Tuesday, April 21, 2020

1863 Kentucky Election Controversy in Campbell County

Location of Campbell County, from usnews.com

The 1863 Kentucky Gubernatorial election was controversial, with charges of military interference influencing the election’s results. The mention of the Jamestown Precinct refers to the town now called Dayton but I am not certain who “General Smith” was (presumably the same “Smith” listed in “Bramlette, Smith & Co.”) Ironically, the author was also named Smith or at least used that name. 

The controversy did not escape my home of Campbell County, as one letter-writer informed the Cincinnati Enquirer, which published this report on August 13,1863.

The Infamous Election In Kentucky

Newport, Campbell Co., Ky., August 10, 1863

To the Editors of the Enquirer:

I have waited for some days to see if any correspondence would give to the public the ways and means by which the Abolition party, aided by the military carried the State at the election held last Monday.

I now desire to add my mite to the list of outrages recorded in your paper.

My experience at the polls in Jamestown Precinct was of five minutes’ duration, but that was enough to show the drift of matters. Two scoundrels were employed to challenge Democrats, to threaten, to bully, and even knock down, in all of which they had the protection of the soldiers. These latter doing their share in aiding BramletteSmith & Co., by ordering voters from the polls. 

Many a Democrat’s did not attempt to vote, knowing that they would be subject to insult and violence if they did so. So outrages was one of these challengers, that one of the judges, who is also a Deputy Sheriff of Campbell County, called for the sergeant commanding the troops to restrain this rowdy, whereupon the rowdy threatened to take him from his desk, and actually attacked him; the soldiers also rushed at the Sheriff with charged bayonets, and would have killed him had he not drawn back. 

A judge of election calls for aid from the military, they respond by menacing him with bayonet. Had General Smith any thing to do with these outrages? It looks suspicious. 

The Democrats of the free States should be well informed of the methods which Lincoln takes to place his entire  satraps in power in the Sates of Kentucky,  Missouri, Western Virginia and Maryland.


Governor Thomas E. Bramlette, from explorekyhistory.ky.gov

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