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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

William H. Hoover and Sallie Evans Hoover Obituaries

William H. Hoover, 1821-1906.  Sallie E. Hoover, 1841-1914.  William H. Hoover, 1858-1929.

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Thursday, November 22, 1906

Wealthy Farmer Dead

Nicholasville, Kentucky, Nov. 21 – The funeral services of William H. Hoover, Sr., were held at 10 o’clock this morning at the residence in the county.  Rev. E. G. B. Mann, of Lexington, Rev. F. M. Fuqua, of the Centenary Methodist Church, and Dr. E. W. McCorkle officiated.  Mr. Hoover was eighty-five years old and was a wealthy farmer.  His wife and two sons, Judge E. B. Hoover and William H. Hoover, Jr., survive him.

Kentucky – A History of the State, Perrin, Battle and Kniffin, 1887

Jessamine County

William H. Hoover is the son of Peter Hoover, who was of German descent and born near Hagerstown, Maryland, in 1789, immigrated to Kentucky with his parents in 1800 and settled in Jessamine County just west of Nicholasville.  In 1811 he married Miss Eva Nave, removed to the southern portion of the county, and settled in what was then a wilderness, on Hickman Creek.  About this time he was drafted in the War of 1812, which was soon ended.  He resided nearly three-quarters of a century at this same place, making for himself a good name for all that was honorable, truthful and upright, and accumulated a considerable fortune for his children.  He died in 1872, a true and honored member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.  Eva Nave Hoover, the mother of William H. Hoover, was a native of Estill County, Kentucky, born in 1790, and like her husband lived to a ripe old age, dying in 1876, having made for herself a character for purity and sweetness of disposition seldom equaled.

William H. Hoover is the fourth of eight children, and was born in Jessamine County, Kentucky, August 17, 1821.  He spent his youth and early manhood as a teamster, driving a train of wagons from Nicholasville to Louisville, Kentucky, and in assisting his father in partially subduing the great forest that surrounded them.  For many years he had charge of his father’s saw and grist-mill.  When a young man he became a member of the Masonic order and rapidly rose to the high positions of that fraternity, of which he is still a worthy member.  His opportunities for receiving an education were exceedingly limited, there being practically no schools in this then sparsely settled district of Kentucky.  But, being a practical and industrious man, he made the best of his opportunities and gathered knowledge by observation and experience, and today he is a man of good practical education.  He has always been a Democrat in politics, and for more than thirty years a faithful member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South.  He has accumulated a nice estate, given his two children good education and a nice start in life, and is now taking his old age quietly and pleasantly on his beautiful blue-grass farm, near his children and grandchildren.

He married Miss Sarah J. Evans, of Garrard County, Kentucky, November 26, 1857.  She was the daughter of Dr. Hezekiah and Nancy (Cole) Evans, and born November 18, 1841.  Her father was assassinated in 1862 on account of his strong Southern sympathy, near his home in Garrard County; her mother died in 1882, aged about seventy years.  To William H. Hoover and wife were born three children: William H. Hoover, Jr., the first, was born September 5, 1858, and received his early training at the district schools, Bethel Academy, Nicholasville, Kentucky, and at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, where he entered in 1877 and remained until he completed his education; he then returned to his father’s farm, where he assumed control until November 10, 1885, when he married Miss Mattie R. Vince, of Jessamine County; he then removed to his own farm adjoining that of his father, where he is now farming and breeding thoroughbred and trotting horses.  Thomas D. Hoover, the second son, was born in 1859, and died in infancy; Everett B. Hoover, the third and youngest child, was born October 21, 1860, and like his brother received his early education in the free schools and at Bethel Academy; in 1877 he entered the Wesleyan College at Millersburg, Kentucky, where he remained until 1879; then entered Vanderbilt University, where he took a special course of study, preparatory to studying law.  In 1880 he entered the Columbia College Law School, New York City, where he remained two years, taking the full law course, graduating in June 1882.  He at once returned to his home and received his license to practice law in August 1882, and has been a continued practitioner ever since.  He married Miss Ella Burnett, of Boyle County, Kentucky, November 21, 1882.  To this union was born Elizabeth Hoover, the first grandchild of William H. Hoover, January 31, 1884.  In April 1886, Everett B. Hoover was elected judge of the city court of Nicholasville, Kentucky, and was re-elected the following year, of which office he is the present incumbent.

The Central Record, Lancaster, Garrard County, Kentucky

Thursday, April 2, 1914

Well Known In This County

Mrs. Sallie Hoover died at her home in Jessamine County on last Saturday.  Her death was an unexpected blow to her friends and relatives, as she had been in her usual good health.  She is the mother of Hon. Everett Hoover, the well-known Jessamine County politician.  She was a sister of Dr. Elijah Evans of Lancaster, and was ell known in Garrard County.  She was a most estimable lady.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

Col. John F. Wight Obituary

In the 1880 census of Shelby County, John and Martha Wight had the following children:  Duke (Martha), 19; John F., 17; Sarah B., 15; J. Albert, 14; Mary, 12; and William A., 8.

John Fletcher Wight, son of James and Sarah Wight, born in Frankfort, Kentucky, 1832, moved to Shelby County 1836, graduated at Dartmouth College 1853, married to Martha Jane Oglesby in Panola County, Mississippi, 1859, member of Kentucky Legislature 1869-71.  Died in Shelbyville, Kentucky, September 27, 1908.  ‘All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come, though shalt call and I will answer there.’  Grove Hill Cemetery, Shelbyville, Shelby County, Kentucky.

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Monday, September 28, 1908

Col. John F. Wight Dead

Shelbyville, Kentucky, September 27 – Col. John F. Wight, a wealthy retired farmer, died at 8 o’clock this morning at the King’s Daughters’ Hospital in this city after an illness of bladder trouble.  Col. Wight was prominent in Democratic politics for a number of years and at one time represented Shelby County in the Legislature.  He is survived by his wife and several grown children.  He was a member of the Centenary Methodist Church.  The funeral will take place Tuesday morning and the burial will be in Grove Hill Cemetery at this place.

Martha Jane Wight, daughter of Albert A. and Agnes Abernathy Oglesby, born in Surrey County, North Carolina, February 29, 1840.  In early life removed with her parents, five brothers and three sisters to Panola County, Mississippi, died in Shelbyville, Kentucky, April 1, 1935.  “I give unto them eternal life.’

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.

Philipp Ziegler – More Than A Biography and An Obituary

I began this post with the biography of Philipp Ziegler, but with just a little research found so much more!  He and his wife Sara Mehohoff were married November 9, 1880, in Jefferson County.  In May of 1885 their daughter, Alice, was born; in October of 1888 a son, Philipp, Jr., was born. 

from Kentucky – A History of the State, Perrin, 1888

Jefferson County

Philipp Ziegler is one of the self-made German citizens of Louisville.  He came here a poor boy, and by dint of his own energy, honesty and industry has secured an independent fortune.  He was born in the province of Baden, in 1854, and at the age of eighteen years came to the United States, and to Louisville.  He soon obtained a position as clerk, first for John Hehl, contractor and builder, and afterward with H. Wedenkind & Co., wholesale grocers.  In the fall of 1878 he went into the grocery business for himself, at his present stand, corner of First and Gray Streets – at first with Charles Klein as partner; but he soon after bought him out, and has since carried on the business alone.  In 1881 he was married to Miss Sarah Mehohoff, a daughter of Henry C. and Mary Mehohoff, of Louisville.  Henry Mehohoff is the largest dairyman in the state, keeping always on hand from 250 to 300 cows.  His dairy is located on Preston Street road, and comprises 173 acres of choice land just back of the House of Refuge.  Mr. and Mrs. Ziegler have but on child – a girl, three years of age – named Alice.  Mr. Ziegler visited the ‘Faderland’ last summer with his family, and spent several months traveling over the southern and northern parts of Europe.

In 1887 Philipp Ziegler obtained a passport for the purpose of traveling to Europe.  It says he will be accompanied by his wife, Sarah, and infant child, one year and nine months.

The most interesting part is the description given – age 32 years, 5′ 7″, medium forehead, blue eyes, straight nose, round chin, dark hair and fair complexion.

The letter accompanying his application for passport was written on his store letterhead!  ‘Gray Street Market, office of Philipp Ziegler, dealer in staple and fancy groceries, game, fish, oysters and fresh meats.  Cash paid for all country produce.’

In the 1900 census the family is living on First Street, in Louisville.  Philipp is 46, Sarah is 37, Alice is 15 and little Philipp is 11.  Evidently there was another child, since Sarah is listed as having three children, with two living (I have seen that this child’s name was Carl).  Brother Fred Ziegler, 24, is living with the family.

from The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky
Tuesday, July 9, 1907

Philip Ziegler, aged fifty-three years, of 2324 Floyd Street, died at 5 o’clock yesterday morning at his home after an illness of two months. Mr. Ziegler, who is a native of Germany, conducted a grocery at First and Gray streets for thirty years, and was well known in the East End.
He was born in the province of Boden, Germany. For a time he was in business in Frieburg, Germany, but came to this country in 1871. He leaves, besides a wife, one son, Philip. Jr., and a daughter, Alice Ziegler. He also leaves three brothers living in Louisville, Jacob, George, and Fred, and a fourth brother, the Rev. William Ziegler, who, with his father and mother, still live in Nonnenweier, Germany.
The funeral will take place to-morrow afternoon at 8:30 o’clock at the residence, the Rev. Theodore F. Johns, of St. John’s Evangelical church, assisted by the Willis Stuart Lodge of Masons, of which Mr. Ziegler was a prominent member, having charge of the services. After the Masonic rites the burial will be in Cave Hill cemetery.

Eusebius C. Bainbridge Biography and Obituary

from Kentucky: A History of the State, Battle, 1887

Owen County

Eusebius C. Bainbridge, was born in Owen County, Ky., November 14, 1828. He is the son of Erastus B. and Sarah M. (Foster) Bainbridge. Erastus Bainbridge was born in Fayette County, near Lexington, December 1, 1801.  He came to Owen County in 1826, and located on the farm where the subject of this sketch now lives. He was married in 1823, and was the father of three children. Absalom Bainbridge, paternal grandfather of our subject,
was a native of Virginia, and settled in Kentucky at an early day. He was a physician, and a preacher of the Baptist denomination. Isaac Foster, the maternal grandfather of Eusebius C. Bainbridge, was a native of Maryland and a pioneer of Kentucky. He was a farmer by occupation. E. C. Bainbridge was reared in Owen County, where he received his primary education, receiving his literary education at Transylvania University, at Lexington, Ky. In 1846 he began the study of medicine under Drs. Turnbull and Brooks, at Philadelphia, Penn., and attended lectures at Jefferson Medical College, where he graduated in 1850. He then engaged in the practice of his profession in Cincinnati, Ohio, five years, when he married Miss Sarah A. Doxon, of Newport, Ky. He then returned to Owenton and settled on the old homestead farm of 600 acres, where he now lives. He still practices medicine, but devote a part of his time to raising fine stock. He has three children: Hattie, Erastus and Paul.  Politically, Dr. Bainbridge is a Democrat, and represented his county in the State Legislature in the session of 1877-78.
from The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County,Kentucky

Friday, July 21, 1905

IN EXTREME AGE
DR. E. C. BAINBRIDGE CLAIIMED BY DEATH

Had Been Conspicuous Many Years – Father of Mrs. L. O. Cox.

Dr. E. C. Bainbridge, aged seventy-six years, died of a liver complaint yesterday morning at 6:30 o’clock at the residence of his daughter, Mrs. L. O. Cox, after a long illness. He is survived by two sons and one daughter, Erastus Bainbridge, of Owen County, Paul Bainbridge, of Louisville, and Mrs. L. O. Cox, wife of L. O. Cox, president of the Union National Bank.

Dr. Bainbridge was a graduate of Transylvania University, and also of the Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia. After having successfully practiced medicine in both Philadelphia and Cincinnati, he came back to his native county pf Owen, where he afterwards became prominent as a farmer. His constituents sent him to the Legislature, where he faithfully represented his district for a number of years.

Dr. Bainbridge’s character in whatever capacity he served was unimpeachable and his loss will be mourned by the host of those who knew him.

The funeral services were held at 5:30 o’clock yesterday afternoon at the residence of his daughter, Mrs. L. O. Cox, the Rev. Dr. J. G. Minnigerode, rector of Calvary Episcopal Church, officiating. The body will be taken to Owenton, his former home, for burial. The honorary pallbearers were as follows: Thomas W. Bullitt, William P. Otter, Gilmer Adams, T. R. Gordon, John C. Strother, John L. Helm, Henry Strater, H. C. Rodes and Oscar Fenley.