Thursday, December 3, 2015

Distinguished Men of Kentucky

Periodically correspondents to Evansville newspapers reported on places and people on the far side of the Ohio River. The following article was signed by "Sojourner" and pertained to people living in Western Kentucky. This article comes from the 8 August 1888 issue of the Evansville Courier.

Crittenden Springs, Aug. 6, 1888 - Mingling with the old residents of this portion of Kentucky, I have gathered a number of "personals" concerning distinguished men which have been of interest to me and may be to your readers. Years ago the county of Livingston covered the territory of Crittenden, Caldwell and Lyon counties, in addition to that which it now occupies. It has been looked upon as a hilly section, not especially attractive, compared with the bluegrass region. The people here, however, are very proud of their locality and their history, and in many particulars they have good reason to be.

One of the oldest inhabitants grew enthusiastic as he told me of the men whom he once claimed as his neighbors, also those who were companions of his fathers. Among those he mentioned I remember the following:

Gov. James Alcorn, who grew up on a farm in this region, became deputy sheriff, and later sheriff of this county. He removed to Mississippi and in Ku Klux times attained national notoriety as Governor of the State.

Judge Wiley P. Fowler, celebrated for his broad intellectual culture, as well as his legal attainments. He was the father of Captains Dick, Gus and Joe Fowler, whose names have been familiar in Evansville for many years.

Gov. Charles Morehead, who was elected Governor of the State on the Know Nothing ticket in 1856.

Mr. John Bass, whose father was a long time county jailer at Old Salem. His older brother[1], ambitious for advancement, went to a commercial college at Cincinnati, and from there to Fort Wayne, Ind., and secured a position and afterwards an interest in a manufacturing establishment. Through the war excitement the business became demoralized and he entered the army and was killed at Shiloh.  His younger brother, John, went to Fort Wayne after the war to see what remained of his brother's affairs. His energy elevated him to proprietorship in the establishment and he ranks among the lending business men of the state. His father, now 80 years of age and very feeble, enjoys a comfortable home with his millionaire son. My informant thinks Mr. Bass was a delegate-at-large to the Democratic convention at St. Louis, and says he is a gentleman of high order of courage. [Mr. Bass was a delegate from the State at large, and is elector for his district on the Cleveland ticket. He employs 3,000 workmen, never had a strike and is an ardent tariff reformer. - Ed. Courier]

Roger Q. Mills was a farmer boy near Old Salem till he was grown, when he sought a home in Texas. He is now one of the most widely celebrated men in the country through his connection with the great tariff discussion. He is spoken of in very high terms by his old neighbors.

That portion of the Livingston territory now known as Lyon county derived its name from one of its old families, one of whom Gen. H.B. Lyon was a prominent figure in the Confederate army. His wife is now a guest at the Springs. A county adjacent to this original Livingston section was the birth place and boyhood home of Jefferson Davis, mention of this fact suggesting naturally its counterpart, viz, that Abraham Lincoln, his great antagonist, was also born on Kentucky soil.                Sojourner

[1] Sion S. Bass (1827 - 1862).

Published 3 December 2015, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

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