Down Memory Lane   - George B. Simpson, Sturgis News, Wed 21 October 1998

        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 the ship.

        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 or more.

        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:
bullet 1812    Samuel Grundy    v.    Peter Peters
bullet 1813    William Grundy    v.    James Chapman
bullet 1815    William Grundy    v.    Taylor
bullet 1822    William Grundy    v.    John Sprague
bullet 1828    Samuel Grundy    v.    Givens
bullet 1828    William Grundy    v.    Fant & Catlett
bullet 1828    William Grundy    v.    Gaither
bullet 1828    Samuel Grundy    v.    Givens
bullet 1828    William Grundy    v.    E. Edwards
bullet 1828    John Grundy        v.    Ray
bullet 1828    William Grundy    v.    Faust & Catlett
bullet 1828    William Grundy    v.    Edwards
bullet 1828    George Grundy    v    Edwards
bullet 1834    William Grundy    v.    Jenkins & Farmer
bullet 1834    William Grundy    v.    Peter C. Holt
bullet 1834    William Grundy    v.    Casey & Miller
bullet 1834    William Grundy    v.    Davenport
bullet 1834    George Grundy    v.    Nicholas Casey
bullet 1837    William Grundy    v.    Brookings
bullet 1838    William Grundy    v.    Robert Catlett
bullet 1839    William Grundy    v.    Henshaw
bullet 1840    George Grundy    v.    William Finn
bullet 1841    William Grundy    v.    Casey
bullet 1842    William Grundy    v.    Edwards
bullet 1842    William Grundy    v.    Casey (last of record)