Fact Book II
Chapter 9 Biographical Sketches


A biographical sketch of William Fox, one of the first settlers of Somerset, has already been given. Little is known about most of the others; though many of them took an active pat in the founding and early development of the town, they left only their names on the records. Among these are: Robert Modrel, Nicholas Jasper, Jesse Richardson, John James Sr., and William Barnes. These men were the first trustees of the town, and had an important part in getting it started.

One of the most active of the early settlers in Somerset was Cyrenius Wait. He was born in Chester, Massachusetts, 1792, and settled in Somerset when a young man, sometime before 1818. He engaged in the manufacture of salt about five miles west of Somerset for several years. He also engaged in various other pursuits. Among them were farming, producing raw silk, operating mercantile establishments at various locations, and filling a number of political offices from time to time. He served Pulaski County as Justice of the Peace, Commissioner of Public Schools in the county, and as a representative of that county in both houses of the Legislature. He first located a farm east of town, but later moved to a frame house at the top of Wait’s Hill near the end of South Main Street. This old house was torn down about 1946, and the site serves as a used car lot. Cyrenius Wait was regarded as one of the best citizens of eastern and southern Kentucky. It should be added that he had been engaged in banking and selling life insurance. He died in 1868, and was buried in the Wait Cemetery, which is on the same hill just south of the Sinking Creek Baptist Church graveyard. He was the father of six children: John, George W., Frank, M.F., H.C., and Maggie. Some of his sons made their homes in other sections of the country, while George W. Wait remained in Somerset where he received his education in the common schools and at the Masonic College in Somerset. He engaged in the mercantile business and was one of the prominent citizens of the town until his death on September 7, 1907.

Another of the pioneer settlers of Somerset who deserves consideration was Tunstal Quarles. Unfortunately there is only a meager amount of information available regarding this man. He was the first citizen of the county or town to serve in the national legislature. He came to Somerset sometime before 1812, for in May, 1812, he was one of a commission to supervise the building of a County Clerk’s office. He was a lawyer and became a member of the State legislature about 1811. In the War of 1812, he armed and equipped a company of the Second Regiment Kentucky Militia at his own expense. He also commanded this company. After the war he served as a circuit court judge. He was elected by the Democrats as a member of the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Congresses and served from March, 1817 until June, 1820. He returned to Somerset in July, 1824. He then resumed his law practice and engaged in farming. He was president of the Farmers Bank, the first bank in Somerset, organized in January, 1818. In 1828, he was again elected to the state House of Representatives, and was elector on the Democratic ticket of Jackson and Calhoun. He served a term in the state Senate in 1840. He died in Somerset January 7, 1857. He must have been a popular citizen for there were many people who named their sons after him.

Captain Will C. Curd was born in Somerset, Kentucky, August 3, 1836. He received a good common-school education and went to Danville, Kentucky about 1852, where he was deputy clerk for a short time. He returned to Somerset where he was deputy circuit clerk until 1854, when he accepted a position with Montgomery, Davidge and Company of Louisville, with whom he remained about six months. He then returned to Somerset and resumed the position of deputy circuit clerk until the summer of 1862, when he enlisted in the Confederate Army, Company C, Sixth Kentucky Regiment, under the command of Colonel Grigsby and Captain M.B. Perkins, General John H. Morgan’s command. He served until the close of the war surrendering near Washington, George, the day before the capture of President Jefferson Davis. He had been one of the escorts of President David and General John C. Breckinridge from Charlotte, North Carolina to Washington, Georgia. When the war was over he returned to Somerset, when he was a clerk in a drugstore. He then read law in the office of A.J. James and Colonel William McKee Fox, and was admitted to the bar in 1867. He spent fourteen months in Edmonton, Metcalfe County, Kentucky, as a law partner in the firm of Roupain and Curd, but returned to Somerset where he served as county attorney of Pulaski County for five years. He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South and in politics, a Democrat. He died in 1901.

Nicholas Jasper, soldier of the Revolution, was one of the earliest settlers of Pulaski County. Nicholas was the son of John Abraham Jasper who is said to have been born at Cavermarthen in Wales, in 1728, and settled near Georgetown, South Carolina in 1748, later moving to the Cooper River and near Charlestown in 1752 where he reared his family of four sons and three daughters. Nicholas and his brothers John and William served under General Francis Marion and General William Richardson Davie in North and South Carolina and Georgia. William was the hero of the battle of Fort Moultrie, June 17, 1776, and was killed in the assault on Savannah, October 7, 1779, along with Count Casmir Pulaski. Abraham, the eldest brother, was born in Wales and was a Tory. Nicholas married Elizabeth Wyatt and to this union was born John, 1768-1849. Elizabeth, Andrew, Mary, Achilles, Thomas, Rachel and another daughter. Among his sons, Thomas, Andrew, and Achilles all were in the War of 1812. Andrew emigrated to DeKalb County, Missouri. Achilles emigrated to Platte County, Missouri. Thomas later was a Colonel in the Kentucky Militia and served as representative in the Kentucky Legislatures 1833, 34, and 35. Nicholas married his second wife, Martha Irvin, January 2, 1810. Nicholas is listed by the Filson Club Kentucky Land Grants and reserved 200 acres on Sinking Creek (Somerset) January 14, 1799. HE was one of the noble pioneers of Kentucky. After servicing as a soldier, senior justice and sheriff of Pulaski County, he died at the home of his son, Thomas, at Fishing Creek and was buried in the family plot in the Sinking Creek Church graveyard in 1827.

Another early nineteenth century public spirited citizen was S.A. Newell, son of Joseph B. and Jane (Kinkead) Newell, born December 15, 1832. Joseph B. Newell, a native of the same county, was born in 1800. He engaged in farming, stock-raising and stock trading, and served as magistrate for a number of years. He died in 1880, having been a member of the Presbyterian Church for many years before his death. His parents were Samuel and Jean (Montgomery) Newell, the former of whom was born on the Atlantic Ocean, served as a soldier in the Revolution, and was shot through the body at King’s Mountain. He father was also Samuel Newell, a native of Ireland, who came to the United States about 1754, and was a farmer by occupation. Jane (Kinkead) Newell was born in Hawkins County, Tennessee, in 1795, a daughter of David and Mary (Williams) Kinkead. S.A. Newell was educated in the common schools and at Centre College, Danville, Kentucky, where he graduated in 1853. He did not begin active practice until 1876, having engaged in farming and teaching school in the meantime. He taught school for about ten years and operated a farm just outside the town limits of Somerset. On March 21, 1854, he married Mary E. Bradley of Garrard County, Kentucky, a daughter of Col. R.M. and Ellen (Totten) Bradley of Garrard County, and a sister of William O. Bradley. S.A. Newell and Mrs. Newell were members of the Presbyterian Church. He was appointed Master Commissioner in 1866, and was a member of the Democratic party. He died August 7, 1900.

J.E. Girdler was born in Somerset, Kentucky, August 2, 1860, and was a son of J.H. and Viletha (Floyd) Girdler. J.H. Girdler was born in Pulaski County, Kentucky, in 1827, was a soldier by trade, and also engaged in merchandising in Somerset for several years. He also had charge of the tanyard for quite awhile. He died in August, 1887, having been for many years before his death a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, and a liberal contributor to all church and charitable organizations. He was a son of Thomas Girdler, who was a tailor by trade. Atticus M. Girdler, brother of J.E. Girdler, was born October 7, 1863 in Pulaski County. J.E. Girdler was educated in the common schools and at the Masonic College, Somerset, Kentucky. IN 1881, in partnership with his brother, he opened a grocery store in Somerset, which they operated a year or two. In 1884, they opened a hardware store, carrying a full line of farm implements, stoves, tin and iron-ware, cutlery, groceries, etc. In September, 1879, J.E. Girdler married Sophia Gilmore of Pulaski County, a daughter of Smith and Elizabeth (Smith) Gilmore. Their children were Maude and Lena. J.E. Girdler was a member of the Democratic party and he and Mrs. Girdler belonged to the Methodsit Episcopal Church South. He died in 1947.

George Perkins, M.D., was born in Somerset, Kentucky, October 2, 1843, a son of Dr. J.M. and Jane (Fitzpatrick) Perkins. J.M. Perkins was born in Lincoln County, Kentucky, May 13, 1818, a son of Elisha and Sarah (Gooch) Perkins. Elisha Perkins was a son of Reubin Perkins. Jane (Fitzpatrick) Perkins was a daughter of George and Mary (Fitzpatrick) Fitzpatrick. George Perkins was educated in the schools in Somerset. He read medicine near his father, and attended three full courses of lectures at Bellevue, N.Y., graduating in 1865. He took a special course on the eye and ear and also studied surgery under Prof. Frank Hamilton, one of the physicians who attended James A. Garfield. Immediately after graduating, Dr. Perkins located in Somerset where he resided until his death May 11, 1899. In 1880, he was elected as an alternate delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Cincinnati, to nominate Hancock for president. He was a director in the National Bank for several years, a member of the American Medical Association, as well as secretary of the Pulaski County Medical Society and the Kentucky Medical Society. He was a surgeon for the Cincinnati and Southern Railroad and also one of the medical examiners of the Eleventh Congressional District, appointed to ascertain whether or not physicians were qualified to practice. He was active in organizing the Beaver Creek and Cumberland River Coal Company. On October 20, 1869, he married Sophronia Vickery of Somerset, a daughter of Jenkins and Sophronia M. (Smith) Vickery. Two children were born to this union: Jennie and Leila. Mrs. Perkins was a graduate of the Daughter’s College of Harrodsburg, Kentucky, and was one of the contributors to the Life of John Smith, the celebrated Christian minister. The book was mainly written by John Augustus Williams, President of the Daughter’s College. George Perkins was a member of the Democratic party.

William E. Perkins, a hardware merchant of Somerset, was born in Pulaski County, November 7,1852. He was the son of Willis G. and Patsey (Montgomery) Perkins. Willis g. Perkins was born in Lincoln County, Kentucky, November 3, 1823, was a farmer all his life, and for many years a member of the Baptist Church. He was a son of Elisha, a native of Lincoln County, Kentucky, who was a farmer, merchant, and teacher. Patsey (Montgomery) Perkins was born in Lincoln County, Kentucky, September 3, 1832, a daughter of Clayton and Mary (Montgomery) Montgomery. William E. Perkins was the eldest of eight children and was reared on a farm, receiving his education at the common schools and at the Masonic College, Somerset. In 1872, in partnership with J.E. Bobbitt, he opened a general store at Bee Lick, Lincoln County, Kentucky. J.E. Bobbitt died in 1874, and William E. Perkins continued the business until 1885, when he moved to Somerset where he resided until his death. In 1886, he formed a partnership with George P. Sallee in the hardware business, the style of the firm being Sallee and Perkins. They carried a full line of hardware, stoves, farm implements, etc. On October 12, 1876, William E. Perkins married Evelyn Allbright of Pulaski County, a daughter of Archibald and Martha (Martin) Allbright.

A Somerset citizen whose life portrayed the pioneer enterprising spirit of the final decades of the nineteenth century was George P. Sallee. He was a hardware merchant and was born in Somerset, October 21, 1851, the son of J.W. and C.A. (Perkins) Sallee. J.W. Sallee was born in Somerset, January 1, 1812. He was a merchant tailor who continued active in business long after he was seventy years of age. He represented Pulaski County in the Legislature one term, served as sheriff of the county for several years and was also magistrate. C.A. (Perkins) Sallee was born in Lincoln County, Kentucky, a daughter of Elisha and Sallee (Gooch) Perkins. George P. Sallee was one of the eight children: J.M., W.J., J.B., George P., Lizzie J., A.C., Annie G., and Sallie A. George P. was educated at the schools and at the Masonic College, Somerset, Kentucky. He was in the drug store with J.R. Richardson one year, then clerked for Gibson and Company three years, then for Harvey and Newell two years. In 1878, in partnerships with J.M. Beatie, he opened a hardware store. Beatie retired in 1886 and W.E. Perkins became a partner of Sallee; the name of the firm became Sallee and Perkins. The store carried a full line of hardware, stoves, implements, wagons, and farm machinery. On October 21, 1880, George P. married Sallie B. Harvey, daughter of William and Barthenia (Perkins) Harvey. Their children were Marguerite, Harvey P., Elizabeth, Barthenia and George. George P. Sallee was a member of the Presbyterian Church, a Royal Arch Mason and K. of H. He was a Democrat politically. He died in 1936.

An interesting and active resident, although not a native, was John Silvers, a deputy county clerk who was born in Mason County, Missouri, March 22, 1845. He was a son of John and Polly (Shadoan) Silvers. John Silvers Sr., was born in Pulaski County, Kentucky in 1809, was a carpenter by trade and also did some farming. He died December 10, 1879. He was a strict member of the Baptist Church for most of his life. He was a son of William Silvers, a native of Virginia, who was an early settler in Pulaski County, Kentucky. Polly (Shadoan) Silvers was also born in Virginia and settled on the Cumberland River with her parents. Her father was William Shadoan, a farmer. John Silvers Jr., was of Irish extraction on his father’s side and French on his mother’s. He settled in Pulaski County, Kentucky, with his parents in 1858, receiving his education in the common schools and at the Masonic College, Somerset. ON September 1, 1861, he enlisted in the Federal Army, Company C, Third Kentucky Infantry, under the command of Colonel Thomas E. Barmlette and Captain D.H. Denton. He served until November, 1862, when he was appointed regimental bugler, and performed in this capacity until October 13, 1864, when he was mustered out at Louisville, Kentucky. He immediately returned to Somerset, and in March, 1865, enlisted in a company of State Troops, remaining until July of the same year. He engaged in farming and teaching school from 1865 to 1871. In the latter year he became salesman in a general store in Somerset, where he remained until 1875, when he took a position with Trabue and Company, a wholesale dry goods firm in Louisville, Kentucky, where he was occupied until 1878. Then he returned to Somerset to become deputy county clerk and served from 1878 to 1882, and at the August election, 1882, was elected Jailer and served a term of four years. He then returned to the duty of deputy county clerk under John S. May. On December 20, 1866, John Silvers married Charity Sloan of Pulaski County, Kentucky, a daughter of James and Sarah (Hail) Sloan. There were five children born to this union: Mary A., Sarah B., Isadora, William E. and Charles E. Silvers was a member of the G.A.R. holding the position of officer of the day of C.A.Zachery Post No. 20, department of Kentucky, and assistant inspector of the department of Kentucky. Politically he was a Republican.

Growing towns beyond the Appalachian barrier attracted many migrant entrepreneurs, artisans, and merchants. One of the latter was John Slessinger, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, born December 31, 1857. He was a son of Samuel and Mina (Rosenthal) Slessinger. Samuel Slessinger was born in Hammelbury, Bavaria, Germany in 1821; he came to the United States about 1845, remained in Baltimore about ten years and then went to Cincinnati. He was at Millersburg and Paris, Kentucky for one year each. He was a tailor by trade and was the son of John Slessinger, who as also a native of Germany. Mina (Rosenthal) Slessinger was born in Germany, a daughter of Samuel Rosenthal. John Slessinger was the eldest of three children, the others being Henry and Lewis. Henry and John became business partners in Somerset in 1885. John Slessinger received his education in the public schools of Cincinnati. He worked at the Volksblatt, a German printing office for six years and became a practice printer. In 1880, John opened a general store in Somerset. ON June 18, 1884, he married Sallie Frank, of Cincinnati, a daughter of Simon and Fannie Frank. John Slessinger was a member of the Sons of Israel Lodge of Cincinnati and a Republican.

Another of the merchandiser residents of Somerset was George W. Wait. He was born in Somerset, July 19, 1850, the son of Cyrenius and Mary (Newell) Wait. Cyrenius Wait was born in Massachusetts in 1792, and migrated to Somerset when a young man (he was reported to have walked the entire distance from this native state to Somerset.) Mary (Newell) Wait, a native of Pulaski County, was the daughter of John M. Newell, a native of Virginia. G.M. Wait was the second of six children who names were: John, George W., Frank, M.F., H.C., and Maggie. George W. was educated in the common Schools and at the Masonic College in Somerset. In 1872, he began the operation of a general store in Somerset. On February 24, 1874, he married Linn S. Sanders of Pulaski County, a daughter of G.W. and Jane (Long) Sanders. Their children were: Cy, Ed, Harry, William, Clark, and Kenkade. George W. Wait was affiliated with the Presbyterian Church and was a Democrat. His wife was a member of the Baptist Church. George Wait died September 11, 1907.

One Somerset citizen, John S. May, was a direct descendant of a German refugee student, George May, who fled from Saxony, Germany, in the disguise of a sailor and landed at Philadelphia in 1701. George May’s son Jacob was the father of John May, whose son William was the father of John S. May. John S. May was born January 21, 1835, and reared on a farm in Pulaski County. He was educated at the common and select schools of Somerset. He engaged in farming until 1851, when he began to teach school and continued this pursuit until 1860. On September 13, 1862, he enlisted in the Confederate Army, Company C., Sixth Kentucky Cavalry, under command of Colonel J. Warren Grigsby and Captain J.B. Perkins. May was Second Lieutenant by brevet. He was captured in Wayne County, Kentucky, the Sunday evening before Christmas in 1862, was marched on foot in font of the Ninth Kentucky Cavalry (Colonel Jacob’s Regiment) to Lebanon, where he was placed in jail for one week, and was then taken to Louisville, Kentucky, and placed in the barracks, remaining there about one month. He was then removed to Camp Chase, Columbus, Ohio, where he was a prisoner until April 11, 1863, when he was taken to Fort Delaware and confined until April 29. He was put on the steamer State of Maine (which was anchored out in the Atlantic Ocean), being later removed to City Point and exchanged. Immediately upon being exchanged he boarded the train at Petersburg, Virginia to go to Lynchburg, Virginia. While riding on a boxcar near Liberty he stood up to speak to a Doctor Parberry. The train passed under an overpass and a beam struck May in the back of the head, rendering him insensible for ten days. When he was able to join General John H. Morgan at Sparta, Tennessee, May 19, 1863, he crossed the Cumberland River on the Ohio raid with General Morgan, and on July 19, 1963, he was captured at Buffington Island and taken to Camp Douglas in Chicago, Illinois, remaining there until February, 1865. He was then removed to Richmond, Virginia, and again exchanged. He was with General Robert E. Lee’s Army when Lee surrendered at Appomattox in April, 1865. After spending some time at Blue Ridge Springs, Virginia, in 1868, he attended school at Gilmore Seminary and in 1869 at the Masonic College, Somerset, Kentucky. In 1870 he began farming and teaching school. In 1878 he was elected common-school commissioner of Pulaski County, and was re-elected in 1880. In August, 1882, he was elected county clerk, and again in August, 1886. On March 23, 1858, he married Elizabeth McQueary of Pulaski County, Kentucky, a daughter of Pleasant and Margaret (Smith) McQueary. They had nine children: Virgie P., Thaddeus K., John W., Lillie, Stella, Samuel J., Tilden, Joseph Garfield, and Minneoto. Mrs. May died June 13, 1885. She was a member of the Christian Church. May was a member of the I.O.O.F. fraternity and a Republican politically.

One of the outstanding families in the more recent history of Somerset was the Morrow family. This family gave Somerset one of the town’s illustrious representatives – Governor Edwin P. Morrow. The first member of this family to gain prominence in Somerset was Thomas Z. Morrow, who was born in Fleming County, Kentucky, in 1835. He was the son of Alexander S. and Margaret (Boyd) Morrow, natives of Pennsylvania. Alexander S. Morrow was born in 1792 and first settled in Paris, Kentucky, then moved to Flemingsburg. Thomas Z. Morrow was educated at Centre College, Danville, Kentucky, where he graduated in 1855, a classmate of John C. Breckinridge, Governor Crittenden of Missouri, F.T. Fox, and others who later became prominent men in medicine and politics. He then entered the law department of the Transylvania University of Lexington, and graduated in 1856. In 1857, he migrated to Somerset where he edited a Democratic paper for one year. He was elected county attorney of Pulaski County in 1858, and in 1861, was elected as a union man to the Legislature. In 1862 he entered the Union army and served as a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Thirty-Second Kentucky Infantry, for nine months. He then returned to Somerset and resumed his law practice. He was elected State Senator, but resigned in 1866 to accept appointment as United States Assessor for the Eighth Collection District. He served in that office until 1869, Morrow then moved to Topeka, Kansas, and after fourteen months returned to Somerset. In 1876, he was a delegate to the Cincinnati republican Convention which nominated Hayes for President. He was also Republican Elector for the state at large. In 1883, he was the Republican nominee for governor, and in 1884, chairman of the Republican State Central Committee. In 1886, he was elected Commander, Department of Kentucky, Grand Army of the Republic, and in the same year was elected circuit judge for the Eighth Judicial District by 862 votes over his Democrat opponent. On December 24, 1858, Judge Morrow married Virginia C. Bradley, sister of William O. Bradley. There were nine children: W.A., Mary C., Thomas Z. Jr., Samuel S., Wilson B., Charles H., and Edwin P. Judge Morrow and his wife were members of the Presbyterian Church. He saw to it that his children all received an education. He died August 25, 1913.

Edwin P. Morrow and his twin brother, Charles H., were born in Somerset, November 30, 1877. Both attended Williamsburg Baptist College, Williamsburg, Kentucky. In 1897, they entered the United States Army and served during the Spanish American War. Edwin was commissioned a second lieutenant and served with the Fourth Kentucky Regiment. At the end of the war, Charles Morrow remained in the army seeking a career as an army officer. Edwin P. Morrow continued his education by studying law. In 1902, Edwin P. Morrow graduated from the school of law at the University of Cincinnati and for a time practiced in Lexington. He moved his office to Somerset in 1904, and was appointed city attorney by Mayor T.R. Griffin. He was appointed United States District Attorney for Eastern Kentucky by President Taft in 1909. In 1912, he was the Republican nominee for United States Senator, but his Democratic opponent, Ollie M. James, was elected to the Legislature, as this was the procedure for the election of senators at the time. He was nominated by R.C. Tarter as a candidate for Governor of Kentucky in 1915. He was defeated in this race by 471 votes after receiving 219,520 votes for himself. His successful opponent was A.O. Stanley. Four years later Morrow was again nominated for Governor and was elected over James D. Black by more than 40,000 votes. Some of his accomplishments as Governor were the appointment of a bipartisan State Board of Charities and Corrections, creation of the State Highway commission, and the enactment of laws permitting the construction of more than 2,000 miles of highways. The first state highway to be built through Pulaski County and through Somerset was constructed during his administration as Governor. He was vitally interested in Public education and supported the State Superintendent of Public Instruction in his program for better schools in Kentucky. In 1920, Governor Morrow was frequently mentioned as a possible candidate for President but he gave his support to Warren G. Harding. At the 1924 national convention he received several votes for the Republican nomination for Vice President. Governor Morrow was selected to inform Calvin Coolidge of his Vice Presidential nomination in 1920. He traveled with Coolidge when he made his pre-election tour of Kentucky that fall. In that year, and in others, Governor Morrow was in demand as a speaker for the Republican conventions and other political rallies. When his term as Governor expired he became a member of the United States Railroad Labor Board and the Railway Mediation Board, with headquarters at Chicago and Washington, for about nine years. He had first been appointed to the board by President Coolidge and was re-appointed by President Hoover. He resigned from the board to enter the race for Congress in the Ninth District in 1934. H died unexpectedly of a heart attack June 15, 1935, at the home of Dr. John G. South in Frankfort. His body was laid to rest in the historic Frankfort cemetery, near the grave of Daniel Boone and other former governors of Kentucky. A fine tribute was paid to Governor Morrow by the editor of the Courier Journal which stated:

With his death there vanished from the scene of Kentucky politics on of those figures whom

nature fashioned for public life. He possessed a temperament somehow kin to everyone he

met. A heartiness of taste congenial to any kind of gathering, and innate social qualities to

fit a career that no tutoring in urbanity could stimulate. Ed Morrow liked people and their

hearts responded. He made and held friends in every walk of life; he made personal friends

among his opponents.

He left friends to miss him, such as few of his prominence leave, and the memory of a voice

that in pitch, volume, flexibility, timbre and range excelled the finest musical instrument in

exciting human emotions, upon which he could play with the skill of a master musician. So

cajoling to the ear was the tone that bore his sharpest jibe that opponents joined in a laugh

at their expense, so thrilling again that their feelings were stirred by his presentation of the

issue on which they differed.

Naturally, it is on account of these pronounced and extraordinary qualities that Edwin P.

Morrow will be missed until the thousands who knew him follow him from the scene.

Nevertheless, his record leaves an indelible impress on Kentucky public affiairs.

Charles H. Morrow, twin brother of Governor Morrow, was second Lieutenant of Company 1 of the First Kentucky Volunteer Infantry in the Spanish American War. At the close of the war, he re-entered the army and was commissioned second lieutenant of a company of volunteers who served in the Philippine Insurrection in 1899. In 1901, he was commissioned second lieutenant of the United States Army regulars. He made several trips around the world with these soldiers and was stationed for several years in the Philippine Islands. He was sent with his regiment to China s representative of the United States and the Red Cross, to take charge of relief work in one of China’s disastrous floods. During the First World War he was in command of the American Expeditionary Force in Siberia. He was praised for his treatment of prisoners during the war by the foreign minister of Austria. He was decorated for service with medals ranging from the Croix de Guere to the American Victory Medal. In 1932, and the following year he campaigned to raise funds to restore Old Fort Niagara in 1932, with the rank of Colonel. He died of a heart attack December 21, 1935, and was buried with military honors at Fort Niagara, New York.

James Denton was born in Pulaski County, Kentucky, one mile from Somerset, July 9, 1860. His father was Judge D.H. Denton, who was born in Garrard County, Kentucky, April 14,1814. He was a lawyer for forty years and was county attorney of Garrard County. He was elected three times as county attorney for Pulaski County. He retired from law practice in 1876. His grandfather, Henry Denton, was one of Daniel Boone’s associates. James Denton received his education at the common schools and at the Masonic College in Somerset. When he was sixteen years of age he taught school. He read law with his father and was admitted to the bar in 1879. In November, 1883, he was appointed United States Commissioner, but resigned in 1885; and, in August, 1885, he was elected to the Legislature. He was a member of the Committee on Criminal Law and Codes of Practice, and also that of the State Prison. He took an active part in repealing the law which allowed convicts to be employed on public works. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church of Somerset, a Knight of Honor, and a Republican politically. He was a law partner of Will C. Curd, and was prominent in local and state politics until his death in 1932.

George W. Shadoan was born in Pulaski County, Kentucky, July 1, 1851, a son of Reuben and Sarah (Bishop) Shadoan. Reuben Shadoan was born in Wythville, Virginia, January 8, 1808. He came to Kentucky when a child with his parents and settled in Pulaski County near the Cumberland river. He was a Baptist preacher and also a farmer. George Shadoan was of French and Welsh extraction. He received a common school education and attended the Masonic College in Somerset. IN 1868, he began teaching school and following this occupation for two years. He then clerked in a dry goods store in Somerset. A year later he went to Louisville and took lessons in painting and drawing. In 1872, he returned to Somerset and began reading law in the office of Judge James Denton. He was admitted to the bar in 1875, and in 1876, was elected county attorney and served one term of four years. He was re-elected again in 1882 serving until 1886. He served seven terms as county attorney, being elected in 1890, 1894, 1898, 1914, and 1926. He served as representative of Pulaski County in the State Legislature for two terms, 1923 and 1925, and was also in 1931, and 1933. He was State Senator from 1903 to 1907. He was a Methodist minister for fifty years and while a member of the Legislature often served as chaplain to the inmates of the State Prison at Frankfort. He died December 10, 1937.

Dr. J.W.F. Parker was born in Wayne County, Kentucky, March 12, 1825. After attending the common schools he studied at the Louisville Medical College. In 1852, he began to practice medicine in Somerset. He married Sophia Elizabeth Caldwell, granddaughter of William Fox. Their children were: Miss T. Parker, one of Somerset’s beloved school teachers; Miss Samanda ("Pet"), a music teacher; Joe Caldwell, oldest son who owned and operated coal mines at Parker’s Lake, also known as Cumberland Falls Station on the Southern Railroad south of Somerset; Charlie Lewis Parker, who operated a coal and transfer business in Somerset; Mrs. Zeno D. Hill, wife of the late Rev. E.B. Hill and grandmother of Dr. John P. Hill, Jr. Two children died in infancy. Dr. Parker served as State Senator from 1866 to 1869. He was among those who secured the charter for the Cincinnati Southern Railway. He was mayor of Somerset for one term, 1898-1902. He died December 10, 1910. There are two memorials to this man in Somerset. One is a bronze tablet with this tribute: "Physician, mayor, citizen, honest in office, gentle in sickness, just in his dealings with this fellowman." The other is the Parker School Building. A copy of the letter he wrote presenting the land to Somerset hands in the hall of the present Parker School.

Major General John Jacob Bethurum Williams, Somerset’s most decorated servicemen, was born June 27, 1894. He served in the punitive expedition regarding the Mexican border incident in 1916, also in France, in World War One, from 1917-1918. In the Second World War he served from 1941 to 1945. General Williams was in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Sicily, England, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany. During his months overseas he was an artillery officer for General George S. Patton Jr., Chief of Staff of the Eleventh Armored Division of the Third Army. General Williams was Post Commander at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and from 1955 to 1959 was Adjutant General of Kentucky. He was elected President of the Citizens National Bank and remained in this capacity until his death November 30, 1970. During his military career he was decorated severally, having received the Silver Star, The Legion of Merit, The Bronze Star (valor), the Purple Heart, The Order of Leopold with Palm, and the Belgian Crox de Geuere with Palm. He married Virginia Elliott, who preceded him in death.

Adoniram Judson Holt was born at Somerset, Kentucky, December 1, 1847. He was a Baptist clergyman, author, and editor. He was the son of Aaron and Miriam (Buckner) Holt. He was the grandson of, and reared by the Reverend Daniel Buckner, pastor of the Fist Baptist Church from 1838 to 1853. At the age of 14 young Holt joined the Confederate Army and engaged in several battles of the Civil War from 1863-1865. He attended A.M. McKenzie College, Texas, 1866, and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary 1874-1876, graduating in 1883. He also attended Ps. M. Atlanta School of Psychology 1898; D.D. Keachi College, Louisiana 1887; Baylor University; and Texas A.M. 1888. He married Alice Markham at Shreveport, Louisiana June 9, 1867. She died September, 1873, leaving two small children. His son, William died while Dr. Holt was missionary to the Seminoles. He married Emma Dennis of Bryan, Texas, June 16, 1875. His children were: Mrs. A.B. Pentecost, Breham, Texas, daughter of first wife; Judson Toy Holt, Knoxville, Tennessee; Mrs. Mittage Holt Lockey, wife of Dr. R.P. Locey of Nacogdoches, Texas; Major J.B. Holt, Vicksburg, Mississippi; Carrol Holt, E.C., Port Arthur, Texas; Mrs. Carrie C. Holt Wall, Memphis, Tennessee; John Broadus Holt; and Vern Holt, Sebring Florida. He was ordained a Baptist minister in 1858 and served as the first missionary to Indians for four years. In the years following, Holt served in many other positions of importance at conventions and conferences of the church. Dr. Holt preached more than 13,000 sermons in his career in the ministry. He had memorized he entire New Testament and often recited whole chapters from it in his sermons. He had missed only one session in 52 years of the Southern Baptist Assembly. He was author of Missionary Manual 1881; Miriam Heth (5 editions) 1889; Parthenia 1890; Pastors Record Book 1923; Pioneering in the Southwest 1923; and, The Seminole. His name was in Who’s Who in America 1933-34, The Blue Book, and Who’s Who in American Authors. He was a Knights Templar Mason, joining at age of 21. He taught the Old Testament at the Baptist State Assembly year after year using the chapel at Stetson University as his classroom, since there was no classroom in the University large enough to accommodate his class enrollment. He died May 15, 1933, at his home in Arcadia, Florida. He is buried at Oak Ridge Cemetery, Arcadia, Florida by the side of his wife who following him in death April 19, 1939.

John Sherman Cooper was the son of Isaac and Mary Cooper and was born in Pulaski County, Kentucky, February 26, 1866. He attended the commons schools and the State University for two years. In 1899, he was admitted to the bar. He served as Superintendent of the Pulaski County Schools from 1896 to 1899. In 1899, he was elected county judge, but resigned in 1903 when he was appointed Collector of Internal Revenue. He held this position until 1909. He was the first president of the Farmers National Bank in 1901, and served until 1914. In 1919, he was elected Railroad Commissioner, and was Chairman of the Railroad Commission of the State. He served as a member of the Republican State Central Committee, and was Chairman of the Eleventh Congressional District. He died in 1924. In 1899, Judge Cooper married Helen Gertrude Tarter, and they were parents of seven children: Faustine, John S., Margaret, Don, Helen, Mary, and Richard. His son, John S. Cooper, was educated in the Somerset schools, attended Centre College, and received the bachelor’s degree from Yale University. In 1926, he graduated from the Harvard Law School. He was elected to the State Legislature in 1927. He was elected judge of Pulaski County in 1929 and re-elected four years later. In 1942, Cooper enlisted as a private in the U.S. Army. He served twenty months with the Third Army under command of General George S. Patton, Jr., and participated in five major campaigns through France and into Germany. He served as a member of the United States tribunal in Germany. Cooper was discharged from the Army as a Captain in 1946. While still in the Army he was elected Circuit Judge of Pulaski and Rockcastle Counties. In November, 1946, he was elected to a two year term in the United States Senate, and again in 1952. Following an unsuccessful bid for the Senate in 1954, he was married to Lorraine Towan Shelvin of Washington D.C., and was appointed Ambassador to New Delhi. In 1956, he was successful in another bid for the United States Senate. He won again in 1960 and 1966. He served on many important committees including the Senate Committee on Public Works, and served as American Delegate to the United Nations Assembly. He served as a member of the Warren Commission to ascertain the facts surrounding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Senator Cooper’s political affiliation is Republican. He is also a member of the Baptist Church.


Chapter Ten

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