Years ago I had run across the name Grundy in doing reading in the old
records of the Union Circuit Court. Also, I had taken notice of Grundy's
HIll in the western section of Union County near the Ohio River.
This name--Grundy--lay dormant in my memory until I read the book Amistad,
and then checked out the movie and played it on the VCR. Why was
the name Grundy relevant to this tape or movie? To answer some of
the issue one has to step back in time to the year 1836 to 1840. That is
a majic period to me for I re-studied it when I wrote Lincoln's Only Kentucky
political Speech (September 1840). Van Burean had beat WIlliam H. Harrison
for president in 1836 and a Kentuckian had been elcted Vice President.
Most will know who the Kentuckian was.
Between 1836 and 1840 a ship loaded with blacks had been put to sea from
Africa and then from Cuba. In the Atlantic the blacks had broken free and
taken control of the ship. The blacks intended to return to Africa
and their homeland but the navigation became confused and water ran out
thuhs they went ashore in Massachusetts for water, but were taken by a
U.S. Navy patrol and then interned in Massachusetts.
The local Massachusetts Abolitionist Society hired a young attorney to
free them from internment. the first trial freed them; the second trial
freed them; but the case was apealed to the Supreme Court of the United
States. Van Burean was running for president in 1839-1840 against
William H. Harrison and for Van Burean to win he had to carry the south--thus;
he tried to continue the internment of the blacks in Massachusetts. Van
Burean used his U.S. Attorney General, Felix Grundy, to appeal the case
to the U.S. Supreme Court. I suspected that originally that Grundy
was from Union County but that was not the case; he was from near Bardstown,
Kentucky; he passed the Kentucky Bar in 1797; he was a member and delegate
to the Second Kentucky Constitution Convention in 1799. In 1807 he
became Cheif Justice of the Kentucky Court of Appeals (Supreme Court).
In 1808 Felix Grundy moved to Davidson County, Tennessee. Grundy
ran for congress in Tennessee against John Bell (owner of Bell Mines);
and Bell won.
by 1836-1839 Grundy was attorney General of the U.S. in Van Bureans cabinet.
Thus, he argued to continue the internment of the blacks who had seized
Finally, the abolitionist were able to obtain the services of ex-president
John Quincy Adams to argue for the interned blacks.
The case was argued before seven Justices of the U.S. supreme court.
John Quincy Adams made a splendid arguement -- if you watched the movie
you noted the argument. If you read the book you can follow the constitutional
law questions propounded. In the end, Felix Grundy did not prevail before
the supreme court; Van Burean lost the election of 1840; and William H.
Harrison won. It was the year of 1840 when Abe Lincoln made his only political
speech in Morganfield, Union County, Kentucky. Abe Lincoln passed
out copper tokens as big as a half dollar.
Thus, Felix Grundy lost and died on December 19, 1840, at the age of 63
But was there a Union County connection? I believe so, I recall seeing
suits filed by him years ago in our files.
However, there was a Union County Grundy--Col. Grundy, Virginia Revolutionary
War soldier who obtained a large land grant for his Revolutionary War services;
and the land is located in northern Union County.
Our record books show that in 1812 a Samuel Grundy sued Peter Peters in
Union County Circuit Court; William Grundy in 1813 sued James Chapman;
JOhn Grundy in 1828 sued a Mr. Ray; George Grundy in 1828 sued a Mr. Edwards.
The last Grundy suit of record is in 1842 -- William grundy vs. Casey.
There was an R.E. Grundy who was Commissioner of Court in 1839.
As an aside to this, my great, great grandmother was born in Middle Tennessee
(Before Cival War) and her name was Fredonia Polk Faust. Apparently,
there was some kinship. It has been passed down through the family that
her family were close friends of the Polks.
Felix Grundy died in 1840; he was bron September 11, 1777 in Berkley, Virginia.
However all this does not explain the name or origin of the name--Grundy
Hill; and what of Dodge hill; Dyer Hill, Blueberry Hill, One-Eye Ridge;
Grangertown, Sturgis; Dekoven; Wing Rock; Anvil Rock; Pond Fork; Crossroads
in Sturgis; Terry Hill; Geiger's Lake; St. Vincent Academy. And whose portrait
hangs in the courthouse court room?
In the recently published Kentucky Encyclopedia I thought I would
not be mentioned in it; but I have discovered under Tradewater River discussion
a reference to Early Coal Mining on the Tradewater River by George
B. Simpson, Sturgis, Kenutcky (1987). However, Sturgis has no title listing,
but Morganfield is listed and discussed.
I must pass on that the internet is alive with genealogy and history--Union
COunty has a site and these articles are now on the internet. Union County
Library, Morganfield, has a computer that will help you locate information
on the internet. Now we are world-wide.
Law Suits in Union Circuit Court: