Solomon Porcius Sharp

Solomon Porcius Sharp

Abingdon, Washington County, Virginia, USA
Death 7 Nov 1825 (aged 39)
Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky, USA
Burial Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky, USA
Memorial ID 7644426 · View Source
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United States Congressman, Murder Victim. He is remembered for serving in the United States Congress supporting the War of 1812, yet most of his notoriety comes from being a murder victim. Representing Warren County, he first served in the Kentucky House of Representatives before serving briefly in the state militia during the War of 1812. He enlisted as a private but within twelve days was given the rank of major. Not yet at the required age of twenty-five to be a Congressman, he was elected to the Thirteen Congress as a member of the United States House of Representatives. He supported President James Madison in leading the country into the War of 1812, and giving a 100 acres of land to any British deserters. He supported South Carolina's John C. Calhoun in establishing the Second Bank of the United States. After being elected to the Fourteenth Congress, he served as the chairman of the Committee on Private Claims, supported the Compensation Act of 1816, and paying Congress a flat salary instead of being paid by the day while Congress was in session. He changed his support later to not supporting the salary but not before he lost favor with voters, thus not re-elected. Returning to served in the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1817, he worked to help widows and orphans of veterans of the War of 1812 and various banking issues. On December 17, 1818, he married Eliza Scott, the daughter of a physician with a high social standing. The couple had three children. Within months after his marriage, his relationship with Anna Cooke, the thirty-year-old daughter of an aristocratic planter from Virginia, came to light. In the spring of 1820, she claimed Sharp had fathered her illegitimate child; he denied this. Some sources state the child was stillborn in June of 1820. His political enemies used this information for a scandal during the 1821 Senatorial campaign. Sharp's reputation remained intact as he dropped from the senatorial run and accepted Governor Adair's appointment of Kentucky State Attorney in 1821 serving under two governors. In 1825 he resigned the state attorney office to run for the Kentucky State Congressional seat and once again, Cooke's claim was made public again to smear his name during the campaign, but he won the election. The Congressional session was due to open on November 7, 1825. In the wee hours of that morning, he opened his front door after hearing someone knocking. To his surprise, he was greeted with being stabbed in the heart with a poisoned dagger dying at two in the morning. Jereboam Beauchamp, a young lawyer and husband of Anna Cooke, was arrested, found guilty after a trial and hung for his murder. Before the hanging, Beauchamp wrote, “The Confession of Jereboam O. Beauchamp: Who was hanged at Frankfort, Kentucky on the 7th Day of July 1826 for the Murder of Col. Solomon P. Sharp,” which was published that year. Sharp's brother, Dr. Leander Sharp, wrote a rebuttal, “Vindication of the Character of the Late Col. Solomon P. Sharp,” but the book was never published as Colonel Sharp's political enemies threatened his brother with physical harm. The book was found many years later after Dr. Sharp's death. Over the years, several other authors have published the saga of the “Kentucky Tragedy”, including Matthew G. Schoenbachler's 2009 “Murder and Madness: The Myth of the Kentucky Tragedy,” Edgar Allan Poe's unfinished play “Politian” and Robert Penn Warren's 1950 novel, “World Enough and Time.”

Bio by: Linda Davis

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Mike
  • Added: 1 Jul 2003
  • Find a Grave Memorial 7644426
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Solomon Porcius Sharp (22 Aug 1786–7 Nov 1825), Find a Grave Memorial no. 7644426, citing Frankfort Cemetery, Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .