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Ranked Search Results - A History of Muhlenberg County, Kentucky
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The first petit jury impaneled for the circuit court served at the March term, 1803, and was composed of: Samuel Handley, John Dennis, David Casebier, David Robertson, Thomas Bell, Thomas Littlepage, Thomas Randolph, Henry Unsell, George Nott, Henry Davis, Jacob Anthony, and Philip Stom. The first case tried was that of "The Commonwealth against Peter Acre, sometimes called Acrefield." Peter Acrefield was charged with assault, and was fined "one penny besides costs."
William Worthington or William Bell, with Christopher Greenup or Ninian Edwards, presided over the three sessions of the circuit court that followed. Judge Henry P. Broadnax, of Logan County, was next appointed circuit judge, and served from June, 1804, to March, 1819. Up to 1815 two associate judges in each county sat with the presiding judge, and William Worthington and William Bell usually acted in that capacity. Judge Broadnax was succeeded by Judge Benjamin Shackelford, who served from March, 1819, to September, 1821. He was succeeded by Judge Alney McLean, of Greenville, who served from 1821 to 1841, the time of his death. Judge John Calhoun served from 1842 until the new Constitution displaced him in 1851. 7
Prior to 1850 the circuit judges were appointed by the Governor. Since that time the following elected circuit judges have served: Judge Jesse W. Kincheloe, of Hardinsburg, 1851-1856; Judge George B. Cook, of Henderson, 1856; Judge Thomas C. Dabney, of Cadiz, 1857-1862; Judge R. T. Petree, of Hopkinsville, 1862-1868; Judge George C. Rogers, of Bowling Green, 1868-1870, Judge Robert C. Bowling, of Russellville, 1870-1880; Judge John R. Grace, of Cadiz, 1880-1892; Judge Willis L. Reeves, of Elkton, 1893-1897; Judge I. Herschel Goodnight, of Franklin. 1898-1901; Judge Samuel R. Crewdson, of Russellville, 1901-1903; Judge William P. Sandidge, of Russellville, from 1904.Muhlenberg County's Jail and Jailer's Residence
The following have served as circuit clerks: Charles Fox Wing, 1851-1856; Jesse H. Reno, 1856-1868; Nat J. Harris, 1868-1880; Doctor George W. Townes, 1880-1892; Thomas E. Sumner, 1893-1903; Clayton S. Curd, from 1904.
Prior to the adoption of the Third Constitution all county officers were appointed. Up to that time none of the officers of the State, with the exception of the Governor, Lieutenant-Governor, members of the Legislature, electors for President and Vice-President of the United States, and members of Congress were voted for by the people. The manner of filling offices in cities and towns was regulated by their charters. Trustees of towns were either appointed by the county courts or elected by the people. The Legislature controlled the subject, and the regulation of the subject was by no means uniform. The reader curious on this subject is referred to the State Constitution of 1799. From 1850 to 1890 the general elections for county and State officers were held on the first Monday in August. Since 1890 such elections have taken place on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. The following county judges, county attorneys, county clerks, jailers, and sheriffs have served Muhlenberg since 1850:
County Judges, Attorneys, Clerks, and Jailers.
Judges County Attorneys Clerks Jailers
1851-54 J. W. I. Godman 7 Joseph Ricketts Wm. H. C. Wing Sam H. Dempsey.
1854-58 Wm. G. Jones B. E. Pittman Jesse H. Reno Sam H. Dempsey.
1858-62 Wm. G. Jones B. E. Pittman Jesse H. Reno James Simpson.
1862-66 Ben J. Shaver B. E. Pittman T. J. Jones John L. Williams.
1866-70 S. P. Love B. E. Pittman Thomas Bruce W. D. Shelton.
1870-74 S. P. Love Wm. H. Yost Thomas Bruce John M. Williams.
1874-78 J. C. Thompson Eugene Eaves J. Ed Reno John S. Miller.
1878-82 J. C. Thompson W. Briggs McCown J. Ed Reno John S. Miller.
1882-86 John H. Morton W. A. Wickliffe W. T. Stiles John Coombs.
1886-90 Q. B. Coleman W. Briggs McCown 8 W. T. Stiles John Coombs.
1890-94 D. J. Fleming M. J. Roark Joe G. Ellison R. H. Lyon.
1895-97 D. J. Fleming M. J. Roark Joe G. Ellison R. H. Lyon.
1898-01 T. J. Sparks J. L. Rogers Ed S. Wood Wm. T. Miller.
1902-05 T. J. Sparks J. L. Rogers Ed S. Wood Wm. T. Miller.
1906-09 R. O. Pace W. O. Belcher F. L. Lewis Geo. M. York.
1910 Jas. J. Rice T. O. Jones H. L. Kirkpatrick Geo. M. York.
County Sheriffs.
1851-52 Wm. Harbin.
1853-58 Ben J. Shaver.
1859-60 H. D. Rothrock.
1861-62 Moses Wickliffe 9
1863-66 J. P. McIntire.
1867-68 Wm. Irvin.
1869-70 Tom M. Morgan.
1871-74 C. B. Wickliffe.
1875-78 W. A. Mohorn.
1879-82 Geo. O. Prowse.
1883-86 Alex Tinsley.
1887-90 T. B. Pannell.
1891-93 M. L. Prowse.
1894-97 D. T. Hill.
1898-01 W. H. Welsh.
1902-05 W. D. Blackwell.
1906-09 J. A. Shaver.
1910 T. L. Roll.
VI, The Weirs
No Name is better known in Muhlenberg than that of Weir. James Weir, sr., was a pioneer merchant and the founder of a family whose history is closely interwoven with all the history of the county. James Weir, sr., was a son of William Weir, a Revolutionary soldier of Scotch-Irish descent. He was a surveyor by profession, and in 1798, at the age of twenty-one, came to Muhlenberg on horseback from his home at Fishing Creek, South Carolina. This trip was the first of his many long horseback journeys, and extended over a period of eight months.
While on this expedition in search of a place to begin his career he spent some of his time writing sketches and poems bearing directly or indirectly on the places he visited. His account of this trip to Muhlenberg he himself styles "James Weir's Journal: Some of James Weir's travels and other things that might be of interest."
The old journal is still preserved, and although it throws very little light on the history of Muhlenberg, his observations, made in the Green River country and elsewhere, show the character of a young man who, immediately after his arrival in the county, became one of its most influential citizens. He evidently idled away no time on this trip, and the same may also be said of his entire journey through life. His first entry in the journal begins: "March 3, 1798, I set out from South Carolina, the land of my nativity, with the intention to explore the western climes." He gives a graphic description of the country through which he passed on his way to Eastern Tennessee. Writing of his short stay in Knoxville, he says: "In the infant town of Knox the houses are irregular and interspersed. It was County day when I came, the town was confused with a promiscuous throng of every denomination. Some talked, some sang and mostly all did profanely swear. I stood aghast, my soul shrunk back to hear the horrid oaths and dreadful indignities offered to the Supreme Governor of the Universe, who, with one frown is able to shake them into non-existence. There was what I never did see before, viz., on Sunday dancing, singing and playing of cards, etc. ... It was said by a gentleman of the neighborhood that 'the Devil is grown so old that it renders him incapable of traveling, and that he has taken up in Knoxville and there hopes to spend the remaining part of his days in tranquillity, as he believes he is among his friends,' but as it is not a good principle to criticise the conduct of others, I shall decline it with this general reflection, that there are some men of good principles in all places, but often more bad ones to counterbalance them."
These few lines show that although Mr. Weir thought the "infant town of Knox" was a very wicked place he, nevertheless, did not wholly condemn it. From Knoxville he rode to Nashville, where he remained a few months and where he "kept school at the house of Colonel Thomas Ingles, a gentleman of distinguished civility." Before leaving Tennessee he wrote:
Thinks I, is this that promised land? Is this that noble Tennessee whose great fame has filled the mouths and fired the breaths of many through the different states? If so, I do not doubt your fame is more than you are in reality, which is commonly the case of new countries. ... I have now traveled six months in the state of Tennessee and have set out for Kentucky. ...
On the 8th day of October, 1799, I crossed the Clinch River and there took to the Wilderness, which is 95 miles without a house or inhabitant. I met two gentlemen who proved very good company through this lonely wilderness. This wilderness land belongeth to the Indians, who will not suffer anybody to settle on it. The land is for the most part barren and mountainous. After three days' travel we arrived into Cumberland, a Country whose fertility of soil and pleasant situation I could not pass over, without particular attention. This country is well settled with people.Pioneer James Weir, About 1840
Having tarried there a few days in a friend's house, I passed over into the state of Kentucky and travelled through some of the lower parts, viz., on Green River and Red River. This country is for the most part newly settled, their buildings and farms but small. Some live by hunting only, which explore the solitary retreats of the wild bear and buffalo. Others, being more industrious, cultivate the soil, though not as properly as they might for want of implements. The land yields exceedingly well, corn, wheat, cotton and all other grains and plants common to the southern states. The latitude is nearly the same as that of North Carolina.
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Refine your search of the A History of Muhlenberg County, Kentucky

Source Information: A History of Muhlenberg County, Kentucky [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2001. Original data: Rothert, Otto A. A History of Muhlenberg County. Louisville, KY, USA: 1913.

Compiled by Otto A. Rothert, this book details some general information about the county, including information on the local facilities. Family historians will find the wealth of information on the first settlers of the county, and their decendents, most...
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