzing, Wurtemburg, Germany, May 21, 1812.  He came to this city in 1837, and was employed as a wagonmaker.  In 1840 he branched out for himself, opening a shop on Floyd Street, between Market and Jefferson.  He sold his establish-

ment in 1875 to Messrs. Killgore & Stilz and retired from active business.  He had the unique distinction of having built the first platform spring wagon west of the Alleghany Mountains.

Mr. Kaufman was married twice.  In 1840 he married Miss Mary Barbara Byerly, who died in 1870, leaving four children – Mrs. Elizabeth Roth, of Jeffersonville; Mrs. Annie Knodler, Mrs. Amelia Becker and Mr. Tom J. Kaufman.  On September 5, 1876, he married Miss Regina Nichols, who survives him.  No children resulted from this union.

Mr. Kaufman was a prominent member of the Louisville Lodge of Odd Fellows, which he joined in 1850.  The fiftieth anniversary of his membership was celebrated by the lodge in March.

He was one of the founders of the German Protestant Orphan Asylum and a member of its Board of Directors.  He was several times President of the board.

He was a member of the German Methodist Episcopal Church at Hancock and Market Streets, having joined it in 1841, and always took an active interest in church affairs.

The funeral will take place at the family residence Friday afternoon at 2 o’clock.  The Rev. G. E. Hiller, of the German M. E. Church, will conduct the services, and the interment will be in Cave Hill Cemetery.  The pall-bearers were chosen from among his grandchildren as follows:  J. M., H. J., Fred, George and Clarence Knodler and V. F. Kaufman.  The honorary pall-bearers will be chosen from members of the Louisville Lodge of Odd Fellows.

Double Wedding Celebrated December 22, 1885

I have played organ and piano for many, many weddings throughout the years, and once did play for a double wedding!  It was a wonderful experience, with twice the love and excitement of an ordinary wedding!

In the 1880 census of Cincinnati, Ohio, we find the Rev. A. I. Hobbs, age 44, his wife Rachel, 44, and three daughters – Alice, 26; Stella, 13; and Verta, 8.  Shortly after that census the family moved to Louisville, Kentucky.

In searching for information about the grooms, Dr. Samuel Ayres graduated from medical school in Louisville in 1883, and received the second place award, a gold medal, at the ceremony.  He was a Professor of Anatomy at the University of Louisville in 1885, but moves to Big Bend, Kansas, in 1886, due to his health.

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Wednesday, December 23, 1885

Brilliant Nuptials

A large Gathering at the First Christian Church to Witness a Double Wedding

Rev. G. B. Peak and Miss Alice Hobbs – Dr. Samuel Ayres and Miss Stella Hobbs

The most notable nuptial event of the season took place last evening at the First Christian Church, where Miss Alice Hobbs was united in marriage to Rev. Geo. B. Peak and Miss Stella Hobbs to Dr. Samuel Ayres.  This has been pre-eminently a season of weddings, many of them brilliant society events, and some of them very largely attended, but it is safe to say that no previous occasion has drawn together such a crowd as were present last evening.  The church was packed.  The aisles had to be cleared to allow the bridal party room to pass in.  The crowd, however, immediately closed in behind them, filled the aisles, crowded the vestibule, covered the steps and the sidewalk.

The young ladies are daughters of Rev. A. I. Hobbs, who has been for several years pastor of the First Christian Church, and during their residence here they have become endeared to the members of that congregation and have made many friends outside of their church.

Rev. George B. Peak, who was wedded to the eldest daughter, Miss Alice, was formerly of Paducah, but has recently been called to take charge of a new church in Bloomington, Ind.

Dr. Samuel Ayres, who was married to Miss Stella, is a promising young physician of this city, and occupies the position of Dean in the Hospital College of Medicine.

The ceremony took place at 9 o’clock, Rev. Dr. Hobbs, the brides’ father, officiating.  The pulpit was tastefully and elaborately decorated, tall foliage plants and brilliantly colored flowers arranged around them to form an effective mass of leaves and blossoms.  The bridal party entered by both doors, three ushers walking abreast in each aisle, followed by two bridesmaids.  Then came the brides with the first bridesmaids.  Miss Alice was accompanied by Miss Carrie Owen, Miss Stella by Miss Mamie Shouse.

Prof. Hast played the Wedding March, and, as the first strains sounded through the church, the bridal party entered in the order described, walked slowly to the front, and took their places at the altar.  They were met here by the grooms and the minister, who proceeded to pronounce the ceremony.  Miss Alice being the elder, was married first, to Rev. Geo. B. Peak, and after, by a separate ceremony, Miss Stella became the wife of Dr. Samuel Ayres.

The bridal toilets were alike in every detail.  The dresses were of cream satin, the court trains being of handsome brocaded material, the fronts of plain satin.  The waists were cut square in the neck, and filled with fluffy plaitings of illusion; the sleeves, which came a little below the elbow, were partially covered by long cream-colored gloves.  The veils were draped with white hyacinths, and each of the brides carried a large bouquet of the same flowers.

The bridesmaids were Misses Carrie Owens, Claude Wheeler, Bessie Slaughter, Mamie L. Shouse, Julia Barkly, and Louise Barkly.  They were short white toilets, and carried bouquets of white hyacinths and pink roses.

The ushers were Messrs. Chars. Lesner, Geo. Cross, Hume Logan, Geo. Walton, Geo. L. Sehon and Dr. Samuel G. Dabney.

Seats were reserved near the altar for the Young Ladies’ Missionary Society, of which Miss Alice has long been president.  On the other side of the church was the primary class of the Sunday School, which has been under the charge of Miss Stella.  The class taught by Miss Alice was also present and occupied seats near the front.

After the ceremony there was an informal reception at the house, where the bridal party received the congratulations of their friends before starting on their wedding journey.

The presents included everything of a presentable nature, handsome silver, porcelain, bisque, exquisite glassware, bronze ornaments, paintings and engravings.  Among the handsomest were the presents from the Sunday School classes and Missionary Society.

The decoration of the church, which was intended as a surprise for the young ladies, was done by the ladies of the church, and a committee of florists could not have improved upon the result.

The bridal party left last night immediately after the reception.  Mr. and Mrs. Ayres go to Cincinnati, Mr. and Mrs. Peak go to visit relatives of the groom, but all will return to this city to spend Christmas.  After the holidays, Mr. and Mrs. Park leave for their future home in Bloomington, Ind.  Mr. and Mrs. Ayres will remain with Dr. Hobbs during the winter.


1902 Weddings From The Kentucky Irish American

The Kentucky Irish American, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Saturday, June 28, 1902

The marriage bells rang joyously Wednesday for the nuptials of Pat Cahill and Annie O’Brien, Edward Farrell and Catherine Dunn, and Philip Beck and Josie Steimle.  The three ceremonies were celebrated in the presence of large gatherings of friends, all the young people well known and popular.

A pretty but simple wedding took place Wednesday evening, when Miss Elizabeth Holmes became the bride of Charles W. Miller, with the Ahreus & Ott Company.  The ceremony was witnessed by a large number of friends, whose hearty congratulations go with the newly married couple.  An elegant wedding supper and reception followed at the residence of the bride’s mother, Mrs. Annie E. Holmes, 2132 Indiana Avenue.

At. St. Paul’s Church Tuesday the marriage of Miss Mary J. McGuire and Edward A. Buey was solemnized, Rev. Father York officiating.  Both bride and groom are well known and popular and many friends were present at the ceremony.  The bride is the amiable and handsome daughter of Frank McGuire, with the Standard Oil Company, and the groom holds a good position with the Chess-Wymond Company.  A largely attended reception followed at the residence of the bride’s parents.

The marriage of Miss Ann Nowak and William Elliott, Jr., was solemnized at St. Augustine’s Church in Jeffersonville, Rev. Father O’Connell performing the ceremony.  Both are well known and highly respected in that city, and a large number of friends and relatives were present to witness the union.  After the wedding a reception was held at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. William Elliott, 834 Walnut Street.  They are now spending their honeymoon in St. Louis, and on return will reside in Jeffersonville.

Wednesday morning at the Dominican church Miss Mary A. Tobin, the attractive and accomplished daughter of Thomas Tobin, West Oak Street, and William F. Hoffman were married by Rev. Father Fowler with nuptial mass.  The wedding was a quiet one, the only attendants being Messrs. Herman Russman and John Roberts.  Both bride and groom are well known and have a wide circle of friends who rejoice at their union.  The former was attired in a pretty white Paris muslin costume, with a large picture hat.  Immediately after the ceremony the young people left for an extended wedding trip.  The lucky groom holds a good position with the firm of Hilpp, Richardson & Co.

Pretty and simple were the characteristics of the wedding of Miss Catherine Glynn and Will Mackin at the Dominican church Tuesday at noon.  James Duane and Sam Joyce were the ushers.  The bridal party entered the church to the strains of Mendelssohn’s wedding march, played by Miss Aggie Richter, of St. Cecilia’s Church, and were met at the altar by Rev. Father Fowler, who performed the ceremony uniting their lives.  The bride wore an exquisite costume of Paris muslin and lace, with white veil, and carried a shower bouquet of white carnations, while the groom was attired in the conventional black.  After the ceremony the newly wedded young people were given an elegant wedding dinner and reception at the residence of the bride’s uncle, Patrick Glynn, West Oak Street, where large numbers called to tender congratulations and wishes for a life blessed with happiness and success.  They will return next week from their wedding trip.

Among the many marriages this season that which attracted the most attention in Italian and Catholic society circles was the forget-me-not wedding of Morgan J. Parlin and Miss Catherine A. Mazzoni, solemnized Wednesday afternoon at the Cathedral, Rev. Dr. Schuhmann Performing the ceremony.  The lovely bride, who is the daughter of Charles Mazzoni, wore a beautiful gown of white lace over blue taffeta, and was attended by her sister, Miss Pearl Mazzoni, as maid of honor.  Mr. Parlin is a popular employee of the firm of W. B. Belknap and one of the best known young men in the city.  Ralph Campbell was the best man, and Messrs. John Mazzoni, Anthony Montedonico, James Delaney and Morgan Grimes were the ushers.  After the church ceremony the bridal party and about fifty friends repaired to Key’s reception parlors at Seventh and Jefferson, where an elegant wedding supper was served in ten courses.  The happy pair are now spending their honeymoon in St. Louis.

1894 Weddings, Parties and Luncheons

I always enjoy reading the announcements in old newspapers of weddings, dinner parties and other affairs.  It is a moment, frozen in time, for us to enjoy. 

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Thursday, January 4, 1894

Society News

The brilliant nuptials of Mr. B. F. Watkins, of New York, and Miss Shirley Chenault, of this city, took place last evening at 9 o’clock at the College Street Presbyterian Church.  Long before the hour a large crowd of friends had assembled, and when the doors were opened they soon filled every available space in the pretty church.  The decorations were most tasteful.  Potted plants of waxy magnolias and palms formed the background for the banks of annunciation lilies.  The bride was loveliness itself, and her brunette beauty was never more pronounced than it was when she appeared last evening in her bridal gown of ivory satin, which was cut low in the neck, around which was a bertha point of lace.  A bridal veil was held on her brow with a tiara of diamonds.  The bridal bouquet was of orange blossoms and white roses, covered with white tulle, and entwined with a bowknot made from a white lace handkerchief, according to the latest Parisian idea.  The maid of honor, Miss Milbrey Watterson, wore a pink silk gown, and made a contrast to the other attendants, who entered in twos and were uniformly gowned in white moire, around the full sleeves, rounded corsage and revers of which was a trimming of otter.  They carried shower bouquets of Catherine Mermet roses.

The groom and his best man, Mr. Robert Harrison, of New York, met the bridal procession at the altar, and formed the central figures of the semi-circle composed of the bridesmaids and the ushers.  These were Misses Laura Brand, Abbie Goodloe, Maud Yandell, Florence Beckley, May Brockenbrough, Annie Chenault, of Richmond; Mary Chenault, of Lexington; and Messrs. John Snedecor, Preston Carson, of New York; Roger Ballard Thurston, Raphael Semmes Colston, Burton Vance, Ben Leight, Edwin Whitney and Spencer Graves, of St. Louis.  The flower girls were Nellie Chenault, Hattie Montgomery, Ethel Chenault and Maud Montgomery, all beautifully dressed.

As the wedding part moved down the aisle, Mrs. Maggie Ward Bell, the organist, played the march from “Lohengrin” and “Traumerei” during the ceremony, which was performed by the Rev. Dr. Hamilton, of the Warren Memorial Church, assisted by the Rev. Mr. Herbener, the pastor of the College Street Presbyterian Church.  At the conclusion of the ceremony the opening march from Wagner’s “Tannhauser” was played for the retrocessional.

After the ceremony a reception followed at the home of the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Jason W. Chenault, of 908 Second Street, at which only the bridal party, the relatives and a few intimate friends were present.  The decorations at home were not elaborate, but were of the same kind as those at the church, in the parlors the mantels and mirrors being banked in palms and annunciation lilies.  The bridal supper was served from small tables about a large center one, where the wedding party was seated.  It was covered with a white silk cloth, and had in its center a mound of lilies surrounded by ferns.

At midnight Mr. and Mrs. Watkins left for their future home in New York City, where they have taken a residence on West Seventy-Third Street.

Among the guests from a distance were Mr. and Mrs. Edmund Nash and Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Aldrich, of New York, who came here especially to attend the wedding.


The wedding of Dr. W. Ewell and Miss Ella Belle Perry, of Taylorsville, took place Tuesday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock, at the residence of the bride’s mother, Mrs. L. G. Perry.  The ceremony was performed by the Rev. Dr. W. W. Gardner, of Taylorsville.  The groom was formerly a resident of Louisville, where he has a large number of friends.  Miss Annie Moore, of Shelbyville, and Mr. Clarence Money, of Finchville, accompanied the bridal pair to this city.  Dr. and Mrs. Ewell are on their way to New York, where the groom expects to take a post-graduate course in surgery at the Polyclinic Hospital.


Mrs. Paul Cain, of St. James Court, was the hostess of the L.D.W. Euchre Club last evening.  The following were among those present:  Will Lyons, Kenneth McDonald, A. Leight Monroe, Donald McDonald, J. C. Burnett, John Hughes, Harry McDonald, George Avery, Henry S. Tyler, Miss Atmore.


Miss Selena Barrett, of 1212 West Broadway, gave a luncheon of twelve covers in honor of Mrs. Frederick Butler, of Detroit, yesterday morning.  The decorations in white filled in with the popular stevia flowers.


Miss Mary Swearingen leaves next week to attend the wedding of Mr. Lawrence A. Young and Miss Mabel Wheeler.  While she is in Chicago she will be the guest of Miss Katherine Baker.


A large party will leave next Wednesday for Chicago with Mr. Bennett H. Young in a private car to be present at the Young-Wheeler wedding, which takes place in that city at noon on Thursday.  In the party will be Mrs. Allison, Mrs. J. G. Cecil, Miss Mary Swearingen, Mrs. Burwell K. Marshall, Dr. Stuart Young and a number of others.


Yesterday a marriage license was issued to P. Bronger and Annie B. Lampton.


Miss Virginia Matthews gave a dance last night at her home to a number of her school friends.


Mrs. George F. Downs, who has been quite ill of la grippe, is now considerably improved and expects to be out in a few days.


Miss Julia Penn, of New Albany, who has been spending a few days with Mrs. J. Moss Terry, returned home yesterday.  Miss Penn will be one of a large theater party to hear Patti at the auditorium tomorrow evening.

Gilbert Ratcliff – WWI Soldier Killed Day Before Armistice

All casualties of war are sad, not only for the parents and family, but the rest of the country.  No one wants to lose a child, spouse, sibling, relative or friend.  But to be killed the day before the armistice took effect must have been an extra blow to the loved ones of Gilbert Ratcliff.  Since his parents were not informed until December 6, I’m sure they were ready to welcome their hero home from the war, sure that he had made it through. 

My uncle, Robert Carrico, was killed in Sicily in September of 1943.  My mother, her parents and siblings, never got over his death.  Even in her last years she would tear up talking about Robert.  I’m sure Gilbert Ratcliff’s photograph was hung on the wall, in prominent view, for all to see and remember – I know Uncle Robert’s was.

Gilbert Ratcliff, Co. L, 11th US Infantry, born August 22, 1890, killed November 10, 1918, in Argonne Forest, France.  Grove Hill Cemetery, Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Saturday, December 7, 1918

Six Gold Stars on Shelby’s Honor Roll

Gilbert Ratcliff’s Death Makes Total of 26 Casualties From the County

Shelbyville, Kentucky, December 6th.  Shelby County has given its sixth life to the cause of liberty and freedom.

Mr. and Mrs. Logan Ratcliff were notified by the War Department today that their son, Gilbert, who was in his twenty-seventh year, was killed in battle in France, November 10, the day before the armistice was signed.

Ratcliff went to Camp Zachary Taylor May 28 and sailed overseas the following August.  He was attached to a machine gun company.

Shelby’s other hero sons are:

Corporal Jesse N. Martin, who died April 7.  Private Luther Stevens, whose death occurred some time in July; Sergeant Frank Jesse, death reported July 23; Corporal Aaron Devine, who died in August, and Noah Wilmott who died October 14.

In addition to these six fatalities, four Shelby boys have died in France from disease, fifteen in training camps here and one in an airplane accident, making the county’s honor roll, unofficially, twenty-six.