Life in Rowan County, Kentucky


God Help Kentucky!


Civil War Song

Lord from thy heavenly throne
Thy holy will be done;
God help Kentucky!
Teach us true liberty,
Make us from tyrants free;
Let our homes happy be,
God help Kentucky!

The wiles of Lincoln's men,
Do thou with might restrain,
God help Kentucky!
Help thou when power doth press,
Aid thou in our distress;
Thou whose dread name we bless,
God help Kentucky!

Give us staunch honesty,
Let our pride manly be;
God help Kentucky!
Help us to hold the right,
Give us both truth and might--
Lord of all life and light.
God help Kentucky!

Give us the power to stand,
Firm for our native land;
God save Kentucky!
Drive with thy Almighty power
The invaders from our door,
Let them be seen no more,
God save Kentucky!


            William Charlie moved during the Civil War to Rowan County, Kentucky, Footnote and settled along the Triplett Creek near Morehead and Clearfield around 1862. Footnote Three sons, James, Alexander and William G., came with him. His other son, Jasper, remained in Knott County raising his large family. William and Mary are listed in the 1870 Census for Rowan County. He is listed as a farmer and she as a housewife. Only, one child, Sarah, age 24, is listed as living at home. Sarah who was blind remained at home with her parents.

            After moving to Rowan County, William Charlie was elected as a Justice of the Peace of Rowan County. In 1874, Captain Thomas Hargis (rather poignantly, in the latter half of the nineteenth century, nearly every Kentucky citizen was referred to by his military rank, even though he had not been in the service since the War) was the Democratic nominee for a circuit judge for the fourteenth district of Kentucky. His opponent was George M. Thomas, a "prominent Republican" from Vanceburg. At this time, Thomas Green, Editor of the Maysville Eagle, charged that Hargis was not eligible for the office because he had not entered into the practice of law at the proscribed time. The legal requirement was that the candidate must have practiced law for a minimum of eight years by August 1, in the year of the election. Green claimed that the required signatures, those of two presiding judges, had not been

placed on the law license until sometime in August of 1866, thus making Hargis ineligible for the office. According to a recent account, the charge, which was made by Green, was a primary reason for the defeat of Hargis by Thomas.


            Rowan County Judge William Charlie Stewart who was a Republican, testified on Hargis' behalf in 1874.


"I, William Stewart, state that I was Justice of the Peace in Rowan County from 1864 to 1870, continuously, and that I know Thomas F. Hargis and have known him since July, 1865, and I know that Thomas F. Hargis was and did practice law before me in my court at my spring term 1866, in various suits. And I have no doubt about this fact, of which I am certain, he had been practicing law at Morehead before the August election, 1866, at which election said Hargis was a candidate for County Judge. I am a Republican in politics and have been. I knew said Hargis well in the fall of 1865 and the winter of 1865 and 1866. I was frequently in his office, and he always had his law-books and he was studying hard." For more information on the Hargis-Green affair, see Roots of Violence-The Green-Hargis Affair.


Hargis donated the land that formed the original campus of Morehead State. Hargis, a native of Morehead and chief judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals, donated four acres of land and $500 in cash to Morehead Normal School in 1889 for the institution’s first classroom building. Hargis Hall, a wooden structure, was razed 36 years later to provide a site for Allie Young Hall.

            In May of 1881, William Charlie was involved a legal dispute. According to records in the Rowan County Courthouse, “Elias Bradley and Sol Bradley, Bail Bond $300.00 and attachment for Nancy Patton* Amburgy. Bail Bond for plaintiff and also attachment, Wm. Stewart, Sr., Martha Stewart, Alexander Stewart, Wm. Stewart, Jr., Leander Carpenter, Louana Amburgy. Bail $40.00 for defendant — Charles & John Patton, recognizer Bond $100.00. * Patton was marked out and Ambury inserted.” Rowan County Minute Book A, May 16, 1881.

            An article in a February 1883 edition of the Ashland Independent Newspaper stated that “Squire William Stewart, for years a Justice of the Peace, and who was crippled by a fall some time back, now in his 83rd year, was in court.”

            William Charlie and his wife, Mary Polly, are buried in unmarked graves in the Baldridge Cemetery. The cemetery is located between Triplett Creek and U.S. Route 60 about a mile west of Morehead on Baldridge Cemetery Road.

            In July of 2000, a plaque was placed at the Stewart Cemetery in Clearfield Kentucky in honor of William Charlie and his wife, Mary Poly. The plaque reads:



Ethel Stewart Crager, great grand daughter of William Charlie and Mary Polly Crank Stewart, dedicating memorial plaque to them and their children on the occasion of William Charlie's 200th birthday on July 2, 2000, at the Stewart Cemetery, Clearfield, Kentucky.


1870 Census Rowan County

113A 23 STEWART, William 70 Wh Ky farmer
113A Mary 65 Wh Ky
113A Sarah 24 Wh Ky

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