A Caroline Chronicles Update: A Research Journey Through the Louisville Daily Journal

By Tony Curtis

Just when you think that you have gathered all of the available information on the Caroline Chronicles (read all the documents on Early Access) you stumble across a digitized collection of the Louisville Daily Journal on archive.org. I am particularly interested in how news of the Blanche Levi murder was revealed to the public and how the ensuing case was covered by a prominent Louisville newspaper. And what did a deep dive into this collection uncover about the Caroline Chronicles? I invite you—our readers—to join me on this research trip!

The Levi family appears at various points in the newspaper from August 1862 until September 1863. Willis Levi—a steamboat engineer—first appears listed as a survivor of the Steamer Acacia disaster on August 30, 1862:

Louisville Daily Journal, August 30, 1862

Louisville Daily Journal, August 30, 1862

And again with his brother Elias Levi in an auctioneer advertisement on January 30, 1863:

Louisville Daily Journal, January 30, 1863

Louisville Daily Journal, January 30, 1863

The Levi’s are being mentioned regularly with this advertisement for their auctioning services, and Elias is even covered anonymously through a printed Jefferson County Sheriff’s advertisement for the sale of John West(ly)—Caroline’s husband. We see the original in the Jefferson County Court books in previously discovered documents. Elias Levi bought John West(ly), aged 25, on April 27, 1863 for $245:

Louisville Daily Journal, April 18, 1863

Louisville Daily Journal, April 18, 1863

Louisville Daily Journal, April 28, 1863

Louisville Daily Journal, April 28, 1863

But what about the death of Blanche Levi—daughter of Willis and Anne Levi? The first mention of the death of Blanche occurs in the April 22, 1863 obituaries, her death occurring one day earlier. The obituary is brief, giving her age, when the funeral will occur, and a brief bible verse:

Louisville Daily Journal, April 22, 1863

Louisville Daily Journal, April 22, 1863

The newspaper then falls silent for ten days. Not one mention of Blanche, the Levis, or Caroline—until May 2, 1863, when the newspaper prints, “For two weeks past we have withheld giving publicity to one of the most horrible and treacherous deeds ever committed in this city, in order to give the officers ample time to ferret out the guilty parties.” They announce “the wretch”—Caroline—was arrested and faced arraignment that same morning. Showing the inherent racial bias of society, the newspaper supposes that Caroline could not have committed without accomplice, stating, “It was believed that the girl had been instigated to this deed by some fiend in human shape, but diligent investigation has been made, and no accessory has as yet been discovered. There is something very mysterious about the crime, from the fact that no cause whatever had been given to the girl to prompt her to wreak her vengeance in this horrible crime. If she has an accomplice we sincerely trust that the wretch will be brought to justice.”

Louisville Daily Journal, May 2, 1863

Louisville Daily Journal, May 2, 1863

This article also references Caroline’s status, they define her as “a contraband negro, from Tennessee, in the employ of Mr. Willis Levy.” Much like the previously discovered documents, Caroline’s status is constantly in flux. On May 2, 1863, the “Police Proceedings” section—the Civil War-era police blotter—announced “Caroline, a slave of James Deman, charged with poisoning a child of Willis Levi. The slave being too sick to be brought into court, the witnesses were recognized to go before the grand jury of the Circuit Court.” This gives us more insight into Caroline’s status, but it is also contradictory information. What was Caroline’s status—self-emancipated woman, contraband, slave, or a free woman of color (f.w.c.)? I am afraid newspaper coverage does not clarify Caroline’s status and as we concluded in prior research, her status remains inconclusive. It is unknown as to what the newspaper means by “too sick”.

Louisville Daily Journal, May 4, 1863

Louisville Daily Journal, May 4, 1863

On May 6, 1863, the grand jury of the Jefferson Circuit Court returned an indictment against “Caroline (a slave)”.

Louisville Daily Journal, May 7, 1863

Louisville Daily Journal, May 7, 1863

The June 10, 1863 Louisville Daily Journal announces the “Commonwealth vs Caroline (a slave)” case for trial as a part of the June 1863 docket of the Jefferson Circuit Court—the trial to be held on Wednesday, June 17, 1863.

Louisville Daily Journal, June 10, 1863

Louisville Daily Journal, June 10, 1863

Further mention of Caroline’s case does not appear until June 19, 1863, when a guilty verdict is announced: “The negro woman who poisoned the family of Mr. Levi, of this city, some months since, from the effects of which one of his children, a sweet little girl, died, was yesterday convicted of murder in the first degree in the court now in session here. She will doubtless be hung.”

Louisville Daily Journal, June 19, 1863

Louisville Daily Journal, June 19, 1863

The next mention of Caroline is not until August 14, 1863—almost two months later—announcing when she is to be hanged “at the corner of Eighteenth and Broadway streets” in Louisville. And again on September 8, 1863, following a month long respite.

Louisville Daily Journal, August 14, 1863

Louisville Daily Journal, August 14, 1863

On September 11, 1863, Caroline is granted a second respite “for a few days” by Governor Thomas E. Bramlette “on account of some newly discovered testimony which may have some bearing on her case.”

Louisville Daily Journal, September 11, 1863

Louisville Daily Journal, September 11, 1863

And the new evidence convinced Governor Bramlette in favor of executive clemency, as the final mention of Caroline occurs on September 25, 1863, under the headline “Pardoned.”

Louisville Daily Journal, September 25, 1863

Louisville Daily Journal, September 25, 1863

So what have we learned from the Louisville Daily Journal coverage? The Levis were active members in the Louisville business community. We have more concrete dates on the death of Blanche Levi and the chronology of Caroline’s case. We know that the newspaper purposefully withheld any coverage of the case to allow for time to investigate the facts of the case and to arrest any suspects. The newspaper coverage further complicates Caroline’s status for us—Caroline inhabited many different worlds depending on time and place. We also learn that there is no additional coverage of “one of the most horrible and treacherous deeds ever committed in this city”—no editorials, no letters to the editor . . . Nothing. So once again, a set of research questions has led us to more research questions—some of the questions remain, others have been developed. The search continues and we will update you as new evidence is uncovered.

Tony Curtis is an Assistant Editor of the Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition.

“Shall I order from Cuba”?: Kentucky’s Transnational Neutrality

Last week, Matt Hulbert explored the contradictions between the Jeffersonian, states’ rights rhetoric of the provisional Confederate government of Kentucky and its actual record of heavy-handed governance and suppression of civil liberties in the counties under its control in the winter of 1861-62. In his piece, we learned that provisional Confederate Governor George W. Johnson accused the Union party in Kentucky of polluting Kentucky’s declared neutrality (which lasted from May through September, 1861) from the outset, always intending to use neutrality to save the state from secession and deliver it to the Union cause. And they did. The problem was, Matt tells us, that the Confederates had precisely the same game plan going into the summer of 1861, but were politically outmaneuvered and, later, outvoted. The rebels lost the neutrality cold war and convened their rump secession convention when they lost their bid for the legitimate government in Frankfort.

I want to jump back to that cold war, to show just how the rebels used the cover of neutrality to prepare the state for secession and civil war. In the weeks after Fort Sumter, Magoffin rejected Lincoln’s request for troops and called a special session of the legislature to consider considering secession. As Magoffin’s famous exchange with Alabama Secession Commissioner Stephen F. Hale reveals, the governor was a conditional unionist, not an outright secessionist. Lincoln’s call for troops, though, proved the limit of Magoffin’s conditionalism, and like many Upper South politicians after Sumter, he seems to have been in favor of secession. To his credit, though, Magoffin genuinely respected the will of the electorate and knew that if Kentucky were not to devolve into a miniature civil war, it must secede legitimately – through a convention called by the legislature or direct legislative action. The closest he (and all the Kentucky secessionists) could get in the May 1861 special session was neutrality and the hope that the political winds would blow the majority of Kentuckians to their side as the year wore on.

With the special session yet to convene in Frankfort, Magoffin began to set the state’s military house in order for whatever decision – secession, Union, or neutrality – might result. As chief executive and commander in chief, Magofffin could take out loans and expend state funds for arms and ammunition that (theoretically) would be put to any purpose the people of Kentucky demanded. By working through fellow secessionists at home and across the Gulf South, though, Magoffin could covertly ensure that if the cold war between unionists and secessionists turned hot, his party would have the upper hand.

Magoffin tapped Luke Blackburn to coordinate buying the weapons. Blackburn, a postwar governor of Kentucky, is most famous for his unsuccessful 1864 plot to blight northern cities with yellow fever with infected blankets from Bermuda routed through Canada. Yet secret missions involving Britain, the Caribbean, and the Gulf South had been Blackburn’s forte since the very outset of the war.

Things began promisingly. On April 26, Blackburn wired that he had “purchased two pieces heavy Ordnance two thousand muskets six hundred Kegs powder” and asked for $30,000 to be transferred from a Kentucky bank to his credit. Blackburn’s preferred shipping company, commission merchants Hewitt, Norton, & Co., whose antebellum business had brokered southern cotton between New Orleans and Liverpool, put 1,500 guns costing approximately $14,000 on rail cars bound for Louisville on May 1, but warned that the frenzied buying from agents of other southern states meant that other supplies were drying up quickly. The firm had only secured $15 worth of percussion caps and could find no more powder. “Shall I order from Cuba”? asked Louisiana Secession Convention member M. O. H. Norton? “Blackburn cant be found.”

MOHN

KYR-0001-019-0023

No one knew where Luke Blackburn had gone, and no one could act on Magoffin’s behalf as the available supplies in the Gulf South dwindled. When Norton requested new instructions on May 2, Magoffin was more than happy to turn the operation over from Blackburn to Norton, with additional funding secured by Louisville pork merchant Benjamin J. Adams. Fellow Kentuckian and cotton broker in the Louisville-New Orleans firm of William T. Bartley & Co. Robert A. Johnson had notified Magoffin the day before in a private cable that “Luke Blackburn [was] intoxicated Since Saturday” and urged the Governor to “Withdraw powers authorize another Agent”.

LPB

KYR-0001-019-0029

Luke Blackburn was certainly neither the first nor the last Kentuckian to let the French Quarter get the better of him. But why had Magoffin trusted him for the mission?

Though a Kentucky native, Blackburn was living and practicing medicine in New Orleans in 1861. In fact, he had lived his adult life in the cotton kingdom along the banks of the Mississippi River. Blackburn had lived in Natchez, Mississippi, as a young man and had family ties to Helena, Arkansas, where his interests and kin overlapped with “The Family,” an early Arkansas Democratic political dynasty built on Kentucky connections to  provisional Confederate Governor George W. Johnson. Taken alongside Blackburn’s later experiments in biological warfare, the New Orleans arms deal raises important questions about how elite antebellum Kentuckians participated in a complex – yet surprisingly intimate and personal – international economy of slaves, cotton, liquid capital, and thoroughbred horses and how those economic connections encouraged them to address the question of secession. These kinship-political-business relationships are precisely the sorts of interconnections that the future social networking capability of  CWG-K is designed to document.

Little wonder, then, that when Magoffin needed arms for Kentucky, he tapped into the networks that funneled cotton, slaves, and capital up and down the river from Kentucky to New Orleans and out to the world. Magoffin’s fallback agents at Hewitt, Norton, & Co. fit precisely the same profile. Kentucky’s 1861 neutrality was not an inward facing, isolationist political posture. The way Magoffin managed arms procurement demonstrates that he understood the Civil War as a conflict over global agricultural and industrial markets, a war fought for the interests of the southern states in and on an international stage.

Patrick A. Lewis is project director of the Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition.

The Caroline Chronicles: A Story of Race, Urban Slavery, and Infanticide in the Border South – PART V

The Caroline Chronicles: 
A Story of Race, Urban Slavery, and Infanticide in the Border South

“Part V – The Husband”

By Patrick A. Lewis

Once during Levi’s absence Mrs Levi reprimanded Caroline & her husband (a contraband who hired to Levi’s brother but slept at Willis Levi’s with his wife evry night) that they must not site up so late & keep a light burning

This passage has always been a frustrating one. In 6,500 words of documentary evidence about Caroline, her husband is only ever mentioned in this passage. Who was he? Did they run away together from Tennessee? Did she meet him on the road to Kentucky or in the streets of Louisville?

And, spoiler alert, I can’t answer any of those questions. But after looking for answers, we have a new appreciation for the bigger implications of Caroline’s story.

Let’s deconstruct that sentence. Who was “Levi’s brother”? The Willis Levi in whose home Caroline was a domestic servant was, in fact, Willis Levi, Jr. His namesake and father, a Virginia native, co-owned a “sale and exchange stable” that hired and sold horses and carriages on Market Street with an elder son, Elias Levi. There are other Levi brothers besides Elias in the picture, too. A 36-year-old Mordecai (in the family business of horse trading) and a 35-year-old James Levi (in the fascinating profession of lightning rod maker) live next door to the Levi patriarch in 1860.

So, knowing there were a number of potential Levi brothers to whom Caroline’s husband might hire, I went to the Jefferson County Court Minute Book to see what official county records might reveal. Elias was the only Levi who appeared on the record in 1862 and 1863. What was he up to?Levi

Monday May 4th 1863.

It is ordered that the Sale bond of Elias Levi for Two hundred and forty five Dollars taken for the purchase of a negro runaway Slave John Wesley, be and the same is hereby credited by the sum of One Hundred and eighty six & 30/100 Dollars Jailors fees, fifteen Dollars Physicians fees & thirteen & 31/100 Dollars Sheriffs Commission & costs of advertising as of 27 April 1863.

He is buying fugitive slaves from the sheriff of Jefferson County. Under Kentucky law, a sheriff was required to publicly advertise the capture of a fugitive and, if the owner did not come forward, to sell the fugitive to recoup the state’s expenses. Following that process, Elias Levi bid on and won John Wesley, “about 25 years of age, 5 feet 6 inches high, weighing 145 lbs; thin whiskers and mustache; round face and high forehead,” and Mary, who was not among the 18 people advertised in the Louisville Journal but was on a list of 29 people in the County Court minutes sold by the sheriff that day.

Could John Wesley be Caroline’s husband? Maybe. Of course, the testimony we have says that her husband hired to Levi’s brother, not was a slave of. But, then again, that testimony concerned events in February 1863, at which time we can say with certainty that Elias Levi did not own John Wesley (even if he may have controlled or coerced his labor under some other arrangement). And, frankly, without some new information we’ll never be able to know.

The (maybe) good news for John Wesley is that he was not the slave of Elias Levi for very long thanks to the United States Army. The day after Levi’s bond was entered, the County Court demanded to know why Captain Matthew H. Jouett “took from the custody of the Sheriff the runaways” sold on the block alongside John Wesley. Jouett punted up his chain of command to the Provost Marshall of Louisville, Colonel Marcellus Mundy, who had ordered the sales of fugitives in Louisville invalidated. Mundy had, to put it mildly, no especial regard for African American refugees in Louisville. In fact, he had complained directly to Lincoln about emancipation policy, pleading that Unionist Kentuckians—”masters for loyalty’s sake“—should be exempt from the hard hand of war.

Fortunately—and probably because of sentiments like the above—Mundy was being watched closely. Word of the sale in which Elias Levi had purchased John Wesley and Mary had reached Washington, prompting President Lincoln to clarify his Emancipation Proclamation and the Second Confiscation Act for any Kentuckians who—like Mundy, the sheriff, and Elias Levi—thought freedom didn’t follow individual refugees from the Confederacy when they entered the loyal slave state of Kentucky.

The President directs me to say to you that he is much surprised to find that persons who are free, under his proclamation, have been suffered to be sold under any pretense whatever; and also desires me to remind you of the terms of the acts of Congress, by which the fugitive negroes of rebel owners taking refuge within our lines are declared to be “captives of war.” He desires you to take immediate measures to prevent any persons who, by act of Congress, are entitled to protection from the Government as “captives of war” from being returned to bondage or suffering any wrong prohibited by that act. (OR series 1, volume 23, pt. 2, p. 291)

John Wesley and Mary weren’t sold, but were they subsequently freed? If so, where did they go after the army intervened to stop their sale to Elias Levi? Unfortunately, these are the same unanswered questions we have for Caroline after Governor Bramlette pardoned her in September 1863.

What we can say, though, is that executing Kentucky’s fugitive slave laws was profitable for sheriffs, local governments, and would-be slaveowners looking to purchase cheaply when supply was high, that the first waves of emancipation were a boon to the economies of slavery in Louisville and surrounding counties. As thousands of African Americans like Caroline and John Wesley escaped slavery in Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi, they made perfect targets for reenslavement schemes run by law enforcement and local slave traders. Those individuals and institutions exploited the uncertainty about contrabands, confiscation, emancipation, and freedom in the fall of 1862 and spring of 1863 to flood Kentucky slave markets with Deep South slaves at bargain prices—this after Kentucky had been a net slave exporter to the cotton plantations of the Old Southwest for a generation. The very months when most Americans believe the Emancipation Proclamation freed tens of thousands of slaves proved to be the greatest slave market bonanza in Kentucky history.

While we can look ahead and see Caroline and John Wesley as the harbingers of emancipation in Kentucky, it may not have looked like that to Kentucky masters—and it certainly didn’t look like that to them.

Patrick A. Lewis is Project Director of the Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition.

The Caroline Chronicles: A Story of Race, Urban Slavery, and Infanticide in the Border South – PART IV

The Caroline Chronicles:
A Story of Race, Urban Slavery, and Infanticide in the Border South

“Part IV – The Decision”

By Matthew C. Hulbert

Over the past three weeks, we’ve recounted the tangled saga of Caroline Dennant, a Tennessee slave brought to Louisville, Kentucky, by Union General Don Carlos Buell’s army as contraband of war. Charged in the death of an infant left in her care, Caroline was eventually convicted of infanticide and sentenced to death by hanging. In addition to a more detailed version of this narrative (Part I, found here), the fundamental arguments for executive clemency and in favor of a pardon for Caroline can be found here (Part III) and here, (Part II).

We also promised to reveal whether or not Governor Thomas E. Bramlette, himself a slave-owner and virulent white supremacist, granted Caroline’s pardon based on the multiple petitions authored on her behalf. The answer is found in an entry to Bramlette’s Executive Journal dated September 24, 1863. Following the remissions of a gambling fine against J. N. Cornell ($200), damages levied against J. M. Harper ($653.94), and an appointment as Notary Public for F. G. Robbins of Jefferson County, this item appeared:

“He Pardoned Caroline (a Slave) sentenced to be hung by the Jefferson Cir Court for Murder.”

caroline_pardonCaroline’s pardon from Bramlette not only released her from impending execution — it overruled the jury’s original guilty verdict and exonerated her of any and all charges. Problematically, at precisely moment Caroline appears to overcome a legal system rigged against both African Americans and women — and maybe doubly so against African American women — she seems to disappear from the historical record. We’re working right now to track her down.

So was Caroline actually innocent? In reality, we don’t — and probably never will — know the answer to that question. But luckily for Bramlette, he wasn’t tasked with determining ultimate innocence or guilty; rather, the governor only had to determine if reasonable doubt existed, in which case the execution could not legally be carried out. Considering the circumstantial nature of the case, even in spite of admittedly damning evidence, most of the CWG-K thinks Bramlette made the right call.

This leaves one final question concerning the pardon: what do YOU think? We’ve transcribed all of the surviving materials from the case and invite you to make up your own mind: Caroline Chronicles Documents

***

In the coming weeks, we’ll be analyzing Caroline’s story and the trial from various historical perspectives. Next on tap is a “think essay” about a man named John Wesley who may or may not have been Caroline’s husband and how the process of re-enslavement through contraband and fugitive slave auctions worked in Civil War Louisville. In two weeks, stay tuned for a survey of the cultural stigmas associated with female slave resistance, poison, and infanticide that almost certainly accompanied Caroline and her all-white jury into the courtroom.

The Caroline Chronicles: A Story of Race, Urban Slavery, and Infanticide in the Border South – PART III

The Caroline Chronicles:
A Story of Race, Urban Slavery, and Infanticide in the Border South

“Part III – The Defense’s Case”

By Patrick A. Lewis

For those of you who missed previous installments, we’ll begin with a very brief rundown of Caroline’s story to this point. (A full accounting of the events that led to her trial for infanticide is still available here.) In 1862 Caroline Dennant, a Tennessee slave, was brought to Louisville, Kentucky, as war contraband by Don Carlos Buell’s army—she was subsequently arrested as a fugitive slave and placed in the home of Willis and Anne Levy—a few months later, Blanch, the Levy’s toddler-aged daughter died of strychnine poisoning—Caroline was soon after charged with murder, convicted, and sentenced to death. This and last week’s installments are written from the perspective of the prosecution and the defense in the matter of Caroline’s petition for executive clemency (and may or may not reflect our actual positions on her case!).

As the prosecution alleges, there is little the defense can do to refute the circumstantial evidence against Caroline. She had been held to labor as a servant and nurse in the home of the Levys. Willis Levy did acquire, distribute, and store a large amount of strychnine. After the child’s death, Caroline was seen to have facial expressions and otherwise behave in ways to which sinister motives were later assigned by witnesses. While the defense concedes this circumstantial evidence, it entirely rejects the fanciful and conspiratorial theory of the (so-called) crime advanced by the prosecution.

Yet to secure the conviction in the trial at the May 1863 term of the Jefferson Circuit Court, the defense knowingly suppressed the extent to which Willis Levy “spread enough strychnine (or poison) to kill a regiment of men” in and about his premises. Evidence freely offered by the neighbors and family of the Levy family since the time of the trial now begs reconsideration of the case. The defense appeals to the clemency of the executive for a pardon on the following grounds:

One. That having resided in Louisville less than six months before the death of the child Blanch Levy, “in a strange place without any one to advise with” except defense counsel hastily assigned her case and without adequate time to prepare, Caroline was unable to secure witnesses for her defense at the trial.

Two. That the witnesses for the prosecution, namely Anne and Willis Levy, did not testify to the full extent to which Willis Levy spread strychnine about his premises. Only two occasions were established in evidence by Willis Levy, and Caroline could swear to no more. “Your petitioner will now state one important fact which was not developed on the trial, Mr Levy put out the poison on more than two occasions; he put it out many times to kill Dogs & Cats, & it was never taken up, & what became of it no one knows.”

Three. That the testimony of Raymond and Josephine Lynch—neighbors and in-laws to the Levys, uncle and aunt of the deceased Blanch Levy—establishes the true extent of Willis Levy’s indiscriminate and dangerous application of strychnine in and around his and his neighbors’ property. Josephine Lynch swears that “Mr Levy put out the poison every night for a great while I would think a hundred times” over a span of time “from fall to spring.” Moreover, Mrs. Lynch herself had been “very uneasy many time for fear that my children would get some of the poison I alwaise thought Mr Levy was very reckless about throwing out poison.”

Four. That the prosecution argues against accidental ingestion of the poison in the yard from the fact that no pieces of poisoned meat were found in the stomach of the deceased Blanch Levy.

Five. That testimony developed on the trial and that subsequently sworn to by Josephine Lynch establishes that a considerable amount of strychnine was spread in the yard and neighbors’ yards by means other than on meat, including but not limited to on grains designed to kill birds and loosely distributed in and around the privy.

Six. That Mrs. Levy grasped the extent to which her husband had indiscriminately spread poison in and around the Levy house. Immediately after the child’s death Mrs. Levy threw out a “bucket full of parched coffee that was bought from the soldiers,” believing it to be tainted with the poison.

Seven. That if Anne Levy was made sick by coffee on the morning the child died, this was from Willis Levy unwittingly contaminating the household coffee supply with strychnine as part of his campaign to eradicate vermin.

Eight. That if the true extent to which Willis Levy indiscriminately scattered strychnine in and around his own property and that of his neighbors had been known at the time of the trial, Caroline’s conviction would not have been sought by the prosecuting attorney. Louisville City Attorney William G. Reasor attests that “from strong circumstances made known to me since that trial, I feel that Executive clemency will have been worthily bestowed if she be fully pardoned.”

LevyNine. That if the true extent to which Willis Levy indiscriminately and dangerously scattered strychnine in diverse methods and in diverse locations in and around his own property and that of his neighbors had been known at the time of the trial, Caroline’s conviction would not have been secured by the jury. Nine of the gentlemen of the jury who tried her case—L. A. Civill, W. O. Gardner, John Sait, Joseph Griffith, Thomas Schorch, Samuel Ingrem, R. H. Snyder, William K. Allan, and E. P. Neale—have signed a sworn statement asking to overturn the verdict and sentence they rendered.

All this the defense presents as evidence for Caroline’s innocence in the death of the child Blanch Levy. The defense will not—as it believes it has grounds to do—pursue the argument that Caroline’s service in the Levy household was in violation of the Confiscation Act of July 17, 1862, which provides that “all slaves of persons who shall hereafter be engaged in rebellion against the government of the United States “shall be forever free of their servitude, and not again held as slaves” and that “no slave escaping into any State, Territory, or the District of Columbia, from any other State, shall be delivered up, or in any way impeded or hindered of his liberty” regardless of the laws pertaining to enslaved persons and persons of African descent in that state, territory, or district.

The defense reiterates that given the circumstances of the defendant and her insecure position in Louisville, the evidence presented in this petition was unavailable to Caroline and her counsel at the time of the trial.

If all that were introduced in this petition were this new testimony, the defense would feel confident in their expectation of His Excellency’s clemency, but having in hand the sworn statements of the prosecuting attorney and the jury, the defense feels that the pardoning power would be justly used in the case of Caroline. The premises considered, the defense asks that His Excellency Governor Bramlette issue a full and unconditional pardon.

The Caroline Chronicles: A Story of Race, Urban Slavery, and Infanticide in the Border South – PART II

The Caroline Chronicles:
A Story of Race, Urban Slavery, and Infanticide in the Border South

“Part II – The Prosecution’s Case”

By Matthew C. Hulbert

For those of you who missed last week’s installment, we’ll begin with a very brief rundown of Caroline’s story to this point. (A full accounting of the events that led to her trial for infanticide is still available here.) In 1862 Caroline Dennant, a Tennessee slave, was brought to Louisville, Kentucky, as war contraband by Don Carlos Buell’s army—she was subsequently arrested as a fugitive slave and placed in the home of Willis and Annie Levy—a few months later, Blanch, the Levy’s toddler-aged daughter died of strychnine poisoning—Caroline was soon after charged with murder, convicted, and sentenced to death. This week’s installment—and next week’s—are written from the perspective of the prosecution and the defense in the matter of Caroline’s petition for executive clemency (and may or may not reflect our actual positions on her case!).

The charge against Caroline revolves around a web of evidence, the majority of which is deemed circumstantial. On the surface, this would appear to weaken the state’s case. However, in instances where such a preponderance of circumstantial evidence points to the guilt of an individual, such as in this instance, logic will not allow us to be swayed by the unreasonable possibility of coincidence. When Caroline’s case is dissected, thread by thread, you will see that she not only committed an act of premeditated murder against a defenseless and innocent child to punish her temporary guardians—but that she potentially did so as part of a broader, though admittedly poorly-conceived, plan to escape from the Levy’s care and to circumvent the possibility of a return to bondage in Tennessee.

Here are the main pillars of the state’s case, laid out as individual items:

One. We know based on the autopsy performed by Dr. Jenkins (a professional chemist) that Blanch Levy died as the result of strychnine poisoning, with significantly more than a fatal dose of the substance found in her stomach. Both the location (stomach) and quantity of the person underscore that the substance was ingested directly and not absorbed through skin contact, accidental or otherwise.

frog stomachTwo. We know based on her own petition for executive clemency that Caroline knew the whereabouts of the strychnine kept in the Levy household and that through the testimony of Annie Levy—that the trunk containing the poison was not locked—that Caroline had ready access to the substance whenever she pleased. The defense does not dispute either of these points.

Third. Caroline had double-motive for killing Blanch Levy: revenge and personal gain. On one hand, Willis Levy became increasingly critical of Caroline’s poor behavior. The record indicates that through negligence, Caroline was responsible for damaged fruit trees and for the fouling of a newly-washed fence. On at least one occasion, the defendant reports that Willis Levy noted that he would like to whip Caroline—but the defendant did not testify to any instances of physical abuse taking place in the Levy household. Moreover, so long as she remained under the Levy’s roof, Caroline ran the risk of being returned to permanent bondage in Tennessee. As she had been declared a fugitive slave and arrested, the Levy’s were essentially providing her with a temporary home until her former master claimed her or until she could be sold at auction by local authorities.

Four. Annie Levy testified that on the day preceding the death of her daughter, she arrived home to find that the trunk containing the poison had been clearly disturbed. Caroline denied having opened the trunk, but did not deny that the trunk itself had been moved and its contents shifted.

Five. We know that in conjunction with the trunk having been disturbed, Annie Levy mysteriously fell ill with very mild symptoms indicative of strychnine poisoning—no doubt after consuming a dinner prepared by Caroline—and was still ill the next morning when she and the victim arrived late for breakfast. Caroline’s testimony does not dispute that for the first time in her entire tenure with the Levy family, she prepared and poured Annie Levy’s morning coffee. The defense does not dispute that Annie Levy noted that the coffee had an off taste and she did not finish it.

Six. We know from multiple lines of testimony that the victim, Blanch Levy, was in the sole care of Caroline in the moments preceding her death and that, for the time before she was given into Caroline’s sole care, she exhibited no signs of illness or poisoning consistent with the consumption of strychnine.

Seven. According to the testimony of Annie Levy, when Caroline entered her bedroom to state that Blanch was acting strangely (read: convulsing and choking to death in the front yard), the defendant did so slowly, without any hints of emotional distress or surprise at the events then unfolding. In connection to this lack of emotional distress, on more than one occasion, witnesses saw Caroline look at the child’s corpse and smile.

Eight. Immediately following Blanch’s death, witnesses report that, in the evening, Caroline walked to the gate of the Levy’s front yard and looked around. She had not previously been known to visit the gate in the evenings. The importance of this point will be brought to light later in the prosecution’s case.

Nine. When Caroline realized that Blanch had not been immediately interred, she became increasingly anxious concerning whether or not an autopsy would be performed, reportedly even asking Annie Levy several times when, precisely, the girl’s body would be buried.

Ten. Court documents show—and the prosecution concedes—that Willis Levy did, shortly before his departure on a freight trip, distribute small pieces of beef tainted with strychnine poison to kill local dogs and birds. However, as is also noted, Levy put this poisoned bait under the homes of his neighbors—while Caroline’s petition for clemency highlights that Blanch died just three feet from the kitchen door of the Levy’s home.

With these statements in mind, the prosecution’s theory of the crime is as follows:

While living in a constant state of paranoia—fueled by her fugitive status—Caroline quickly grew tired of working for Willis Levy and for waiting for her former master to materialize at any moment with the intention of dragging her back to bondage in Tennessee. As such, with knowledge of how to use strychnine poison and knowledge of its location in the Levy household, Caroline waited until Willis Levy had left for extended business trip and first targeted Annie Levy. Annie’s dose wasn’t fatal—though it might have been had she finished her coffee—but it was enough to induce sickness. With the child’s mother sick in bed, Caroline had sole control of Blanch. The timing of Willis Levy’s absence, the disturbance of the trunk, Annie’s sickness, the coffee incident, and Blanch’s demise in Caroline’s custody are simply too damning to write off as a coincidence. With no other adult witnesses present, Caroline fed the toddler significantly more than a fatal dose of strychnine. Following Blanch’s death, with didn’t seem to phase Caroline emotionally, she behaved with increasing strangeness; first, concerning the autopsy and burial and the child; and, second, checking the Levy’s gate in the evenings.

The defense will likely raise two primary points of defense on Caroline’s behalf. One: that she was abused and mistreated by the Levy family and killed to protect herself. However, it is well-known that the Levy family actually allowed Caroline’s husband, a contraband slave who lived with their in-laws, to spend the night with Caroline and that she, herself, did not testify to any abuse mistreatment from Levy other than harsh words. Two: that Blanch was poisoned through the negligence of her father, known in the neighborhood for poisoning animals, and that Caroline, as a homeless, African American slave, and as a defenseless woman, became Levy’s scapegoat. The logistics of the case, however, mainly the quantity of poison found in Blanch’s stomach (and the absence of the beef cubes used by Willis Levy) and the physical location of her death discounts this possibility. Furthermore, the sheer quantity of poison found in Blanch’s stomach by the attending physician means that Caroline would’ve had to watch the child ingest multiple pieces of poisoned animal bait and done nothing.

Much more likely is that Caroline waited until Willis Levy—who was more observant of her misbehavior and thus much harder to poison—had left home for an extended period of time. She then attempted poison Annie, who would presumably have died in her sleep that first evening. When that didn’t work, she again tried to poison Annie and also successfully poisoned Blanch. Caroline then checked the gate each evening because, in all probability, she was waiting for her husband to join her in an attempt to flee to permanent freedom. He never came and she was eventually found guilty following a trial in complete compliance with state and local procedures.

In closing, the state is aware that Caroline has doggedly refused to admit guilt and that a number of local citizens—including attorney’s and members of the jury—have joined her plea for executive clemency despite sentencing her to death immediately following the trial. All the state will say concerning this sudden wave of support is that Caroline’s “new friends” are more likely to be using her as a tool to advance their own political causes than to advance the cause of justice. Otherwise, where were they with aid and assistance before she was found guilty and sentenced to hang?

Matthew C. Hulbert is an Assistant Editor of the Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition.

The Caroline Chronicles: A Story of Race, Urban Slavery, and Infanticide in the Border South – PART I

The Caroline Chronicles:
A Story of Race, Urban Slavery, and Infanticide in the Border South

“Part I: Incidents in the Life of a Contraband”

By Matthew C. Hulbert

Early in the fall of 1862, an African American woman named Caroline Dennant arrived in Louisville. This wasn’t a happy homecoming, for she had no family in the city. Nor was it the endpoint of a successful escape from bondage. Because despite its official pro-Union position, Kentucky remained a slave state that would honor its obligations to the Fugitive Slave Law if at all possible. So at approximately twenty years old, she’d come in with General Don Carlos Buell’s army, from Tennessee, not as a newly-made freeperson, but as contraband. She was homeless, completely alone, and without a penny in her pocket. Even Caroline’s surname had been borrowed from the planter who still technically owned her—and who could, at any moment, arrive in Louisville to claim her as one might any other piece of lost property.

Caroline bannerIn the meantime, Caroline was arrested as a fugitive slave and sent to live in the home of Willis Levy, a river freighter, his wife, Annie, and the couple’s toddling daughter, Blanche. According to Caroline, “for this kindness she was grateful” and “she endeavored to pay for this kindness by being attentive to her duties as a servant … watchful of their interest & in all things to be faithful and trustworthy.” Her duties included cooking for the family, cleaning their small one-story house in a working class Louisville neighborhood, and serving as a nanny for Blanche. As noted by onlookers, Caroline was “a good servant & seemed to love the child … [she] was very fond of Blanche.”

Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months. Caroline’s former master never appeared to drag her back to the plantation. She met, and apparently married, another contraband slave who lived across the street with the family of Raymond Lynch. Lynch had married Annie Levy’s sister and, owing to proximity and familial ties, Caroline’s husband was typically allowed to spend nights with her at the Levy house. Though still a servant—and still trapped in fugitive limbo—it looked as though Caroline had left the worst of slavery behind in Confederate Tennessee. That is, until everything changed in February 1863.

***

Willis Levy was not a well-liked man. In fact, for reasons that will soon become obvious to animal-lovers, he was more or less despised by all of his neighbors and extended family. Luckily for Caroline, work kept him away from home for months at a time—but even this proved not to be long enough. In December 1862, Levy “purchased strychnine for the purpose of killing some cats and pigeons that had been annoying him.” As Caroline watched in the kitchen, he applied the poison to small cubes of beef, even remarking that he’d used enough to “kill a regiment of men,” before throwing the toxic bait under the homes of his neighbors, unbeknownst to them and without their permission. Then Levy poisoned grains of wheat and left them in a tin can in the backyard to attract and kill birds. When he was through, Caroline watched Levy’s wife put the container of poison back in a small, unlocked trunk in the kitchen.

In subsequent weeks, tension rose and the “honeymoon period” seemed to end; Willis and Caroline clashed repeatedly. In one instance, he blamed her for leaving a gate open. As a result, a cow had wandered into the yard and destroyed several small fruit trees. Another time, Caroline threw kitchen trash onto a fence just a few hours after Willis had finished whitewashing it. In the latter case, he reportedly told her “for two cents he would give her a thousand lashes.” The morning following the fence debacle, Willis left for a boat trip to Tennessee. During his absence, Annie Levy also took issue with Caroline’s behavior, this time for wasting candles by staying up late in the evening with her husband.

A few days later, Annie arrived home from a walk with her sister and noticed that a trunk in the kitchen had been moved from its usual spot. She questioned Caroline, who immediately denied having disturbed or opened the trunk. That evening, Annie didn’t sleep well; she “awoke several times during the night & on one occasion had a singularly strangling or suffocating sensation about the lower part of the throat.” Due to her sickness, Annie and Blanche came down late for breakfast, whereupon the former was surprised to find that Caroline had poured her a cup of coffee. The presence of coffee wasn’t in itself unusual. She drank coffee every morning—but this was the first time in the entirely of Caroline’s tenure with the family that she’d poured it for her mistress. Almost immediately, Annie noticed something different about the taste of the coffee but chalked it up to her restless night. Shortly thereafter, she retired for a nap, leaving Blanche in Caroline’s care.

Not long after Annie Levy laid down, Caroline came into the room and said “Miss Anne come out & see Blanche she acts so strangly [sic].” The pair rushed outside to find the toddler “lying on the ground in convulsions … about three feet from the kitchen door.” According to court documents, “the child frothed at the mouth, became livid under the eyes, around the lips & about the finger nails & on the feet.” Blanche died quickly—and “professional men,” likely a mix of doctors and policemen, determined that she’d been killed by a fatal dose of strychnine. An autopsy was performed in which Blanche Levy’s stomach was “bottled, sealed up & carried by two persons to an experienced practical chemist.” The contents of the stomach were analyzed; all tests pointed to strychnine ingestion and accompanying asphyxiation. For final verification, the chemist even fed a bit of the stomach contents to a frog. It died immediately while exhibiting symptoms of strychnine poisoning.

Caroline was charged with murder. At first glance, the pieces seemed to fit together. She’d watched Willis Levy use strychnine before and at least vaguely understood what doses would kill animals of different sizes. She knew where he kept the poison and had easy access to it. This was all circumstantial evidence, to be sure, but black men and women in slave states had been found guilty under far less precarious circumstances. Moreover, her recent clashes with both Willis and Annie Levy constituted clear enough motive for an all-white jury hell-bent on avenging the death of a white child. Within the span of a few months, Caroline Dennant was convicted of infanticide and sentenced to hang from the neck until dead. Her execution was scheduled for the morning of September 11, 1863, roughly one year to the day since she trudged into the city with Buell’s men.

***

This opening salvo of The Chronicles of Caroline represents just the first installment of several to come, penned by myself or fellow CWG-K editor Patrick Lewis. In the coming weeks, we will not only reveal Caroline’s fate as a date with the hangman loomed—we’ll also add contextual commentary. These future installments will address both sides of Caroline’s legal case in deeper detail (that is, we will analyze the cases for and against her); the broader logistics of contraband hiring and fugitive slave keeping in urban settings like Louisville; white-led abolition movements in Kentucky and the social networks that spearheaded them on behalf of fugitives like Caroline Dennant; and, how Caroline’s story—whether she was guilty or not—fits within a much wider, interconnected corpus of academic scholarship and popular mythology concerning slave resistance and rebellion in both the antebellum and the wartime South.

 

Matthew C. Hulbert is an Assistant Editor of the Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition.

SOURCES: Affidavit of Mrs. Josephine Lynch, 17 September 1863, Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort, KY (hereafter KDLA); Caroline Dennant to Thomas E. Bramlette, KDLA; J. G. Barrett to Thomas E. Bramlette, 2 September 1863, KDLA; Affidavit of Raymond Lynch, 19 September 1863, KDLA; Testimony in the Case of Commonwealth of Kentucky v. Caroline (a slave), KDLA; John L. McKee to Thomas E. Bramlette, 3 September 1863, KDLA.

KYR-0001-004-0787 Glossary

Be sure to read the Transcription of this document as well as Part One and Part Two of the analysis.

Atchison, Samuel Ayers. (1810 – 1869) Kentucky native and Louisville, Kentucky, attorney and real estate agent. Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 22; Eighth Manuscript Census of the United States (1860), Population Schedules, Kentucky, Jefferson County, Louisville, Sixth Ward, p. 13.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0023, KYR-0001-004-0024, KYR-0001-004-0121, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-004-2939, KYR-0001-004-2944, KYR-0001-004-3407, KYR-0001-033-0011.


Bacon, Byron. (1835 – 1900) New York native and Louisville, Kentucky, attorney. Practiced in partnership with Martin Bijur after 1864. Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 24; Eighth Manuscript Census of the United States (1860), Population Schedules, Kentucky, Jefferson County, Louisville, Sixth Ward, p. 32.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0121, KYR-0001-004-0454, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-004-2270, KYR-0001-004-3407, KYR-0001-020-0828, KYR-0001-031-0160.


Baker, Charles Samuel. (? – ?) Louisville, Kentucky, saddler. J. D. Campbell’s Louisville Business Directory, For 1864 (Louisville: L. A. Civill, nd.), 103.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787.


Barbour, Catherine. (c. 1805 – ?) Native of France and Louisville, Kentucky, resident. Resided in 1860 with her husband, Constance Barbour, and son, Joseph. Eighth Manuscript Census of the United States (1860), Population Schedules, Kentucky, Jefferson County, District 1, p. 36.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787.


Barbon, John G. (c. 1830 – ?) Native of Spain and Louisville, Kentucky, resident. A laborer by trade. Eighth Manuscript Census of the United States (1860), Population Schedules, Kentucky, Jefferson County, District 1, p. 63.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787.


Beattie, James A. (1832 – 1893) Missouri native and Louisville, Kentucky, attorney. Practiced in partnership with William S. Bodley and Alexander Casseday. Judge Advocate of the Kentucky State Guard. Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 30, 344; Eighth Manuscript Census of the United States (1860), Population Schedules, Kentucky, Jefferson County, Louisville, Fifth Ward, p. 62; Kentucky, Death Records, 1852-1953 [database on-line via Ancestry.com], Jefferson County, 1893, p. 113.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0121, KYR-0001-004-0439, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-007-0476, KYR-0001-017-0314, KYR-0001-017-0337.


Bender, F. (? – ?) Signatory to Louisville, Kentucky, petition on behalf of William Brockman.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787.


Bijur, Martin. (1833 – 1882) Native of Prussia, Louisville, Kentucky, attorney and politician. Practiced law in partnership with Lewis N. Dembitz until 1864. Practiced law in partnership with Byron Bacon afterwards. Elected as a Republican to the 1865-1867 Kentucky General Assembly. “Death of Hon. Martin Bijur,” Louisville Courier-Journal, May 1, 1882, p. 2; Report of the Fifth Annual Meeting of the American Bar Association, Held at Saratoga Springs, New York, August 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th, 1882 (Philadelphia: George S. Harris & Sons, 1883), 143-4.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0121, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-004-0865, KYR-0001-004-1375, KYR-0001-004-1379, KYR-0001-004-1388, KYR-0001-004-1409, KYR-0001-004-1566, KYR-0001-004-1987, KYR-0001-004-1988, KYR-0001-004-2030, KYR-0001-004-2839, KYR-0001-005-0051, KYR-0001-005-0142, KYR-0001-020-0323, KYR-0002-156-0004.


Bramlette, Thomas Elliott. (1817 – 1875) Twenty-third governor of Kentucky. Clinton County, Kentucky, native. Represented Clinton County in the state legislature in the 1840s. Judge of the Sixth Judicial Circuit at outset of the war. Resigned office to become colonel of Third Kentucky Volunteer Infantry U.S.A. Resigned commission in 1862 to become U.S. District Attorney for Kentucky. Elected governor in November 1863 over Charles A. Wickliffe and served until 1867. Ross A. Webb, “Thomas E. Bramlette (1863-1867)” in Lowell H. Harrison, ed., Kentucky’s Governors (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2004), 93-97.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-001-0001, … [2,258 more at present].


Brockman, William. (c. 1824 – ?) Native of Germany and Louisville, Kentucky, resident. Laborer by trade. Eighth Manuscript Census of the United States (1860), Population Schedules, Kentucky, Jefferson County, District No. 1, p. 60.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0418, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0004-004-0823, KYR-0001-004-3258.


Brown, Jeff. (? – ?) Louisville, Kentucky, and New Albany, Indiana, attorney. Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 43.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-0004-0016, KYR-0001-004-0018, KYR-0001-004-0121, KYR-0001-004-0159, KYR-0001-004-0425, KYR-0001-004-0439, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-004-1418, KYR-0001-004-1712, KYR-0001-004-2939, KYR-0001-004-2944, KYR-0001-004-3407, KYR-0001-007-0591, KYR-0001-017-0332, KYR-0001-020-0333, KYR-0001-020-0712, KYR-0001-020-1422, KYR-0001-020-1499, KYR-0001-020-1575, KYR-0001-020-1617, KYR-0001-020-1618, KYR-0001-020-1812, KYR-0001-020-1823, KYR-0001-020-2056, KYR-0001-020-2113, KYR-0001-029-0063.


Burkhardt, Henry S. (? – ?) Louisville businessman. Worked in the wholesale grocery and commission merchant business at W. & H. Burkhardt, with William Burkhardt. Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 47; J. D. Campbell’s Louisville Business Directory, For 1864 (Louisville: L. A. Civill, nd.),119.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787.


Bush, Samuel S. (1830 – 1877) Louisville, Kentucky, attorney. Partner in the firm of Bush & Shivell, along with Henry C. Shivell. Kentucky Marriages, 1797-1865, U. S. City Directories, 1821-1989 [database online, Ancestry.com; Edwards’ Annual Directory to the Inhabitants, Institutions, Incorporated Companies, Manufacturing Establishments, Business Firms, Etc., Etc., in the City of Louisville for 1865-6 (Louisville: Maxwell & Co., 1866), 234.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0121, KYR-0001-004-0439, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-004-1601, KYR-0001-004-2133, KYR-0001-020-0637.


Chrisler, Rudolph. (? – ?) Gave testimony in The Commonwealth v. William Brockman, tried in the Jefferson Circuit Court in 1864.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787.


Clement, Joseph. (c. 1819 – 1882) New Hampshire native and Louisville, Kentucky, attorney and magistrate. History of the Ohio Falls Cities and Their Counties, Vol. 1 (Cleveland: L. A. Williams, 1882), 356; Kentucky, Death Records, 1852-1953 [database on-line via Ancestry.com], Jefferson County, 1882, p. 7.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0047, KYR-0001-004-0180, KYR-0001-004-0364, KYR-0001-004-0418, KYR-0001-004-0454, KYR-0001-004-0551, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-004-0920, KYR-0001-004-1193, KYR-0001-004-1418, KYR-0001-004-1957, KYR-0001-004-1968, KYR-0001-004-2270, KYR-0001-0004-2293, KYR-0001-004-2358, KYR-0001-004-2399, KYR-0001-004-2416, KYR-0001-004-2510, KYR-0001-004-2540, KYR-0001-004-2789, KYR-0001-004-2898, KYR-0001-004-3184, KYR-0001-004-3407, KYR-0001-005-0057, KYR-0001-005-0058, KYR-0001-005-0117, KYR-0001-006-0005, KYR-0001-020-0174, KYR-0001-020-0351, KYR-0001-020-1133, KYR-0001-020-1437, KYR-0001-020-1649, KYR-0001-020-1944, KYR-0001-020-2113, KYR-0001-029-0087, KYR-0001-029-0156, KYR-0001-029-0164, KYR-0001-031-0009, KYR-0001-033-0004, KYR-0001-033-0005, KYR-0001-033-0030.


Conn, T. Jackson. (c. 1826 – ?) Kentucky native and Jefferson County Court Clerk. Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 60; Eighth Manuscript Census of the United States (1860), Population Schedules, Kentucky, Jefferson County, Louisville, Sixth Ward, p. 120.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0018, KYR-0001-004-0133, KYR-0001-004-0439, KYR-0001-004-0660, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-004-1055, KYR-0001-004-1283, KYR-0001-004-2337, KYR-0001-004-2789, KYR-0001-006-0084, KYR-0001-007-0489, KYR-0001-020-1527, KYR-0001-029-0156, KYR-0001-029-0307.


Craig, Edwin S. (c. 1820 – 1882) Commonwealth’s Attorney for the Seventh Judicial District until 1861. Practiced law in partnership with Robert J. Elliott. “Death of Judge E.S. Craig,” Louisville Courier-Journal, May 27, 1882, p. 4; Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 64; Seventh Manuscript Census of the United States (1850), Population Schedules, Kentucky, Jefferson County, Louisville, District Three, p. 94.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0121, KYR-0001-004-0364, KYR-0001-004-0454, KYR-0001-004-0479, KYR-0001-004-0660, KYR-0001-004-0732, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-004-0843, KYR-0001-004-0957, KYR-0001-004-1957, KYR-0001-004-2192, KYR-0001-004-2404, KYR-0001-020-0134, KYR-0001-020-0552, KYR-0001-020-0554, KYR-0001-020-0869, KYR-0001-029-0239.


Dannecker, Frederick G. (1828 – ?) German native and New Albany, Indiana, attorney. John M. Scott, The Bench and Bar of Chicago (Chicago: American Biographical Publishing Company, 1883), 496-97; Eighth Manuscript Census of the United States (1860), Population Schedules, Indiana, Floyd County, New Albany, Third Ward, p. 8.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0685, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-004-1379, KYR-0001-004-1644, KYR-0001-004-1718, KYR-0001-004-2270, KYR-0001-004-2294, KYR-0001-004-2416, KYR-0001-004-3084, KYR-0001-004-3114, KYR-0001-004-3407.


DeFlour, [unknown]. (? – ?) Gave testimony in The Commonwealth v. William Brockman, tried in the Jefferson Circuit Court in 1864.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787.


Dembitz, Lewis Naphtali. (1833 – 1907) Native of Prussia and Louisville, Kentucky, attorney. Delegate to the 1860 Republican national convention. Practiced law in partnership with Martin Bijur until 1864. Uncle of future Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis. “Dembitz, Lewis Naphtali” in The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. John E. Kleber (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2001), 241-42.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-007-0109.


Donheimer, [unknown]. (? – ?) Gave testimony in The Commonwealth v. William Brockman, tried in the Jefferson Circuit Court in 1864.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787.


von Donhoff, Albert. (1806 – 1882) Native of Berlin, Germany, and Louisville, Kentucky, physician. Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 75; “Dr. Albert Von Donhoff: The Unusual Life and Career of a Prussian Nobleman’s Son, and a Brilliant Physician” Louisville Courier-Journal, Nov. 7, 1882, p. 2.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787.


Fields, Moses S. (c. 1828 – ?) Kentucky native and Louisville, Kentucky, attorney. Eighth Manuscript Census of the United States (1860), Population Schedules, Kentucky, Jefferson County, Louisville, Sixth Ward, p. 119.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0121, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-023-0117.


Frend, [unknown]. (? – ?) Gave testimony in The Commonwealth v. William Brockman, tried in the Jefferson Circuit Court in 1864.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787.


Fry, Jack. (1839 – 1870) Louisville, Kentucky, attorney. Practiced in partnership with Franklin Gorin in 1865. Edwards’ Annual Directory to the Inhabitants, Institutions, Incorporated Companies, Manufacturing Establishments, Business Firms, Etc., Etc., in the City of Louisville for 1865-6 (Louisville: Maxwell & Co., 1866), 310; “Jack Fry – Find A Grave Memorial” http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=86941179&ref=acom.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0121, KYR-0001-004-0439, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-004-1957, KYR-0001-004-2944, KYR-0001-020-0333, KYR-0001-020-1579, KYR-0001-023-0117.


Fry, William W. (c. 1798 – 1865) Virginia native and Louisville, Kentucky, attorney. Eighth Manuscript Census of the United States (1860), Population Schedules, Kentucky, Jefferson County, District 2, p. 18; “W.W. Fry – Find A Grave Memorial” http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=96183143&ref=acom.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0108, KYR-0001-004-0121, KYR-0001-004-0180, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-020-0129, KYR-0001-020-0167, KYR-0001-020-1618, KYR-0001-029-0278.


Gailbreath, Joseph P. (? – ?) Louisville, Kentucky, attorney. Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 97.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0024, KYR-0001-004-0121, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-004-1418, KYR-0001-004-1983, KYR-0001-004-2416, KYR-0001-004-3407, KYR-0001-017-0352, KYR-0001-017-0355, KYR-0001-017-0356, KYR-0001-020-0828.


Gazlay, Addison M. (1818 – 1881) New York native and Louisville, Kentucky, attorney. Practiced in partnership with Franklin Gorin. History of the Ohio Falls Cities and Their Counties, Vol. 1 (Cleveland: L. A. Williams, 1882), 509-10; Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 98.
Associated Documents: KYR-001-004-0115, KYR-0001-004-0364, KYR-0001-004-0439, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-004-1791, KYR-0001-004-1803, KYR-0001-004-1805, KYR-0001-004-1806, KYR-0001-004-3407, KYR-0001-017-0001, KYR-0001-017-0062, KYR-0001-020-0129, KYR-0001-020-1527.


Gibson, Thomas Ware. (? – ?) Louisville, Kentucky, attorney. Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 99.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0121, KYR-0001-004-0267, KYR-0001-004-0439, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-004-1509, KYR-0001-004-1528, KYR-0001-004-1553, KYR-0001-004-1554, KYR-0001-007-0109, KYR-0001-007-0229.


Gorin, Franklin. (1798 – 1877) Barren County, Kentucky, native and Louisville, Kentucky, attorney. Practiced in partnership with Addison M. Gazlay and with Jack Fry in 1865. E. Polk Johnson, A History of Kentucky and Kentuckians: The Leaders and Representative Men in Commerce, Industry and Modern Activities, Vol. III (Chicago and New York: Lewis Publishing, 1912), 1673-74; Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 102; Edwards’ Annual Directory to the Inhabitants, Institutions, Incorporated Companies, Manufacturing Establishments, Business Firms, Etc., Etc., in the City of Louisville for 1865-6 (Louisville: Maxwell & Co., 1866), 323.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0108, KYR-0001-004-0109, KYR-0001-004-0110, KYR-0001-004-0111, KYR-0001-004-0112, KYR-0001-004-0113, KYR-0001-004-0114, KYR-0001-004-0115, KYR-0001-004-0116, KYR-0001-004-0117, KYR-0001-004-0118, KYR-0001-004-0119, KYR-0001-004-0120, KYR-0001-004-0121, KYR-0001-004-0122, KYR-0001-004-0123, KYR-0001-004-0124, KYR-0001-004-0139, KYR-0001-004-0364, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-004-1803, KYR-0001-023-0117, KYR-0002-204-0076, KYR-0002-204-0082.


Griffiths, Thomas J. (c. 1826 – 1884) Native of Wales and Louisville, Kentucky, physician. Practiced in partnership with Benjamin F. Grant. Accompanied an 1861 movement south of Louisville by General William T. Sherman, and provided medical services to the military barracks in Louisville through the end of the war. Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 105; “Dr. Thomas J. Griffiths” The Louisville Medical News XVII no. 23 (June 7, 1884): 360-61; Eighth Manuscript Census of the United States (1860), Population Schedules, Kentucky, Jefferson County, Louisville, Eighth Ward, p. 320.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787.


Hanna, John. (? – ?) Louisville, Kentucky, businessman. Partner in Hanna & Co., printers, with Alexander Hanna. Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 111.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787.


Harris, James. (? – ?) Louisville, Kentucky, attorney. Edwards’ Annual Directory to the Inhabitants, Institutions, Incorporated Companies, Manufacturing Establishments, Business Firms, Etc., Etc., in the City of Louisville for 1865-6 (Louisville: Maxwell & Co., 1866), 339.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0083, KYR-0001-004-0121, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-004-1418, KYR-0001-004-1644, KYR-0001-004-1957, KYR-0001-004-2270, KYR-0001-004-2510, KYR-0001-017-0352, KYR-0001-017-0355, KYR-0001-020-1579.


Hoke, William B. (1838 – 1904) Kentucky native and Louisville, Kentucky, attorney. Practiced in partnership with Samuel S. English. Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 82, 123; Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Meeting of the Kentucky State Bar Association Held at Covington, Kentucky, June 22-23, 1905 (Louisville: George G. Fetter, 1905), 56; John J. McAffee, Kentucky Politicians: Sketches of Representative Corn-Crackers and Other Miscellany (Louisville: Courier-Journal Job Printing Co., 1886), 92-94.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0682, KYR-0001-004-0683, KYR-0001-004-0684, KYR-0001-004-0685, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-004-1377, KYR-0001-004-2161, KYR-0001-020-1598, KYR-0001-031-0125.


Hornsby, Isham H. (c. 1822 – ?) Kentucky native and Louisville, Kentucky, attorney. Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 125; Eighth Manuscript Census of the United States (1860), Population Schedules, Kentucky, Jefferson County, Louisville, Sixth Ward, p. 20.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787.


Huber, [unknown]. (? – ?) Gave testimony in The Commonwealth v. William Brockman, tried in the Jefferson Circuit Court in 1864.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787.


Jefferson Circuit Court. Part of the Seventh Judicial Circuit, which also included Bullitt, Oldham, Shelby, and Spencer Counties. Peter B. Muir (1861) and George W. Johnston (1862-1865) were the judges. Edwin S. Craig (1861) and J. R. Dupuy (1862-65) were the Commonwealth’s Attorneys. James P. Chambers was the Circuit Court Clerk.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0003, … [390 more at present].


Kahnt, Charles. (? – ?) Louisville, Kentucky, furniture maker. Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 135.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787.


Kramur, Franz. A. (? – ?) Signatory to Louisville, Kentucky, petition on behalf of William Brockman.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787.


Logel, Adolph. (? – 1864) Killed in altercation with William Brockman in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1864.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787.


Louisville, Kentucky. Seat of Jefferson County on the Ohio River. Largest city in Kentucky during the Civil War. “Louisville” in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, ed. John E. Kleber (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1992), 574-8. The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. John E. Kleber (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2001).
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-001-0001, … [1,102 more at present].


Mattingly, John N. (? – ?) Louisville, Kentucky, attorney. Practiced in partnership with Isaac R. Greene. Edwards’ Annual Directory to the Inhabitants, Institutions, Incorporated Companies, Manufacturing Establishments, Business Firms, Etc., Etc., in the City of Louisville for 1865-6 (Louisville: Maxwell & Co., 1866), 434, 327.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0121, KYR-0001-004-0180, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-004-0827, KYR-0001-004-0828, KYR-0001-004-2250, KYR-0001-004-2416, KYR-0001-004-3407, KYR-0001-005-0042.


McDowell, William Preston. (c. 1838 – ?) Kentucky native and Louisville, Kentucky, law clerk. Assisted in raising the Fifteenth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry Regiment and was appointed its adjutant. After August 1862, served as aide-de-camp and assistant adjutant general to Major General Lovell H. Rousseau. Wounded in action at the battle of Stones River. Eighth Manuscript Census of the United States (1860), Population Schedules, Kentucky, Jefferson County, Louisville, Fourth Ward, p. 74. Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Kentucky, National Archives and Records Administration, RG94, M397, Roll 284, Fifteenth Infantry, Hu-McE; J.H. Battle, W.H. Perrin, and G.C. Kniffin, The History of Kentucky, Eighth Edition, Part I (Louisville and Chicago: F.A. Battey, 1888), 839-40.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787.


Meriwether, William A. (1825 – ?) Deputy U.S. Marshal from 1861 to 1864 and appointed U.S. Marshal for Kentucky in 1864. J.H. Battle, W.H. Perrin, and G.C. Kniffin, The History of Kentucky, Eighth Edition, Part I (Louisville and Chicago: F.A. Battey, 1888), 847.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-020-0927, KYR-0001-031-0109.


Miller, Isaac Price. (c. 1818 – ?) Kentucky native and Jefferson County, Kentucky, farmer. Eighth Manuscript Census of the United States (1860), Population Schedules, Kentucky, Jefferson County, District 1, p. 195; Miller-Thum Family Collection, 990PC47, Filson Historical Society, Louisville, Kentucky.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-023-0116, KYR-0001-004-0787.


Miller, John K. (? – ?) Signatory to Louisville, Kentucky, petition on behalf of William Brockman.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787.

Oakland House and Race Course. Louisville, Kentucky, horse racing track established in 1832. Saw its heyday in the 1830s and 1840s, and closed in the 1850s. “Oakland Race Course” in The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. John E. Kleber (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2001), 665.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0309, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0002-036-0045, KYR-0002-036-0046.


Ormsby, Collis. (1817 – 1891) Kentucky native and Louisville, Kentucky, merchant. Owner of the hardware and cutlery business of Collis Ormsby. Eighth Manuscript Census of the United States (1860), Population Schedules, Kentucky, Jefferson County, Louisville, Fifth Ward, p. 208; Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 189; Louisville Daily Journal, Jun. 22, 1861, p. 1.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0002-058-0006, KYR-0002-220-0147, KYR-0002-220-0149, KYR-0002-220-150.


Ormsby, Robert J. (1822 – 1879) Louisville, Kentucky, businessman. Bookkeeper in the hardware and cutlery business of Collis Ormsby. A founding director and stockholder of Cedar Hill and Oakland Railway Company in 1868. Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 189; Acts of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Kentucky (Frankfort, Ky.: Kentucky Yeoman Office, John H. Harney, Public Printer: 1868), 553-554.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787.


Pope, Alfred Thurston. (1842 – 1891) Kentucky native and Louisville, Kentucky, attorney. Kentucky Death Records, 1852 – 1953 [database online, Ancestry.com], Jefferson County, 1891; J.H. Battle, W.H. Perrin, and G.C. Kniffin, The History of Kentucky, Eighth Edition, Part I (Louisville and Chicago: F.A. Battey, 1888), 877-78.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0121, KYR-0001-004-0439, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-031-0215.


Pope, Hamilton. (1815 – 1894) Louisville, Kentucky native and attorney. Practiced in partnership with John G. Barrett. Commanded Louisville Home Guards that accompanied William T. Sherman on an expedition towards Muldraugh’s Hill in 1861. Thomas Speed, The Union Regiments of Kentucky (Louisville: Courier-Journal Job Printing Company, 1897), 24, 28, 427. Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 196.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0121, KYR-0001-004-0139, KYR-0001-004-0364, KYR-0001-004-0439, KYR-0001-004-0448, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-004-2416, KYR-0001-004-3055, KYR-0001-007-0109, KYR-0001-007-0229, KYR-0001-007-0309, KYR-0001-009-0024, KYR-0001-017-0265, KYR-0001-020-0351, KYR-0001-020-0637, KYR-0001-020-1575, KYR-0001-031-0215, KYR-0001-033-0039, KYR-0002-060-0029, KYR-0002-060-0030, KYR-0002-067-0053, KYR-0002-204-0037, KYR-0002-218-0014, KYR-0002-218-0056, KYR-0002-218-0098, KYR-0003-158-0103.


Ronald, William A. (? – ?) Sheriff of Jefferson County in 1864-65. Stock agent for the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. J. D. Campbell’s Louisville Business Directory, For 1864 (Louisville: L. A. Civill, nd.),70; Edwards’ Annual Directory to the Inhabitants, Institutions, Incorporated Companies, Manufacturing Establishments, Business Firms, Etc., Etc., in the City of Louisville for 1865-6 (Louisville: Maxwell & Co., 1866), 502; Genealogical and Historical Notes on Culpeper County, Virginia (Culpeper, Va.: Raleigh Travers Green, 1900), 90; Louisville Daily Democrat, July 19, 1867, p. 1.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0180, KYR-0001-004-0233, KYR-0001-004-0234, KYR-0001-004-0235, KYR-0001-004-0748, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-004-1070, KYR-0001-004-1332, KYR-0001-004-1379, KYR-0001-004-1600, KYR-0001-004-1966, KYR-0001-004-2030, KYR-0001-004-2399, KYR-0001-004-2511, KYR-0001-004-2878, KYR-0001-005-0051.


Rousseau, Richard Hilaire. (1815 – 1872) Lincoln County, Kentucky, native and Louisville, Kentucky, attorney. Practiced in partnership with his brother, Lovell H. Rousseau. The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. XII (New York: James T. White, 1904), 185; Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 210.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0018, KYR-0001-004-0121, KYR-0001-004-0180, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-004-0841, KYR-0001-007-0109, KYR-0001-020-0712, KYR-0001-023-0117, KYR-0001-034-0050.


Semms, [unknown]. (? – ?) Gave testimony in The Commonwealth v. William Brockman, tried in the Jefferson Circuit Court in 1864.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787.


Sherley, Zachariah Madison. (1811 – 1879) Virginia native and Louisville, Kentucky, businessman. Owned and operated steamboats along the Ohio River, contracting many of them to the United States army during the war. Partner in the ship chandler firm of Sherley, Bell & Co. with Jesse K. Bell and Richard H. Woolfolk. “Sherley, Zachariah Madison ‘Zachary’” in The Encyclopedia of Louisville, ed. John E. Kleber (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2001), 814; Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 224.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-007-0552, KYR-0001-020-1812, KYR-0002-205-0045, KYR-0002-207-0095, KYR-0002-207-0147, KYR-0002-209-0130, KYR-0002-220-0130, KYR-0002-221-0999, KYR-0002-221-1000, KYR-0002-221-1001, KYR-0002-221-1009, KYR-0003-158-0595, KYR-0003-158-0714.


Shivell, Henry C. (1841-1869) Louisville, Kentucky, attorney. Practiced in partnership with Samuel S. Bush. President of a lead mine along the Kentucky River in Owen County, Kentucky in 1865. Edwards’ Annual Directory to the Inhabitants, Institutions, Incorporated Companies, Manufacturing Establishments, Business Firms, Etc., Etc., in the City of Louisville for 1865-6 (Louisville: Maxwell & Co., 1866), 529; New Albany Daily Ledger, February 27, 1866, 2; New Albany Daily Ledger, August 5, 1865, 2; The Louisville Daily Journal, April 12, 1867; Daily Courier, July 26, 1866.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0439, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-004-2155, KYR-0001-007-0381, KYR-0001-007-0432.


Shrader, Augusta. (? – ?) Gave affidavit in The Commonwealth v. William Brockman, tried in the Jefferson Circuit Court in 1864.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787.


Shrader, John. (? – ?) Gave affidavit in The Commonwealth v. William Brockman, tried in the Jefferson Circuit Court in 1864.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787.


Smith, Samuel B. (c. 1800 – 1866) Virginia native and Louisville, Kentucky, attorney. Practiced in partnership with Joshua F. Bullitt. Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 46, 230; Eighth Manuscript Census of the United States (1860), Population Schedules, Kentucky, Jefferson County, District One, p. 32; “Death of Samuel B. Smith, esq.—Bar Meeting,” Louisville Courier, Dec. 15, 1866, p. 1.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-007-0476, KYR-0001-020-0327.


Tennessee. Sixteenth state to join the Union in 1796. Shares Kentucky’s southern border. Capital at Nashville.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-002-0001, … [162 more at present].


Wolfe, Nathaniel. (1808 – 1865) Virginia native and Louisville, Kentucky, attorney and politician. Practiced in partnership with Silas N. Hodges. Former Commonwealth’s Attorney and State Senator. Served in the House of Representative of the Kentucky General Assembly from 1859-1863. Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 267. “Wolfe, Nathaniel” in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, ed. John E. Kleber (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1992), 962.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0121, KYR-0001-004-0351, KYR-0001-004-0439, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-004-0811, KYR-0001-017-0194, KYR-0001-017-0358, KYR-0001-017-0375, KYR-0001-017-0384, KYR-0001-020-0323, KYR-0001-020-0863, KYR-0001-020-1244, KYR-0001-020-1437, KYR-0001-023-0109, KYR-0001-029-0097, KYR-0001-031-0202, KYR-0001-033-0010, KYR-0002-050-0008, KYR-0002-207-0142, KYR-0002-218-0044, KYR-0002-218-0349, KYR-0003-158-0241.


Wood, Logan A. (? – ?) Louisville, Kentucky, attorney. Practiced in partnership with L. A. Civill. Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 267; “Lawyer L.A. Wood,” Louisville Courier-Journal, Dec. 3, 1886, p. 2.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-006-0049, KYR-0001-004-0121, KYR-0001-004-0234, KYR-0001-004-0264, KYR-0001-004-0310, KYR-0001-004-0384, KYR-0001-004-0483, KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-004-1057, KYR-0001-004-1260, KYR-0001-004-1458, KYR-0001-004-1644, KYR-0001-004-1957, KYR-0001-004-2161, KYR-0001-004-2293, KYR-0001-004-2294, KYR-0001-004-2416, KYR-0001-004-2867, KYR-0001-004-2927, KYR-0001-004-3168.


Wood, William C. (? – ?) Louisville, Kentucky, attorney. Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 267.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0113, KYR-0001-004-0114, KYR-0001-004-0117, KYR-0001-004-0121, KYR-0001-004-0122, KYR-0001-004-0123, KYR-0001-004-0124, KYR-0001-004-0787.


Wood, William F. (? – ?) Louisville, Kentucky, businessman. Partner in the wall paper and window shade business of Wood & Bros. with Charles A. and John B. Wood. Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 267; Edwards’ Annual Directory to the Inhabitants, Institutions, Incorporated Companies, Manufacturing Establishments, Business Firms, Etc., Etc., in the City of Louisville for 1865-6 (Louisville: Maxwell & Co., 1866), 602.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787.


Woolfolk, Richard Henry. (1823 – 1885) Kentucky native and Louisville, Kentucky, businessman. Owned and operated steamboats along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Partner in the ship chandler firm of Sherley, Bell & Co. (later Sherley, Woolfolk, & Co.) with Zachariah M. Sherley and Jesse K. Bell. Tanner’s Louisville Directory, and Business Advertiser for 1861 (Louisville: Henry Tanner, 1861), 224, 268; “Capt. Woolfolk Dead,” Louisville Courier-Journal, Jun. 13, 1885, p. 3.
Associated Documents: KYR-0001-004-0787, KYR-0001-007-0552, KYR-0002-207-0095, KYR-0002-207-0147, KYR-0002-209-0026, KYR-0002-220-0130, KYR-0002-221-0999, KYR-0002-221-1000, KYR-0002-221-1001, KYR-0002-221-1009, KYR-0003-158-0595, KYR-0003-158-0714.

Who are “We the undersigned”?

We recently featured the case of William Brockman, a German man appealing his murder conviction to Governor Bramlette (read the full transcription here). Our previous post pointed out the fascinating diversity of topical subjects CWG-K will bring to the attention of scholars — the immigrant experience, violence and public arms bearing, micro-economies of military posts, and the environmental and urban history of the Ohio River.

KYR-0001-004-0787But who signed the petition to pardon William Brockman? Why did they do so? What can we learn about a war-torn and refugee-swelled Ohio River city from analyzing the actors in William Brockman’s world?

Each of the document’s 65 glossary entries contains a list of associated documents (Read the full glossary here). In those 65 entries, this document makes 4,353 connections across the CWG-K corpus. Excluding the four best-connected entries (Thomas E. Bramlette, Louisville, Jefferson Circuit Court, and Tennessee), the remaining 61 entries yield 441 connections to a web of 248 unique documents spread across 25 unique collections in 3 separate archival repositories. The glossed people, places, and institutions in this document link to a median of 5 other records.

Though these appear to be no more than numbers on the page, this is the raw data of a complex series of geographic, economic, social, personal, and political networks that bound 1860s Kentuckians to one another, to the nation, to the war, and to the world. The patterns in these accession numbers suggest fascinating research questions which the user can further explore through documents themselves. What shared interest led twenty of the signers of this petition to appear in another document KYR-0001-004-0121? What political or personal factors inclined the individuals named in this document to appear more frequently in collections associated with Bramlette (145 documents) than Magoffin (50 documents)? What does the appearance of Zachariah Sherley and his business partner Richard Woolfolk in documents from all three repositories suggest about the breadth of their interaction with state institutions? Might this suggest ways in which their steamboat-supplying firm benefited from military mobilization?

The entries from this document also highlight what CWG-K can do with even the most fragmentary information. A man named Donheimer, for example, testified in the case related to Brockman’s petition, but we know nothing further of him—not even his given name. CWG-K will, nevertheless, create a glossary entry for him and include what information can be gleaned from the document. Even though what we know of Donheimer is limited now, the open-ended nature of a born-digital project allows CWG-K to expand the entry as new documents are identified and transcribed and as the CWG-K universe becomes populated with more interconnected historical actors. The point is not that we know very little about Donheimer now. Rather, it is that we may learn more about him in the future, and, even if not, scholars will use the networks of which he forms a part.

This document reveals how researchers will be able to visualize and study the interactions Kentuckians had with their neighbors, their governments, and their enemies, linking an untold number of individuals—enslaved and free, men and women, Union and Confederate—together in an interconnected web of relationships. CWG-K will be an unimaginably powerful tool for studying the whole of a society under the strains of civil war.

Patrick A. Lewis is Project Director of the Civil War Governors of Kentucky Digital Documentary Edition.

KYR-0001-004-0787

Be sure to read the glossary for this document as well as Part One and Part Two of the analysis.

KYR-0001-004-0787-001

To His Excellency Thomas E. Bramlette

Your Petitioner William Brockman says that at the present term of the Jefferson Circuit Court he was tried on an Indictment for the murder of one Adolph Logel. found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to serve ten years in the penitentiary of this commonwealth. He did not deny on the trial and does not deny now that he struck Logel a blow which unfortunately proved fatal but he asserted then and still asserts that he struck said blow in self=defense and under circumstances that justified it He says that he lives in the suburbs of Louisville not far from the old Oakland Race Course at which point the general government Keeps stabled a large number of horses and mules &c the chief part of which have been worn out in the military service of the government, considerable numbers of these animals die daily and the persons having them in charge were in the habit of hauling them to a strip of woods near petitioner’s House and there leaving them to rot. Your Petitioner had obtained leave to take the skins off of these carcasses on the condition he would remove or burn sathe carcasses to avoid having a nusance to the detriment of the health of the neighborhood The deceased Logel without having obtained leave as petitioner did, to take the skins, was in the habit of taking the skins and leaving the carcasses on the ground neither removing or burning them This created a nusance for which petitioner was indicted and fined Petitioner apprised Logel of the facts and told him he must not skin any more of the animals without burning the or removing the carcasses but Logel insisted that he would skin them without removing the carcasses and continued and persisted in so doing. At the time the difficulty occurred Logel had just skinned ^one^ of said animals ^a cow^ when your petitioner approached him and requested him to remove the carcass Harsh language and a quarrel ensued, Logel had a Butcher Knife with which he had just skinned the animal, in one hand and a stick in the other Your petitioner had only a stick in hand but it was pretty heavy one. Logel struck your petitioner twice with the stick and cut him on the hand with the Knife before petitioner struck at all whereupon your petition struck Logel with the stick which was in your petitioner’s hand a blow which knocked him down and unfortunately proved fatal Your petitioner had no idea that the blow would prove fatal and had no intention of killing Logel and struck him only in self=defense. Your petitioner insisted that he did not have a fair trial in the circuit court and that the verdict was obtained only by a conspiricy on the part of somethe principal witnesses for the commonwealth He states that the prinicpal witness for the state Donheimer not only testified differently in very material points from what he did in the examining court butand far more unfavorably to the [unclear]accused than he there testified but also as is showen by the accompanying affidavits of John Shrader Augusta Shrader and Charles Samuel Baker, procurred the witness for the commonwealth Huber, by bribery, to swear falsely on the trial of the case in the circuit court and thereby to make statements corroberating his said Donheimers, false testimony, all of which your petitioner was not made aware until after said trial.

Joseph Clements one of the justices who composed the examining court testified ion the trial in the circuit court that the witness Donheimer stated in the examining court that the deceased had a stick with which he was punching accused at the time accused struck him, whereas Donheimer testified on the trial in the circuit court that accused approached and ordered Logel to put down the skin and thereupon without anything further struck deceased upon the back of the neck a blow which produced his death. The witness for the accused Frend also testified that Donheimer attempted to procure him by bribe to swear against accused and that said Donheimer had said in his, Frend’s hearing that he wanted to have accused hung or sent to the penitentiary, Cathrine Barbarer testified that Donheimer sayed he would have accused hung The witness Semms who with the witnesses Huber and Donheimer was the only witness for the commonwealth who pretended to have seen the difficulty contradicted Donheimer by stating that the accused and the deceased “quarrelled” and fussed and contended over the skins for some time, and although he Semms then testified that he did not see but heard only one blow struck and thereafter looked and saw deceased lying on the ground, he is there in contra^dicted^ by Mr L A Wood an atty at law who testified on the trial in the circuit court that he was present as a spectator at the examining trial and that Semms there stated that deceased had a knife in his hand with which he struck at accused and L. A. Wood further testified that accused in the examining trial had a cut on the back of his hand.

The court refused a continuance applied for by accused at this present term on the ground of the absence in Tennessee of accused’s principal witness whose name is Rudolph Chrisler and who is a soldier in the Federal army and was so at the time of the difficulty and by whom accused could have proved on the trial in the circuit court as he did prove by said witness in the examining court that he Rudolph Chrisler saw deceased strike at and strike accused with a stick before accused struck deceased and that deceased had a Knife in his hand during the difficulty with which he cut accused on the hand Your petitioner had a subpoena for this witness and it was returned by, the sheriff “not found” and petitioners counsel asked leave of the court to introduce evidence of what the witness Chrisler had testified in the examining court which the court refused to do Your petitioner says that if he could have obtained the testimony of Chrisler it would have fully corroborated, and supported the testimony of DeFlour in the trial in the circuit Court and established the innocence of the accused of the charge Your petitioner states that he has a large family depended on his exertions for support

KYR-0001-004-0787-007All of which your petitioner would respectfully submit and implore the exercise in his behalf of your Excellency’s clemency

[unclear] [unclear]
translation William Brockman

We the undersigned citizens of Louisville join in the prayer of the foregoing petition and aske that William Brockman be pardoned

Nat. Wolfe
R. H. Rousseau
I H Hornsby
Chas Kahnt
Dr. V. Donhoff
F. Bender
Byron Bacon
F Gorin
A M Gazlay,
Jack Fry
S. A. Atchison
Jeff. Brown.
W. W. Fry
James A. Beattie
Thos W. Gibson
W A Meriwether
Jno. Hanna

Jos. Clement
W. C. Wood
W. P. McDowell
Lewis N Dembitz
Martin Bijur
S. S. Bush
H. C. Shivell
L. A. Wood
Isaac P Miller
Franz, A, Kramur
E S Craig
W, B. Hoke
Sam B. Smith
C. Ormsby
R. J. Ormsby

Wm. F. Wood
Hamilton Pope
Alfred T. Pope.
M S Fields
James Harris
J. P. Gailbreath
John N. Mattingly
Jno. K. Miller
John G. Barbon

F G Dannecker
H. S. Burkhard
T. Jack Conn
R H Woolfolk
Z, M, Sherley
Thos. J. Griffiths

Jefferson Cir Ct
vs
Wm Brockman

This is a case which demands Executive clemency and a pardon is ordered

Tho E Bramlette
Govr
Apl 29th 1864

10 years
Manslaughter

William Brockman to Thomas E. Bramlette, n.d., Office of the Governor, Thomas E. Bramlette: Governor’s Official Correspondence File, Petitions for Pardons, Remissions, and Respites 1863-1867, Box 10, BR10-213 to BR10-213A, Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort.