I do love the sentimental, flowery obituaries from the early days of the twentieth century. You truly feel as if you know the person, their character and their life, after reading of their death. Perhaps the obituaries of today should be written with more depth and feeling.
James Garnett, July 8, 1835 – January 25, 1905. Columbia Cemetery, Adair County, Kentucky,
from The Adair County News, Columbia, Kentucky
Wednesday, February 1, 1905
At the age of eighteen years, fifty-two years ago, the above distinguished citizen, then an inexperienced young man, left his country home, five miles out, and came to Columbia, to face the responsibilities and fight the battles of an active public career, and the many familiar with the results of his labors and accomplishments known how well he succeeded. His only capital was honor, honesty and industry backed by a strong mind, unwavering purpose and a good English education. Thus armed he accepted a position of deputy clerk of the circuit and county courts of this county, under William Caldwell. Three years later he was elected county school commissioner. While performing the duties of clerk and school commissioner he burned the midnight oil in preparing himself for the profession of law, and in 1856 was admitted to the bar, and his knowledge of law and general fitness soon pointed him out as a suitable man for county attorney, which position he filled with a marked degree of success. After the expiration of his term as county attorney he practiced his chosen profession uninterrupted until 1871 when he was chosen to represent this county in the Kentucky legislature for the years ’71, ’72 and ’73, and while in that body he was chosen a member of the committee on judiciary and statutes, a position where only the deepest legal talent is sought. In 1874 immediately after the expiration of his services in the Legislature, he was elected Circuit Judge, of the Sixth Judicial District, composed of the counties of Adair, Metcalfe, Barren, Cumberland, Clinton, Monroe, Hart, Allen, and retired from that honorable station with the esteem of his constituents and the honor and reputation of an able, impartial jurist. In 1881 he was elected senator of this, the 16th Senatorial district and was again placed on the committee of judiciary and railroads and later was made the chairman of the judiciary committee. In this capacity he labored faithfully and effectively and retained that high esteem of his associates as an able lawyer and legislator. In 1898 Judge Garnett entered the race for the Democratic nomination for Appellate judge of this district. He lost that prize, that position, which would have more fully demonstrated to the people of this State his thorough comprehension of law and its just application, simply because he would not stoop to low and groveling methods. That fight was made and lost with honor and dignity while success seemed to be in reach through means and methods of questionable nature. He spurned every intimation of such a course and stated to his close friends that through honorable and dignified methods he would win or lose. He kept the faith. Since that date he has practiced his profession with his only son, James Garnett, Jr., our present county attorney, and enjoyed a large clientage, which was common with him from the beginning of his chosen profession.
As a father and husband the intimacy and devotion between he and his family was particularly noticeable, and on many occasions we have heard commendable praise of this happy state that makes home akin to heaven. Such manifestations of devotion were more discernible, to the public, in the relationship between his son and himself, who were partners in business. Not the least sign of friction ever appeared between them, but perfectly agreeable in everything, as companionable as two school boys wrapped in up good will, they went from office to their homes together and from home to office nearly every day.
Judge Garnett was born in Adair County, Kentucky, July 8, 1834, a son of Anthony and Mary A. P. Garnett. He was married to Miss Mary Wood, near Edmonton, Kentucky, August 2, 1866. To this union four children were born all of whom are living, together with the widow. The children are Mrs. E. W. Barnett, of Mississippi, Miss Jennie and Miss Fannie Garnett and James Garnett, Jr., of this city.
In this death, unexpected and sad, our community lost one of its most useful and distinguished fellows – a man of deep convictions, noble endeavors and lasting accomplishments. The Baptist Church of this town, his love, his pride, its strongest support, Russell’s Creek Association an irreparable loss and the legal profession has parted from one of its ablest and profoundest lawyers. His wife and children a true and devoted husband and father, while the writer, in common with a large number of good citizens, a true and substantial friend. This entire community has thoroughly manifested its loss and sympathy with the bereaved family. Funeral services were held in the Baptist Church Sunday the 29th at 10:30, conducted by the pastor, Rev. J. P. Scruggs, assisted by Eld. W. K. Azbill, Rev. W. C. Clemens and Eld. W. B. Wright.
Mary Wood Garnett, 1840-1908
from The Adair County News, Columbia, Kentucky
Wednesday, May 6, 1908
Mrs. Mary M. Garnett
One of Columbia’s Most Prominent and Highly Respected Ladies Called to Her Reward
Funeral Services Largely Attended
Tuesday night April 28, 1908, at 11:30 the spirit of this estimable lady left its tenement of clay and entered the celestial city prepared for those who walk in the fear and admonition of the Lord. Death had no sting, as it was known and remarked by those who were intimately associated with her, that she had cared but little for life since the demise of her late husband, Judge James Garnett, though she has been surrounded with the comforts of life, loved fondly by her children, to whom she was perfectly devoted.
Mrs. Garnett was a daughter of Buford and Frances Wood and was born and reared near Edmonton, Kentucky, her father being prominent in the affairs of Barren and Metcalfe counties. She was educated at Georgetown College, and in 1866 she was happily married to Judge James Garnett and for forty-two years she resided in Columbia. When the end came she was 67 years and four months old.
Her life was that of a true Christian woman, taking much interest in religious affairs, and especially was she devoted to the Baptist church of which she was a member and had been since she was sixteen years of age. Her children, her brothers, the Church and this entire community has sustained a great loss, one whose place in the home cannot be filled and whose counsels in church affairs will be sorrowfully missed.
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The remains were taken to the city cemetery and her body was laid by the side of that of her husband’s. When the family and friends withdrew from the grave they left the body sleeping under a bed of flowers.
The pure life and high estimate that was placed upon the noble Christian character of the deceased – universal sympathy – is consoling to the four devoted children and the two affectionate brothers. The children are Mrs. E. W. Barnett, Corbin, Kentucky, Mrs. J. P. Scruggs, Midway, Kentucky, Mr. James Garnett and Miss Jennie Garnett, this place. The brothers are Mr. W. T. Wood and Dr. B. T. Wood, Danville.
Such a life as Mrs. Garnett led is a priceless heritage to all those who were near to her by the ties of blood, and all who were intimately associated with her.