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Historical Biographies
of KY Congressmen

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Hon. John W. Caldwell
John Caldwell
The Third Congressional District of Kentucky is represented in the National Congress by John William Caldwell, of Russellville, Logan County, Kentucky, where he was born on the 15th day of January, 1888. We have no further data of his life up to 1861, when he entered the Confederate army as Captain. He was successively promoted to Major, Lieutenant-Colonel, and Colonel of the Ninth Kentucky Regiment of Infantry, in John C. Breckenridge's brigade, serving in that brigade during the entire civil war. In 1866 he was elected County Judge of his native county, and in 1870 was reelected. He was elected to the Forty-fifth and Forty-sixth Congresses, and was reelected to the Forty-seventh Congress, as a Democrat, by a vote of 13,089, against 10,987 for the Democratic Candidate, and 1,786 for his Greenback opponent. Mr. Caldwell has now served two terms in Congress and entered upon his third term with the repeated endorsements and commendations of his constituents. Being in the prime of life, he may well look forward to a career of usefulness and honor which the future, in its favorable opportunities, seems to hold in keeping for him.  [Source:  "Public Men of Today"; 1882]

Don Calvin Edwards
(1861—1938)
EDWARDS, Don Calvin, a Representative from Kentucky; born in Moulton, Appanoose County, Iowa, on July 13, 1861; moved to Erie, Neosho County, Kans., with his parents in 1869; attended the common schools of Iowa and Kansas, and Campbell University, Holton, Kans.; engaged in banking and in the insurance business in Erie, Kans., in 1883; moved to London, Laurel County, Ky., in 1892 and engaged in the manufacture of staves and in the wholesale lumber business; president of the National Bank of London, Ky.; clerk and master commissioner of the Laurel circuit court from 1898 to 1904; chairman of the Kentucky State Republican convention in 1908; elected as a Republican to the Fifty-ninth, Sixtieth, and Sixty-first Congresses (March 4, 1905-March 3, 1911); chairman, Committee on Expenditures in the Department of State (Sixty-first Congress); unsuccessful candidate for reelection in 1910 to the Sixty-second Congress; resumed the lumber and banking business in London, Ky.; delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1912; unsuccessful candidate for nomination in 1918 to the Sixty-sixth Congress; died in London, Ky., September 19, 1938; interment in Pine Grove Cemetery.  [Source: Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present, Sub. by A. Newell]

Hon. John G. Carlisle
John Griffin Carlisle
John Griffin Carlisle of Covington, Kentucky, represents the Sixth Kentucky Congressional district in the National House of Representatives. He was born in Campbell (now Kenton) County, in that State, September 5, 1835. His early education was obtained in the public schools. He taught school for a time in his native county and then com­menced the study of law in the office of J. W. Stevenson and W. B. Kinkead, Esqrs. and in 1858 was admitted to the Bar. He has continued his legal practice to the present time. From 1859 to 1861 he was a member of the State House of Representatives of Kentucky. In 1864 he was nominated for Presidential Elector on the Democratic ticket, but declined. In 1866 he was elected to the State Senate of Kentucky, and in 1869 was reelected. He was a delegate-at-large from that State to the National Democratic Convention in New York in 1868. In May, 1871, he was nominated for Lieutenant-Governor of Kentucky, and, resigning his seat in the Senate, was elected and served in that office until September, 1875. In 1876 he was chosen alternate Presidential Elector for the State at-large. He was elected to the Forty-fifth and Forty-sixth Congresses, and was reelected to the Forty-seventh Congress as a Democrat, by a vote of 17,291 against 9,862 for his Republican opponent.  [Source:  "Public Men of Today"; 1882]

John Edward Halsell
(1826—1899)
HALSELL, John Edward, a Representative from Kentucky; born near Bowling Green, Warren County, Ky., September 11, 1826; attended the common schools at Rich Pond, Ky., and Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tenn.; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1856 and commenced practice in Bowling Green; prosecuting attorney of Warren County for four years; elected circuit judge of the fourth judicial district of Kentucky in 1870; elected as a Democrat to the Forty-eighth and Forty-ninth Congresses (March 4, 1883-March 3, 1887); chairman, Committee on Private Land Claims (Forty-ninth Congress); unsuccessful candidate for renomination; resumed the practice of law; mayor of Bowling Green from December 5, 1888, to December 5, 1889; moved to Fort Worth, Tex., and continued the practice of law; died in Fort Worth, December 26, 1899; interment in Fair View Cemetery, Bowling Green, Ky.  [Source: "Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1771-Present", Sub. by A. Newell]

Hon. J. Proctor Knott
J. Proctor Knott
J. Proctor Knott, of Lebanon, who represents the Fourth Congressional District of Kentucky in the National House of Representatives, was born near Lebanon, August 29, 1830. His early life was spent in and about the place of his nativity, where he was educated for the legal profession. In 1850, while yet pursuing the study of law, he removed to Missouri, and there, in1851 was admitted to the Bar. In 1857 he was elected to the State House of Representatives of Missouri, resigning that potion in 1859. In August, 1859, he was appointed Attorney General of that State, and in August,   1862, was unanimously nominated and was elected to fill that office for the following term. In 1863 he returned to his native State and commenced the practice of law at Lebanon, where he has since resided and followed his profession. He was elected to the Fortieth, Forty-first, Forty-fourth, Forty-fifth, and   Forty-sixth Congresses, and was re-elected   to the   Forty-seventh Congress, as a Democrat,   by a vote of 13,778, against 9,423 for his opponents. In Congress Mr. Knott has long been known as a forcible debater, often eloquent, and sometimes very witty.  [Source:  "Public Men of Today"; 1882]

Hon. James A. McKenzie
James McKenzie
James A. McKenzie of Longview, who represents the Second Congressional District of Kentucky in the Congress of the United States, was born in Christian County, in that State, August 1, 1840. His early education was obtained at the public schools and at Center College, at Danville, Kentucky. After leaving college he began the study of law and in due time was admitted to practice. He, however, subsequently became interested more especially in agricultural pursuits, and is now a farmer. From 1867 to 1871 he was a member of the Kentucky State Legislature.
In 1872 he was Presidential Elector for the State at-large, on the Democratic ticket. He was elected to the Forty-fifth and Forty-sixth Congresses, and was re-elected to the Forty-seventh Congress, as a Democrat, by a vote of 14,894 against 8,854 for the Republican and 5,288 for the Greenback candidates.  Mr. McKenzie, although a comparatively young man when he entered Congress, has demonstrated his fitness for the high position with which his constituency has now for the third time honored him, and from the first has been a valuable member of the House.  [Source:  "Public Men of Today"; 1882]

Hon. Elijah C. Phister
Elijah Phister
Elijah Conner Phister, of Maysville, who represents the Tenth Congressional District of Kentucky in the Congress of the United States, was born in the town where he now resides, October 8, 1822. His early education was obtained at a seminary in his native place, after studying at which for several years he entered Augusta College, in that State, where he graduated in the class of 1840. Soon after completing his college course he began to read law with Hon. John Sargent, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but finished his legal studies in the office of Payne & Waller at Maysville, Kentucky, was there admitted to the Bar, and commenced practice in 1844. In January, 1847, he was elected Mayor of Maysville, and was re-elected, without opposition, in January, 1848. In August, 1856, he was elected Circuit Judge for the then Tenth, now Fourteenth Judicial District of Kentucky, and served the full term of six years in that capacity. In August, 1867, he was elected to the Legislature of Kentucky, and was re-elected in 1869, serving until 1871. In 1872 he was appointed by Governor Leslie one of the Commissioners to revise the Statutes of Kentucky, but he declined the office. He was elected to the Forty-sixth Congress, and was re-elected to the Forty-seventh Congress, as a Democrat, by a vote of 13,044 against 12,955 for the Republican competitor.  [Source:  "Public Men of Today"; 1882]

Hon. Philip B. Thompson, Jr.
Phlip Thompson
Philip B. Thompson, Jr., of Harrodsburg, who represents the Eighth Congressional District of Kentucky in the Congress of the United States, was born at Harrodsburg, October 15, 1845. He was educated for the legal profession in which he has had a successful practice. He was elected to the Forty-sixth Congress, and re-elected to the Forty-seventh Congress as a Democrat, by a vote of 14,249, against 12,004 for his Republican competitor. Mr. Thompson's first important vote in the Forty-sixth Congress was on the "Army Appropriation Bill," an act making appro­priations for the support of the United States army for the fiscal year ending June 80, 1880, upon which had been "tacked" the celebrated "rider," forbidding the use of troops at the polls. This bill and "rider" Mr. Thompson voted to pass, supporting it throughout all its stages, and after the veto of the same by the President. Again in May following he voted for a bill, introduced by Hon. Proctor Knott, of Kentucky, which was entitled "An Act to prohibit Military Interference at Elections, etc," and after the same had been vetoed by the President, voted to pass it over that veto. April 5, 1880, he was one of the number of Democrats who joined with the Repub­licans in defeating "The Weaver Greenback and Refunding Bill," and holding the government to its traditional "hard-money" basis. Although young, and comparatively inexperienced in legislation, Mr. Thompson envies to do what he thinks is right.   [Source:  "Public Men of Today"; 1882]

Hon. Oscar Turner
oscar turner
Oscar Turner, of Woodlands (Oscar Post-Office), who represents the First Congressional District of Kentucky in the Congress of the United States, was born at New Orleans, Louisiana, February 3, 1825.
His father, Judge Fielding L. Turner, who was a distinguished lawyer and a man of great literary attainments, moved with his family to Fayette County, Kentucky, in 1826.
The mother of Oscar was a daughter of Gov­ernor Sargent. His uncle, Judge Edward Turner, was Judge of the Supreme Court of Mississippi, and was an intimate friend of Chancellor Kent.
Oscar Turner, the subject of this sketch, settled on a farm in Ballard County, Kentucky, eighteen miles from the county seat, in 1848, and has since resided there.
He studied law and graduated in the Law Department of Transylvania University at Lexington, Kentucky, in 1847, and continued in the practice of his profession until 1861.
In 1851 he was elected Commonwealth's Attorney, and held the office for a period of four years, when he resigned.
He was elected to the State Senate of Kentucky, in 1867, and served in that body four years. He has been for many years Chairman of the Democratic Committee of Ballard County, and Chairman of the Congressional District Committee of the First District, known as the "Gibraltar District of Democracy," and long represented by the Hon. Linn Boyd.
Mr. Turner was elected to the Forty-sixth Congress, and was re-elected to the Forty-seventh Congress, by a vote of 11,448, against 3,572 for Tice, Democrat, and 5,646 for the Republican candidate.
He was several times an Elector on the Democratic ticket.  He took a prominent part against Know-Nothingism.  He always advocated the rights of the people against monopolies and corporations, and was elected to Congress as an Independent Democrat, his election being, as claimed by his friends, a triumph of the people over the combination of politicians, cliques, and rings against him. His election to the Forty-sixth Congress was especially regarded as a victory over such combinations. Mr. Turner has always claimed to be an unflinching Democrat, defending the principles of his party whenever they were attacked in his district by the old Whig, Know-Nothing, Republican, and other campaign speakers, but never would submit to dictation from ring or clique. He has always contended for the principles taught by Jefferson, and particularly that in which that great Democratic preceptor affirms that "conventions are necessary evils, only to be resorted to when necessary for party success, to carry out great principles for the interests of the people."   Mr. Turner has always contended that no convention was necessary in his district when the party majority was over ten thousand; and would never submit his claims to a convention in such case, but has appealed to the people and they have sustained him.
In 1855 Mr., Turner married Miss Caroline Gardner, of Tennessee, a highly-educated lady of refinement, who has generally accompanied him to Washington and there become one with him in that kaleidoscopic, imagery called "Washington society."   [Source:  "Public Men of Today"; 1882]

Hon. John D. White
john white
John D. White, of Manchester, who represents the Ninth Congressional District of Kentucky in the Congress of the United States, was born in Clay County in that State, January 16, 1849, at the homestead farm which he still cultivates. He was educated in a private school until 1865 and afterwards at Eminence College and Kentucky University until 1870. In 1872 he graduated in law at Michigan University, and in the Medical department of that institution. The following term there he studied chemistry and anatomy, with view to making a specialty of criminal law. In 1874 he declined a nomination for Clerk of the Court of Appeals of that State, and in the same year he was unanimously nominated and elected, as a Republican, to the Forty-fourth Congress. At the close of his term he declined a renomination, preferring to travel in Europe. In 1879 he was Chairman of the Republican State Convention at Louisville, and was in the same year elected to the State Legislature of Kentucky.  He resigned that posi­tion for cause, in 1880, and was at once endorsed by a re-election without opposition. He was Chairman of the Kentucky Delegation to the National Republican Convention at Chicago in 1880. He was nominated as a Republican candidate for Congress in 1880 and as the Republican candidate for United States Senator in 1881; and was elected to the Forty-seventh Congress, as a Republican, by a vote of 15,477 against 18,836 for the Whig-Democrat candidate.  [Source:  "Public Men of Today"; 1882]

Hon. Albert S. Willis
albert willis
Albert S. Willis, of Louisville, who represents the Fifth Congressional District of Kentucky in the Congress of the United State, was born in Shelby County, in that State, on January 22, 1843. His early education was obtained at the common schools of his vicinity, graduating at the Louisville High School in 1860. After his graduation he taught school for a period of four years. Choosing the legal profession for his vocation, he then began to read a preparatory course, and soon afterward entered the Louisville Law School, where he graduated in 1866, was admitted to the Bar, and has since been engaged in the practice of his profession. In 1872 he canvassed the State on the Democratic Electoral ticket. In 1870 he was elected Attorney for Jefferson County, was re-elected to that office in 1874, and served in that capacity until he was elected to the Forty-fifth Congress At the close of his term in that body he was re-elected to the Forty-sixth and Forty-seventh Congress as a Democrat, receiving at his last election a vote of 11,934 against 8,4l5 for the Republican, and 3,794 for a Democratic opponent. [Source:  "Public Men of Today"; 1882]



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