History of Kentucky

Judge Charles Kerr, Editor

By: William Elsey Connelly and E.M. Culter

The American History Society (1922)

Volume V

Pages 52-53


Robert Lee Stewart was the son of Alexander Hamilton Stewart and the grandson of Jasper Byd Stewart. Robert Lee Stewart was born Febuary 4, 1873 in Carr Creek, Letcher County, and died February 3, 1963 in Rowan County. He is buried in the Lee Cemetery in Morehead, KY.

            R. LEE STEWART, assistant secretary of state, one of the best known and most efficient men of Kentucky, won distinction as a member of the State Assembly before his appointment to his present office, and proved his worth as a dependable business man. The common- wealth now has in office some of the most dependable men of the state, and its affairs are being admirably administered. Mr. Stewart's interests have always been centered in Kentucky for it is his native state, he having been born in Letcher, now Knott County, February 4, 1873, a son of Dr. A. H. Stewart.

            The Stewart family was founded in this country by the great-great-grandfather of R. Lee Stewart, Alexander Stewart, a native of Scotland, who located in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, at a very early day, and became a prosperous planter of that region. He married a Miss Sheets, a native of Virginia. Their son William Stewart, was born in the Shenandoah Valley, but moved to Knox County, Kentucky prior to 1806, and there developed valuable agricultural interests. He married a Miss Crank, a native of Virginia. The grandfather of R. Lee Stewart, Dr. Jasper Stewart, was born near Barbourville, Knox County, Kentucky, in 1829, and died near Hindman, Kentucky, May 3, 1914. He lived in Perry and Knott counties the greater part of his life and was actively engaged in practice as a physician and surgeon, attaining to distinction in his profession and he was also engaged in farming. He married Nancy Mullins, who was born in Virginia in 1829.

             Dr. A. H. Stewart was born in Perry County, Kentucky, December 7, 1852, and is now a resident of Lawton, Oklahoma. He was reared in Perry and Letcher counties, and for a number of years was engaged in teaching school in the latter county. Studying medicine, he was graduated from the Ohio Medical School of Cincinnati, Ohio, with the degree of Doctor of Medicine, and he later took post graduate courses in Bellevue Hospital, New York City. Doctor Stewart began the practice of medicine at Prestonsburg, Kentucky, where he remained until 1892, when he moved to Richmond, Kentucky, and was there married. Going to Lawton. Oklahoma, in 1901, he soon established himself in a valuable practice, which he has since continued. He is a republican and was sent to the State Senate from Floyd County, Kentucky, representing the Twenty-third Senatorial District, and served for two terms, or from 1887 until 1893. From 1896 until 1898 he was physician at the Frankfort penitentiary. During the Spanish-American war, he was captain of Company K, Fourth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, under Colonel Colson. Doctor Stewart was married to Margaret Pigman who was born in Letcher County, Kentucky, in 1854, and died in that county in 1876, having borne her husband two children, namely: R. Lee and Burt. The latter has been a clerk in the post office at Lawton, Oklahoma since 1905.

            R. Lee Stewart attended the rural schools of Floyd, Letcher and Knott counties, Kentucky, and then, during 1891 and 1892 was a student of the Kentucky State University. For six terms he was engaged in teaching school in Knott County, and then during 1896 and 1897 was enrolling clerk of the General Assembly. Mr. Stewart then attended law school at Danville, Indiana, and was graduated from the Central Normal College there in 1898, with the degree of Bachelor of Law. From January 1, 1900 until December 1 of that year he was storekeeper and gauger in the Internal Revenue service, residing at Hindman, Kentucky, and from the latter date until July 1, 1905, was deputy collector of Internal Revenue. On July 1, 1905, he was again made storekeeper and gauger and so continued until the fall of 1906, when he went to Oklahoma and was in the vicinity of Lawton until the fall of 1908, having gone there on account of ill health.

            Returning to Hindman, Kentucky, he was made general storekeeper and gauger, and had charge of ten counties for the Internal Revenue department during 1910 and 1911, at which time he became private secretary to Congressman John W. Langley of the Tenth Congressional District and spent some time in Washington. During 1912 and 1913 Mr. Stewart was deputy United States marshal, with headquarters at Jackson, Kentucky, although he still maintained his residence at Hindman. Resigning from office, Mr. Stewart then went upon the road, representing first Swift & Company of Chicago, then the Ouerbacker Coffee Company of Louisville, and finally the Emmons-Hawkins Hardware Company of Huntington, West Virginia. He left the road when he was elected to the General Assembly in November, 1919, as a representative of the Ninety-ninth Legislative District comprising Knott and Magoffin counties. While serving, he was chairman of the Redistricting Judicial Committee, and a member of the Rules, Circuit Courts, Criminal Law, Charitable Institutions, Mining and State University committees, and was connected with some of the most important legislation of that session. On March 23, 1920, Mr. Stewart was appointed clerk in the office of the Secretary of State, and was further honored by being appointed Assistant Secretary of State May 1, 1920, and assumed the duties of the office, May 17th. His offices are in the new state capitol. Mr. Stewart lives at No. 612 Shelby Street, but maintains his legal residence at Hindman. He is a republican and has been elected to office on his party ticket. In 1899, he was a candidate for the State Assembly from the Ninety-first District, but was defeated in a strongly democratic community and was again the nominee of his party for the same office from the same district, and once more met with defeat from the same cause, in 1911.

            Well known in fraternal matters Mr. Stewart belongs to Hindman Lodge No. 689, A. F. & A. M., of which he is past master: Hindman Lodge No. 163, L.O.O.F. of which he is past grand; Hindman Camp No. 43, K.O.T.M.., in which he has passed all of the chairs; and Rhoda May Council No. 164, Junior Order, United American Mechanics, Jackson, Kentucky. He owns a modern residence at Hindman, which is a comfortable one and a farm in Knott County.

            On December 23, 1901, Mr. Stewart was married at Hindman, Kentucky, to Miss Lucinda Everade. . . . Mr. and Mrs. Stewart have two children, namely: Mary, who was born November 12, 1909; and Mattie, who was born February 12, 1916.

            In every office Mr. Stewart has held he has shown a conscientious conception of his duties and a willingness to exert himself which have gained added honors for him. While he considers Hindman his home city, he is deeply interested in Frankfort, as are, all good Kentuckians, and having spent considerable time in the capital city, understands it needs, and recognizes its advantages. Such men as he are bound to travel far on the road which leads to political distinction, and his journey is in no way completed.


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