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Harry INNES 5897, Franklin Co.

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Harry INNES 5897, Franklin Co.

Posted: 9 Jul 2001 6:46AM GMT
Classification: Biography
Surnames: Innes, Richards, Rose, Madison, Washington, Shelby, Walalce, M'Dowell, Daniel, Knox, Scott, Logan, Brown, Powers, Nicholas, Hall, Calloway, Shields, Crittenden
NOTE: I have no connection and no further information.

Historical Sketches of Kentucky by Lewis Collins, Maysville, KY. and J. A. & U. P. James, Cincinnati, 1847. Reprinted 1968. Franklin County. Hon. HARRY INNES. The subject of this sketch was born in 1752, in Caroline county, Virginia. His father, the Rev. Robert Innes, of the Episcopal church, was a native of Scotland, and married Catharine Richards, of Va., by whom he had three sons, Robert, Harry, and James. The eldest was a physician, and Harry and James read law with Mr. Rose, of Va. Harry was a schoolmate of the late President Madison. James was attorney general of Virginia, and one of the most eloquent debaters in the convention which adopted the present constitution of the United States. During the administration of President Washington, he was deputed [sic] to Kentucky as a special envoy to explain to Governor Shelby and the legislature, the measures in progress by the government of the United States to secure the navigation of the Mississippi. In 1776-7, whilst the lead mines became objects of national solicitude and public care for procuring a supply necessary to the revolutionary contest, the subject superintended the working of Chipil's mines. His ability, zeal and fidelity in that employment, commanded the thanks of that committee. In 1779, he was elected by the legislature of Virginia a commissioner to hear and determine the claims to unpatented lands in the district including Abingdon. That duty he performed to public satisfaction. In 1783, he was elected by the legislature of Virginia, one of the judges of the supreme court for the district of Kentucky, and on the third day of November of that year, he entered upon the duties of his commission at Crow's nation, near Danville, in conjunction with the Hon. Caleb Wallace and Samuel M'Dowell. In 1787, he was elected by the legislature of Virginia, attorney general for the district of Kentucky, in the place of Walker Daniel, who fell a victim to the savage foe. In 1785, he entered upon the duties of that office, in which he continued until he was appointed, in 1787, judge of the court of the United States for the Kentucky district, the duties of which he discharged until his death, September, 1816. Upon the erection of Kentucky into an independent state in 1792, he was offered, but declined, the office of chief justice. He was president of the first electoral college for the choice of governor and lieutenant governor under the first constitution. In April, 1790, he was authorized by the secretary of war, (General Knox,) to call out the scouts for the protection of the frontier; and, in 1791, he was associated with Scott, Shelby, Logan and Brown, as a local board of war for the western country, to call out the militia on expeditions against the Indians, in conjunction with the commanding officer of the United States, and to apportion scouts through the exposed parts of the district. In all these responsible capacities the conduct of Judge Innes was without reproach, and raised him, most deservedly high, in the public esteem, and received the repeated thanks of General Washington for the discharge of high trusts. As a judge, he was patient to hear, diligent to investigate and impartial to decide. These qualities were especially requisite in his position as the sold judge, until 1807, of the court of the United States for the district of Kentucky, whose decisions were final, unless reversed by the supreme court of the United States. As a neighbor, as an agriculturist, and as a polished gentleman in all the relations of private and social life he was a model of his day and generation; and although his public career in the west, amidst its earliest difficulties, had always been one of high trust and confidence under all the changes of government, his conduct in reference to the efforts to secure the navigation of the Mississippi, was the subject of envenomed calumny at a subsequent period, when the peculiar condition of affairs in the early transactions in Kentucky was not fully appreciated. The proudest refutation of these misrepresentations, is found, however, in the repeated evidence of the approbation of Washington; and the after intrigues attempted by Powers, as agent of the Spanish governor, but so promptly rejected by Innes and Nicholas, did not impair the public confidence in their devotion to the freedom and happiness of their country, of which a satisfactory proof is afforded in the refusal of Congress in 1808 to institute any measures for the impeachment of Judge Innes. The negotiations proposed by the Spanish agents, and listened to by the early patriots of Kentucky, had reference solely to commercial
arrangements between the people occupying the same great valley. They occurred at a time when the Kentucky pioneers had, by personal exertion and peril, without aid from the mother state, conquered the forest and the roaming savage; when neither Virginia nor the general government afforded them adequate protection, nor permitted them to exert their strength; and, yet, no serious design was ever entertained in Kentucky of separating from the Union or accepting the protection of Spain. The favorable progress of the subsequent negotiations entered into by the general government, rendering private efforts to secure the navigation of the Mississippi unnecessary, a corresponding reply by Innes and Nicholas was sent to Powers, and particularly rejecting the tempting monied offers made by that agent. In the language of Judge Hall, one of the most profound and polished writers of the west: "The motives of these early patriots stand
unimpeached. They were actuated only by a zeal for the public good, and their names will hereafter stand recorded in history among those which Kentucky will be proud to honor. She has reared many illustrious patriots, but none who have served her more faithfully throuh a period of extraordinary embarrassment and peril, than Brown, Innes, and Nicholas. Judge Innes married, in early life, a daughter of Colonel Calloway, of Bedford county, Virginia, by whom he had four daughters, two of whom survive. Shortly after his removal to Kentucky, (having lost his first wife), he intermarried with Mrs. Shields, by whom he had one child, the present Mrs. Crittenden, wife of the Hon. John J. Crittenden. The venerable relict of Judge Innes survives, at the age of eighty-seven – a noble specimen of the old school, in dignified courtesy and varied intelligence.

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