Person:John Huston (10)

Rep. John Boyd Huston
d.16 NOV 1881
m. BEF 1800
  1. Rep. John Boyd Huston1813 - 1881
m. WFT Est 1833-1845
m. 1854
Facts and Events
Name Rep. John Boyd Huston
Gender Male
Birth? 1 OCT 1813 Nelson County, Kentucky
Marriage WFT Est 1833-1845 to Daughter Allen
Marriage 1854 to Elizabeth Jackson
Death? 16 NOV 1881
Burial? 1881 Winchester Cemetery, Clarke County, Kentucky

About John Boyd Huston

From "Register of the Kentucky State Historical Society, Volume 9, Issues 26-27, by Kentucky State Historical Society



The character of Kentucky as a Sítate has been always vividly ilustrated by the individual character of her distinguished sons, svîiether in the arena of war, in the t'orum, in legislative halls, or on the Bench. They have seemed to sret certain distinguishing traits from the marked features of the valleys, the forests, the plains, and the rugged mountains themselves, which have been moulded into the material wealth of the state. Therefore, when recalling the progress and the historic glories of Kentucky, we think of Clay, of Critten<len, of the Shelbys, of the Morelieads, of the Marshal Is, of the Breckinridges, of Owsley and of Boyle. Following the career of these men from the dawn of our aunáis to the date of their death, we -witness the development of a great people and find our most cherished memorials. Going back only thirty years, we see in John Boyd Huston, late of Lexington, a brilliant example of the Kentuckian, full worthy to engage our admiring contemplation, though no imposing monument tells his final resting place. The passing crowd of today may not pause to consult the story of his fame nor the record of his deeds, but, in behalf of those who knew and loved him well, I would offer this simple tribute.

  • * *

John Boyd Huston came of Celtic blood, his mother, whose maiden name was Mary McKee, having been born in the north of Ireland; and, migrating in girlhood, with her parents, to the little American state of Delaware, she there married James Huston. Thence removing to Kentucky in 1800, the young couple located in the County of Nelson, wbere on the 1st of October, 1813, this son was born. As he grew to manhood, the boy took to letters and books. After learning the fundamentals in a country school house, he was sent, in 1833, to Centre College, Danville, to be educated for the higher activities that should give strength to those intellectual powers that were destined to make him a man of in^rk. Two years of industrious application brought him to the date of graduation, when he bore off the honors of his class. So completo were his scholastic accomplishments that he was promptly made ? junior professor in the College. He chose, however, the profession of the law for his pathway to usefulness and fortune, entered the Law Department of Transylvania University, and, in 1837, received his diploma. Having married a daughter of the memorable Chilton Allen, he became a law partner of his father-in-law at Winchester, where he resided and practiced until 1864, when, removing to Lexington, he continued the practice of law until his sudden death at Winchester, November 16th, 1881. It is a note worthy fact that Mr. Huston, in the providence of the Master, after a career more or less renowned in law and in politics, returned at the age of sixty-eight to die in the very place from which he had started in his profession ; and it now looks as if he re-visited Winchester seeking his last repose in the very bosom of the community which had first given him hope and confidence in his struggle with the busy world. It was the county of Clark that sent him by large popular majorities, four times, to the Kentucky House of Eepresentatives, of which he was Speaker in 1855-6—a position which he held with consummate grace and tact. It was as a delegate from Clark that he repeatedly appeared in Whig State Conventions and inspired with rapture the crowds that hung upon his eloquence—for he was truly an eloquent orator, following with enthusiasm the leadership of Henry Clay.

At Lexington, in conjunction with a lucrative practice, he served twelve years as a professor in the Law Department of Kentucky University. He was not only a profound student of Blackstone, but an admirable instructor in the science of Law. Though loving political debate, and at times prompted by political ambition, he made but one effort for promotion in national politics, becoming a candidate and being defeated for a seat in Congress. But politics at the best offered to Mr. Huston only a playground in which he overflowed with humor and delighted eager audiences by those rare gifts of speech which, if opportunity had offered, would have enabled bim to enchain either the House of Representatives or the National Senate. His real battlefield was the court room, where he was seldom rivi.Ied as an advocate. His addresses to popular audiences were always aglow with fervour, but his arguments before Courts and juries were remarkable for higher qualities. He was a discriminating logician. He surpassed in metaphor. He was unexcelled in pathos. H" could bring laughter to the most stolid countenance, and start a well-spring of tears in the very heart of coldness and indifference. The older lawyers of Lexington well remember his brilliant display of erudition, his severe logic, his caustic phraseology, and his appeals to the tender part of cue'" nature. They recall the cases of Ball, of Gilbert-Holmes, of Todhunter, and of Gay, in which he equalled the best efforts of Eichard Menifee and of Tom Marshall; and, when he died, he was classed with Judge Geo. Robertson, Madison C. Johnson, Frank Hunt, Benjamin F. Buckner, Jerry Morton, Wm. B. Kincaid, and Joseph D. Hunt, the last still living, whose noble soul is filled with love of god. liness and truth.

Mr. Huston was thus adapted by nature to serve the state as civilian and statesman, rather than as warrior. During the Civil War he was a conservative Unionist, the great struggle enlisting his convictions and sympathies more as a peaceloving patriot than as a vengeful partisan. And, hence, when the strife was over, his warm heart impelled him to gladly welcome back to Kentucky the heroic spirits who had followed, southward, the lead of John C. Breckinridge, John H. Morgan, Albert Sidney Johnston and Simon Bolivar Buckiier, who gave him freely both their respect mid confidence.

Mr. Huston was twice married, his second wife being Miss Elizabeth Jackson, a daughter of Samuel G. Jackson, of Fayette county, to whom he was united in 1854, and who survied him. The sweetness of his domestic circle was never excelled, the fine characteristics of his home life being ever redolent with joy, which none of the severe contests of either t lie forum or the stump could for a moment mar.

Just here this tribute may well close with a reproduction of the tender expression of lament from his old friends in Clark, who, representing the Bar of Winchester, in the presence of his silent form declared:

"When we recall the generous impulses of his heart, always beating responsive to every sentiment of friendship; his urbane deportment towards his brethren of the profession, the kindly encouragement and sympathy which lie ever extended to the younger members of the Bar, and the genial smile and warm grasp of the hand with which he always greeted us, we almost forget our admiration for the lofty and commanding genius of the lawyer in our love and admiration for the man.1'

Kentucky may well cherish the name and fame of such a son and the future young men of the state may well honor the high example which was set before them in the life ¡uid character of John Boyd Huston.

Winchester Cemetery, Clarke County, KY: John Boyd Huston, b. Nelson Co., Oct. 1. 1813. d. Nov. 14, 1881—Mason