Thursday, April 12, 2012

Substitute Courthouses During Civil War

Following the swathe of destruction commanded by Gen. H.B. Lyon (CSA) during the latter part of the Civil War, counties in western Kentucky had to scramble to find a place to hold court, often changing locations several times. This is evidenced by the following entries in the Hopkins County, Kentucky Court Order Book 1863-1865. Keep in mind that the Hopkins County Court House was burned 17 December 1864.

page 392, 15 May 1865
On motion of W.P. Fowler, Judge of the Hopkins Circuit Court, it is ordered to be certified upon the records of this court that the Court House of Hopkins County has been burned by order of the Rebel General Lyon and (that in accordance with the provisions of an act of the Legislature of Kentucky approved at the called Session 1865) that the present May term of the Hopkins Circuit Court be held at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in the town of Madisonville ... and the same be taken & used & known as the Court House for this term.

page 403, 30 May 1865
It appearing that the Court House of Hopkins County has been destroyed by Rebels and that there is now no Court House for the use of the courts, it is therefore ordered that the house in Madisonville heretofore known as the "Old Clerk's Office" be and is hereby selected as the place for holding the court of sd. County and sd. building is hereby declared to be & is the court house ...

page 404, 30 May 1865
Ordered that W.O. Hall, John G. Morton, G.L. Weatherly and C.C. Young be appointed commissioners to have the walls of the burned Court House secured and preserved and the brick belonging thereto taken care of. They are also authorized by the court if in their opinion they should believe it to be in the interest of the county to let out the repairing and rebuilding the brick walls, to do so to the lowest bidder ...

page 523, 20 November 1865
It appearing ... that the Court House is not sufficiently repaired for the purpose of holding court and that the courthouse selected as the public one is not sufficiently large and commodious ... therefore ordered that the Methodist Episcopal Church South of this place be selected as the place for holding the present term of the Hopkins circuit Court and citizens and officers are hereby directed to respect it as such and govern themselves accordingly.

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