Tag Archives: William Hardin

Ben Hardin – Famous Lawyer of Bardstown

The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Tuesday Morning, December 18, 1900

Historic

Former Residence of Old Ben Hardin

In Suburbs of Bardstown

The Place Where The Famous Lawyer Lived and Died

[Bardstown Record]

One of Kentucky’s historic residences is ‘Edgewood,’ the former home of Ben Hardin, in his day one of Kentucky’s greatest lawyers.  This old homestead is situated in the suburbs of Bardstown, and is a large and irregular structure built entirely of brick.  It was originally a one-storied building, with two rooms in front.  To this an addition was made on the left, comprising a wide hall and front room and chambers in rear with similar apartments above.  These added rooms and the hall are unusually large and airy.  The hall is entered by a large door in front, and contains a massive old-fashioned staircase, connecting with the upper story.  The present occupant, Hon. Lud. McKay, has added a handsome veranda to the house, which greatly improves its general appearance.

This dwelling was erected between 1819-1822 by Mr. Hardin on land that was contained in the original pre-emption of Bardstown.  The tract contains about two hundred and fifty acres of as fine soil as there is in Nelson County.  A wide lawn in front of the residence stretches down to one of the streets of the town, and is liberally shaded with a fine growth of forest trees.

Ben Hardin, who erected and long occupied the residence, was born in Pennsylvania, February 29, 1784, and at the age of four years was brought to Kentucky by his parents, who settled in Nelson County.  At an early age he was placed in the school of Dr. Priestly, then the most able educator in the West.  At the age of twenty, young Hardin began the study of law, which he soon mastered and was admitted to the bar of Bardstown.  His first case was one in which a large tract of land was involved.  He was alone on his side and opposed by several of the most distinguished lawyers of the day.  However, he won his case and his fame was made, and from that time on he never lacked for clients.  Readers of the Standard are familiar with the history of Mr. Hardin; his public services; his numerous debates in Congress with Henry Clay; how he was dubbed the ‘Kitchen Knife’ by John Randolph, and the ‘Red Fox’ by some other equally as great man.  Suffice it to say that he was one of the shrewdest and most successful attorneys that ever practiced his profession within the domains of this old Commonwealth.

In early life Mr. Hardin was married to Elizabeth Barbour, daughter of Col. Ambrose Barbour, of Washington County, one of Kentucky’s most distinguished pioneers.  She is described as a handsome woman, with many admirable traits of character.  Seven children were the result of this union – three sons and four daughters.

The latter were Lucinda, who married John Helm, afterward Governor of Kentucky; Emily, who married Dr. Palmer, a prominent physician of Washington County; Kate, who married Thomas Riley, a prominent attorney of Bardstown, and Sallie, who married Thomas W. Dixon, a Kentuckian living in the West.  Of the sons, William died of a fever in childhood; James and Rowan married in early life – the former a Miss Chinn; the latter a Miss Cartmell.  James died a short time after his marriage.  Rowan became an able lawyer; served in the State Legislature, and in 1851 was appointed by President Fillmore Secretary of Legation to Guatemala.  During the year it is supposed he was assassinated in the mountains of the Isthmus of Darien, as a skeleton was discovered and identified as his by some papers that were found in the vicinity.

Old Ben Hardin’s home life was always a happy one.  His doors were always open, and he dispensed the most lavish hospitality to all who came beneath his roof.  Many distinguished men were entertained by him at his residence, among whom may be mentioned Gen. William Preston, ex-Senator Garland, Bishop Kavanaugh, Judge John Rowan, gov. William Duvall, and many others who afterward became men of national reputation.  Mr. Hardin’s death occurred in September 1852, and was the result of a fall from a horse which he received as he was journeying from Bardstown to Lebanon to attend court.  He was buried in an old grave yard in a field near the pike leading from Springfield to Lebanon, by the side of his mother.  His grave is marked by an unpretentious stone bearing the simple inscription: ‘Ben Hardin, of Bardstown.’  Mrs. Hardin had preceded her husband to the grave in August, her death being hastened by constant attendance upon Mr. Hardin.  She is buried in the old pioneer cemetery here, in the midst of children and relatives.  A marble shaft, that has been sadly disfigured by vandals, marks her last resting place.  The only inscription is bears is ‘Elizabeth Barbour Hardin, wife of Ben Hardin.’

Ritchey and I have visited the Pioneer Cemetery in Bardstown, but we did not see a stone for Elizabeth Barbour Hardin.

The Jolly Family

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

Breckinridge County

The Jolly Family were among the earliest settlers in Breckinridge County.  Nelson Jolly, the progenitor of the family in Kentucky, was a native of Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  In 1780 he left that state in company with thirteen other families and immigrated to Kentucky, then beyond the borders of civilization.  The little band stopped at the mouth of Beargrass Creek – the present site of Louisville, where they remained one year.  Not satisfied with the look of the surrounding country they determined to go further, and in 1781 they embarked in flat boats and floated down the Ohio, landing at the mouth of Sinking Creek.  From there they proceeded through the unbroken forest until they reached the spot where Hardinsburg now stands, which place had previously been selected as a place of settlement by the leader of the band – William Hardin.  Here they at once constructed a log fort, as a protection against the Indians, that soon became known on the frontier as “Hardin’s Fort”.  In this rude fortification the little band remained for several years.  Mr. Jolly was an inmate of the fort some two years, when he located two miles west of Hardinsburg, and lived there until his death, in 1814.  Nelson Jolly, Jr., his son, was also born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in 1786, and was quite young when the family came to Kentucky.  He grew to manhood in Breckinridge County, and was a man of some prominence.  He was a magistrate a number of years, and as senior magistrate of the county, under the old constitution, became high sheriff, and then was again elected magistrate and served out his term, and became sheriff a second time, January 15, 1849.  He lived for a number of years at the mouth of Sugar Tree Run, in the Union Star Precinct, and there he died, in November, 1878.  His wife was Barbara Barr, born in 1781, and died in 1863. Her father, Adam Barr, was a native of Virginia; came to Kentucky in 1792, and settled near where the village of Union Star now stands; he died there in 1859, at the age of one hundred years.  The children of Nelson and Barbara Jolly were Mary, Sallie (deceased), John B., James G. (deceased), Samuel J., Gideon P., Bettie A., Adam N., Thomas J., David C. (deceased), H. Clay and Francis M. (deceased).

The Jolly Family

from Breckinridge County, Kentucky – Biographies

Part 1

The Jolly Family were among the earliest settlers in Breckinridge County.  Nelson Jolly, the progenitor of the family in Kentucky, was a native of Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  In 1780 he left that state in company with thirteen other families and immigrated to Kentucky, then beyond the borders of civilization.  The little band stopped at the mouth of Beargrass Creek – the present site of Louisville, where they remained one year.  Not satisfied with the look of the surrounding country they determined to go further, and in 1781 they embarked in flat boards and floated down the Ohio, landing at the mouth of Sinking Creek.  From there they proceeded through the unbroken forest until they reached the spot where Hardinsburg now stands, which place had previously been selected as a place of settlement by the leader of the band – William Hardin.  Here they at once constructed a log fort, as protection against the Indians, that soon became known on the frontier as “Hardin’s Fort”.  In this rude fortification the little band remained for several years.  Mr. Jolly was an inmate of the fort some two years, when he located two miles west of Hardinsburg, and lived there until his death in 1814.  Nelson Jolly, Jr., his son, was also born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, in 1786, and was quite young when the family came to Kentucky.  He grew to manhood in Breckinridge County, and was a man of some prominence.  He was a magistrate a number of years, and as senior magistrate of the county, under the old constitution, became high sheriff, and then was again elected magistrate and served out his term, and became sheriff a second time, January 15, 1849.  He lived for a number of years at the mouth of Sugar Tree Run, in the Union Star Precinct, and there he died, in November, 1878.  His wife was Barbara Barr, born in 1781, and died in 1863.  Her father, Adam Barr, was a native of Virginia; came to Kentucky in 1792, and settled near where the village of Union Star now stands; he died there in 1859, at the age of one hundred years.  The children of Nelson and Barbara Jolly were Mary, Sallie, John B., James G., Samuel J., Gideon P., Bettie A., Adam N., Thomas J., David C., H. Clay and Francis M.

John B. Jolly, the eldest son of Nelson and Barbara (Barr) Jolly, is still living and is an honored citizen of Breckinridge County.  He has been sheriff and assessor, and held other offices of importance.  He married Rachel, youngest daughter of Henry Hardin, Esquire, a son of General Hardin, the proprietor of the town of Hardinsburg.  The result of their union was the following children:  George W., William H. H., Nannie, Sallie, Gideon and Dolly, wife of William Hardin.

Gideon P. Jolly was born February 7, 1822, and was brought up on the farm.  His education was limited, and confined to the common schools of the county.  He commenced his public career as deputy sheriff under his father, in 1849, serving for two years and five months.  He was elected the first sheriff (in 1851) under the present constitution; was re-elected in 1852, and held the office for six years.  At the expiration of his last term, he was elected to represent Breckinridge County in the Legislature, and served one term.  In August, 1856, he was elected circuit court clerk, and two years later was elected county court clerk, filling both positions until 1862, when he was re-elected.  He was defeated in 1866 for county clerk, but in 1867 was elected to fill out the unexpired term of Mr. Hambleton, who had died.  He was defeated for circuit clerk in 1868, and for county clerk in 1870; was elected sheriff in 1872 – held the office two years; and in 1874 was again elected county clerk, and re-elected in 1878.  He held the office of county clerk in all nineteen years, circuit clerk twelve years and sheriff eight years.  Since 1882 he has not been in active business, but at present is a candidate for county clerk.  He is one of the most popular men in the county – the soul of generosity, charitable, hospitable, and truly a man of the people.  He was married, September 24, 1866, to Eliza Beard, a daughter of Burrel and Ellen (Taber) Beard, of Breckinridge County.  Their children are Bion, Nannie (Mrs. Wathen), Lulu (Mrs. Bush), Clarre and Everett.  Mr. Jolly is a member of the Methodist Church, of the Masonic order and of the Republican party.