Richard Hawes, Jr., House, Lexington, Fayette, Kentucky


N.W. Corner Limestone and 2nd, Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky
Built 1814

Captain Richard Hawes, Jr., associated with his brother-in-law, Nelson Nicholas, in the publication of "The Kentucky Whig," had just been residing here when the son of the famous Col. George Nicholas made the following will March 25, 1825.

"I Nelson Nicholas, by this will bequeath all my real estate to Richard Hawes, Jr., with a thorough belief that he endorses my purposes and that he will fulfill them. Should he do so, he will receive his reward in heaven. Should he act otherwise he must seek for it in hell." The will was witnessed by Robert B. Barr and J.G. Trotter. Nicholas died July 10, 1826, and the "Whig" soon suspended.

Captain Hawes spent his honeymoon here, and Nelson Nicholas also lived in the house probably.

Nelson Nicholas, said by his contemporaries to have been one of the most brilliant editors of his day, evidently was also an outstanding speaker. The Lexington Public Advertiser of July 5, 1820, gives an account of "the big military celebration of 4th July," the day before, at which "Nelson Nicholas, Esq., delivered an oration."

The same newspaper on July 8 carries a lengthy account of the celebration, held at Maxwell's Spring and at Fowler's Garden--a double-barrell morning and afternoon affair at which 23 addresses were delivered. The program showed that 13 addresses and prayer preceded "the orator of the day"--Nelson Nicholas.

The Kentucky Gazette announced the death "at the residence of Col. James Trotter, near Lexington, on Monday last, (July 10, 1826) of Mr. Nelson Nicholas, editor and proprietor of the Kentucky Whig." He was buried in the Trotter tomb on Lafayette Street between East High and Euclid. The tomb, beneath a large mound overgrown with trees, still is preserved sacredly in a section of the city long since completely built up.

Judge Mulligan's "Politics the damndest in Kentucky" claim, true in his and the present day, held good also in the day of the "Whig."

The "Whig" suspended after Nicholas' death and the Frankfort Argus, bitter antagonist, published an editorial August 2, 1826, as follows (in part):

"The Kentucky Whig of Lexington has breathed its last. Its disease was a kind of loathing of its own name. ... The probability is that the death of this nominal Whig and real Tory is ominous of the downfall of the principles it has advocated and the triumph of true and genuine Whiggism in Fayette County and throughout the State.

Here lies the Whig--'What then! you cry,
The thing was lying ever.'
But now so still the thing doth lie,
He'll lie no more, no never!"

The house and 182 feet fronting Limestone Street was conveyed by Captain Hawes to Elijah W. Craig, for $1.00, "being the same lately occupied by me and deeded by Thos. D. Owings and Thomas Fletcher to said Craig and now in occupancy of Benjn. Warfield" (brother of Dr. Elisha, Dr. Lloyd and Nicholas Warfield--Benjamin Warfield was born in 1790 in Maryland). The property was bounded, the deed stated, "on the east by Limestone St. and opposite the rope walk now in the occupancy of Gratz and Bruce; on the north by the lot in possession of Mrs. John Springle; on the west by the lot lately occupied by Stout Barton, dec'd, and on the south by Second St."

In July 1815, Thomas Dye Owings, "of Bath County," had made a deed of trust to the Bank of Kentucky for $26,600, mortgaging this property, 70 acres of 500 acres "on the Limestone Road, commonly called Owings farm," and 500 acres in Bath County, "including the place formerly called Mud Lick, but now known by the name of Olympian Springs, it being the present residence of said Owings." Owings, the founder of Owingsville, Ky., married Maria Nicholas, a daughter of Col. George Nicholas. He operated a big iron works in Bath County and a store in Lexington.

Richard Hawes, the most distinguished citizen of Bourbon County now living (Collins--December, 1872) was born in Carolina Co., Va., February 6, 1797. His father, Richard Hawes, a man highly esteemed for his intelligence and integrity and who was a delegate from that county for several years in the legislature of Virginia, emigrated to Kentucky in 1810.

The son completed his education at Transylvania University, studied law with Robert Wickliffe, one of the great lawyers of the state, and became his co-partner in the practice for several years. (1818 Directory" "Wickliffe & Hawes, Attys. at Law, Market St."). Married Hetty Morrison Nicholas (November 13, 1818), youngest daughter and child of George Nicholas, one of the most eminent lawyers and statesmen of America. After more than 55 years of wedded life, she still lives to bless the world around her.

In 1824, Richard Hawes, Jr., removed to Winchester, Kentucky, and practiced law. He represented that county in the legislature in 1828, 1829 and 1834.

He represented the Ashland District in Congress for four years--1837 to 1841.

In 1843 he removed to Paris and continued to practice law until the fall of 1861. He took a leading part May 10-12, 1861, in efforts to harmonize in favor of an armed neutrality in the action of the state. Failing in this and becoming a mark for the bitterness of those who were inciting the military arrests in the fall of 1861, he took refuge in Virginia to escape imprisonment by the Federal authorities. Being too old--64 years--for active field duty, he was for eight or nine months brigade commissary in the Southern army.

After the death, April 6, 1862, of George W. Johnson, who had been chosen provisional governor by the convention of people of Kentucky at Russellville, Richard Hawes was unanimously elected by the legislative council of the Confederate Provisional Government of Kentucky as his successor, and served as such until the end of the war.

Returning in the fall of 1865 to his home in Paris, he found his small possessions almost gone--his property having been occupied and devastated by the Federal forces--but his fellow citizens of all persuasions in the late struggle greeted him with a hearty welcome.

In August, 1866, they elected him, without any efforts of his own, by an almost unanimous vote judge of the Bourbon County Court for four years, and in 1870 re-elected him to the same office, which he still well and worthily fulfills (1872).

Data from Congressional Biographies and other sources about Richard Hawes, Jr., reveal:

Richard Hawes, Jr., brother of Albert Gallatin Hawes, nephew of Aylett Hawes, and cousin of Aylett Hawes Buckner, was born near Bowling Green, Caroline County, Virginia, February, 1797. His parents moved to Kentucky in 1810, settling in Fayette County, near Lexington.

A document recorded in the Fayette County Clerk's office, dated September 10, 1810, says: "we, Aylett Hawes & Walker Hawes, Caroline Co., Va., appoint Richard Hawes of same State, but who is shortly to move to the State of Kentucky, our attorney."

Young Richard pursued classical studies at Transylvania University, at Lexington. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1824. He commenced practice in Winchester. He served in the Black Hawk War.

Captain Hawes was a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives 1828-29-34. He was an unsuccessful candidate for election to the 24th Congress, in 1834, but was elected as a Whig to the 25th and 26th Congresses (1837 and 1841).

He moved to Paris, Ky., in 1843 and continued the practice of law. He came to Lexington after the death of Henry Clay who, as administrator of Demonis Nicholas, Hawes' kinsman, had a suit against Henry Watt, and had the Court effect the sale of Watt's house and hemp factory. Hawes purchased the property in July, 1853, and sold it in January, 1854.

Captain Hawes on October 4, 1862, was installed by Confederate sympathizers as Provisional Governor of Kentucky. The Federals attacked and took Frankfort in the midst of an address on that occasion. He served until 1865, notwithstanding. Later that year he was chosen Master Commissioner of the Circuit and Common Pleas Courts and served in that capacity until his death May 25, 1877, at Paris, Ky., where he is buried in the Paris Cemetery.

The following letter from Jefferson Davis shows his high regard for Captain Hawes:

Beaumont Missi.
14th Aug. 1888

H.B. Hawes Esqr.

My dear Sir:
            I am glad to know that you are collecting material for the biography of your grandfather. I knew him long & esteemed him highly. Direct and unswerving  faithful in private as well as public life  he commanded the regard & confidence of all who knew him well. The position of Kentucky tested the sincerity of her Son's adherence to the Doctrine she had taught in the infancy of her statehood, but Richd Hawes, true to principle as the magnetic needle to the pole, quietly took his position and through good and evil report, efficiently worked to maintain the constitution as it was written & interpreted by the men who made it.

Yours Sincerely,
Jefferson Davis

Richard Hawes, Jr., in a second deed, May 14, 1824, to the house and lot conveyed to Elijah W. Craig made the consideration $3,000 "in notes of the Bank of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, equal to $1,500 in specie." He described the boundaries as "the lot late the property of John Springle, dec'd, and extending back to the lots occupied by Samuel Long and Abraham S. Barton"--being the premises on which said Hawes now resides, the same conveyed by Robert Miller to Thomas Dye Owings."

The deed of Robert Miller from Fielding Lewis Turner, "of the Mississippi Territory," July 24, 1810, was for $4,500, indicating the lot had a handsome house on it at that time. (Judge Turner, a Deputy Clerk of Fayette in 1796, was admitted to the bar in 1800 and finally became Judge. He lived for a while in New Orleans, where he made a fortune in the mercantile business. He returned to Lexington and bought back the farm five miles west of Lexington which had belonged to his father. Several years later Judge Turner bought Col. Thomas Hart's fine home--now razed--on Mill Street near Church).

Robert Miller, who deeded the property June 4, 1811, to Owings for $1.00 (deed witnessed by Henry Clay and Sidney Abby) had his naturalization papers recorded in Lexington. Quoted in full as follows, they demonstrate that at the early period mentioned the youthful "uncle Sam" had no love for "John Bull" or any other king:

Be it remembered that at a Mayor's Court held at Philadelphia for the City of Philadelphia on Saturday the 10th of July in the year of our Lord 1802, upon the petition of Robert Miller, a native of Ireland, setting forth that he was residing within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States between the 29th day of January, A.D. 1795, and the 18th day of June, 1798, and had resided within the United States five years at least, and within the State of Pennsylvania one year at least.

That he wished to become a citizen of the United States and never has borne any Hereditary Title, or been of any Orders of Nobility in the Kingdom from whence he came or elsewhere, and praying that on making the necessary proofs he might be admitted a citizen of the United States.

And now on due proof being made, according to the Act of Congress, by other proof than that of the said Robert Miller and on his Taking Oath to Support the Constitution of the United States and on his renouncing any Title or order of Nobility to which he was or might hereafter be entitled to and absolutely and entirely renouncing all allegiance and Fidelity to any Foreign prince, Potentate, State or Sovereignty and Particularly to the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland to whom he was heretofore a subject, he was by order of the said Court ADMITED A CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES.
(Certified by Wm. Sergeant, clerk of the Mayor's Court, City of Philadelphia, the 10th day of July, 1802 and "of the independence of the United States the twenty-seventh.")

Elijah W. Craig and Almire, his wife, sold the property October 1, 1825, to John Perkins, "Adams County, Mississippi." Perkins and wife, Zelphia, "of Adams Co. Miss," conveyed the house and lot August 22, 1828 to Dr. Richard Pindell. (Dr. Pindell, who died March 16, 1833, came from Maryland, and had been a surgeon in the Revolutionary army).

Dr. Richard Pindell's will, made February 26, 1833, shortly before his death, was an interesting document. He gave his daughter, Eliza Ross, his "two out-lots, one lying on the north-east and the other on the south of the Race Tract in and near the City of Lexington," consisting of about 16 acres. He also gave her his stock in the Lexington & Ohio Railroad Company--the "pioneer railroad" just started two years before, and his stock in the Maysville, Washington, Paris and Lexington Turnpike Company--another important pioneer project. Also, he gave her "any moneys due from the State of Maryland and from the Government of the United States upon the pension that I am at this time drawing."

Other members of the family were mentioned in the following provisions: To son, Thomas H. Pindell, release from "all demands I have against him." To grandson, Richard Shelby, "my Grey mare in foal at this time by Shakespear." To grandson, Richard Pindell, "my two-year old Sumpter colt by the said mare." To grandson, Morrison Pindell, "my two year old Sumpter colt by the same mare." He released all demands against the estate of his deceased son-in-law, George Ross. He emancipated his "faithful servant William, commonly called Cooper." He gave his grand-daughter, Ellen Ross, "my little bay poney, 'Miss Roots,'" and his grandson, Richard Pindell, his letters, papers, and books. The remainder of his estate was given to his grandsons, Richard Pindell, Morrison Pindell and Henry C. Pindell. He appointed his son-in-law, Genl. James Shelby, and his daughter, Eliza Ross, his executor and executrix. The will was witnessed by James E. Davis and Thomas P. Hart.

Dr. Pindell on June 5, 1829, conveyed the place to Elizabeth Ross for "natural live and affection." He made the deed to "Elizabeth Ross for and during her natural life, and at her death to descend in equal proportions to her two daughters, Margaretta Pindell Ross and Eleanor Hart Ross." Deed to adjoining property showed Mrs. Ross resided here up to her death, several years later.

On December 1, 1852, the property was sold to Thomas H. Irvine by "James Reily and Ellen H. Reily his wife, late Ellen H. Ross, now of Houston in Texas, and James O. Harrison and Margaretta P. Harrison his wife, late Margaretta Ross, now of the County of Fayette, Ky.

James O. Harrison, one of Lexington's most public-spirited citizens, married Margaretta P. Ross, a niece of Mrs. Henry Clay, July 20, 1830. The "now of Fayette County, Ky." above refers to his residence from 1835 to 1840 in Vicksburg, Mississippi. He removed to New Orleans in 1860, refused to take the oath of allegiance when General Banks took over the city, and he and his family had to remove to Richmond, Virginia. He returned to Lexington in 1868 and was elected Professor of Law at Kentucky University in 1870.

Thomas H. Irvine at this time owned practically all of the stage-coach lines out of Lexington. Born in Maryland in 1814, he was brought to Lexington when 16 and began driving a stage (Perrins' History). The first man to run stages in Kentucky was James Johnson, who was followed by his son, with whom Irvine began. By 1853, Irvine controlled nearly all the stages in Eastern Kentucky, and at one time ran all the stages between Cincinnati and Lexington, having more than 100 horses on that route alone. He often carried Jackson, Clay, Webster, Calhoun, Breckinridge and other famous men of the time. He had a record at Washington as the longest-time government mail contractor in the United States.

In January, 1859, Thos. H. Irvine and Tercia, his wife, sold the property to Wm. H. Newberry and Amanda W., his wife. In 1867 Newberry sold one house with 124 feet frontage to Wm. McCracken, and in 1869 he deeded from (Daviess County, Ky.) the remainder of the lot to Mrs. Lucretia E. McMillin, wife of A.F. McMillin, including the other houses now on the large lot.

William McCracken, well-known horseman, was born in Lexington in 1819. His parents, both born in Ireland, emigrated to America in 1801 and settled in Lexington in 1811. McCracken had a livery and sales stable on Short Street for many years.

Wm. H. Newberry and Amanda W., wife, County of ______ Ky., in March, 1869, sold the corner property to Mrs. Lucretia E. McMillen, wife of A.F. McMillen (for $2,300). It fronted 58 feet on Limestone and extended back on Second Street 147 feet.

Mrs. McMillen, who died in November, 1870, devised to her son, John L. McMillen "so much of the Brick House and lot at the intersection of Limestone and Second Sts., as lies between Limestone St. and a line run from Second St. parallel to Limestone through the center of the wall which separates the grocery from the back part of the house to the line of Will McCracken."

She also willed him "a weather-boarded Cottage house and lot adjoining the property of Mrs. J.H. Chiles" (on Second St. in the rear) and "all my household furniture, silverware, and personal property not hereinafter devised to my granddaughter, Lucretia E. Eveland." She made bequests also to her daughter, Mrs. Drucilla Eveland, and niece, Mrs. Harriet L. Ridgely.

Source: Old Houses of Lexington, C. Frank Dunn, typescript, n.d., copy located in the Kentucky Room, Lexington (Kentucky) Public Library.

Transcribed by pb, June 2006