Joseph Clay Stiles Blackburn


Joseph Clay Stiles Blackburn Famous memorial

Death 12 Sep 1918 (aged 79)
Washington, District of Columbia, District of Columbia, USA
Burial Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky, USA
Plot Section M Lot 78 Grave 1
Memorial ID 7644121 View Source

US Congressman, US Senator. An 1857 graduate of Centre College in Danville, Kentucky, he read law and was admitted to the Kentucky State Bar Association in 1858. He moved to Chicago, Illinois to establish a law practice, and encountered future Unionist Congressman Isaac Newton Arnold, and future President Abraham Lincoln during his career there. He returned to Kentucky in 1860 during the Secession Crisis, and when the Civil War began he enlisted in the Confederate Army. He eventually was commissioned as an officer, and rose to Lieutenant Colonel. Towards the end of the war he was in command of an independent battalion of Kentucky cavalry operating in Mississippi. After the war he established a law practice in Versailles, Kentucky, and was elected to the state’s Legislature. He built up political capital in the Democratic Party, which assisted him in being elected in 1874 to represent Kentucky’s 7th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. He served in that office until 1885, when he ran for the United States Senate seat against incumbent Senator John Stuart Williams, a former General in the Confederate Army. The election in the Kentucky Senate was contentious, and it took nineteen roll call votes before Joseph C.S. Blackburn won the seat from General Williams. He would serve until 1897, and was defeated in his attempt for re-election that year in a contest that was marked by intra-party conflicts and outside violence to the degree that the Kentucky militia was called out to keep the peace. Senator Blackburn eventually lost the race to William Joseph Deboe. Soon after leaving the Senate he declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States, but lost the nomination to William Jennings Bryan. In 1900 the Kentucky Democratic Party was unified, unlike in 1897 and controlled the Kentucky Legislature. This paved the way for Joseph C. S. Blackburn to once again run for the United States Senate seat, which he was elected to easily. He served his second term in the Senate from 1901 to 1907. He again tried once more for re-election in 1906, and again was out maneuvered by a fellow Democrat Thomas Paynter, whom he lost the election to. A month after his Senate term expired in March 1907 he was appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt as Governor of the Panama Canal Zone, a duty he performed until 1909. He then returned to his home in Woodford County, Kentucky, where he died in 1912. His older brother, Luke Pryor Blackburn , served as Kentucky’s 28th Governor.

Bio by: RPD2


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Mike
  • Added: 1 Jul 2003
  • Find a Grave Memorial 7644121
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Joseph Clay Stiles Blackburn (1 Oct 1838–12 Sep 1918), Find a Grave Memorial ID 7644121, citing Frankfort Cemetery, Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .