George M. Bibb

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Hon. George M. Bibb.  Although but a few years a resident of Daviess County, yet the prominence of Judge Bibb entitles him to a special notice in this chapter. He was born in Prince Edward County, Va., Oct. 30, 1776, and was the son of Richard Bibb, an Episcopal clergyman of great learning. His earliest recollections were of the struggle for American Independence, which began at his birth. He was well educated, a graduate of Hampton Sydney and also of William and Mary Colleges, and in his latter days was the oldest surviving graduate of each. Studying his profession with that distinguished lawyer, Judge Venable, he practiced in Virginia a short time, and removed to Lexington, Ky., in 1798, and was soon numbered among the ablest and soundest in a State already prominent for great lawyers. Jan. 31, 1808, he was appointed one of the Judges of the Court of Appeals by Governor Greenup; and by Judge Scott, its Chief Justice, May 30, 1809, but resigned in March, 1810; and again, by Governor Desha, was appointed Chief Justice the second time Jan. 5, 1827, but resigned Dec. 23, 1828.

Judge Bibb was twice elected to the U.S. Senate – first in 1811, but resigned in 1814, and second in 1829, serving the full term of six years. During the war of 1812, he, in the Senate, and William Lowndes and John C. Calhoun, of South Carolina, and Henry Clay, in the U.S. House of Representatives, formed what was called the “War Mess” of the Madison administration – from having supported the war and the President with such great talent, vigor and zeal. He settled in Frankfort in 1816. From 1835 to 1844 Judge Bibb held the important position of Chancellor of the Louisville Chancery Court, but resigned to become Secretary of the Treasury in the cabinet of his old colleague in the U.S. Senate, President Tyler, holding it to the close of his Presidential term. Thenceforward, until his death, April 14, 1859, he practiced law in the courts of the District of Commons, most of the time in the position of chief clerk in the department of the U.S. Attorney General, but really doing the duties now required of the Assistant Attorney General, an office established for the very labors performed by him.

Judge Bibb was a profound scholar, and a great mathematician, as well as a most eminent jurist. He had an iron frame and an ardent temperament; was capable of great endurance and labor, and liable to great bursts of indignation when roused. He married a daughter of General Charles Scott, who bore him twelve children. In 1832 he married again in Washington City, his second wife bearing him five children. His brother, John B. Bibb, was a member of the Kentucky Legislature, and in the State Senate 1830-’34. Judge Bibb died April 14, 1859, aged eighty-three years.

Source: History of Daviess County, Kentucky. Chicago: Interstate Publishing Co., 1883. Print.