Autobiography of Judge Nicholas Sandifer
Copied from Volume 60, 1962, KENTUCKY REGISTER, found on pages 167 through 182
I, NICHOLAS SANDIFER, was born the 18th of March, 1818, within four miles of Danville, Kentucky, near the road leading from Danville to Harrodsburg, at that time in the County of Mercer, Harrodsburg being the county seat. In 1840 by an act of the Legislature, Boyle County was made, Danville being the county seat. My ancestors were from South Carolina and Virginia.
My grandfather Sandifer came to Kentucky at an early day and settled in the vicinity of Danville. He had six sons that I have known: William Sandifer, the oldest, left Kentucky and settled in Alabama, fourteen miles north of Huntsville, where he lived for some years, but afterwards moved to Indiana. Samuel, the second son, also lived in Indiana. Joseph, my father, was the next son. James, was the fourth son. He lived all his life near Danville, marrying Miss Anna Wilson, and reared a large family of girls and one son, William, who also had a large family and lived to a good old age. Robert was the next son; he married and settled in Bedford, Kentucky. He had four children; two girls and two boys. All are dead but a grandson, William, who is superintendent of a railroad running out of Denver, Colorado. Jonathan, the youngest son, married and lived all his life near Danville, with the exception of one year spent in Alabama. He married Miss Dolly Owens, had a large family and died in 1837.
My grandfather on my mother's side was an Englishman by the name of John Brockman. One day while driving some twenty miles from home, he was stopped by a British officer who slipped bounty money into his pocket and pressed him into service, and he was sent to this country as a soldier of the Revolutionary War. In a short time after getting here, he was taken a prisoner of war, and was permitted, by the American officer, who had charge of him, to work for some clothing, provided he reported at stated intervals. Before he was exchanged he became so attached to the cause of the Colonies, and resented so bitterly the treatment he had received from his own country, that he denounced England and joined Washington's army. He fought in many battles, but escaped unhurt. He was near Washington at the siege of Yorktown, and saw Cornwallis when he surrendered his sword to Washington. How long he remained in Virginia after the close of the War I do not know, but after his marriage he came to Kentucky, locating in the central part of the state. They had four children: two boys and two girls. The oldest son, Jack Brockman, located within four miles of Nashville at a place known as Flat Rock. Lucy, the oldest daughter, married Stephen Mullins, and for years they kept a tavern on the road leading from Danville to Harrodsburg. He afterwards located near Paris, Illinois, leaving in Harrodsburg one son, James, who was a merchant and stock dealer there. He married and had a large family, dying about forty years ago. My mother, the youngest daughter, whose name was Sally, and my father Joseph Sandifer, were married in 1814, and settled on a farm near Danville owned by John Rochester. My father was in limited circumstances and worked by the day for the support of his family. He lived at this place about three years, and then moved to a house on the farm of Col. Joseph McDowell, on the Shakertown pike. After living here some three or four years, we moved on the farm of Lawson Moore, about one mile north of Danville. Not very far from us was a country school taught by a man named William Dodd. My father entered my older brother, and I, though young, was not willing to be left at home, and I got an old spelling book and went with him. The first day I learned my letters. I had been in school two months and thirteen days when my brother was taken sick and died, so this stopped me from school. I had in this time learned to read a little and continued my reading at home and learned rapidly for one of my age.
In the year 1826, my father moved his family to my uncle Jack Brockman's in Tennessee, near Nashville, remaining there during the fall. Here my father engaged in picking cotton for an old man by the name of Whitesides. I was then in my eighth year, and I also went into the field, and my recollection is that I picked thirty pounds in one day.
My father's oldest brother, William, as before stated, was living in Alabama. He kept a hotel and hauled goods with his team to Nashville. At this time my father's youngest brother, Jonathan, was the teamster for my uncle, William. He having brought a load to Nashville, induced my father to return with him. The family was not satisfied in Alabama, so in the fall of 1827 he moved back to Danville. Not being able to buy a wagon, he packed two horses with beds and bed clothing and a few cooking vessels and we made the journey by camping at night. I remember that we camped one night at the foot of Cumberland Mountain under a beech tree. In the early morning I saw a wild deer come distance from me in the mountain, this being the first deer I had ever seen.
We returned to Danville, and again moved on the farm of Col. Joseph McDowell. Here we lived two years, and cultivated a small crop of corn one year. After the cropping season was over I was sent to school at the old Stony Point Church, immediately on the road to Lexington, two miles from Danville. My teacher was Jacob Goodnight, a cripple, having lost one of his legs. I studied under him about three months. He put me to reading, writing and simple sums in arithmetic. I was now in my tenth year and was put to work on the farm during cropping season.
Up to this time of my life my father was occasionally addicted to strong drink. At one time he got some money on the sale of a cow, which money was badly needed by the family. He took the money, getting in with some of his old associates, and all more or less got drunk, and he got into a fight and was pretty badly used up. He got home late at night, went to bed, but could not sleep. After sober reflection he resolved then and there that liquor should never trouble him again, which promise he ever afterwards kept. He then joined the Baptist Church, and was baptized in Downton's pond by Elder John S. Higgins. He remained in this church for some time, but became dissatisfied, and, with my mother, connected himself with the Methodist Church, where he remained until his death in 1863. My mother died in 1864. They both sleep in a churchyard near Monroe City, Missouri, and with them lie two brothers, a brother-in-law and a sister.
In 1829 we moved again on the farm of John Rochester. In the fall I was sent to school to young Lawson Moore, at the old stone church on the Shakertown Road, near Mock's Mill. How long I was in school here I cannot say, but think it was not over three months, as that was the time these country schools were usually taught.
In 1830 we moved to the farm of Davis brothers. Here my father took charge of the farm of Adam Fisher, four miles from Danville, on Dix River, on the Shakertown Road. Here we lived three years, and my father and myself both worked by the day for Fisher. I now recollect a settlement made with Fisher, in which I had him charged with seventy-seven and one-half days' work, and he had me credited with seventy-eight. I was stout and well grown, and could do a man's work on the farm.
About this time my grandmother Brockman died (she had lived with my mother from my earliest recollection). She was a devoted Christian, a member of the Baptist Church. In her last sickness she was conscious of the approaching end, and made a disposition of her few effects and gave directions as to her burial. Her last words were, "Come, Lord Jesus; come quickly." She was buried in a private cemetery on the farm of John Fontleroy, near Danville. Her funeral was preached by a local preacher of the Methodist Church, by the name of George Myers. He took for his text, Revelations, 14th chapter and 13th verse: "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, form henceforth, yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors and their works do follow them." About this time my grandmother Sandifer died in Indiana. She was most likely living with her son, Samuel. The same preacher was called by my father to preach her funeral, and his text was 9th chapter of Hebrews and 27th verse: "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment."
Fisher, in the fall of 1833, sold his farm to a man by the name of Talbot, of Garrard County, and moved his family to Missouri. My father then moved to Mock's Mill, on a farm adjoining Fisher's. It was a water mill, and the stream would furnish water for six or eight months in the year, sufficient for neighborhood grinding and for Mock's distillery. After the water gave out, he worked for Mock by the day. It was in October 1833 that the stars fell, and many were alarmed, thinking the day of judgment had come. I had gotten up early to make a fire, and stepping to the door to get some wood, I was spellbound by the wonderful sight. At this time my father hired me out for six months, at six dollars per month, to work for a man by the name of Robert Anderson. Here I did a man's work and gained a reputation as a faithful worker.
In 1835 my father thought he could better his condition by engaging with a man by the name of Stephens, who was making a turnpike near Stanford. My father had charge of a certain section, but he and Stephens did not agree, so he left and moved up to Harry Owsley, who had a section near the Walnut Flat. We quarried and broke rock by the rod for Owsley for two years.
During this time I was taken sick with pneumonia. My condition was serious from the first, and my physician, Dr. Pendleton, visited me fourteen days in succession before the change came. My father had even selected a place to bury me, but the Lord was good to me and restored my health. For the past fifty years I have not been in bed as much as three days at a time, excepting in the past two years, when I suffered with malaria.
After leaving Owsley, we worked for James Crow, on the road five miles from Danville. Here we quarried and broke rock as before, living there two years. After completing our contract with Crow, we moved on the farm of an old man Easton, where we lived one year. Here I went to school for two months, to a teacher by the name of Dawson.
During this year, in the month of August the Reverend John Newland Maffit came to Danville and commenced a meeting at the Methodist Church. He had not been long preaching before he had the citizens of the town and country wondrously stirred. I at that time, was strictly moral, though not a member of the church. I went to hear Maffit, and became interested in his sermons. I heard him preach on the general judgment, taking his text from the 10th chapter of Revelations, 5th and 6th verses: "And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth, lifted up his hand to heaven, and sware by Him who liveth forever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer." This discourse produced great excitement. Many went to the altar for prayer, and the members of the church were greatly revived. He had preached about two weeks and was expecting to leave for new fields of labor when a report was circulated by some enemy of the meeting, that he had kissed a young lady's hand while leading her to the altar for prayer. On hearing this report, he at once decided to remain for another week and continue his meetings. It was then reported that he would be horsewhipped on going to or returning from the church at night. There was at this time a reckless dare-devil of a man by the name of Richardson, who, with one of his associates, followed in the wake of Maffit when he left the church at night, saying they would protect him if assaulted. Their presence was not known to Maffit. He certainly was the most gifted pulpit orator I have ever know. At this meeting, on the 14th day of August 1838, I attached myself to the church, and it is now a consolation for me to know that from the time I gave my hand to the church and my heart to God, the great object of my life has been to get to heaven when done with the things of earth. I had been a member of the church about three months when a class was organized at Shelby City, and I was appointed its leader. With great reluctance I accepted as I felt my incompetency as a leader.
My father, in 1839, moved to Hall's Gap, in Lincoln County. I remained in the vicinity of Danville, and engaged that fall in what is known in shoemaker phrases as "whipping the cat," that is, I took my tools and last and went to the farmer's house and made for his family and negroes their winter shoes. After I was through I went to a man, James Mitchell, who was running a country shop on the road to Perryville, five miles from Danville. Near the shoe shop was a school, being taught by a man by the name of Crittenden. I arranged with Mitchell to give me journey work and with Crittenden for instruction. So I attended school in the morning and worked at the shoe bench afternoons and evenings, and in this way earned enough to pay for my board and tuition. While here I had a letter from my father, saying they were building a schoolhouse and had selected me for the teacher. I had a three-months' session and found it necessary to study in order to keep in advance of some of my pupils; so this three months' term was as profitable to me as to my pupils. At the close of my school I collected very little that was due me, as the patrons were very poor. Another school was made up for me, but I declined to take charge of it. I went back to Danville and worked on the shoe bench with Henry Stout during the year 1840 .
In 1841 Stout proposed a partnership with me, and I accepted. We made a fair start, but the year 1841 was known as a hard year for all kinds of trade. Congress that year passed the Bankruptcy Act, and this paralyzed trade. In July we dissolved partnership and my share of the profits was sixty dollars in accounts, from which I realized only five or six dollars.
There were two shoe shops in Danville, besides Stout's, W. F. Marvin's and F. P. Withcher's. In 1843 Witcher proposed a partnership with me, and consulting with my friend, Duncan F. Robinson, I accepted his proposition. We agreed that we would not disappoint a customer in work promised during the year. In order to do this we made the most of our new work ourselves, beginning work at six in the morning and keeping it up until 11 o'clock at night. I now recollect that I was to make a pair of fine shoes for a man to be ready the next evening. Reverend John G. Bruce, who at that time was the Methodist minister in Danville, came to me and said he had an engagement to preach the next day at the Stone Schoolhouse, near Mock's Mill, and insisted that I go with him. He would take no excuse, so in order to comply with his request, I worked all night and the shoes were ready for the customer at the stated time. During this time I was on the shoe bench fourteen hours of each day. For three months or more I did not go across the street, only on Sunday, when I went to church. My health was failing and at the suggestion of a physician I took more exercise. Our business was limited, but the close of the year showed a net profit of $600.00. In 1844 we branched our business, and on the first of May I commenced business in Lancaster, Kentucky. We continued our partnership through the year 1845, made some money, and our credit was good for all we wished to buy. We dissolved partnership in January, 1846.
When I first went to Lancaster, I leaned that Henry M. Green, of Lincoln County, near Crab Orchard, had a servant who had worked at the shoe bench, so I went to see Mr. Green and remained over night. At the supper table I was introduced to his two daughters, Mary Jane and Eliza Abigail. On the 14th of August 1845, Mary Jane Green and I were married. We boarded for a while with a widow by the name of Cook, but finding that we could get reasonable board at the hotel, we went there. It was kept by James McKee, the father of the distinguished divine of Danville. I became very fond of the old gentleman. He was a firm believer in the doctrine of election and for ordination as taught by the Confession of Faith.
After my marriage I bought property and moved into it January 1, 1846, at which time I took as my partner, Travis Dodd, a tanner by trade. He proposed that we deal altogether in eastern-made boots and shoes, to which I agreed. We remained in business for four years, having a good trade and making some money. We dissolved our partnership the first of January, 1850.
The new constitution of Kentucky was adopted in 1851, and I was nominated for magistrate of the town district. There were four candidates for the office in this district. Two were elected and I was one of them. I held the office for four years, but failed to get the nomination for the second term, which was given, as a compliment, to Major Lewis Landram. I was appointed by Judge Bridges as one of the examiners of Garrard County, to take depositions, and this office I held until I left Lancaster in 1870. In the year 1858 I was nominated for County Judge, and was elected.
In 1861 the Government declared war against the seceding Southern States, and Camp Dick Robinson was established and General Nelson put in command. This was a recruiting station for the Federal Government, and was located seven miles from Lancaster on the road to Lexington. Lancaster then became a thoroughfare for both armies, the Confederates making frequent raids for the purpose of foraging. This demoralizing and caused a great deal of trouble among our own citizens, who had taken different sides of the question. Some of the leaders on the Federal side acted as if the Government was resting on their shoulders, but they were not loyal enough to shoulder their guns and fight for it. I was then forty-three years old, with a large family to care for, so I remained neutral, not that I loved my country less, but my wife and children more. I had much trouble in holding court each day.
In the spring of 1862 the Federals left Camp Dick Robinson and went through the mountains to Tennessee. Then Camp Nelson was established on the Jessamine side near Kentucky bridge crossing Dix River. Earthworks were thrown up for a protection to the camp. It is now a national cemetery. Here they recruited both black and white. The negroes soon learned that if they could get to the camp, they would be sworn in as soldiers of the Government. This induced a great many of them to run off and go to camp.
I, by that time, had a stout young boy, by the name of Jeff, given to my wife by her father. My neighbor, John S. Gill, came to me and offered me $1,500.00 in gold for him, said he wanted Jeff as foreman on his farm. I told him Jeff was not for sale unless he wished to be sold. He saw Jeff, who told him he did not wish to leave his present master. He came to me and said he did not want to be sold to Mr. Gill. I told him to make himself easy, as I should not sell him to anyone. In the year 1862 my office as County Judge expired, and I was again nominated by the Democrats for the office, and was elected without opposition.
By this time the Negroes had become restless, and many had gone to Camp Nelson to get their freedom. I learned that Jeff had an idea of going, and I talked to him in regard to it, and explained to him the hardships of a soldier's life, and told him I thought they would be free by the time the war was over, and that it would be to his interest to remain at home. I told him that if, in the future, he made up his mind to leave, that I did not wish him to run off, but to come to me and I would have the Provost Marshal give him a pass to the camp. Some three or four months after this there was another stampede of negroes to the camp. Then Jeff came to me and said he would like to go. I said it was all right, and that I wanted him to go as a gentleman; so I took him to the Provost Marshall's Office and secured the pass for him. I gave it to Jeff with the advice that after joining the army he no longer belonged to me, but to his country, and that I wanted him to be faithful in every sphere of life in which he might serve, to be obedient to his superior officers, and in every way show himself worthy of their confidence and respect. While I was talking the tears rolled down his cheeks, and as he turned away, I heard him say, "The best master that ever lived."
We had a farmer and trader living near our town, by the name of Clayton Anderson, and in 1862 he had a lot of mules in Tennessee for sale. He was anxious to dispose of them, and applied to the commanding officer for a permit to go through the Federal lines. On his return home, R. D. Lusk, a lawyer of Lancaster, who claimed to be attorney for the Government, issued a warrant for Anderson's arrest, claiming that he was a rebel against the Federal Government. At the same time he had one issued against J. T. McQuerry. They were both arrested and placed under guard.
Anderson was brought before me for trial. The Kentucky law required that the evidence be committed to writing in courts of examination, and I, being one of the County Examiners, did the writing myself. We were two days in trying the case, getting through with the evidence the second day. In the afternoon Lusk began his speech, and continued until adjournment. After supper court was resumed and Lusk continued his speech, closing about ten o'clock, when the case was submitted to the jury. I gave a brief review of the evidence, and decided there was nothing criminal in the conduct of Anderson, and that there was no reason why I should hold him in bond, and as a court of inquiry, I felt bound to dismiss the prosecution.
When I adjourned court, Judge Samuel Lusk, a brother of R. D. Lusk, spoke to Anderson, calling him a rebel and saying he had better leave town at once. This alarmed Anderson, and he applied to me for a guard to take him home. That night Anderson left his family and joined the Southern Army, remaining in service until the close of the war.
On the Monday following I was to try the case of McQuerry, and as I went to the courthouse, W. J. Landram, who was Colonel of the 19th Kentucky Cavalry, called me and said, "You tried Clayton Anderson last week, and much has been said about your decision, and I want to warn you in this case of McQuerry's." I inferred that he meant that I might expect to be mobbed. I replied, "Colonel Landram, if the evidence produced will justify, I will hold McQuerry in bonds; If not, I will turn him loose at the risk of my life. Now, Sir, I want you to say to those men who have made these threats, that I set them at defiance; and furthermore, when I can't have the moral courage to try a case and decide by law and the evidence as it presents itself, then I will resign my office and let someone else be appointed." Landram was friend of mine, and I asked him to take down the evidence. He at first declined. I then appealed to him, stating the circumstances under which I was placed; that if I did the writing my enemies in order to justify themselves in making trouble in case I released McQuerry, would say that I had not reported correctly. He then consented, and we commenced the trial. Lusk spoke at length, as before, the house being crowded with ladies and gentlemen. In his speech Lusk made threats that if officers would not do their duty, the Government would appoint men who would. When he had concluded his speech, I reviewed the evidence and decided that there was nothing proven that would hold McQuerry in bonds, that no overt act of his showed him to be a rebel against the Government. I then dismissed the case and told McQuerry that he was at liberty. There was a stir in the courtroom that I confess somewhat alarmed me, but I soon found that the audience was applauding my decision. I learned from McQuerry afterwards, that it was arranged by him and his friends that they would kill Lusk and some others should the case go against him but they did not intend to harm me. McQuerry, at the time of his trial, had two pistols in his boot legs, and some of the women of his family were also armed.
On the next day I met Lusk and spoke to him as usual, but he made no reply, only gave a scornful look. We did not speak then until the fall of 1864. When court opened, at the bar I treated him with the same consideration that I did any other member of the court. In the fall of 1864, as stated above, I was standing in the door of my office when I saw Lusk coming toward me. He came up and said that during this war he had said many things about me that were unkind and untrue, and that he now wanted me to forgive him. I held out my hand and said, "Let us be good friends from now on," and we were as long as he lived.
In the fall of 1862, a portion of the Confederate Army, under General Pegram, invaded Kentucky. In coming through the mountains they were waylaid and shot at by Herbert King and three men he had with him. King was a turbulent man, living at Crab Orchard, Kentucky. In the fall of 1861 he made up a company and had them mustered into the Federal service at Camp Dick Robinson. He remained in the service some six or eight months, when he resigned his commission and came home. Some time about the last of August, Scott's cavalry came through Lancaster on a raid. They had caught King and his comrades and had them under guard. Scott's men came into my store before I knew they were near. I had, at that time, a large stock of goods on hand. I was in the habit of hiding things when I knew the raiders were coming, but this time they were too quick for me, so they took what they wanted, completely cleaning out the store, leaving me some $1,200 in Confederate script and bills on broken banks.
They passed on to Lexington, and there met General Buckner, who with the force under him, had come though the Big Hill in Madison County. The Federals that were in Richmond, Kentucky went out to give him battle. The Confederates were too strong for them, and drove them back. They skirmished for several miles before reaching Richmond, then the Federals made a stand and gave battle, but were soon repulsed, and left toward Lexington. Quite a number were killed on both sides, but more of the Federals. The Confederates followed on toward Louisville. General Bragg, with his army, came through Bowling Green, the arrangement being for Bragg, Pegram and Buckner to meet, join forces and march to Louisville, but they learned that General Buell, with a large army was between them and Louisville, on his way to meet them.
This news made the Confederates turn their course toward Danville. Buell and his army were closely followed, and in Perryville they had a severe battle many killed on both sides. The result of the battle of Perryville is known in history, the date being the 8th of October, 1862.
On the 14th the advance line of Confederates came through Lancaster and on the 15th General John Morgan, with his cavalry, came into town. He covered the rear of the army, and I saw them turn into my pasture, the stable being adjoining, and I knew they would be looking for horse feed. I had but a few bushels of oats and a small quantity of corn left, so I started toward the stable and met a man coming out with a quantity of oats in his arms. I spoke to him, saying that I had very little feed for my horse and cow, but there was corn in shocks adjoining the pasture they were in, and it would be a great favor to me if they would use that instead. He stood and looked at me for a moment and then said that he would not take my feed. By this time there were several men coming after oats, but he told them they should not touch my feed, so they left. The men soon found the way to my house and asked for something to eat. My wife and the cook commenced baking thin hoecakes of cornbread and frying meat for them, and continued it until three o'clock in the afternoon.
About that time the Federals came up and planted a battery about a mile off, and opened fire on the Confederates. A bomb came whizzing through the air, and in a few minutes Morgan's men were on their horses in line for action. They had one large cannon that they fired at the Federals until night. Reports of small arms, as well as cannon, were heard on all sides. My wife became alarmed and had her rockaway mare hitched up, and taking her own and the neighbors' children, drove about three miles in the country, to the home of an old lady by the name of Burnside, who lived on the Lexington Pike. My wife was so afraid of losing her mare that she took her behind the house and sat in the window and held her by the bridle all night.
My oldest son, Henry, and I remained at home to care for the house, but were not disturbed, the Confederates all leaving during the night. The next morning the Federals came into town and pursued them to the Cumberland Mountains. As the Confederates passed out at Cumberland River, they executed King and the man taken with him. The news of their death came to Lancaster about the first of November. I was at that time in Louisville. I had heard that Piatt & Allen shoe merchants, would take Confederate money, at large discount, for boots and shoes. They took some of what I had, and it was a large discount.
As I went to Louisville, I met General Smith Frye, and he told me he was on his way to Tennessee. I asked him to take some of my Confederate money with him and get what he could for it. Some years afterward I was notified that General Frye had placed in the Danville Bank, to my credit, $180.00 the amount he had gotten for the $500.00 I had given him. This was like finding that much, and I was under many obligations to General Frye.
But, to continue the story, after I had finished my purchases, I went to the Louisville Hotel, and I met there two friends from Lancaster, Judge E. Brown, and Dr. L. P. Hudson, who had left home for fear of being killed by Samuel Lusk. They said Lusk had come to my store and run off two of my men--my foreman, by the name of Enox, and a workman by the name of Hopps. They told of several others they had driven off, and they said he had threatened me if I came back, that I was nothing but a rebel and could not live there any longer. They said he acted and talked like a crazy man, and that I would be in great danger if I went home again. I replied that Lancaster was my home, and my wife and children were there and I would go to them at the risk of my life.
So the next morning I boarded the train for Lexington, and stopped at the Southern Hotel. There I met my foreman, Enox, and Dr. Jennings Price. The latter was on his way to Canada. They told me how Lusk was acting, and that I would certainly be killed if I returned to Lancaster. I told them I did not consider Lusk a dangerous man, and that I was going to my family. So, the next morning I took the stage coach running from Lexington to Lancaster. When we were within half mile of Lancaster, I called to the driver and told him that I wanted a seat by his side on the top of the coach. He stopped until I was seated, and then drove on to my sore. I wanted all to see that I was home again.
My friend, Joshua Burdette, a lawyer, came to me and said that I had been threatened, and he thought that I would have trouble, "Bit," he said, "your friends have held a consultation and are determined to stand by you, and they want you to stand for your rights." I went home and found my wife very much excited. I told her to have no fears, that Lusk was not going to interrupt me, and he did not.
I was now serving my second term as judge, and I notified my friends that I did not want the office again. They gave me the nomination anyway. When notified, I told them that I would very much prefer not to make the race that I would not electioneer for it, and further, that Captain Willis, an uncle of ex-Governor Bradley, and my opponent, was a man well qualified for the office. They insisted that I make the race, and the following Monday Squire Leavel, an old friend, came to my office and told me that Captain Willis had been to see him and showed him a paper containing a list of names, and claimed to know how every man in the county was going to vote, and that he had beaten me by 175 votes. Leavel said he was very sorry for it. I studied a few moments and said that he need not fear, that I would beat Willis. I had been judge of the county for eight years, and during that time I had become acquainted with every prominent man in it, and I knew the sentiments of the leading men of the county and their influence. I then took a piece of chalk, setting down on the wall what I thought the vote would be. On Monday the election came off, and in the evening, about nine o'clock, Jesse Yantis, the sheriff, got up and cried the polls. I had beaten Willis by 206, with(in) six votes of the calculation I had made.
After the Emancipation Proclamation, I had, as judge, to care for some negroes who were no longer able to work, and had been driven from their homes by their former masters. I gave them relief as best I could. The war was now over, and the results were upon us, and it required time to adjust ourselves to the new conditions.
I had a large family to care for and educate, and thinking I could make some money, I bought stock in the Southern Pacific Railroad, running from Shreveport, Louisiana to Marshall, Texas, and it was chartered to be continued to El Paso, Texas. I lost all I put into this investment. I also lost money in oil wells. We bought about 2,000 acres of mountain land, bought machinery and hired men to bore for oil, but the oil failed to come and I lost in this investment. Not being discouraged, I again invested in western lands and never realized anything from this.
My store had been broken into several times, and my goods taken by the soldiers, and men that had been responsible and prompt before the war became so demoralized that they would not pay their debts. In this way I lost about three thousand dollars. In this condition I saw that my debts were accumulating, so, after a careful estimate, I saw that I could pay all my debts with the exception of five hundred dollars. I was still holding office, but knew that I could not support my family in this way; so, in 1868, I went to Cincinnati and made arrangements to travel for John H. Deters, who was then a shoe manufacturer. Soon afterwards Deters made an assignment, and I began to travel for the firm of Hearne, Lee & Pinchard. I was with this firm for seven years when Hearne returned, and I continued with Lee & Pinckard until they dissolved partnership. I afterward traveled for Alter & Pinchard and W. F. Thorne. I was still holding the office of County Judge of Garrard County, but managed to be at home on County Court days.
About this time my son Henry bought a bluegrass farm near Danville, and wrote that he wanted me to come and live on it. I did so, and the first of January, 1870, I resigned my office as County Judge. On that day, Charlie Spillman, a leading Republican, came to me and said his party had authorized him to say that they did not wish me to resign, and, in the future, if my Democratic friends would nominate me, the Republican party would never run anyone against me. I replied that I regarded that as the highest compliment I ever had, coming, as it did, from a man of influence and leader in the Republican party. On resigning my office, the County Court gave me a complimentary letter as to my fidelity and business capacity, which was entered on the records of the County Court.
After farming for eleven years, we broke up and moved to Covington, Kentucky, remaining there for two years. We then went to Russellville to live with my son-in-law, Professor H. K. Taylor, who was then President of Logan Female College. We were with him for four years, and when he moved to Louisville and opened a Training School for Boys, we continued to live with him.
I afterwards built a home in Danville, Kentucky where we lived until the death of my wife, the 10th of April, 1896. Since that time I have lived with my children. With the exception of two years spent with my son, George, in Dawson, Kentucky, I have lived with my daughter, the wife of Professor H. K. Taylor, at Beechmont, Kentucky. I expect to remain with them the rest of my life.
My oldest son, Henry Green, was born on the 2nd of September, 1846. He married Miss Ida Shreve, of Louisville, Kentucky. Joseph Pierce, the second son, was born on the 22nd of November, 1848. He married Miss Mary Ellis Smith, of Lancaster, Kentucky. The third, a daughter, Mary Eliza, was born on the 9th of January, 1851. She married James W. Barbee, of Danville, Kentucky, later of Denver, Colorado. Bettie Bruce was born on the 19th of January, 1853. She married Marshall A. Hill, of Covington, Kentucky. John Proctor was born on the 6th of March, 1855. He married Miss Sue Moore, of Danville, Kentucky. He died in Lancaster, Kentucky on the 25th of July, 1890. William Mullins was born the 18th of March, 1857. He married Mrs. McKinney, of Grand View, Texas. Charlie Miller was born on the 29th day of June, 1859. He married Miss Minnie Hambrick, of Georgetown, Kentucky. Sallie Brinkley was born on the 9th of July, 1861. She married Professor H. K. Taylor, then teaching in the Kentucky Wesleyan College in Millersburg. Cora Lee was born on the 9th of March, 1864. She married Marmaduke B. Bowden. George Clifton was born on the 7th of March, 1866. He married Miss Belle Foard, of Earlington, Kentucky, and afterwards married Miss Jane E. Massie, of Dawson, Kentucky. Hattie May was born on the 19th of June, 1869. She married Lewis Cass Cabbert, of Dearborn, Missouri.
From the foregoing it will be seen that I have ten living children, and here let me say that no man ever had a more faithful, loving family of children, to an old, worn-out father, than mine have been to me. It is a pleasure to them to supply all my wants. According to nature, I can not expect to be with them much longer, for I am a very old man. When my time shall come, I shall have nothing of this world's goods to leave them; but I want to leave them a good name and reputation that they may be proud of. God bless all my children - I shall leave them in His hands. NICHOLAS SANDIFER
Our father entered into his reward on the 24th of February, 1905. He and our mother sleep side by side in the beautiful cemetery in Danville, Kentucky. He died as he had lived - with unfaltering trust and abiding love. The Bible was his constant study and delight, and he was so familiar with it that, if called upon for a test of Scripture, he could, usually, quote it accurately and tell where it could be found. In the fly leaf of his well-worn Bible is found this record, bearing date of July 26, 1904: "In the past nine years I have read the Old Testament two hundred and twenty-two times through." Truly, he has left us a rich heritage, and the memory of his consecrated life will always be as a sweet benediction to us.
1910 HIS CHILDREN
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