Bullitt County History

Bullitt County Politics in the 1830's

Two reports in the old Louisville Journal in the 1830's provides a glimpse into Bullitt County politics during that decade. The first identifies some of those active in the National Republican party in Bullitt County.

Following the victory of Andrew Jackson in the 1828 presidential election, a faction of the Democratic-Republican Party that had supported John Quincy Adams in that race became the opposition under the label of National Republicans. Henry Clay was the party's representative in the 1832 election, and he easily carried Kentucky with more than 54% of the vote, but lost to Jackson nationally.

Here is a transcription of that report.

At a meeting of the national republicans of Bullitt County, in Shepherdsville, on Monday the 21st day of November 1831, General Henry Crist was called to the chair, and Noah C. Summers, Esq. was appointed secretary.

The object of the meeting being explained, the following resolutions were repeated and adopted, to-wit:

Resolved, That this meeting approve of the meetings of the national republicans held in the several counties of this state, for the purpose of appointing members to the convention to be held in Frankfort on the 20th of December next, with a view to recommend to the people of this commonwealth, suitable persons to fill the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor, to be elected in August 1832.

Resolved, That we approve of the election of our distinguished fellow-citizen, H. Clay, to the Senate of the U. States, and that we entertain the most exalted opinion of his talents and principles as a statesman and a republican.

Resolved, That Milford Lee, Henry Small, John Alexander, Samuel Bell, John Purcell, Samuel Hornbeck, J. C. Shanklin, Henry Crist, John Rowlings, F. G. Alexander, W. R. Grigsby, Noah C. Summers, Thomas W. Riley, Mathew Wilson, Wm. Hill, Henry F. Kalfus, Tho. Shanklin, Robert F. Samuels, Martin Bodine, R. D. N. Morgan, Briscoe J. Crist, Martin Allen, and Thomas R. Colvert, be appointed delegates to be held in Frankfort on the 20th December next.

Resolved, That the delegation this day appointed to the convention aforesaid, is authorised to vote on a recommendation of persons selected to form the national republican ticket of electors for the next presidential election, should said convention take that measure under consideration.

Resolved, That the proceedings of the day be signed by the president and countersigned by the secretary, and sent to the Daily Journal Office for publication; and that the meeting adjourned.

H. CRIST, Pres. W. C. SUMMERS, Sec.

Published in The Daily Journal, a forerunner of The Courier-Journal, on 26 Nov 1831.

After the 1832 election, opponents of Jackson coalesced into the Whig Party. William Henry Harrison was that party's nominee in both 1836 and 1840. He carried Kentucky in both years, and was elected nationally in 1840. Unfortunately for his party, Harrison died shortly after taking office, and was replaced by John Tyler.

A second report, published in 1839, represented the Whig party, and included some of the same names as the earlier one. It is transcribed below.

For the Louisville Journal.

At a meeting of a portion of the Whigs of Bullitt County in Shepherdsville on the 6th day of July 1839, for the purpose of appointing delegates to attend the Convention to be held in Harrodsburg on the 4th Monday in August next to nominate suitable persons as candidates for the offices of Governor and Lieut. Governor of Kentucky, and to take into consideration such other subjects as that Convention think advisable to secure the success of Whig principles in this state and throughout the United States, General H. Crist was called to the chair, and N. C. Summers appointed Secretary.

The general objects of the meeting having been explained by Thomas W. Riley, the following resolutions were read and adopted to wit:

Resolved, That this meeting approve the plan of holding a convention at Harrodsburg in August next where the voice of the whole state can be heard, and that the success of Whig measures and the Whig cause should not be jeoparded by conflicting pretensions and nominations by partial meetings of the friends of any of those distinguished gentlemen whose names have been placed before the people for the office of Governor of this commonwealth. Feeling every assurance that the Whigs of Kentucky have the power to elevate to that high station, any person who is most acceptable to the greatest number, it is the duty of THE PEOPLE to take the subject into their own hands, and make their selection of a candidate 'honest and capable,' regardful at the same time of such other necessary qualifications as may most contribute to success.

Resolved, That John Graham, Henry F. Kalfus, J. D. S. Peacock, Dr. H. M. Wakefield, John C. Shanklin, W. W. Swearengen, Wm. B. Holsclaw, James Combs and Thomas W. Riley, be and they are hereby appointed delegates to represent the county of Bullitt in said Convention. And they are hereby authorized and instructed to cooperate with the Whigs in said Convention in any and in all measures taht may be deemed expedient by said convention for the advancement and success of Whig principles throughout the Union.

Resolved, That a copy of the proceedings of this meeting be forwarded to the editors of the Louisville Journal, with a request that the same be published in that paper. And then the meeting adjourned. Signed, H. CRIST, President N. C. SUMMERS, Sec'y.

Published in the Louisville Journal on 23 Jul 1939.

Henry Clay would run again in 1844, carrying the state handily with 54% of the vote, but he lost to James K. Polk in the national election.


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The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 27 Mar 2019 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/bchistory/politics1830s.html