Saturday, December 29, 2012

Col. James K. Huey (1826 - 1891)

The first clue I had to the occupation of James K. Huey was in a mortgage in 1857 in Livingston County, Kentucky. In Livingston Deed Book 3, page 509 Huey used a number of books on jurisprudence, contracts and law as collateral to secure a note he owed W.R. Frazier. It was clear he was interested in and perhaps connected to the legal field. This was confirmed by Livingston County census records. In 1850 he was listed as sheriff and in 1860 he was a lawyer. But James K. Huey's fame spread beyond that of a small town lawyer or sheriff.

Born in the Dyer Hill community of Livingston County, James K. Huey was the son of Robert and Eliza (Calhoun) Huey. He was left an orphan at the age of 15. After serving as deputy sheriff in McCracken County for several years,  he purchased the office of Livingston County sheriff.  When the office became elective, he became a candidate and was elected in 1851 and again in 1853. During his tenure as sheriff, he read law and was admitted to practice in 1856. He also served in the state legislature in 1857 - 1858.

At the beginning of the Civil War, Huey raised a company of cavalry in the counties of Hopkins, Webster and Livingston. He was elected captain of his company and participated in many battles of the war. According to Kentucky Genealogy and Biography, Vol. IV, reprinted from Kentucky: A History of the State by Battle-Perrin-Kniffin, "He retired with the rank of colonel May 19, 1865, marching into Paducah with ninety men, surrendered to Gen. Meredith, who was then in command of the post."

When Huey returned home, he found that he was disbarred from practicing law. He went to New Orleans, where he entered into the commission business. On 14 July 1870 in Canton, Mississippi, he married Miss Alice Powell. They returned to Livingston County and Col. Huey re-entered the legal profession and became a county judge before 1880. Born to Col. and Mrs. Huey  were Annie Powell, James K. Jr., Jessie and Laurin Huey.

James K. Huey passed away in Smithland in December 1891. A brief obituary in the St. Louis Republican states the following: "The report reaches here that J.K. Huey of Smithland, Ky. died this afternoon. He was an ex-County Judge, State legislator and was a Colonel in John Morgan's command and was in prison with him. He left a wife and family."

Tombstone of Col. J.K. Huey (1826-1891)
Smithland Cemetery, Smithland, Kentucky
After Col. Huey's death, his widow, Alice Powell Huey, returned to Mississippi, where she died 24 February 1918. She is buried in Mount Carmel Baptist Cemetery, Winston County.

This is a very brief biography of the life of James K. Huey. My next step is to do a little research on his activities with John Hunt Morgan and if he was confined in the Ohio State Penitentiary with Morgan.

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