(p.191) Appendix: A The George Keats Circle of Friends and Acquaintances
(p.191) Appendix: A The George Keats Circle of Friends and Acquaintances
George Keats's character developed in keeping with his times and his community, as well as his friends and acquaintances. George was intimate with men who were U.S. senators, cabinet members, judges, state legislators, editors, educators, doctors, clergy, and a host of businessmen. In many respects, George's circle of acquaintances was more distinguished than that of his brother John, many of whose friends ended their lives in oblivion.
The following sketches of those who influenced George's life draw on the earlier compilations by Harry Buxton Forman and Hyder Edward Rollins of those individuals who impacted John Keats. New information has been assembled for Richard Abbey and the Wylies, and the other sketches have been rewritten to be more George-specific. The Kentucky sketches are fresh, although certain individuals, such as James Guthrie and James Speed, are well known.
Richard Abbey Keats scholars have parodied Richard Abbey as, in Fanny Keats's words, a “consummate villain,” without learning much about the man. Abbey was born in 1765 in the Vale of York, Yorkshire,1 the county to the east of Lancashire, where the Keats children's grandmother, Alice Whalley Jennings, was born in Colne. He appears to have arrived in London at age twenty-one with significant funds. Abbey lived in the parish of St. Benet Sherehog in the Poultry. He immediately established a tea brokerage called Abbey, Cock and Gullet in Pancras Lane and bought a membership in the Patternmakers, a city company, as well as his Freedom of the City. The firm's named changed several times and was often referred to as Abbey, Cock (or sometimes Cocks, suggesting a second Cock partner). (p.192) Abbey parlayed the tea brokerage into an importing house, known by the same name.
On 5 February 1786 he married Eleanor Jones, an illiterate from St. Stephens, Walbrook. They lived onsite at the business, around the corner from the church of St. Mary-le-Bow, and also set up a comfortable country house called Pindars on Blackhorse Road near Marsh Street in Walthamstow. Upon the death of her husband, Alice Jennings asked her friend Abbey to be a guardian for her Keats grandchildren. He served in this capacity from mid-1810 until Fanny Keats came of age in June 1824.
George Keats, having worked for Abbey from 1811 to 1817, used him as his agent in London until about 1825, when problems with Fanny's accounts disillusioned the siblings. Abbey's business partnership with John Cock and William Johnson prospered until setbacks occurred sometime prior to 1824.2 Johnson withdrew from the firm on 15 September 1821. The remaining entity of Abbey Cock and Company dissolved on 25 September 1827.3
In April 1827 Abbey dined with John Keats's publisher, John Taylor. The two men talked about the Keats family, and the interview was recorded by Taylor as the so-called Abbey Memoir, which remains the most detailed description of the Keatses.
After settling up with Fanny's lawyer, James Rice Jr., by mortgaging his business and the Walthamstow house, Abbey moved back to London in 1831. He was variously engaged as a coffee dealer in Size Lane and a wholesale tea dealer at 5 Barge Yard and, in early 1837, at 22 Budge Row.4 Business reverses followed him to his death. Abbey was buried 27 January 1837 at St. John of Jerusalem in South Hackney; his last known address was Mare Street.5 The Patternmakers Company advertised on 17 March 1837 to fill a vacancy in the Court of Assistants caused by his death. He left no will, perhaps indicating that his assets had been dissipated.6 No record survives with regard to his wife or adopted daughter.
Frances “Fanny” Brawne Fanny Brawne, betrothed to John Keats from mid-1819 until his death in February 1821, was involved with the poet during his most prolific writing period, notably resulting in “The Eve of St. Agnes” and “Lamia.” She was viewed with suspicion by several of the poet's group, including Charles Brown, John Hamilton Reynolds, and Charles Dilke. They were variously concerned that she was a distraction to his writing, that she lacked intellectuality, or perhaps that her mother was interested in fashion, a métier that Fanny was pursuing as well. History proved (p.193) them wrong, as her chain of correspondence with Fanny Keats revealed a sensitive and loving young woman whose interests were absolutely linked to the poet's.
Born 9 August 1800 in Hampstead, she was ten when her father died of consumption. Six years later an uncle, John Ricketts, died, leaving the Brawnes a livable income. Fanny learned French and German as a child and became a serious student of fine embroidery and historical dress. Living in Hampstead, the Brawnes subleased Brown's portion of Wentworth Place in the summer of 1818, until Brown returned from Scotland; they later moved to Dilke's half of the house in April 1819. In November 1818 the Dilkes introduced Fanny to John Keats.
Tom Keats was also living, and dying, in Hampstead, boarding in nearby Well Walk with the family of the postmaster, Bentley. Tom's demise in December 1818 greatly depressed John, but Fanny's cheerful demeanor pulled him through. He first mentioned her in a letter to George and Georgiana in which he described Fanny as “beautiful, elegant, graceful, silly, fashionable and strange.”7
After spending Christmas Day 1818 together, Fanny wrote, “It was the happiest day I had ever then spent.” Her mother was amenable to the relationship but somewhat skeptical, given John's lack of prospects. The parties kept their engagement, perhaps occurring in mid-1819, under wraps.8
Keats composed “Bright Star” on the Isle of Wight during the summer of 1819, likely with Fanny in mind: “Bright Star! Would I were stedfast as thou art.”9
When Keats departed for Rome in September 1820, he believed he would never see her again. According to Joseph Severn, until his death, Keats often held in his hand a polished white cornelian that Fanny had given him.10 Upon receiving word of his death, Fanny cut her hair, donned black clothing, and grieved for six years. The Brawnes hosted Fanny Keats when she left the Abbeys in 1824. The Brawnes suffered more sadness when Fanny's brother Samuel died of consumption in 1828, followed by the gruesome death of her mother in 1829 when her dress caught fire.
Fanny Brawne moved to Boulogne, France, in 1833, where she met and married Louis Lindo. They later lived in Heidelberg, Germany, and ultimately returned to London in 1859, changing their name to Lindon (he was a Sephardic Jew). She virtually never referred to Keats. Shortly before her death, she entrusted all the remains of the romance, including Keats's letters, to her children. She died 4 December 1865 and was buried in Brompton Cemetery.11
(p.194) Fanny's son, Herbert Lindon, published Letters of John Keats to Fanny Brawne, edited by Harry Buxton Forman, in 1878, after the 1872 death of his father. The letters set off a firestorm of criticism at the time, yet from a historical perspective, they added an important dimension to understanding the poet.
Another volume, Fred Edgcumbe's Letters of Fanny Brawne to Fanny Keats, appeared in 1934. Fanny Brawne's reputation was considerably enhanced by these publications, as well as by Joanna Richardson's 1952 biography. She emerged as a thoughtful and supportive woman whose time with John was a great benefit to him.12
Charles (Armitage) Brown Charles Brown was born 14 April 1787 in Lambeth, south London, where he was one of six sons. At age fourteen he was a clerk in a merchant's office, and at eighteen he joined a Petersburg, Russia, merchant house that was partly owned by his London-based brother John. After taking on a large inventory of pigs’ bristles, used in combs in Russia, the firm was swamped by the English innovation of split whalebone combs. Another brother, James, an India merchant, reestablished Charles in London, and upon his death, “left him the competence (about £3,333) which allowed him to lead a life of literary leisure afterwards.”13
Brown's comic opera Narensky or the Road to Yaroslaff was produced in Drury Lane in early 1814, earning him £300 and a silver ticket, good for life, which Keats occasionally borrowed. After 1816, Brown and schoolmate Charles W. Dilke occupied the double house in Hampstead now known as Keats House. Through Dilke, Brown met John Keats in 1817 and invited him to share his smaller side of the house in 1818. The two-year period in which he acted as John's surrogate brother began in July 1818 and included on-and-off shared living arrangements.
Brown absented himself in the late summer of 1819, and beginning in October of that year, he briefly cohabited with a housekeeper, Abigail Donahue, described as “a handsome woman of the peasant class…a bigoted catholic, and Irish.”14 A child, Charles (Carlino) Brown Jr., was born in July 1820. Carlino's memoir of his father rather explicitly states that Brown viewed the coupling simply as the means to conceive a child. Brown leased out his portion of the house for the summer of 1820 when he left on another Scottish tour. He sent Keats over to Kentish Town, near Leigh Hunt. Abigail went elsewhere to deliver Carlino alone. Brown's 7 May 1820 parting from Keats proved to be final, as he had not yet returned from his trip to Scotland when Keats and Severn left for Italy on 17 September (p.195) 1820. In fact, Brown returned the day they sailed, and their ships may have passed in the dark.
By August 1822, Brown had wrested Carlino from Abigail and departed for Italy, where he spent the next twelve years, settling in Florence to fashion himself as a man of letters. During this period, he contributed articles to Leigh Hunt's journal and added a middle name, Armitage, drawn from a maternal relation. Brown and Carlino returned to Plymouth, England, in 1835, where he desultorily discussed writing a Keats biography. He held a public reading of a sketch of Keats on 27 December 1836 but was subsequently unsuccessful in getting it published.
Brown served as guarantor of a friend's loan, just as George Keats had, and lost a portion of his principal when the loan was called. In 1841 he and his son set out for the North Island of New Zealand, hoping to find a less expensive environment. Ironically (given George's career), Brown took with him a steam engine and the necessary parts to establish a sawmill to be run by his son. However, he was disillusioned by the one acre assigned to him on the outskirts of New Plymouth (Taranaki) and immediately protested his fate. Possibly the last words written about Brown were those of John Tyson Wicksteed, resident agent of the New Zealand Company, who recorded, “He was a pestilent madman. I kept on good terms with him, but peace could not have lasted long, he was so abusive.”15 Before he could arrange a return to England, Brown died of apoplexy16 on 5 June 1842, less than six months after George Keats's death in Kentucky.17
Charles Wentworth Dilke Dilke was born 8 December 1789. Employment in the Navy Pay Office until its 1836 closure did not prevent him from having an active life in literary circles. From 1814 to 1816 he published a useful six-volume set of Old English plays.
In 1815–1816 he and Charles Brown, a former schoolmate, occupied a double house in John Street, Hampstead. Little did he know that John Keats would do some of his best writing there and that the house would eventually become known as Keats House, a literary shrine and tourist attraction. William Woods, a local builder, had constructed the house in 1814–1816. It was acquired in 1838 by retired actress Eliza Jane Chester, who significantly changed its appearance to the elegant Regency villa that is often pictured in Keats biographies and is preserved to this day. How-ever, the buildings in which Keats, Brown, the Dilkes, and the Brawnes lived were two rather boxy town houses with a common wall.18
Dilke was friendly with James Henry Leigh Hunt, editor of the Examiner, (p.196) and his circle of friends, which came to include Keats. Dilke's house served as a gathering place for Reynolds, Hunt, Severn, Taylor, the Brawnes, and other acquaintances.
In 1808 Dilke married Maria Dover Walker, and she became a charming focal point for family and friends. Being a few years older than the Keatses, Maria was in some respects a stand-in mother or at least like an older sister to the boys. Dilke and Maria later took an interest in Fanny Keats, introducing her to society after she left the Abbeys’ home in Walthamstow. He was helpful in obtaining her inheritance from the trusts that Abbey had mismanaged. Dilke also served well into the 1830s as George Keats's proxy in London on numerous financial and artistic concerns. George wrote, “[Dilke is] the best Friend I have in the world.”19
While continuing with his day job in the Navy Department, Dilke purchased an interest in and became an editor of the Athenaeum in 1829. He took control of the literary weekly in 1830 and remained with it until 1846. He succeeded Charles Dickens in managing the Daily News (1846–1849) and afterward devoted himself to writing books and articles on literature.
Maria Dilke died in 1850. Their son, Charles, became a Whig politician and was granted a baronetcy for his support of the Great Exhibition. When Sir Charles's wife died, the elder Dilke moved in with his son and continued writing. He died 10 August 1864.20
William Haslam Haslam may have been born in 1795, the same year as John Keats. Brown believed that Haslam had attended Clarke's School with the Keats boys. He was a solicitor and later succeeded his father as a wholesale grocer with Frampton and Sons. He endeared himself to John Keats by looking after the sickly Tom during the poet's Scottish walking tour. His solicitude continued until Keats left for Rome, including various correspondence duties for the poet, such as writing to George to inform him of Tom's death.
He witnessed the copyright assignment of Endymion, which produced £100 for the poet's last trip, and he helped gather additional funds for Rome. Haslam persuaded Severn, who called him his “oak friend,” to accompany Keats to Rome.
George and Haslam's good friendship lasted through January 1820, after which Haslam turned into a fierce critic, accusing George of financial improprieties against John.
Haslam had married in about 1820, but his wife, Mary, died in 1822, leaving a daughter named Annette Augusta. He remarried and dropped (p.197) from view after the poet's death, although he was in casual contact with Brown and assisted Milnes with the Keats biography. He died 28 March 1851, apparently after experiencing business failures.21
Frances “Fanny” Keats Llanos Fanny Keats was born 3 June 1803, just ten months before the death of her father. She was barely a year old when her mother remarried and gave her over to her grandmother, Alice Jennings. George and John were away at Clarke's School while Fanny grew up in the Jennings household in Enfield. In 1810, following John Jennings's death, Alice entrusted Fanny's guardianship to Richard Abbey. It is unclear whether she remained in her grandmother's house until the latter's death in 1814, but her happiest childhood memories revolved around Alice Jennings.
Fanny attended Miss Tuckey's School in Marsh Street in Walthamstow, near Abbey's home, and remained there until 1818. After leaving school at fifteen, she lived full-time with the Abbeys. Fanny had a lonely existence punctuated by infrequent visits from John Keats. Her relationships with George and Tom were primarily via the post.
As John Keats prepared to depart for Rome, he sent Fanny a farewell note, which she received 12 September 1820. He never mentioned Fanny Brawne to his sister, although he had mentioned Mrs. Brawne in a letter, saying that he hoped Fanny might visit her in Wentworth Place. Fanny Brawne wrote to Fanny Keats on 7 October, introducing herself and thus commencing a friendship that continued until Fanny Brawne's marriage in 1833. After John's death, Mrs. Brawne and Maria Dilke called on Fanny Keats in Walthamstow, drawing her out of her sulkiness and inducing her to visit Hampstead.
Fanny Brawne introduced Fanny Keats to Valentin Maria Llanos y Gutierrez, an exiled Spanish liberal, in the summer of 1821. They married 30 March 1826 at St. Luke's, Chelsea. The Llanoses’ financial affairs were never straightforward. With Charles Dilke's help, they realized £4,600 from Fanny's trusts by 1833. As the money became available, they consumed most of it for living expenses and in his failed bridle bit patent investment. Llanos wrote three books, Don Esteban, Sandoval or the Freemason, and The Spanish Exile; the last was never published. They lived for five years in London, departing first for France and then arriving in his father‘s home in Valladolid, Spain, by 1833.
In 1835 Llanos became secretary to Spain's lead minister, Juan Alvarez Mendizábal, a fellow former exile in London. Llanos later became Spanish (p.198) consul in Gibraltar, worked to deaccession church properties, and managed the canals in Castile (aqueducts to Madrid). After Llanos's retirement in 1861, the couple journeyed to Rome to be with their daughter and son-in-law, Leopoldo Brockmann, who was building the Roman railway (streetcar) system. There Fanny met Joseph Severn and became active in the city's English community. Frederick Locker-Lampson provided the only written description of Fanny as an adult: “She was fat, blonde and lymphatic” (meaning lazy).22
After they moved to Spain, the Llanoses were comfortable until about 1880. Fanny cooperated with Harry Buxton Forman in arranging for the publication of certain Keats letters. He became aware of her financial plight and arranged for a £300 grant from the Queen's Bounty Fund. Dilke's grandson, working with solicitor Ralph Thomas, cleared out the £200 set up in Chancery fifty years earlier, remitting it to Fanny in Madrid.
From the 1860s until the 1880s, Fanny conducted a correspondence with George's daughter Emma Keats Speed and her son John Gilmer Speed. Fanny's son, Juan Enrique Llanos y Keats, painted her somewhere between 1875 and 1880. The original painting, with a lock of hair attached, is now at Keats House, Hampstead.23
Llanos died 14 August 1885. Fanny followed on 16 December 1889.24
John Hamilton Reynolds Reynolds was born 9 September 1794 in Shrewsbury, the only son among five children, and attended school there and at St. Paul's in London. He met John Keats at Leigh Hunt's house in 1816, and it was he who introduced the poet to Brown, Taylor, Hessey, and Bailey, as well as James Rice and likely Dilke. Like many in the circle, Reynolds aspired to be a writer and poet and had several works published. However, by 1819 he shifted to the law and eventually partnered with Rice. Reynolds later served as attorney for both Fanny Keats Llanos and George Keats.
The Reynolds family played a significant role in the lives of all the Keatses. For instance, Reynolds's sister Marianne (1797–1874) was a favorite friend of George's in the interval between her being jilted by another Keats friend, Benjamin Bailey, and her marrying H. G. Green. His sister Jane Reynolds married poet and humorist Thomas Hood.
Reynolds did not support John Keats's trip to Rome, likely because of the fissure over Fanny Brawne. After the poet's death, he drifted away from the circle. By 1847, Reynolds was an assistant clerk in a county court on the Isle of Wight. His bright prospects forever diminished, he descended through “brandy and water” and died there on 15 November 1852.25
(p.199) Joseph Severn Severn was born 7 December 1793 in London. During his early years, he was apprenticed to an engraver while practicing miniature portraiture. His 1817 miniature of George Keats is the only surviving image of him. John Keats retained it when George and Georgiana sailed for America, positioning it aside his writing desk.26
Severn met John Keats in 1816 while he was busy advancing his artistic career. In 1819 he was awarded a gold medal from the Royal Academy, allowing him to apply for a three-year travel grant. Although he was not an intimate of the poet, other friends, including Haslam, determined that Severn was, in the absence of Brown, the best-suited (i.e., most available) to accompany John to Rome. Against his father's wishes, he did so. Severn's letters from Rome form the definitive narrative of the poet's last months.
Severn organized the grave site for John Keats at the Acattolica Cimitero in Testaccio, Rome. Severn, unlike Brown and Taylor, did not ask George for reimbursement of his expenses related to John. Although he was hoping for a large subscription from George for the cemetery monument, it is not clear that George was aware of the need.
Severn remained in Rome after the poet's death, enjoying a successful painting career through the 1830s. Owing to a misconception about Severn's supposedly straitened circumstances in Rome, George asked Dilke to commission a painting in 1832, but evidently, nothing came of it.27
Severn returned to England in 1841, and although he had exhibited fifty-three paintings at the Royal Academy in London, his artistic career began to flounder. He was appointed British consul to Rome in 1861 and continued in office until 1872. He died 3 August 1879 and is buried alongside John Keats in the Protestant cemetery in Rome.28
John Taylor Taylor was born in East Retford, Nottinghamshire, on 31 July 1781. In 1806 he and James Augustus Hessey established the publishing firm of Taylor and Hessey at 93 Fleet Street. On 15 April 1817 they agreed to become John Keats's publisher. Taylor and Hessey advanced £100 that enabled Keats to travel to Rome. However, when it appeared that Endymion would not earn its advance and that Keats was dying, they quickly petitioned Richard Abbey and George Keats for the return of their funds. Abbey refused; George later reimbursed them.
Taylor and Hessey also published Morris Birkbeck's 1817 Notes on a Journey in America, the book that helped influence George Keats's emigration. Taylor was a cousin of Michael Drury in Philadelphia, who in turn was (p.200) a brother-in-law of James Tallant in Cincinnati. Taylor armed George with letters of introduction to each.
Taylor, who never married, retired in 1853 and died 5 July 1864 in Kensington.29
Ann Griffin Wylie Mrs. Wylie was George Keats's mother-in-law. Her parents were likely Robert Griffin and Elizabeth Russell, married 8 January 1754 at St. Martin Outwich, London.30 The Griffins baptized six children at St. Thomas Apostle, including Ann in 1761 and (Mary) Amelia in 1764.31
It is unclear who Georgiana's father was. Her scrapbook, at Harvard's Houghton Library, includes two separate commissions for a man named James Wylie, both dated 20 October 1794 and signed in the name of George III. The first commission names James Wylie a lieutenant in the Fifeshire Infantry Fencibles; the second names him a captain and adjutant. It is likely that this James Wylie was born 28 November 1762 in Dumfernline, Fifeshire, across the Firth of Forth from Edinburgh.32 The Fencibles were a form of voluntary National Guard, raised to defend the borders of England but not to go to war against another country unless all the regiment's members voted to do so. The Fifeshire Fencibles were active from 1794 to 1803 and served against the United Irishmen in County Antrim, Ireland, in 1797 until being disbanded.
A War Office record indicates that a man named James Wylie was on half pay in the 127th Foot in July 1795, while another record shows that James Wylie activated his commission as captain with the Loyal Fifeshire Volunteers on 22 July 1795. His unit was under the command of Andrew Durham from Largo, which is a bay in the Firth of Forth, south of St. Andrews, Scotland. The Fifeshire Fencibles muster roll for June–September 1795 indicates that Wylie died 18 October 1795; the roll was signed by commanding officer James (not Andrew) Durham. This James Wylie may have been Mrs. Wylie's husband, brother-in-law, or father-in-law. A listing for a different James Wylie than the man in Georgiana's scrapbook, perhaps the adjutant's son, described him as a quartermaster on half pay until 1803, when the records cease.
Also contained in Georgiana's scrapbook is a commission for Augustus Thomas Garskill, gentleman, as lieutenant to the 1st Company for North Gloucester, commanded by General Robert Prescott of the 28th Regiment of Foot, dated 26 July 1804. The name Garskill (though spelled Gaskell) occurs several times in the Wylie family: Frederick Gaskell Griffin (born 16 May 1816), the son of Ann's brother William, and Georgiana's younger brother Charles Gaskell Wylie. Likewise, there is the connection between (p.201) Augustus Garskill and Georgiana's own middle name, Augusta. Garskill's identity is not otherwise confirmed. The muster roll for the 28th Foot describes a Charles Thomas Carskell (the difficult-to-read spelling may be Carskill or even Garskill) serving in Lord Robert Kerr's company from 1804 to 1810.33 The spelling inconsistencies are more pronounced than usual, as officers’ names were generally transcribed correctly.
The adjutant James Wylie may have been the father to only Henry Robert Wylie, born in 1783. Mrs. Wylie gave birth to Georgiana Augusta in 1797 and to Charles Gaskell in 1800, likely fathered by someone else to whom she was not married. Augustus Thomas Garskill is an obvious paternal candidate.
Ann Wylie was buried at St. John the Baptist, Hoxton, on 13 March 1835 (also where Charles was buried four years later).34 Her residence was recorded as Great James Street in the Gray's Inn area, so she likely lived with Charles at the time of her death. Her burial in Hoxton, somewhat distant from Gray's Inn, might be explained by the existence of a family plot or vault at St. John the Baptist. Her age was recorded as seventy-three, indicating her birth sometime after 14 March 1761, consistent with her baptismal record.
Charles Gaskell Wylie Georgiana's brother Charles's birth year of 1800 is verified both in a French visa application and in his June 1839 death record.35 When Charles and his wife, Margaret, baptized their son, George Keats Wylie, on 4 March 1829 in West Hackney, he stated his occupation as a warehouseman. George Keats Wylie died at age two and was buried at St. Ann's, Blackfriars, on 22 January 1831. A sibling, Edward Henry Wylie, aged three months, was also buried there a week earlier, on 13 January. Possibly they succumbed to an infectious disease or to cholera, which was epidemic in London at the time. In 1833 Charles was bankrupted. In 1834 he was listed in the Sun Fire Office insurance records as an artificial flower manufacturer at 39 Great James Street, in the Gray's Inn area.36 He died of delirium tremens at 28 Dorset Crescent, Hoxton, New Town, on 5 June 1839.
Charles Wylie was mentioned in George's correspondence, when he complained to Dilke that Haslam had tried to persuade Charles that George was a “scoundrel.”37
Henry Robert Wylie Georgiana's older brother, Henry, was born in 1783.38 He married Mary Ann Keasle39 at St. George's Church, Bloomsbury, on 23 December 1819, witnessed by John Keasle, Mary Waldegrave, (p.202) and Mary Amelia (illegible, but possibly Millar).40 Their daughter, Augusta Christina Wylie, was baptized in 1820. John Keats, who was not especially fond of Wylie's wife, skewered her:
Her gown is like a flag on a pole; she would do for him if he turn freemason; I hope she will prove a flag of truce; when she sits languishing with her one foot on a stool, & one elbow on the table, & her head inclined, she looks like the sign of the crooked billet— or the frontispiece to Cinderella or a teapaper woodcut of Mother Shipton at her studies; she is a make-believe—she is bonafide a thin young—’Oman—But this is mere talk of a fellow creature; yet pardie I would not that Henry have her—Non volouteam possideat, nam for, it would be a bam, for it would be a sham.41
The Latin translates: “I would not that [Henry] have her,” while “bam” was slang for “travesty.” Later, John went on: “I am sorry he [Henry] has not a prettier wife: indeed ’tis a shame: she is not half a wife. I think I could find some of her relations in Buffon, or Captn Cook's voyages, or upon a Chinese Clock door, the sherpherdesses on her own mantelpiece, or in a c(rue)l sampler in which she may find herself worsted, or in a dutch toy shop window, or one of the Daughters in the Ark, or in any picture shop window.”42
Henry Wylie played a role in preserving George's miniature portrait by Joseph Severn. According to Fanny Keats Llanos, John Keats gave her the miniature, which she loaned to Wylie so that it could be copied. It was not returned to her, despite her request,43 but it ended up with George in Louisville, along with one or both of Severn's sketches of Tom Keats. George deflected Fanny's request, not knowing her whereabouts at the time.44
George makes numerous references to Henry Wylie in his correspondence with both Fanny and Dilke. Wylie evidently made a real effort to stay in touch, although none of the correspondence survives.
Wylie died 23 October 1846 at 17 Bedford Terrace, Trinity Square, St. Mary Newington. His wife, Mary Ann, registered the death, caused by heart disease and dropsy (edema). She listed his occupation as a merchant's clerk.
George's circle of relationships in Kentucky is encapsulated in the following sketches, which reveal the connectedness of the leadership community (p.203) of which he became a part (see table 4). A few of his more interesting friends are included, although many were omitted if the individual's story did not reflect back on George.
Table 4. Fellow Directors, Trustees, Board Members, and Other Associates
Ohio Bridge Commission Members: 1827
James Guthrie John Jeremiah Jacob George Keats George Wood Meriwether
D. R. Poignard John S. Snead
J. H. Tyler
Incorporators, Merchants Louisville Insurance Company: 1830
Col. Thomas Anderson (insurance)
William Gifford Bakewell
Brown Cozzens (insurer of slaves)
James McG. Cuddy (merchant)
H. B. Hill (merchant)
James Hughes (president, U.S. Bank branch)
John Jeremiah Jacob (president, Bank of Kentucky)
E. H. Lewis (grocer)
William H. Pope (merchant)
William Prather (with H. B. Hill)
John S. Snead (cotton manufacturer)
George Starkey (auctioneer)
J. C. Wenzel (insurance)
Daniel Wurts (merchant)
Curators, Louisville Lyceum: 1831
J. W. Palmer, president
George Wood Meriwether, vice president
Simeon Samson Goodwin, treasurer
Simon S. Bucklin, secretary
Napoleon Bonaparte Buford
Edward Mann Butler
Directors, Louisville Hotel Co.: 1832
John C. Wenzel, president
George Keats, president (1841)
Dr. Theodore Samuel Bell, secretary
James Hewitt (Shreve's partner)
Leven Lawrence Shreve
Directors, Bank of Kentucky: 1832
John Jeremiah Jacob, president
Capt. David S. Benedict
William C. Fellowes
William Garvin (also in 1838)
Angereau Gray (landowner)
George Clark Gwathmey, cashier
George Keats (also in 1838)
William H. Pope
Leven Lawrence Shreve
Thomas Steele, teller
Wilkins Tannehill, discount clerk
Ariss Throckmorton (also in 1838)
Robert J. Ward
Stock Commissioners: 1834
Edward J. Bainbridge
William Bell (dry goods)
John D. Colmesnil
William C. Fellowes
John Jeremiah Jacob
William H. Pope
Leven Lawrence Shreve
Directors, Lexington and Ohio Railroad: 1832–1839
E. J. Winters, president
Trustees, Harlan Museum: 1835–1838
George Keats, chairman
James Reed, president
Dr. James Chew Johnston, secretary
Evans U. Beard (silversmith)
Robert Buckner (ship chandler)
Thomas Coleman (insurance)
Dr. Urban Epinitis Ewing
Jacob Keller (merchant)
Shadrack Penn Jr.
Samuel S. Spence, custodian
Louisville Charitable Society: 1836
William Bell, president
George Keats, vice president (president in 1838)
John P. Bull
Samuel Dickinson (school superintendent)
Simeon Samson Goodwin
John C. Wenzel
Trustees, Kentucky Historical Society: 1836
John Rowan, president
George Keats, treasurer (1838)
Sen. George Mortimer Bibb
Leonard Bliss Jr.
Dr. Edward Jarvis
Judge Henry Pirtle
Additional Trustees: 1837
Rev. James Freeman Clarke
Simeon Samson Goodwin
Sen. Humphrey Marshall
Rev. Benjamin Orr Peers
George Dennison Prentice
Trustees, Louisville College: 1839
John Hopkins Harney, president
Dr. Theodore Samuel Bell
Judge William Fontaine Bullock
Edward Mann Butler, historian
Francis E. Goddard
John Price Morton
Judge Samuel Smith Nicholas
Judge Henry Pirtle
Louisville City Council, 1841
George Keats, Fourth Ward
Portland Dry Dock Company
James Marshall, president
William H. Bacon
William Gifford Bakewell
Simeon Samson Goodwin
Unitarian Church Members
Rev. James Freeman Clarke
Rev. Samuel Osgood
Simeon Samson Goodwin
Judge Samuel Smith Nicholas
Leven Lawrence Shreve
Witnesses to Keats's Will
Holliday W. Cood
Executors of Keats's Will
Georgiana Wylie Keats
Keats Estate Inventory Appraisers
William G. Bakewell (did not serve)
Fortunatus Cosby Jr.
Francis E. Goddard
Friends Noted in Ella Keats Peay Obituary
Dr. Theodore Samuel Bell
James Freeman Clarke
Fortunatus Cosby Jr.
George Dennison Prentice
(p.207) John James Audubon Audubon was born 26 April 1785 in Aux Cayes, Sainte Domingue (Haiti). The city was a principal harbor for the exportation of sugarcane. Import officials in New York generally reweighed shipments, not trusting the original waybills. However, the French officials who transshipped at Aux Cayes were so precise that their waybills were marked with an “OK” (Aux Cayes), thus giving rise to the term.
The slave rebellions of 1788 convinced Audubon's father to return to Nantes, France, where the son spent the next fifteen years. In 1803 he (p.208) migrated to the Philadelphia area, where his father owned property. There he met the neighboring Bakewell family and married their daughter Lucy in 1808.
That same year, Audubon moved to Louisville, establishing a general store that did not succeed. In 1810 he moved downriver to Henderson, where he opened a store specializing in hunting and fishing gear. His affairs there began to unravel by 1819, when he met the newly married George and Georgiana Keats, who had decided against settling in Morris Birkbeck's Wanborough village in Edwards County, Illinois. Audubon invited the Keatses to be paying guests in Henderson during the winter of 1818–1819. In 1819 his gristmill failed, coincident with investment losses in a steamboat scheme, so Audubon declared bankruptcy and was temporarily jailed in Louisville. The experience galvanized his interest in naturalist drawings, leading to a lifetime of travels in pursuit of birds and other wildlife.
The Audubons ultimately settled along the Hudson River in Upper Manhattan, where he died 27 January 1851.45
Thomas Woodhouse Bakewell Born 28 April 1788 at Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire, Bakewell migrated with his parents to America in 1802. After a variety of farming, mercantile, and manufacturing experiences, Bakewell ended up in Henderson, Kentucky, in 1818, where he invested with his brother-in-law John James Audubon in an ill-fated gristmill. Bakewell married Elizabeth Rankin Page, whose parents had emigrated from England at the same time as the Bakewells and had settled in Pittsburgh, where they operated a glassworks in partnership with Bakewell's uncle Benjamin Bakewell. With the 1819 failure of the gristmill in Henderson, Tom and Elizabeth decamped for Louisville, where he developed a steam-powered sawmill and gristmill with David Prentice, a Scottish engineer. Shortly after, George Keats became its managing partner.
Bakewell also partnered with Jacob Beckwith in the construction of several steamboats; Beckwith handled the hulls, and Bakewell handled the machinery. In 1824 the Bakewells moved to Cincinnati. Tom also developed machinery to convert Kentucky hemp into cotton bagging, operated an iron foundry, and laid out much of Covington, Kentucky, for development, while continuing with mercantile interests.
Tom Bakewell and his brother Billy, like many others, were caught up in the Panic of 1837. They had ordered steamboat hulls from a Louisville boat builder, the Portland Dry Dock Company, and George Keats had guaranteed their notes, ultimately bankrupting himself because of it. Immediate (p.209) members of the Keats family averred, without proof, that Tom Bakewell sheltered funds in various family members’ accounts that he could have used to pay down the debt. Nevertheless, Bakewell never fully recovered financially. He sold his foundry interests, resumed mercantile activities, and from 1851 to 1857 was president of the Mechanics and Traders Bank branch in Cincinnati.46 The Depression of 1857, triggered by an Ohio bank failure, finally wiped him out. Disdaining help from his family, the seventy-year-old Bakewell worked for the next ten years as a clerk for the Cincinnati paper merchant Chatfield and Weeds. He died 6 April 1874 in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania.47
William Gifford “Billy” Bakewell Billy Bakewell, Tom's younger brother, was born 17 February 1799.48 He was a close friend of George Keats throughout their respective stays in Louisville. His older sister Lucy was married to John J. Audubon, while his younger sister Eliza married Nicholas Berthoud of Shippingport. Billy married Alicia Adelaide Matthews of Philadelphia in November 1828.49
In 1829 the Bakewells boarded his nephew, Victor Gifford Audubon, then twenty, while Victor's naturalist father was on a trip to Europe. Billy Bakewell guaranteed his brother Tom's 1837 investment in a paddle wheeler for $125,000. He was forced to sell his home in Louisville in 1842 to cover the debt.
Alicia Bakewell died in 1847, and by 1848, Billy had moved to New Orleans, where his business interests were centered. He died there of heart disease on 21 March 1871.50
Jacob Beckwith This Jacob Beckwith, a director (with George Keats) of the Louisville Hotel Company, may be the same Jacob Beckwith who was captain of the 109-ton steamboat the Velocipede for a number of years. This was the first steamboat engaged in regular commerce between Louisville and Pittsburgh and was owned in partnership with Thomas W. Bakewell.51 Beckwith was a follow-on successor to the Prentice and Bakewell foundry, which built steam engines between 1817 and 1826. After Prentice died, Bakewell dissolved their partnership and sold the foundry to Jacob Keffer, who failed at the business in 1831 and subsequently turned the opportunity over to Beckwith.
Theodore Samuel Bell Dr. Bell was cited by Ella Keats Peay as one of her father's best friends after moving to Louisville in 1832.52 Bell was born (p.210) in Lexington in about 1810, to humble circumstances. Working fourteen hours a day as a tailor's apprentice, he saved $10 to buy a ticket to the local library. Professor Mann Butler, then at Transylvania, discovered him there and guided him to an education that concluded at the Louisville Medical Institute.53 Bell also had an interest in writing, so he worked with Wilkins Tannehill's periodical and later George D. Prentice's Journal. His articles spanned topics from the absence of a railroad in Louisville to the need for public education. He also served as substitute editor for the Whig Journal.
Bell, working with James Guthrie, succeeded in luring important faculty from Transylvania to Louisville, strengthening its medical school. He became an editor of the Louisville Medical Journal and of its successor, the Western Journal. He wrote frequently on issues of public health and hygiene while advocating that Louisville address its sanitary problems, in particular, poor drainage from stagnant ponds. Bell served with George Keats on the Louisville Hotel Company board and on the Louisville College board.54
During the Civil War, Bell headed the Kentucky branch of the Sanitary Commission. As such, he doctored wounded soldiers, both Union and Confederate, from the skirmish at Harrodsburg and battle at Perryville. He also was president of the board of the Kentucky State Institution for the Blind for eighteen years.55 Finally, Bell wrote a book about Cave Hill Cemetery, including extensive horticultural information and guidance.56 He died in late 1884.
David S. Benedict A Bank of Kentucky director, Benedict was also a partner in Benedict, Carter and Company, a mercantile house. Benedict was a heavy investor along the river, owning upward of twenty steamboats over the years. He was also president of the Louisville Fire and Marine Insurance Company. Benedict played an active role in Louisville's relationship with New Orleans and was later appointed the Bank of Kentucky's agent in New Orleans. In the Mexican-American War, the “Louisville Legion” of 500 to 700 men joined U.S. troops to fight in small engagements; Benedict handled the finances. Born in 1797 in Westchester County, New York, Benedict died in Louisville on 15 July 1874.57
James Berthoud and Nicholas Berthoud James Berthoud, a native of Neuchâtel,58 was born in about 1760, left France by 1794, and arrived in Shippingport in 1803 to join his in-law Louis Anastasius Tarascon. They were part of the small but enlightened French community that thrived in Shippingport, making it a sort of Bois de Boulogne adjacent to Louisville, (p.211) where Berthoud became a boat builder. He was a member of the failed Ohio Canal Company in 1804. One faction favored the canal route past Shippingport (still in use), whereas competing interests in Indiana favored a route on their side of the river, bypassing the falls. Neither side could raise the necessary investment capital, largely because of their failure to agree. Two decades passed before a new organization undertook the project. Berthoud was a trustee of the City of Louisville from 1805 to 1807 and a charter subscriber to the Bank of Kentucky.
A long-standing friend of John James Audubon, it may have been Berthoud who saved Audubon's life when Samuel Bowen and a group of aggrieved investors attacked the naturalist in Henderson in June 1819. After Audubon stabbed Bowen, an angry crowd of Bowen's friends went to his cabin to demand retribution. Berthoud, applying good manners and French logic, though armed with a gun and supported by knife-wielding slaves, encouraged the crowd to leave and let the law handle the contretemps. Berthoud died shortly thereafter, on 19 July 1819.59
James's son Nicholas Berthoud joined the partnership when brothers Louis and John Tarascon bought Audubon's Henderson mill, which afterward became profitable. Nicholas and Keats were original subscribers in 1830 to the Merchants Louisville Insurance Company, whose formation was counseled by James Guthrie.
George Mortimer Bibb Bibb was one of seven directors, with George Keats, of the Kentucky Historical Society. They were likely not close friends, however. Bibb, born 30 October 1776 in Virginia, moved to Lexington in 1798, where he was elected to the state house of representatives in 1806, 1810, and 1817; he was also appointed judge of the Court of Appeals in 1808 and then chief justice in 1809–1810. He was elected as a Democratic-Republican to the U.S. Senate and served from 1811 to 1814. He served again as chief justice of Kentucky in 1827–1828 and was then reelected to the U.S. Senate as a Jacksonian, serving from 1829 to 1835. During his shared term in the Kentucky Historical Society with Keats, Bibb was chancellor of the Louisville Chancery Court from 1835 to 1844. In 1844 President John Tyler appointed Bibb secretary of the treasury (1844–1845). Bibb remained in Washington thereafter and died in Georgetown on 14 April 1859.60
Leonard Bliss Jr. Bliss was born 12 December 1811 in Massachusetts. He attended Brown University, where his classmate Elias Nason wrote of (p.212) him, “He was a great leader and his brain was full of literary schemes. His scholarship was good, but he had rather spend time in reading and writing poetry than over the pages of LeCroix's Algebra.”61 Bliss found his way to Louisville in 1837, after a bout of consumption in his lungs, and was appointed professor of history and general literature at the Louisville Institute, which did not survive.
He became editor of Louisville's Literary News Letter and reported for George D. Prentice's Journal. After writing about a political speech by Henry C. Pope, Bliss was hunted through the streets by Pope's cousin, Godfrey Pope, who shot him as he was coming out of the Galt House on 26 September 1842. Godfrey Pope was tried for Bliss's murder, but in light of his family's money and influence, he was acquitted. Pope was subsequently ostracized and enlisted during the Mexican-American War; he was shot dead by an American sentinel when he failed to provide the correct countersign. Politician Henry Pope was killed in a duel, as was his brother William Fontaine Pope. William H. Pope, another relative, served on the Bank of Kentucky board with George Keats.
Charles Briggs George Keats was surprised and delighted to find his Enfield schoolmate Charles Briggs, who was born in 1794 or 1795, when he first passed through Louisville in 1818. Briggs was involved in trade with England and traveled back and forth periodically. He often carried correspondence for Keats, both ways.
Briggs settled in New Orleans in about 1824, where a city directory listed him as a négociant.62 He was destined to play on a large stage. In 1836 he joined Samuel Hermann in founding Hermann, Briggs and Company, a bank specializing in the exchange of specie, with an emphasis on Mexico. Hermann was a member of a large, prominent Jewish family in the New Orleans community. The firm, also involved in financing cotton transactions, became overextended and failed on 4 March 1837 (coincidentally, the date of Martin Van Buren's inauguration as president), involving losses of between $4 million and $8 million. Its New York backer, J. L. and S. Joseph and Company, immediately collapsed, triggering a bank credit crisis on the East Coast. President Andrew Jackson had shuttered the Bank of the United States, and Van Buren's refusal to intervene led to the panic and depression that ensued throughout the country.63
During the same period, Briggs joined with Charles A. LaCoste and Louis Hermann in a firm called Briggs, LaCoste and Company in Natchez, Mississippi. The firm (though not Briggs individually, because he was not (p.213) a resident of Mississippi) was involved in a jurisdictional lawsuit that was finally resolved in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1841.
Briggs recovered from these setbacks and by 1850 was an agent for the General Mutual Insurance Company. Subsequently he became an agent for the Liverpool and London Fire and Life Insurance Company and then president of the Louisiana Mutual Insurance Company. In 1858 he was elected president of the Chamber of Commerce.64 Briggs built a Garden District house in an unusual Gothic style; it is still standing. Disapproving of slavery, he employed Irish servants in his home.65
Briggs died in New Orleans on 1 April 1874 at age seventy-nine; his funeral was held at Trinity Church.66 Although an 1834 property transaction listed his wife as Louise C. Wood, a 1903 New York Times obituary reported the death of an Amelia Cruger Briggs, aged ninety, described as the “wife of the late Charles Briggs of New Orleans, LA.” Her family was from Cruger's Island in Dutchess County, New York.67
George Buchanan Born 24 March 1790, apparently in Scotland, George Buchanan arrived in America in 1816 and settled in Louisville. He operated a commission and forwarding business for many years, then converted the business to a wholesale grocer specializing in sugar, molasses, and coffee.68 Buchanan became a Whig Party loyalist.
Buchanan bought land to the east of downtown, where he developed the stockyards. In the 1850s the city relocated Beargrass Creek, which formerly entered the Ohio River between Third and Fourth Streets, to a new egress farther east and through his property, which proved ideal for dumping animal remains. Buchanan had the neighboring streets named for Federalist leaders Washington, Adams, and Franklin, as well as for the Whig Webster. Democrats were not included.69
Buchanan served in 1834 with George Keats in a fund-raising capacity for the Bank of Kentucky to “Open Books for Subscription of Stock.”70 Later, Buchanan moved to New Orleans and then to St. Louis, where he died on 13 January 1854.71
Simon S. Bucklin The 1832 Louisville Directory lists S. S. Bucklin as a curator and secretary of the Louisville Lyceum, a literary organization founded by several distinguished citizens.72 Little is known of Bucklin, although John Carpenter Bucklin, probably his brother, was Louisville's first mayor. J. C. Bucklin was a Unitarian, as was Keats and many of the other intellectuals of the community; S. S. Bucklin belonged to St. Paul's (p.214) Episcopal Church and served on the Committee of Accounts of the State Diocese.73
Napoleon Bonaparte Buford Born 13 January 1807 on his family's Wood-ford County, Kentucky, plantation, N. B. Buford was an 1827 graduate of West Point; he later studied law at Harvard and also taught at West Point. Because his active military service lasted eight years, he was likely stationed with the army in Louisville during the time he served as a curator of the Louisville Lyceum with Keats. During the Civil War, Buford rose to the rank of brevet major general. His younger half brother, John Buford, was a general in the Union army and served heroically at Gettysburg. A cousin, Abraham Buford, was a general in the Confederate army. The Bufords may have descended from the Beauforts, who fought in the War of the Roses with the Lancastrians (red rose). If so, it would seem that they were genetically predisposed to fight in civil wars.
After the war, N. B. Buford was a government inspector for the Union Pacific Railroad and a special commissioner of Indian affairs. Later he moved to Peoria, Illinois, and became president of the Rock Island and Peoria Railroad. He died on 28 March 1883 in Illinois.74
John P. Bull Bull was a wholesaler with Bull, Rankin and Leight on East Main Street in Louisville. During one of his trips to England, he carried a letter from George Keats to Charles W. Dilke. Not much else is known, except that George memorialized him in an 1828 letter to his sister Fanny:
I am obliged to stop with requesting you to pay more than common politeness, civilities to him, whose name if he were otherwise without recommendation should be a passport to your good offices. He is a plain straightforward, worthy, uneducated, sagacious, slow-minded, spirited, brave native born Kentuckian, bred a builder. He was once my traveling companion.…The Steam Boat in which we traveled was detained by ice about half way up the Mississippi, and we went out a gunning; after we were tired out with unsuccess, we desired to strike straightaway for our boat, in our course we got entangled in a cane break, so high and (almost) so nearly impenetrable that we almost despaired of getting out of it; we were confident of our direction but the thickets almost made our progress in the right course impossible; I mounted a tree about 25 or 30 Feet to look out and distinguished a somewhat (p.215) less obstructed way.…When it was Bull's turn to climb which did not prove to him so easy as it had done to me, for he lost his wind, and for a time could neither ascend or descend, while he was in momentary fear of falling it struck me what an odd thing it was to see a Bull up in a tree…when in the very midst of his trouble I cried out to him that I had heard of Bears climbing trees but I never expected to see a Bull at such an altitude. He reserved his laugh untill a short residence on terra firma had restored his breath: this was good nature.75
John P. Bull is not to be confused with a slightly younger John Bull in Louisville, who made a fortune selling patent medicines.
William Christian Bullitt William C. Bullitt was born 14 February 1793 at Oxmoor (sometimes spelled Ox Moor), the family estate where he lived most of his life. He was a great-nephew of Captain Thomas Bullitt (1730– 1778), who first surveyed Louisville in 1773. Although Bullitt was trained as a lawyer and served in Kentucky's 1849–1850 Constitutional Convention, he practiced law in Louisville only briefly.76 He married Mildred Ann Fry, a sister-in-law of Judge John Speed. They entertained frequently at Oxmoor. Bullitt died 28 August 1877.77
Mildred Bullitt wrote about George's impending death on 20 December 1841, and her daughter Martha wrote on 12 January 1842 that George had died bankrupt; Martha also wrote critically of Georgiana Keats. They were clearly in close touch with events. In 1849 Georgiana Emily Keats, her husband Alfred Gwathmey, and their infant George Keats Gwathmey stayed at Oxmoor for a period, where a Bullitt family slave nursed the child back to health. William Bullitt's sister-in-law, Diana Gwathmey (Mrs. Thomas) Bullitt, was George C. Gwathmey's sister and Alfred Gwathmey's aunt.78
William Fontaine Bullock Born 16 January 1807 in Fayette County, Kentucky, Bullock attended rural schools before entering Transylvania University at Lexington. He moved in 1828 to Louisville to establish a law practice. From 1838 to 1841 he served Jefferson County in the state legislature, where he introduced and was instrumental in passing the act creating the common school system in Kentucky. In 1839 he served with George Keats as a trustee of Louisville College. In 1841 Bullock convinced the legislature to create the Kentucky Institution for the Education of the Blind in Louisville. Likewise, he led the legislature in creating programs for the (p.216) mentally ill, resulting in a progressive “Lunatic Asylum.”79 From 1846 to 1856 he served as judge of the Fifth Judicial Circuit Court. Judge Bullock was a Whig and a devoted disciple of Henry Clay.80 He was also one of the primary founders of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. He died 9 August 1889.
Edward Mann Butler Butler was one of Louisville's most prominent educators of the early nineteenth century, as well as the author of the respected History of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, published in 1834. Although born in Baltimore in July 1784, he lived from age three to fourteen in Chelsea, London, with his grandfather. After earning degrees in medicine and law from St. Mary's College in Georgetown, D.C., Butler was in Louisville by 1815 and became the first principal of the Jefferson Seminary, one of the precursors to the University of Louisville. In 1829 the City of Louisville made him the principal of its first public grammar school. During this period, he also served as a curator of the Louisville Lyceum with Keats.
Butler left Louisville in 1834, following an instructional dispute, and moved to St. Louis.81 He died there from injuries received in a train accident on 1 November 1855.
Samuel Casseday Casseday was born 6 August 1795 in Lexington, Virginia. His widowed mother moved the family to Kentucky in 1813. By 1822, Casseday had settled in Louisville, working initially as a carpenter and then as a store clerk. He impressed John S. Snead, who in 1824 set Casseday and John Bull up as dealers in queensware, glass, and china goods. After several successions, the store remained in business past 1870 as Casseday and Sons.
In 1836 Casseday invited a British potter, James Clews, to set up an earthenware manufactory. They decided on a site in Troy, Indiana, about seventy miles downriver from Louisville. Casseday, teamed with John Bull and William Garvin, bought fifty-six acres with an abundance of clay, marl, flint, and spar, as well as access to coal. Clews sent to Staffordshire for thirty-six potters. By 1838, due to the Panic of 1837, the British potters had largely left rural Indiana for home, and replacement American workers were unsatisfactory.82 The project failed.
Casseday was an early landlord of the Louisville Museum Company. The museum, which was incorporated 20 February 1835, had failed by early 1838. A group of civic leaders, including George Keats and Casseday himself, reincorporated the collection as the Harlan Museum Company on 1 February 1838.83
(p.217) Casseday had ten children, including Ben Casseday, who in 1852 wrote the History of Louisville, the city's most comprehensive documentation up to that time. Samuel Casseday died 6 July 1876.84
Benjamin Cawthorn Cawthorn, who operated a brick foundry, served on the Lexington and Ohio Railroad board as a public director with George Keats. As public directors, they were appointed by the government to look after its interests and were in a different class from the private director-shareholders. Later, Cawthorn invested in real estate in a section now known as Old Louisville, south of Broadway.85
James Freeman Clarke James Freeman Clarke was born 4 April 1810 in Hanover, New Hampshire. He graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Divinity School, after which he was appointed to his first active ministry at the Unitarian Church in Louisville. For part of his 1833–1839 stay in Louisville, he lived in the Keats household. Kentucky was a slave state, and Keats owned three household slaves. Clarke quickly threw himself into the national movement to abolish slavery.
While in Louisville, Clarke launched the Western Messenger, a magazine of liberal religion, abolitionism, and national duty targeting readers in the Mississippi Valley, who were generally “hard-shelled Calvinists” and anti-Unitarian.86 His cousin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, published his earliest poems in the Messenger, and transcendentalist Margaret Fuller contributed writings as well. George Keats contributed “Winander Lake and Mountains and Ambelside” by John Keats, its first publication.87 Clarke later influenced Emma Keats to study under Fuller in Providence and Boston.
Returning east in 1839, Clarke founded the Church of the Disciples in Boston and served as its minister (with one break in 1850–1854) until his death. He also held a Harvard professorship in Christian doctrine. During this period, he published twenty-eight books and more than 120 pamphlets. His “Memorial Sketch of George Keats,” written for the Dial in 1843, became the primary source for the Keatses’ arrival in Kentucky and for defining George's character.
After a long and distinguished theological career, Clarke died in Boston on 8 June 1888.
John D. Colmesnil Joining Keats and Buchanan in raising capital for the Bank of Kentucky was John D. Colmesnil, born in Haiti on 31 July 1787. His father owned two plantations—one cultivating sugar, the other cotton (p.218) and indigo—and a total of 2,500 slaves. Caught up in the early slave rebellion of 1791, his mother, three sisters, and two brothers were all killed. Colmesnil and his father managed to escape to New Jersey with a few loyal slaves, although they later settled near Savannah, Georgia. At age eighteen, Colmesnil returned to Haiti on a coffee-buying venture. At the old plantation, he unearthed two tons of silver and other treasures his family had buried before the uprising. He hid the silver in 450 coffee bags and got them as far as St. Marks, Haiti, where his scheme was discovered and all was lost. When Colmesnil's father died, his will freed the remaining Haitian slaves, who were transported north.
Colmesnil's next adventure was a trip to sell flour in Havana. To circumvent an exceedingly high import duty, he bribed the Cuban customs agent, but he was discovered and imprisoned in Moro Castle for thirty-one days, until the island's captain-general, a family friend, released him. Colmesnil restarted his enterprise after visiting his in-laws, Louis and John Tarascon, in Louisville, with whom he went into business. On another trading mission, he happened to be in New Madrid, Missouri, on 16 December 1811, when the first of four earthquakes measuring over 8.0 struck. The shock was felt as far away as New York. People in New Madrid, who watched the Mississippi River briefly reverse course (it was actually a large wave moving upstream), thought it was the end of the world.88
Over the next thirty years, Colmesnil ran an active river-trading enterprise, as well as a dry goods store in Louisville. He owned one of the largest warehouses near the docks. He served as a trustee for the Town of Louisville in 1826–1827. Colmesnil made and lost several fortunes, although in 1834 he was on top of his game and, along with George Keats, helped raise funds for the Bank of Kentucky.89 He died in 1871.
Holliday W. Cood Englishman H. W. Cood was a low-profile person who acquired most of George Keats's possessions after his death in an auction process. Most likely he made friendly bids for the items in order to preserve them for Georgiana. Her brother, Henry Wylie, referred to Cood in an 1837 letter to Dilke, noting that Cood was traveling in Yorkshire but would return to Louisville through Liverpool and bring mail back with him.90 Cood and Felix Smith were partners of Smith and Company and then Smith and Cood, the successor enterprise to Keats and Smith Lumber Merchants. Cood lived onsite during his early tenure with George and later moved to an apartment in the Galt House.91 Little else is known about him, other than that he was buried in Cave Hill Cemetery on 10 January 1881.
(p.219) Fortunatus Cosby Jr. Born 2 May 1802 at the family plantation on Harrods Creek, Cosby studied at Transylvania and then took a law degree at Yale. After college, he was director of a private girls’ school. In 1829, when Louisville's first free public school opened, Cosby was appointed to its Board of Trustees. He served intermittently as superintendent from 1839 to 1849. A friend of George D. Prentice, he contributed poetry and prose to the Louisville Journal and was a “gradual emancipation” editor of the Louisville Examiner. Cosby was a frequent visitor in the Keats household and later served as a court-appointed appraiser of George's estate. In 1848 he wrote an ode that was recited at the dedication of Louisville's Cave Hill Cemetery.
In 1850 Cosby moved to Washington and worked in the Treasury Department. President-elect Lincoln nominated him in 1860 to be consul in Geneva. With a son and son-in-law serving in the Confederate army, Cosby raised suspicions in Congress and was not confirmed in his post until February 1863. By the end of that year he was ousted, having been visited by former Kentucky governor Charles Morehead, who was suspected of being an overseas Confederate agent. Cosby returned to Louisville and died there on 14 June 1871.92
Urban Epinitis Ewing U. E. Ewing was for many years a prominent physician and surgeon in Louisville. Born in 1800 in Russellville, Kentucky,93 he studied medicine in Lexington. There he met Sarah Moore, his first wife, granddaughter of a Pennsylvania governor. Sarah's aunt had married the French minister to the United States, and her cousin married the Duke DePlaisant. Following a chain of deaths with no heirs, Sarah and Ewing came into possession of a French fortune.
An early Keats acquaintance, Ewing lived on Market Street between First and Second Streets, about two blocks away from Keats's lumber mill.94 Ewing was a slave owner and leased his men to Keats for mill work. Surviving documents outline how Ewing acquired slaves as an investment, paying between $200 and $700 each, depending on their age, gender, and condition. He would then enter into agreements with third parties, such as Keats, assigning a slave for about $70 per year, with the assignee responsible for costs such as food and medical care.95 In Louisville's atmosphere of reasonable treatment, slaves were sometimes free to line up their own work and give a portion of their earnings back to their master. The slaves could either return home at night or choose to stay in a black quarter for entertainment. Ewing provided good medical care for his slaves.
(p.220) Ewing served as a trustee of the Harlan Museum with Keats. His second wife, Jane Hawkins Butler, gave birth to Jane (Jenny) Butler Ewing in 1848. Jenny married George Keats Speed, a grandson of George Keats, in 1866. Dr. Ewing was buried in Cave Hill Cemetery on 24 December 1874.
Joshua Barker Flint Joshua Flint, born 13 October 1801 in Cohasset, Massachusetts, was an 1820 graduate of Harvard College and an 1825 graduate of its medical program. After 1832 he became a professor of surgery at the Louisville Medical Institute. He was the first surgeon in the West to use ether during procedures. When Flint went to England on an 1838 buying trip, seeking surgical instruments, George Keats provided him with a letter of introduction to Dilke.96 There were medical schools in Cincinnati, Louisville, and Lexington and an insufficient number of qualified instructors, as well as intense academic rivalries. In 1840 Flint was dismissed from the Louisville Medical Institute, probably unfairly, and took up his practice in Lexington.97
Flint's wife was Nancy Trimble, daughter of Justice Robert Trimble of the U.S. Supreme Court and resident of Louisville.98 His cousin Timothy Flint authored Recollections of the Last Ten Years in the Valley of the Mississippi.99Timothy Flint's enthusiastic chapter on Lexington included a half paragraph about Louisville as a place where steamboats put in. Joshua Flint died on 19 March 1863 and was buried the following year adjacent to what later became the Keats lot in Louisville's Cave Hill Cemetery.
Henry H. Forsyth Forsyth, a fellow director of the Bank of Kentucky, operated steamboats along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and served on the Board of Managers of the Galt House.100 Forsyth was also a commission merchant and factor in the firm of Forsyth and Limerick. Forsyth filed for bankruptcy prior to January 1844, having sold 150 bales of cotton on behalf of one John Chapman, whom he did not pay. Chapman, claiming that his commission relationship was outside Forsyth's bankruptcy, sued and won in a case decided in the U.S. Supreme Court. Forsyth's activities thereafter were not chronicled, other than his 26 March 1870 burial.
William Garvin Born in Londonderry, Ireland, in 1795, Garvin migrated to Philadelphia in 1816. By 1827 he was in Louisville and opened a dry goods store, Garvin, Bell and Company, which continued in various iterations until 1861. He invested with Samuel Casseday in an ill-fated queensware (p.221) operation in Troy, Indiana, and served as a director, with George Keats, of the Bank of Kentucky in 1838.
Garvin died in a spectacular accident on the Ohio River on 4 December 1868. Two steamboats, the United States and the America, collided almost head-on. Between fifty and sixty passengers perished, all but two of them with Garvin on the United States. The better staterooms were generally in the stern of paddle wheelers, farther from the danger of snags, bow-side collisions, and fire.
Garvin had served for many years as a principal of the Board of Trade and an elder in the Presbyterian Church. The funeral procession up to Cave Hill Cemetery was more than a mile long.101
Francis E. Goddard A New Englander by birth, Goddard headed the Jefferson Seminary from 1826 to 1829. The Unitarian movement in America, having first been defined in 1819 by William Ellery Channing, was expanding westward by 1829. A group of mostly “literary men” gathered in Goddard's schoolroom to form a Unitarian Society; they included Mann Butler, Samuel S. Nicholas, Henry Pirtle, and Fortunatus Cosby Jr., along with businessmen Simeon S. Goodwin and George Meriwether.102
The University of Louisville, considered by some the successor institution to the Jefferson Seminary, credits Goddard as being its fourth head. Goddard participated in itemizing George Keats's household inventory in early 1842. He died 15 September 1845 at age fifty-four.
Simeon Samson Goodwin Born in 1782, Goodwin was an insurance agent specializing in maritime matters. He was a director of the Louisville and Portland Canal Company and a fellow incorporator of the Merchants Louisville Insurance Company. There were some unspecified political issues, as James Guthrie wrote to George W. Meriwether, “Mr. G[oodwin] is so very unpopular that if he takes stock you can’t get the stock taken.”103 His role on the Louisville and Portland Canal board may have been controversial. Goodwin was active with Keats in the Kentucky Historical Society and in the Unitarian Church. He died in 1847.
James Guthrie Born 5 December 1792 in Nelson County, Kentucky, Guthrie began his education in a log schoolhouse, followed by several trips as a laborer on flatboats headed downriver to New Orleans. Disliking the work, Guthrie decided to study law under Judge John Rowan and was admitted to the bar in 1817. In 1827 Guthrie was elected to the state legislature, where (p.222) in 1828 he succeeded in passing the act that made Louisville a city and created the Ohio Bridge Commission, of which George Keats was a member. This permitted more self-government, and Guthrie soon joined the City Council as chairman of the finance committee. Guthrie remained active in state politics through the 1849–1850 Constitutional Convention.
As a civic booster for Louisville, Guthrie was a director of the Louisville and Portland Canal Company from its inception in 1825 and pushed for the first bridge across the Ohio River to Indiana to be built in Louisville. He was also involved in the Lexington and Ohio Railroad, on whose board George served. After various financial setbacks, the railroad pushed through to Frankfort by 1851. It was ultimately consolidated into the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. Guthrie initiated work on the Jefferson County courthouse, as well as laying the foundation for the first waterworks. In 1836 he implemented an ordinance to establish the Louisville Medical Institute, which was later folded into the University of Louisville. Guthrie served as board president of the University of Louisville from 1847 to 1869. Guthrie also helped draw up George Keats's will in 1841.
In 1853 President Franklin Pierce appointed Guthrie secretary of the treasury, a post he held until 1857. Guthrie had been a Jacksonian Democrat, and he ran briefly in 1860 for the presidential nomination as a Democrat. Following his return to Louisville, he devoted himself to completing the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, which he ran during the Civil War. In 1865 he was elected to the U.S. Senate, from which he retired due to ill health in 1868. He died in Louisville on 13 March 1869. The city was indelibly framed by Guthrie's boosterism.104
George Clark Gwathmey Gwathmey was born in 1790. His uncles were the celebrated George Rogers Clark, a founder of Louisville, and William Clark, of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. His father-in-law was James Garrard, Kentucky's second governor.105 Another uncle, John Gwathmey, was proprietor of the Indian Queen Hotel, Louisville's first. George Gwathmey was cashier of the Bank of Kentucky while Keats was a director. His oldest child, Alfred, married Georgiana Emily Keats. Another connection was his sister, Diana “Missy” Gwathmey, who married Thomas Bullitt, a prosperous merchant. Gwathmey died in 1850.106
Nathaniel Hardy Hardy was born 24 May 1795 in Bradford, Massachusetts. He left for Indiana in 1814, riding on a mule and with a fiddle slung over his shoulder. Hardy initially settled in Indiana, where he purveyed (p.223) goods to the paddle wheelers. After 1823 he moved to Louisville, where he became a hardware dealer. He was a founding incorporator, with George Keats, of the Mechanics Savings Institution, chartered by an act of the legislature in 1836.107 He was likewise a founder of the Louisville Savings Institution. Keats and Hardy were fellow trustees of the Harlan Museum. He died 3 May 1848.108 A son, James, married Lucy Gilmer Davis, a niece of Philip Speed.
On slavery, Hardy wrote to his sister, Caroline:
Respecting slavery, as I have said before, I am as much opposed to it as any of the New England people, yet I can not view it in the light that many of them do, nor can I blame my present generation for an evil which was entailed upon them by their ancestors. Almost every one will admit that it is an evil in our country and would be glad to get clear of it, if some safe plan could be adopted. As to the situation of the slave, he is far more happy than the poor whites.…He has every thing that is necessary for his comfort.…As to freedom he cares very little about it and not one in ten would accept it were it offered to them.109
Richard Harlan The reason for the Louisville Museum's rebranding as the Harlan Museum has been lost. The most plausible explanation involves Dr. Richard Harlan, a naturalist from Philadelphia and a longtime colleague of John James Audubon. Harlan, born 19 September 1796 into a Quaker family, completed his medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania in 1818. He had already been elected in 1815 to the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, where he showed an interest in paleontology and comparative anatomy. By 1821, he was professor of anatomy at the Philadelphia Museum Company. Over the next twenty years, he published more than sixty works, including Fauna Americana, a zoological survey of North America, and Inquiry into the Functions of the Brain in Man. Harlan was an indefatigable collector of mammals, reptiles, and human skulls. In 1832 he came into possession of the snout of an ichthyosaur, described as an “alligator animal of about seventy feet in length.”110 Harlan gave the relic to the Museum of Natural History in Paris. Because Europe and America were competing over dinosaur finds, his gift to Paris was a form of bragging.
Harlan died in New Orleans on 30 September 1843.
(p.224) John Hopkins Harney Harney was born 20 February 1806 in dirt-poor circumstances in Bourbon County, Kentucky. He never attended school but educated himself as a surveyor; this led to his becoming a schoolmaster in Paris, Kentucky. He eventually saved enough money to study belles lettres and theology at Miami University in Ohio. Thereafter he taught at Indiana University and Hanover College, where he began work on an algebra textbook. Harney was named president of Louisville Collegiate Institute, of which George Keats was a trustee, in 1839. When Harney published his algebra textbook in 1840, it was the first such endeavor by an American. After the institute merged into the University of Louisville, Harney began publishing the Louisville Daily Democrat, which he did until his death on 26 January 1868. In later years, he headed the Louisville School Board and was a pro-Union legislator during the Civil War. He was married to Martha Rankin Wallace, a cousin of General Lew Wallace (1827–1905).111
John Hawkins Hawkins operated a chair factory on Third Street, between Market and Main. When it burned in 1840, it was one of the worst fires in Louisville.112 He served on the Harlan Museum board with Keats.
John Jeremiah Jacob Jacob was born 20 October 1778 in Baltimore. After moving to Louisville, he purchased large real estate holdings, including “Jacob's Wood,” an area just south of downtown bounded by Fifth, Preston, Broadway, and Breckenridge Streets. His home was a lot bounded by Third, Fourth, Walnut, and Chestnut Streets. It was within this large residential plot that George Keats built his “Englishman's palace,” on property immediately abutting Jacob's.113 Several of the ten Jacob children were playmates of the Keats children. Richard, Tom, and Mary Jacob (Tyler) were especially close, with Tom being exactly the same age as Isabel Keats.114
Long after Isabel Keats died in 1843 (a likely suicide), a rumor began that in 1890 an elderly, refined-looking stranger appeared several times at the Keats house (by then the Hampton Institute for Girls) and asked to be left alone in the library, where Isabel had died. When pressed for an explanation by school head Alice Hegan Rice, the stranger said, “I parted from her in there, and have returned from California to visit the scene once more.” His implication was that a broken love affair had triggered the tragic event. However, a letter written by Mary Jacob Tyler to her half brother Tom Jacob, a student at Hanover College, immediately after Isabel's death formed the basis of the Keats family's contention that it was an accident, not suicide. Thomas Prather Jacob went on to become a diplomat, (p.225) serving in Lisbon, among other places. The “refined gentleman” of 1890 may have been Tom Jacob, but I cannot speculate about any love issues.
J. J. Jacob served with George Keats on the Ohio Bridge Commission in 1827. He was a director and then president of the Louisville branch of the Bank of the United States. When the Bank of Kentucky was formed to succeed it, Jacob became president and Keats became a public director. Jacob was also an advocate for a railroad to Frankfort and served for a time on the board of the Louisville and Frankfort Railroad, which was subsumed into the Lexington and Ohio.115 Both Jacob and Keats were elected to the City Council representing the Fourth Ward in 1841.116 Jacob died in 1852, one of the wealthiest men in Louisville.
Edward Jarvis Given his brief tenure in Louisville, Dr. Jarvis was a somewhat unlikely trustee of the Kentucky Historical Society. Born 9 January 1803 in Concord, Massachusetts, he graduated from Harvard College and Boston Medical School, then practiced in Northfield and Concord, Massachusetts, until 1837. He lived in Louisville from 1837 to 1842; then, disapproving of slavery, he returned to Dorchester, Massachusetts. Throughout his career he published a large number of reports on public health, mortality rates, education, insanity, and other subjects. For thirty-six years he was president of the American Statistical Association.117 He died 31 October 1884 in Dorchester.
John Jeffrey Jeffrey, born 2 June 1817 in Edinburgh,118 was a twenty-five-year-old assistant city engineer in Louisville when he married Georgiana Keats on 5 January 1843, barely a year after George's death. He had helped design the jail and installed gas lights up and down Main Street, including in front of the Louisville Hotel. From Georgiana's viewpoint, Jeffrey was a handsome Scot, a competent engineer, and perhaps a stabilizing influence for her children, who ranged in age from eight to twenty-five.
Jeffrey's obituary notice, furnished by his brother Alexander, claimed that he began his engineering career working for Robert Napier in Glasgow, building engines for the first oceangoing steamers. He had previously volunteered, at the age of twelve, to accompany George Stephenson's Rocket during its 1829 trial run from Liverpool to Manchester, in which the rail locomotive achieved an unheard of twenty-nine miles per hour, traveling light. He worked on the deepening of the Clyde River in Glasgow and the construction of the Thames Tunnel, the first underwater tunnel. The (p.226) obituary, which included some inaccuracies, is the only source of Jeffrey's work experience in England.119
Jeffrey, upon establishing his own firm, installed gasworks in numerous cities from Springfield, Illinois, to Matanzas, Cuba. Although the firm was called John Jeffrey and Company, he worked with his brothers, particularly Alexander Jeffrey, throughout his lifetime. Alexander, living in Canandaigua, New York, served as the senior partner and financial officer of a consortium of family entities that included John's development firm and the individual shareholdings in the gasworks. More than 100 John-to-Alexander letters detail the operations, issues with outside investors, and even engineering drawings of the various coal-to-gas facilities.120 John Jeffrey handled the organization, construction, and initial operations of the gasworks. He was continually on the road, especially after 1850. While he traveled, he retained his position as general superintendent of the Cincinnati Gas Works.
While Jeffrey took extended trips in the South and to Cuba, Georgiana would often leave Cincinnati and stay with her children. John noted to Alexander that she paid board to the children and that Alexander should send her whatever funds she required.121 Georgiana returned to Louisville in December 1853, joining the Unitarian Church there with her youngest daughter, Alice Ann.
The Civil War created challenges for the enterprise, although Jeffrey evidently traveled freely from North to South. The family lost its investment in a Montgomery, Alabama, iron foundry and machine shop but retained ownership of a Vicksburg, Mississippi, gasworks until Jeffrey's death in 1881. In their later years, he and Georgiana lived peacefully in an apartment at the Phoenix Hotel in Lexington, Kentucky.
When the Jeffrey family first emigrated from Scotland, an uncle, Willie McConnell, set them up in business in America. Shareholdings in each of the gasworks generally included various Jeffrey and McConnell family members. When Jeffrey died on 18 February 1881, less than two years after Georgiana, his estate included the gasworks shares in Vicksburg and in Maysville, Kentucky, worth about $55,000 but appraised at $41,292. These were left to various nieces and nephews, some in Scotland.122 The dower portion of George Keats's estate, which was legally assumed by John Jeffrey upon his marriage to Georgiana, was thus ultimately distributed to Jeffrey relations.
James Chew Johnston Johnston was born 31 July 1787 at Cave Hill Farm, his father's summer place outside of Louisville. After studying at Princeton, (p.227) he received a medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania, where his thesis was titled “Nourishment of the Fetus.” After returning to Louisville, Johnston gave up medicine to tend to his investments, including an interest in the Mechanics Savings Institution. He was secretary of the board of the Harlan Museum, of which George Keats was chairman. Johnston died 4 December 1864, having previously sold his farm to the city to become the new Cave Hill Cemetery.
James Reid Lambdin Born in Pittsburgh on 10 May 1807, Lambdin established the first museum west of the Alleghenies there in 1828. Originally called the Museum of Natural History and Gallery of Paintings, it was renamed the Louisville Museum when Lambdin moved it there in 1832. The collection was modeled after Peale's Museum in Philadelphia, put together by Charles Willson Peale. It included a diverse collection of botanical, biological, and archaeological items. Louisville historian Benjamin Casseday wrote, “The collection of objects of natural history, of curiosity, and of vertu was extremely good.”123
Trained as an artist by Thomas Sully, Lambdin continued to travel, accepting portrait commissions from Pittsburgh to Mobile, while the Louisville entity floundered in his absence. In 1837 he returned to his home in Philadelphia. Lambdin painted every president from John Q. Adams to James A. Garfield. He died on a train while returning home to German-town, a suburb of Philadelphia, on 31 January 1889.124
Humphrey Marshall Eminently qualified to serve in the Kentucky Historical Society, Humphrey Marshall had written History of Kentucky in 1812; it was republished in 1824 as a two-volume set. Marshall, born in 1760 in Fauquier County, Virginia, served in the U.S. Senate from 1795 to 1801 as a Federalist. His brother-in-law and cousin was Chief Justice John Marshall (Humphrey married his own cousin, Mary Marshall). He also served numerous terms in the Kentucky legislature, where he opposed Henry Clay's proposal that all Kentucky legislators should wear domestic homespun rather than English broadcloth.
In 1809 Marshall and Clay fought a duel in which each man suffered slight wounds. Clay had defended Aaron Burr, facing a treason trial in Marshall's cousin's court. In the heat of debate, Marshall called Clay a liar, and the latter charged at him. Clay subsequently apologized, but Marshall refused to accept, calling it the “apology of a poltroon.” They dueled across the river in Indiana near present-day New Albany. After three rounds, the (p.228) seconds stopped the fight, declaring both men “cool, determined, and brave in the highest degree.”125
Living as a public figure in Frankfort, Marshall was stridently antireligion. He died 3 July 1841.126
James Marshall A director of the Harlan Museum with Keats, Marshall was president of the Portland Dry Dock Company and a major creditor at the time of George's death. He also partnered with Hew Ainslie, a brewer on Seventh Street between Water and Main. He died sometime before 13 August 1863.
George Wood Meriwether Born in 1789 and descended from a prominent Virginia family, Meriwether was a retail merchant in Louisville, as well as a founding member of the Unitarian Church and an officer of the Louisville Lyceum. He served as treasurer of the City of Louisville, both before and after its incorporation. He also served on the Bridge Commission and the City Council. During the Andrew Jackson administration, he was the Kentucky agent for the payment of naval pensions; he performed the same function for army pensions during the Martin Van Buren administration. Meriwether died 23 March 1864.127
Joseph Metcalfe Metcalfe, an Englishman, operated a brewery on Market Street between Sixth and Seventh Streets that grew to be Louisville's largest, producing upward of 6,000 barrels a year before closing in 1859. The beer was top-fermented, producing ale, beer, brown stout, and porter (a dark, London-style brew). He was a trustee of the Harlan Museum.128
John Price Morton Morton, who served with Keats as a trustee of Louisville College, was born 4 March 1807. After studying at Transylvania University, he came to work for the Louisville Book Store on Main Street. Out of the bookstore emerged a pro-Clay newspaper, the Focus, with Morton in charge. After selling the Focus to George D. Prentice of the Louisville Journal, he founded a printing and binding business, John P. Morton and Company, which became a large supplier to schools and colleges throughout the South and West. As one of Louisville's wealthiest residents, the childless Morton established the Morton Home with a gift of $100,000. Under the auspices of the Episcopal Church, it helped care for the aged and invalid and continues to do so today. He died 19 July 1889 in Louisville.
(p.229) Samuel Smith Nicholas Born 6 April 1797 near Danville, Nicholas, the youngest of thirteen children, had to leave school after only three or four years. When his parents died, Nicholas entered the employ of an uncle, a merchant in Baltimore. On his uncle's behalf, Nicholas sailed to Peru and China, educating himself in Latin, French, and Spanish. He returned to Kentucky and studied law under George M. Bibb. In 1829 he married the wealthy Matilda Prather, which brought him financial independence. The large Prather family had marital connections with Henry Clay Jr. and with the Pope, Hardy, Churchill, and Jacob families, providing Nicholas excellent social connections as well.
Nicholas was an appointed member of the Court of Appeals from 1831 to 1836 and chancellor of the Louisville Chancery Court from 1844 to 1850. Nicholas served in 1846–1847 as the first president of the newly chartered University of Louisville, a result of the merger of Louisville College and the Louisville Medical Institute. He had served with Keats as a trustee of Louisville College.129 President Andrew Johnson offered him a seat on the Supreme Court, which he declined due to his age and his concerns over Reconstruction politics. Nicholas died 27 November 1869.
Samuel Osgood James Freeman Clarke's replacement at the Unitarian Church was another young man, Samuel Osgood, born 30 August 1812 in Charlestown, Massachusetts. After graduating from Harvard College and Cambridge Divinity School, Osgood embraced Unitarianism. He was sent west, including his 1835–1837 stay in Louisville. While there, he assisted Clarke in editing the Western Messenger, a literary and faith-based journal. By the mid-1840s, he had become the acknowledged leader of the church, moving his pastorate to New York City. A prolific writer, Osgood contributed “Eighteen Years: A Reminiscence of Kentucky” to Knickerbocker Gallery, a Testimonial to the Editor of Knickerbocker Magazine in 1855, including a sketch of George Keats.130 In 1869 Osgood retired and, remarkably, converted to the Episcopal faith. He died 14 April 1880 in New York City.131
Benjamin Orr Peers Peers was born 20 April 1800 in Virginia and moved to Kentucky at age three. After graduating from Transylvania and studying a year at Princeton Theological Seminary, Peers became an Episcopal minister and returned to Lexington. From 1833 to 1835 he was the president of Transylvania, after which he moved to Louisville and became the rector of St. Paul's Church.132 He edited the Journal of Christian Education as well as (p.230) church school publications while serving as a trustee of the Kentucky Historical Society. He died in Louisville on 20 August 1842.133
Shadrack Penn Jr. Journalist Shadrack (sometimes spelled Shadrach) Penn was born in 1790 in Frederick, Maryland. He served in the War of 1812 and then settled in Louisville in 1818. He launched the Louisville Public Advertiser, a Jacksonian Democratic journal. During Kentucky's bank crisis and economic meltdown of 1819–1823, Penn opposed chartering the Commonwealth Bank.
The bitter, decade-long rivalry between Penn's paper and George Dennison Prentice's Louisville Journal was without parallel in the newspaper industry. By 1841, Penn had tired of the rivalry and departed for St. Louis, where he died 15 June 1846.134 Keats was a close friend and political sympathizer of Prentice's, but he likely maintained a proper relationship with Penn, with whom he served on the Harlan Museum board.
Henry Pirtle Born 5 November 1798 in Washington County, Kentucky, Pirtle was a lawyer and an eminent judge. After the Revolutionary War, Kentucky had been settled by a mix of early pioneers and land speculators, as well as veterans who received land grants in lieu of back pay. The process of taking a land grant and receiving a legal deed of ownership involved endless property line disputes. This litigation arguably created more lawyers per capita in Kentucky than in other states, and many of Kentucky's brightest youth decided to learn the law.
Pirtle studied under Judge John Rowan in Bardstown. By 1825, he moved to Louisville and became a Jefferson County circuit court judge the following year. Pirtle resigned his judgeship in 1832 to boost his income as a private attorney, and that year he and George Keats helped found the Kentucky Historical Society. In 1835 he partnered with James Speed in a lifelong friendship and in a law practice that continued on and off for years. Both men named sons after the other. Pirtle served in the Kentucky senate for two terms between 1840 and 1843. He then accepted a professorship at the University of Louisville Law School in 1846, where he taught until 1873 and was a trustee for twenty years. In 1850 he was elected to a six-year term as a chancellor in the Louisville Chancery Court; he served again in that position in 1862. He was also a director of the Louisville Water Company.
During Pirtle's several terms as a judge, he wrote numerous opinions spanning contract, property, and constitutional law. In 1842 he was chairman (p.231) of the Committee on Federal Relations, which rendered an anti– states’ rights ruling on the treatment of runaway slaves, an opinion that formed the basis of the Supreme Court's decision in Prigg v. Pennsylvania. He was a Whig and a Unionist throughout his life. Pirtle died 28 March 1880.135
William Hamilton Pope Jr. Pope, born in 1803, was a partner in the mercantile house of Pope-Davis Company. His father had been in the salt business with Judge John Speed, at Mann's Lick. (A lick is a well, or spring, with a high mineral content. The water is boiled off, leaving behind salt.) Pope served with Keats on the Bank of Kentucky board.136 His cousin Worden Pope was Jefferson County clerk during the 1830s and 1840s, appending his name to countless civil documents, including George's estate settlement. Pope's partner, Benjamin O. Davis, was a Boston native who married Susan Fry Speed. Joshua Fry Speed, Judge Speed's son, worked for Pope in the early 1830s before moving to Springfield, Illinois, to set up his own general store, where he met Abraham Lincoln. Pope died in 1866.
William Prather Prather's father, Thomas, was an early leader in Louisville, serving as first president of the Bank of Kentucky. Broadway was originally named Prather Street in his honor. William was born 8 February 1804 and married his cousin Penelope Pope. He partnered in business with H. B. Hill. His sister Matilda married Judge Samuel Smith Nicholas; another sister, Maria, married Henry Clay Jr., son of the Great Compro-miser. Prather was an incorporator, with George Keats, in the Merchants Louisville Insurance Company. He died 27 August 1876.137
David Prentice Prentice, a Scottish engineer, partnered with Thomas Bakewell in opening Louisville's first steam engine shop in 1816. Prentice was christened 18 April 1781 in Scotland and moved to America in 1805.138 Initially a millwright on William Bakewell Sr.'s farm, Fatland Ford, outside Philadelphia, Prentice became intrigued with steam engines and steamboats. By 1817, he had partnered with Thomas Bakewell in a Louisville iron foundry, called Eagle Works, to make engines for mills and boats.
It was Prentice who designed the Henderson, the steamboat that was too underpowered to make the return trip up the Mississippi and led to Audubon's suit with Samuel Bowen and to Audubon's inability to repay George Keats for his first investment in America. Prentice also designed the gristmill that was Audubon's final undoing in Henderson. A separate (p.232) entity, Prentice and Bakewell, began as a gristmill in Louisville. When Keats returned from his London fund-raising trip, he became a one-third partner and manager. Prentice died in 1826; his will was probated 2 October 1826, with George Keats as executor. By 1827, the gristmill had apparently been succeeded by a sawmill, and Bakewell and Prentice had been replaced by Daniel Smith as Keats's partner.
Thomas Bakewell later wrote to his brother, “There was no better man to plan than D. Prentice but he either would not or could not execute his plans to make them work well—when we were together I was the merchant, he the mechanic…and there has been too much just cause for complaint with his [engineering].”139
George Dennison Prentice Possibly the most controversial of George's friends was George Dennison Prentice, the Whig editor of the Louisville Journal. Born 18 December 1802 in Connecticut, Prentice graduated from Brown University, where he studied under Horace Mann, the proponent of public education. Although he studied law and was admitted to the Connecticut bar, Prentice chose to edit the Hartford New England Review. His writings were so pro–Henry Clay that Clay's partisans invited him to Kentucky to write a campaign biography, which was published in 1831 and sold 20,000 copies.
In 1830 Prentice established the Louisville Journal to rival Shadrack Penn's Louisville Public Advertiser. Among Prentice's quotes about Penn was the following:
We assure the editor of the Advertiser that we shall never under any circumstances covet a personal controversy with him. We do not believe that his readers would be willing to pay him $10 per year for dissertations upon our private character, however bad it may be; and we are quite sure that ours would be loth to pay that sum for daily disquisitions on him, whatever may be his excellencies.…We believe he (Mr. Penn) had not had an article since we came here that was not made up of hints taken from the Journal. Well, we have one consolation—“he that giveth to the poor lendeth to the Lord.”140
Prentice, as a close friend of the Keats family, wrote a gracious obituary for George in the Journal.141 When Isabel Keats died a year and a half later, Prentice composed a poem for her. Although twenty years her senior and married, he was obviously quite taken by Isabel.
(p.233) By 1855, the Whig Party had splintered, and Prentice drifted into the Know-Nothing Party, espousing its nativist, anti-immigration views. On Bloody Monday, 6 August 1855, at least twenty-two Irish and German immigrants were killed, and their sections of the city were partially burned. Although the Journal had fanned the hysteria, Prentice later publicly regretted his role. He was always an ardent pro-Unionist, although he objected to what he believed to be the radical excesses of Reconstruction. A statue of Prentice stands in front of the Louisville Free Public Library, symbolizing his journalistic ability, although many still regret his anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant rhetoric.142 He died 22 January 1870.
William Riddle William Riddle was born 8 October 1810 in Pittsburgh. He served on the Bank of Kentucky board with George Keats. Riddle was active in founding the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, having been a member of the initial 1851 survey party that devised a route over the formidable Muldraugh Hill north of Elizabethtown.143 The success of the railroad cemented Louisville's role as an entrepôt between North and South. Riddle also served as president of Louisville's Board of Aldermen in 1851– 1852. He was buried in Cave Hill Cemetery on 15 December 1855.
Coleman Rogers Born 6 March 1781 in Culpeper County, Virginia, Rogers studied medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1817 he partnered with Dr. Daniel Drake in Cincinnati and worked with Drake to establish the Medical College of Ohio, where Rogers was vice president and professor of surgery. The college started off well, receiving a state charter and enrolling many students. However, Drake and Rogers disagreed over the recruitment effort, which led Drake to push Rogers out of the college and Rogers to challenge Drake to a duel, which he declined. Rogers moved to Newport, Kentucky, and then to Louisville in 1823.144
Rogers served as surgeon of the Marine Hospital for ten years. After helping to form the Louisville Medical Institute and serving one term as professor of anatomy, he declined any further role in it. Rogers was George Keats's personal physician, attending him on his deathbed. Rogers's daughter Jane Ann married Henry Pirtle; his son, Lewis Rogers, became a successful doctor.
After practicing medicine for thirty-two years in Louisville, Rogers died on 17 February 1855.145 A group of his medical colleagues, including Joshua B. Flint, Theodore Samuel Bell, and Urban E. Ewing—all close friends of George Keats—prevailed upon Dr. Henry M. Bullitt to prepare a (p.234) commemorative testimonial for the Kentucky Medical School. Bullitt complied with a thirty-six-page address.146
John Rowan Judge Rowan, who was twenty-five years older than George Keats, was the president of the Kentucky Historical Society, of which Keats was treasurer. They were also trustees of Louisville College. Rowan, born 12 July 1773, moved from Pennsylvania as a child, settling near Bardstown. After studying law in Lexington, he set up a private practice in Louisville in 1795. He was an ardent Jeffersonian, espousing supremacy of the legislature over the judiciary and the executive branch. Representing Nelson County in Kentucky's second Constitutional Convention, he advocated the direct election of the governor and state senators.
In 1801 Rowan killed Dr. James Chambers in a duel near Bardstown. Purportedly, the duel was the result of an argument over which of the two men was the better scholar of dead languages. Judge George M. Bibb was Rowan's second on the “field of honor.” Rowan, a Latin scholar, was charged with the murder of the Greek scholar Chambers, but he was released owing to insufficient evidence.147 The episode did not harm his future career. An 1849 act forbade legislators from dueling, and the practice slowly came to a halt thereafter.
Rowan served in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Kentucky house, the Kentucky Court of Appeals (its highest branch), and the U.S. Senate (1825–1831). Between 1795 and 1818 Rowan constructed Federal Hill, now known as “My Old Kentucky Home,” in Bardstown.148 Stephen Collins Foster (who, according to tradition, was Rowan's nephew) composed “My Old Kentucky Home,” Kentucky's state song, after a visit. Rowan died on 13 July 1843 in Louisville and is buried at Federal Hill.149
George Keats's great-great-granddaughter, Amelia Harrison Bingham, married John Rowan Boone, a descendant of Judge Rowan, in 1929.
James Rudd Rudd was a founder of the Louisville Gas and Water Company, along with John J. Jacob, L. L. Shreve, and John Tyler. Born 13 June 1789 in Maryland, Rudd first came to Springfield, in Washington County, as a child and then moved to Louisville in 1808, having had a cumulative education of just six months. He began working as a carpenter and then became a crockery merchant and real estate investor. He was known as Captain Rudd for having raised a rifle company to support Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans in 1815. Like George Keats, his fellow Harlan Museum trustee, Rudd often guaranteed the notes of his friends. He too (p.235) was wiped out following the Panic of 1837 when he honored other people's debts. Unlike Keats, he was able to recover.
Rudd participated in Kentucky's 1849–1850 Constitutional Convention, where he gave a spirited defense of his Catholicism against a speech by Garrett Davis (later a U.S. senator), who had attacked foreigners and Catholics. Rudd was also a director of the Bank of Louisville and a founder of Cave Hill Cemetery. He died 8 May 1867; his wife, Anna (Nannie), died in 1880. He had a large funeral, which his daughter Anna did not attend because she was studying in Rome at the time.150
The Rudds’ home was demolished in 1884. In 1995, when excavation got under way for the Kentucky Convention Center, bounded by Second, Fourth, Market, and Jefferson Streets, the Rudd's privy pit (outhouse) was discovered in near-perfect condition. The debris around the pit included medicine bottles, smoking pipes, and china. The medicines indicated that family members were dealing with dysentery, hair loss, and lung problems. It remains one of Louisville's most remarkable archaeological finds.151
Leven Lawrence Shreve Shreve was born 27 August 1793 in Maryland. His father moved to Kentucky and became a prosperous farmer near Nicholasville. The father gave Shreve and his brother $5,000 each, which they used to start an iron-mongering business that eventually had branches in Louisville and Cincinnati.
L. L. Shreve was an across-the-street neighbor of the Louisville Hotel, on whose board he sat with George Keats. They also served together on the Bank of Kentucky's board and were members of the Unitarian Church. Shreve and his brother Thomas built an enormous house on Walnut Street, a few blocks from George's; it was the first in Louisville to be lit by gas.
In 1838 Shreve founded the Louisville Gas and Water Company with John J. Jacob and others. He was the first president of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad and was instrumental in the creation of Cave Hill Cemetery. Shreve died in Louisville on 3 April 1864.152
Daniel Smith Daniel Smith, George Keats's partner in operating the lumber mill, maintained a lower community profile. Smith, an Irish Catholic, was born in 1786. He was a Louisville trustee from 1823 to 1827 and served as a councilman in 1828, representing the Second Ward. Keats's ownership interest in the Louisville Hotel was recorded as a Smith and Keats investment, with Daniel Smith's name appearing in the corporate records. Very few accounts of Smith remain, but one is a 30 December 1828 notice in (p.236) the Focus recounting the meetings of the “Friends of Ireland.” Samuel Bell, Worden Pope, and James Rudd were also members.
When Keats's estate was inventoried, one of the appraisers was Felix Smith, Daniel's son. He succeeded his father and continued the Keats and Smith lumber house under the name Smith and Cood.
John S. Snead Born in 1784 in Accomack County, Virginia, Snead and his family moved to Winchester, Kentucky, in 1815 and to Louisville by 1818, arriving at about the same time as Keats. He operated a series of mercantile businesses with several partners, including James Anderson, selling everything from blacksmiths’ anvils to silk dresses to wholesale groceries. Snead served with Keats on the Ohio Bridge Commission. In the 1830s he built a large cotton mill that occupied an entire city block; he later removed it to a different community with better access to power. He was also president of the Bank of Louisville.153 Snead died in November 1840.
James Speed Another of Keats's personal attorneys was James Speed, a member of the large family whose patriarch had created Farmington, a hemp plantation outside of Louisville. Born 11 March 1812, Speed was educated at St. Joseph's College in Bardstown and later at Transylvania's law school. Returning to Louisville in 1833, he established a law practice that he continued, with interruptions, until his death.
Speed's politics were ardently Whig and antislavery. After serving in the Kentucky house of representatives for one term (1847–1848), he ran as an Emancipation Party candidate for the 1849–1850 Constitutional Convention but lost to James Guthrie, who was pro-slavery but nevertheless argued for the state to emancipate its slaves. As the Whig Party dissolved in the 1850s, Speed joined the Republicans and was elected to the state senate in the 1861 Unionist landslide. He worked to keep Kentucky in the Union, serving as a mustering officer for Kentucky volunteers and commander of the Louisville Home Guard.
President Lincoln appointed Speed U.S. attorney general in December 1864. Speed's bona fides as an emancipationist attracted Lincoln, as did the president's desire to have a border state Kentuckian in the cabinet. In addition, Lincoln had known him for years through his association with Speed's brother, Joshua Fry Speed. Speed became increasingly affiliated with the radical faction in the Republican Party and resigned his cabinet post in July 1866, reflecting disagreements with President Andrew Johnson.
(p.237) In 1868 the Kentucky delegation proposed Speed as Ulysses S. Grant's vice-presidential nominee; however, no other state supported him. Returning to Louisville, Speed practiced law and taught it at the University of Louisville.154 He died 25 June 1887.
John Speed John Speed, the proprietor of Farmington, was born 17 May 1772 in Virginia and crossed the Wilderness Road into Kentucky at age ten. In 1808, as a widower, he married Lucy Gilmer Fry, with whom he had eleven of his thirteen children. A son, Philip, married Emma Keats, George's daughter, in June 1841. A grandson, George Nicholas Peay, married Ella Keats, another of George's daughters. Another grandson, John Gilmer Speed, married Mary Clark Poindexter, whose first cousin Alfred Gwathmey had married Georgiana Emily Keats. (Alfred's father was George C., cashier of the Bank of Kentucky during Keats's directorship.) The issue from the Keats-Speed marriages constitute about 90 percent of all the Keats family progeny.
Although John Speed lived several miles outside of Louisville on the Bardstown Pike and devoted himself to his 554-acre hemp plantation, he certainly knew George Keats. Both James Freeman Clarke and Samuel Osgood, the Unitarian ministers, had visited with Speed and written short articles about him. Clarke's autobiography included the following passage:
We next drove to the house of my dear old friend, Judge Speed, who took me about his plantation, and showed us the negro cabins, having in them various comforts and ornaments. My [Bostonian] companion [Osgood] said, “Judge, I do not see but the slaves are as happy as our laboring classes in the North.” “Well,” answered the Judge, “I do the best I can to make my slaves comfortable, but I tell you, sir, you cannot make a slave happy, do what you will. God Almighty never made a man to be a slave, and he cannot be happy while he is a slave.” “But,” continued the Boston visitor, “what can be done about it, sir? They could not take care of themselves, if set free.” “I think I could show you three men on my plantation,” replied Judge Speed, “who might go to the Kentucky legislature. I am inclined to believe they would be as good legislators as the average men there now.”155
“Judge” Speed was a lay judge, appointed as a sort of arbitrator to handle local cases in his part of Jefferson County. Two of the slaves he mentioned, (p.238) Cato and Morocco, were favorites. Morocco was later Abraham Lincoln's coach driver during his 1841 visit to Farmington. After Speed's death and the piecemeal sale of the farm, several of the slaves remained with family members as retainers, one of them as late as 1895.
Speed died 30 March 1840, shortly before the first of the Keats marriages. After a succession of private owners, his home, Farmington, became a museum in 1959, providing an extensive picture of life in Louisville during the first half of the nineteenth century.156
Philip Speed George Keats named his son-in-law, Philip Speed, an executor of his estate; he had a limited role, however, as Georgiana and John Jeffrey acted as administrators. Speed, born 12 April 1819, had married Emma Keats on 9 June 1841 in the Unitarian Church. He was the tenth of Judge John Speed's thirteen children. The newlyweds lived for a year at Farmington.
Before the Civil War, Speed worked with his partner, J. O. Campbell, in the Kentucky Machine Works. During the war, he served as a paymaster in the Union army. Later he became collector of internal revenue for the Fifth District of Kentucky, serving until 1868. He completed his career as superintendent of the Western Cement Association, a precursor of Speed Cement Company and then Louisville Cement Company, which was organized by a nephew, James Breckenridge Speed.157
Philip Speed died 1 November 1882 and was buried in Cave Hill Cemetery. In 1879 he had arranged for Georgiana Keats Jeffrey to be buried in Cave Hill Cemetery and for George Keats's remains to be moved from Louisville's Western Cemetery to join her.158
James Stewart and Willis T. Stewart Born in Kentucky in 1799, Willis Stewart was a wholesale grocer in Louisville and an active Mason. The Willis T. Stewart Lodge, which continues in existence, is named in his honor. He also invested in the Louisville and Elizabethtown Turnpike, the Kentucky and Louisville Mutual Insurance Company, and the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. Both Willis and his brother James Stewart served on the Harlan Museum board with George Keats. In 1836 the Stewarts invested in northern Texas, buying into the failed Peters Colony. The colony was a tract of 10 million acres from what is today eastern Dallas to Denton.159 They were joined in the venture by Louisville investor Thomas Coleman. Willis Stewart was buried 19 March 1857 in Cave Hill Cemetery.160
(p.239) Wilkins Tannehill Born 4 March 1787 in Pittsburgh, Tannehill moved to Louisville, where he served with George Keats as a founder and trustee of the Kentucky Historical Society. Tannehill was an active Clay supporter. In September 1837 he was named Orator of the Day and gave a speech as a cornerstone of the future bridge across the Ohio River was set in place.161 He also served on the board of managers of the Louisville Medical Institute. In the 1840s he moved to Tennessee to establish a Clay newspaper there, the Herald. Tannehill became blind and died in Nashville, Tennessee, on 2 June 1858.
Ariss Throckmorton The proprietor of the Galt House, neighboring Keats's mill, was Major Ariss Throckmorton. Born 5 February 1789, he had served in the military during the Black Hawk War of 1832. Long the proprietor of the Washington Hall Hotel, he developed the Galt House in 1835 on the northeast corner of Second and Main Streets, where it existed until 1865, when it burned. Throckmorton was also a Bank of Kentucky director with Keats, and they were likely friendly rivals in the hotel business.
Throckmorton's literary claim to fame was related to Frederick Marryat's 1843 stay at the Galt House. The story was later co-opted by Charles Dickens. Given the English author's renown, the semiliterate Throckmorton went to Marryat's room to welcome him and was coolly told that when the guest wanted service, he would call for it. In an anecdote attributed to Dickens, Throckmorton found an excuse—the British gentleman was disturbing a lady in her room—to throw Marryat out on the street.
Throckmorton died 25 December 1868.
Robert J. Ward Sr. Ward was born 8 January 1800 on a large farm near Georgetown, Kentucky. He practiced law there and ran for the state legislature; at age twenty-eight, Ward was elected speaker of the house. In due course he moved to Louisville, setting up a business as a commission merchant specializing in cotton. Ward served with Keats as a director of the Bank of Kentucky. He also built a large home less than a block from the Keatses at Second and Walnut Streets.162 He was buried 3 December 1862.
John P. Wenzel Wenzel, who served as president of the Louisville Hotel Company, was also an insurance executive at the Louisville Fire and Marine Insurance Company and an incorporator of the Merchants Louisville Insurance Company. When Prince Maximilian of Wied (a small house in Rhenish Prussia) visited Louisville in 1832, he carried a letter of introduction (p.240) to “Mr. Wenzel, a German merchant,” who escorted him about town.163 Although Germans had settled in Brunerstown (Jeffersontown) in 1797 and, by the 1830s, constituted nearly one-third of the white population, they were slow to assimilate. They spoke German in their churches and in their church schools. However, the Germans made many contributions to Louisville, including the introduction of kindergartens to the school system, the establishment of Louisville's first Jewish temple in 1838, and a number of industries that formed the core of the city's manufacturing base.164 Wenzel was one of only a handful of Germans in George's circle of acquaintances. Few details of his personal life are accessible.
Charles Whittingham Whittingham, a tobacco dealer, traveled to England in 1825 carrying correspondence for George Keats. He was buried 12 March 1872 in Cave Hill Cemetery.
Daniel Wurts Sr. Another incorporator of Merchants Louisville Insurance Company, Wurts was a commission merchant, a form of middleman in entrepôt society. He was an elder in the Presbyterian Church. Of German origin and a leading member of the Kentucky Colonization Society, Wurts hired only free blacks in his household and business, an unusual practice.165 Over the course of three decades, the Kentucky Colonization Society freed and resettled about 650 Kentucky slaves in Liberia, one of whom became its president. A town north of Monrovia is named Clay-Ashland, for Henry Clay's home near Lexington.
John P. Young Young was a competing lumber merchant who had partnered with George Keats as early as 1829 in land transactions. He then acquired some of the mill equipment after Keats's death. Little else is known about him.
Naomi Joy Kirk Although George Keats did not know Naomi Kirk, who lived a century later, she spent a major portion of her adult life studying him. Born 24 August 1890 in Otisco, Indiana, Kirk taught high school in New Albany, Indiana, until her retirement in 1953. She then served two terms in the Indiana legislature (1954–1957) as a Democrat. Suffering a cerebral hemorrhage in late 1957, she died 20 January 1958 in New Albany. In 1933 Kirk registered a master's thesis at Columbia University entitled (p.241) “Shared Porridge: The Life of George Keats.” She spoke about the subject on 1 January 1934 before the Filson Club, which published an extract of her talk that year.166 In 1938 Maurice Buxton Forman published the eight-volume Hampstead edition of The Poetical Works and Other Writings of John Keats, an update of his father Harry Buxton Forman's work. Buxton Forman included Naomi Kirk's “Memoir of George Keats,” a greatly compressed version of her master's thesis.167 For the next decade, Kirk attempted to find a publisher for the full text before abandoning the effort. She died without heirs and without a copyright. Her original thesis is on file at Columbia's Butler Offsite Library.
In 1972 Kirk's niece, Helen Scripture Speed of Lexington, donated a copy of Kirk's updated material to the Filson Historical Society (formerly the Filson Club) in Louisville. Mrs. Speed's mother, Bess Kirk Scripture, was Naomi Kirk's older sister. Coincidentally, Mrs. Speed's husband, Percy Hays Speed, was descended from Thomas Speed, an uncle of Philip Speed.168 Another copy of Kirk's work is in the hands of Mrs. Speed's daughter, Elizabeth “Betsy” Speed Rich of West Glacier, Montana. Betsy Rich recalls her “Aunt Omie” (actually her great-aunt) as a well-known English teacher.169 (p.242)
(1.) Faculty Office, Calendar of Marriage Allegations, Lambeth Palace Library, in Robert Gittings, John Keats (Little, Brown, 1968), 4. His father, Jonathan Abbey, a farmer in Healaugh, moved farther east to Skipwith, where Abbey was christened on 13 August 1765. Gittings, John Keats, 33.
(2.) As early as 23 August 1820, Abbey wrote to John Keats, “Bad debts for the last two years have cut down the profits of our business to nothing” (KL, 2:331).
(3.) On 8 March 1827 Abbey was pickpocketed by Sarah Forrester, age sixty-three; she took a handkerchief worth three shillings. At the Old Bailey trial in April 1827, he still described himself as a tea dealer. Forrester was found guilty and confined for one year.
(4.) KL, 1:62.
(5.) Jean Haynes, “Richard Abbey's Resting Place,” Keats Shelley Review 24 (October 2010): 12. His age was listed as seventy-five, which implies a 1761–1762 birth; this is at odds with the Marital Allegation in Lambeth, indicating a 1765 birth. It is possible that Haynes meant Mare Street, in South Hackney.
(6.) Joanna Richardson, “New Light on Mr. Abbey,” KSMB 5 (1953): 26–31.
(7.) JK to GK and GAW, 16 December 1818, KL, 2:8.
(8.) Joanna Richardson, Fanny Brawne: A Biography (Vanguard Press, 1952), 26. This sketch was compiled from a synopsis of Richardson's book, whose factual underpinnings have been challenged by subsequent scholars.
(9.) Gittings is the proponent of Fanny as the subject of “Bright Star”; not all scholars are certain.
(10.) A cornelian is a semiprecious stone, normally of a reddish hue.
(11.) Richardson, Fanny Brawne, 140.
(12.) Jane Campion's 2009 movie Bright Star, for which Andrew Motion was script adviser, portrays her in this sympathetic light.
(13.) A 12 July 1890 memorandum from Charles (Carlino) Brown Jr., son of Charles Brown, to Fred Holland Day (1864–1933) provided the bulk of Brown's biographical data. KC, 1:liv–lxii.
(14.) Carlino was describing his mother here.
(15.) Eric Hall McCormick, The Friend of Keats: A Life of Charles Armitage Brown (Victoria University Press, 1989), 213.
(16.) The term apoplexy may have been used interchangeably with epilepsy; he had suffered a seizure in 1834 in Florence. It also may have been a stroke.
(17.) Gillian Iles, “New Information on Keats’ Friend Charles ‘Armitage’ Brown and the Brown Family,” Keats Shelley Journal 40 (1991): 146–66, provides extensive background on Brown.
(18.) “History of the House,” Keats House website.
(19.) GK to Dilke, 12 May 1828, KC, 1:315.
(20.) KC, 1:lxxx–lxxxvi.
(22.) Frederick Locker-Lampson, My Confidences (Smith, Elder, 1896).
(23.) A copy, inscribed as having been donated by John Gilmer Speed, resides at the Keats Shelley House, Rome. It is possible that Emma Keats Speed commissioned the copy. Her correspondence indicates a curiosity as to Fanny Keats Llanos's appearance. Keats House, Hampstead, holds two other copies.
(24.) Marie Adami, Fanny Keats (Oxford University Press, 1937), 1–293.
(25.) KC, 1:cxvii–cxxxvi.
(26.) The painting was donated to the Keats Shelley House, Rome, by John Gilmer Speed. It appears that Henry Wylie retrieved it from John's estate and sent it to George in Louisville.
(27.) GK to Dilke, 11 May 1832, KC, 2:4.
(28.) Sue Brown, Joseph Severn: A Life (Oxford University Press, 2009).
(29.) KC, 1:cxxxvii–cxliv; see also Edmund Blunden, Keats's Publisher: A Memoir of John Taylor (Jonathan Cape, 1936).
(30.) St. Martin Outwich Marriage Register, Guildhall Library.
(31.) St. Thomas Apostle Baptism Registry, Guildhall Library.
(32.) James Wylie's parents were James Wylie and Anne Porteous, innkeepers. Two of Ann Griffin Wylie's nephews, Henry and Frederick Griffin, sons of Robert Griffin, married Mary Porteous and Jane Porteous, respectively, in Canada, although the Porteous family was of Scottish descent. The Porteous-Griffin and Wylie-Porteous connections are fully documented, whereas the link between James Wylie and Ann Griffin is inferential.
(33.) National Archives, Public Records Office, 12/4424, 4487.
(34.) St. John the Baptist Burial Register, London Metropolitan Archives.
(35.) Georgiana's scrapbook includes a French visa application for Charles dated August–November 1819 in which his age is stated as 19 ans. His Shoreditch death certificate, dated 5 June 1839, states his age as thirty-nine.
(36.) West Hackney Baptism Register, London Metropolitan Archives; Parliamentary Papers, vol. 133.
(37.) GK to Dilke, 12 July 1828, KC, 1:316.
(38.) His date of birth is inferred from his burial record. He was buried in Nunhead on 30 October 1846 at age sixty-three.
(39.) Sometimes also spelled Keysell.
(40.) Marriage Register, St. George Bloomsbury, London Metropolitan Archives.
(41.) JK to GAW and GK, 14 February–3 May 1819, KL, 2:68–69. Rollins dates the passage 3 March, whereas Maurice Buxton Forman, in The Poetical Works and Other Writings of John Keats (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1938), 7:241–42, dates it 18 February.
(42.) JK to GAW, 13–28 January 1820, KL, 2:247.
(43.) FK to GK, 31 May 1826, KC, 1:299.
(44.) GK to FK, 24 March 1831, MKC, 64.
(45.) Several excellent Audubon biographies, especially that of Alice Ford, were used as sources for this extremely brief sketch, which focuses only on his early years in Kentucky and the overlap with George Keats.
(p.300) (46.) Earlier, the Mechanics and Traders Bank had been headed by David James. Letters from James to William G. Bakewell, dating from 24 June 1841 to 1 November 1843 (FHS), relate to boat charters and commercial shipping matters. James's niece, Mary Ann James, married Clarence George Keats on 12 January 1853, coincident with Bakewell's presidency of the partially James-owned bank.
(47.) Thomas W. Bakewell, “Sketch of the Life of Thomas Woodhouse Bakewell Written by Himself,” ed. Bruce Sinclair, Filson Club History Quarterly 40 (1966): 235–48. See also The Family Book of Bakewell * Page * Campbell, comp. B. G. Bakewell (Wm. G. Johnston, 1896), 33–40.
(48.) Historical Sketches, Montgomery County (Pennsylvania) Historical Society.
(49.) The [Louisville] Focus, eight days later, recorded it as a Monday evening, 17 November 1828.
(50.) Family Book of Bakewell, 43–44.
(51.) Bakewell, “Sketch of the Life,” 245.
(52.) Ella Keats Peay obituary, following her death on 12 March 1888. The unidentified clipping is likely from the Louisville Courier-Journal.
(53.) HOFC, 271–72.
(54.) LCD, 1832–1838.
(55.) HOFC, 442–45.
(56.) LPP, 305–18.
(58.) Formerly Switzerland, but annexed by France.
(59.) Alice Ford, John James Audubon (University of Oklahoma Press, 1964), 104–5.
(60.) John Goff, “The Last Leaf,” Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 59 (1961): 331–42.
(61.) U.S. Genealogy Net, 2001.
(62.) KC, 1:283n. Rollins cites Paxton's Supplement to the New Orleans Directory (1824), in which Briggs is colisted with Gordon and Forstall, merchants. He appears in the 1827 and 1830 directories with them, but not in the 1835 directory.
(63.) Jerry W. Markham, A Financial History of the United States (M. E. Sharp, 2001), 1:149.
(64.) New Orleans Daily Picayune, 4 April 1864, 2.
(65.) Garden District National Register 71000358 (1971).
(66.) New Orleans Bee, 3 April 1874 (in French).
(67.) New York Times, 20 April 1903.
(68.) LPP, 252.
(69.) George Yater, Two Hundred Years at the Falls of the Ohio (Filson Club, 1987), 107.
(70.) Laws of Kentucky, 1834, chap. 448, sec. 32d, Acts of the General Assembly.
(71.) Buchanan family records.
(72.) HOL, 184–85.
(74.) New International Encyclopedia; Marcus Buford, A Genealogy of the Buford Family in America (San Francisco, 1903), 213–14.
(75.) GK to FK Llanos, 12 July 1828, MKC, 49–50.
(76.) Bullitt was disbarred in 1817 after challenging Ben Hardin to a duel. Although the disbarment was lifted, he left the law in 1820.
(77.) E. Polk Johnson, A History of Kentucky and Kentuckians (Lewis Publishing Co., 1912), 2:607.
(78.) Most Kentuckians would compress this sentence, saying the Bullitts and Gwathmeys were “kinfolks.”
(79.) LPP, 120–25.
(80.) George Baber, in HOFC, 483–85; see also Josiah Stoddard Johnston, Memorial History of Louisville (American Biographical Publishing Co., 1896).
(81.) Robert M. Ireland, in EOL, 150.
(82.) Diana Stradling and J. Garrison, American Queensware—The Louisville Experience, 1829–37 (Chipstone, 2001), 1–7. John Bull is variously referred to as John Bell, but it is most likely the same person.
(83.) Kentucky General Assembly Statutes Book.
(84.) HOFC, 252–53.
(85.) John C. Pillow, in Louisville Courier-Journal, 1989 (date missing).
(86.) Robert D. Richardson Jr., Emerson: The Mind on Fire (University of California Press, 1995), 175.
(87.) The passage was included in John's 25–27 September 1818 letter to his brother Tom, written during his Scottish tour with Charles Brown.
(88.) Carl W. Stover and Jerry L. Coffman, “Seismicity of the United States, 1568–1989” (U.S. Geological Survey paper, 1993).
(89.) Audrea McDowell in EOL, 322. She cites Robert A. Burnett, “Louisville's French Past,” Filson Club History Quarterly 50 (April 1976): 5–27, and LPP, 216–19.
(90.) Henry Wylie to Dilke, 15 February 1837, KC, 2:25n.
(91.) LCD, 1838 and 1843.
(92.) John Wilson Townsend, Kentucky in American Letters, 1784–1912 (Torch Press, 1913), 119–20. Townsend obtained certain materials relating to Georgiana Keats Jeffrey, apparently found in Lexington, that he subsequently sold to the Houghton Library at Harvard. These include a photograph of Georgiana's grand-daughter Alice Lee Keats. See also Johnston, Memorial History of Louisville, 2:64, 78.
(93.) Johnson, History of Kentucky and Kentuckians, 2:997.
(94.) LCD, 1843–1844.
(95.) Dr. U. E. Ewing, slave leasing document dated 6 September 1832, FHS.
(96.) GK to Dilke, 1 March 1838, KL, 2:29.
(97.) Dr. Emmet Field Horine, Daniel Drake, Pioneer Physician of the Midwest (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1961), 327–28, 334–35.
(98.) Boston Medical and Surgical Journal 70 (1864): 205–9.
(99.) Timothy Flint, Recollections of the Last Ten Years in the Valley of the Mississippi (1826; reprint, Southern Illinois University Press, 1968).
(101.) Louisville Board of Trade, “A Tribute to the Memory of William Garvin,” 1869.
(102.) John Findling and Jennifer Lavery, A History of the First Unitarian Church of Louisville, Kentucky (n.p., 2005), 1–12.
(103.) James Guthrie to George Meriwether, 7 December 1831, FHS.
(104.) Drawn from an article by George H. Yater in EOL, 362–63.
(105.) Anna Russell Des Cognets, Gov. Garrard of Kentucky (James M. Byrne, 1898).
(106.) Various postings in Ancestry.com.
(107.) Laws of Kentucky, 1836.
(108.) Nathaniel Hardy, 1795–1848, published in 1995 for the 200th anniversary of his birth by S. I. George, Lucy Brice Daust, and B. E. Clement, copy in FHS.
(109.) Nathaniel Hardy to Caroline Hardy (Miles), 3 October 1836, letter 2 in Nathaniel Hardy, 1795–1848.
(110.) M. W. Caldwell and G. L. Bell Jr., “Of German Princes and North American Rivers: Harlan's Lost Mosasaur Snout Rediscovered,” Netherlands Journal of Geosciences 84–3 (2005): 207–11.
(111.) Miami University alumni listing.
(112.) HOL, 203.
(113.) James Guthrie resided on Walnut Street, one block east.
(114.) This version was published as an article by Lucian V. Rule in Historic Towns of the Southern States, ed. Lyman P. Powell (G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1900), 528–30.
(115.) Basil W. Duke, History of the Bank of Kentucky, 1792–1895 (John P. Morton, 1895), 39–42.
(116.) EOL, 429; LPP, 26.
(117.) U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health website.
(118.) Helen McIver, Genealogy of the Jaffrey-Jeffrey Family (published privately, 1925), 3. His parents were John Armstrong Jeffrey and Elizabeth McConnell Jeffrey. The date is consistent with Jeffrey's tombstone in Louisville's Cave Hill Cemetery. Scotland had no government mandate to record births until 1855. ScotlandsPeople.gov has assembled the available parish baptismal records; however, none documents Jeffrey's date or place of birth.
(119.) Obituary in the Lexington Daily Press, 20 February 1881, KC, 1:ciii–civ.
(120.) Alexander Jeffrey and John Jeffrey Letters, FHS.
(121.) John Jeffrey to Alexander Jeffrey, 24 December 1855, Alexander Jeffrey Letters, FHS.
(122.) John Jeffrey Papers, FHS.
(123.) HOFC, 273
(124.) Smithsonian American Art Biographies, 2010; New York Times obituary, 1 February 1889.
(125.) Carl F. Kramer, Visionaries, Adventurers and Builders (Sunnyside Press, 1999), 83–84.
(126.) Biographical Dictionary of the U.S. Congress.
(128.) Peter Richard Guetig and Conrad Selle, Louisville Breweries (Louisville, 1995), extracted in EOL, 117.
(129.) Margaret L. Merrick, in EOL, 657.
(130.) Knickerbocker Magazine, 1855, 27–36.
(131.) Obituary, New York Times, 15 April 1880.
(132.) HOFC, 277.
(133.) Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans, ed. Rossiter Johnson and John Howard Brown (Biographical Society, 1904).
(134.) EOL, 697. The unsigned piece cites Donald B. Towles, The Press of Kentucky, 1787–1994 (Lexington, 1994).
(135.) Johnston, Memorial History of Louisville, 1:491–94.
(136.) Duke, History of the Bank of Kentucky, 52.
(137.) Multiwords.de—a Prather family website.
(138.) John Prentice, The Laird of Stone, prenticenet.com.
(139.) Letter from Thomas Bakewell, 26 March 1834, in Susan Lewis Shaffer, Letters, as cited by Ford, John James Audubon, 440.
(140.) HOL, 183–84.
(141.) Prentice was a Mason (HOFC, 285), and George may have been one as well.
(142.) Thomas D. Clark, in EOL, 722–23.
(143.) Kincaid A. Herr, The Louisville & Nashville Railroad, 1850–1963 (University Press of Kentucky, 2000), 6.
(144.) Horine, Daniel Drake, 123, 126, 153–63.
(145.) HOFC, 254; LPP, 327–32.
(146.) Dr. Henry M. Bullitt, An Address of the Life and Character of the Late Dr. Coleman Rogers, M.D. (Bull and Brother, 1855).
(147.) J. Winston Coleman, The Rowan-Chambers Duel (Winburn Press, 1976), 1–15.
(148.) Steven Tackler, “John Rowan and the Demise of Jeffersonian Republicanism in Kentucky, 1819–31,” Register of the Kentucky Historical Society 78 (Winter 1980): 1–26.
(149.) LPP, 237–45.
(150.) Melville O. Briney, “History of James Rudd,” Louisville Times, 5 March 1959.
(151.) Kentucky Heritage Council Newsletter, 1995.
(152.) EOL, 820.
(153.) HOFC, 240.
(155.) James Freeman Clarke, Memorial and Biographical Sketches (Houghton Mifflin, 1878), 217–18.
(156.) Speed, Records and Memorials, 93–108.
(159.) Catherine Connor and Seymour V. Connor, “Kentucky Colonization in Texas,” Register of the Kentucky Historical Society (January 1953–October 1954): 29.
(160.) The cemetery has multiple entries for James Stewart, the likeliest being a 19 April 1867 interment.
(161.) Lewis Collins and Richard H. Collins, Historical Sketches of Kentucky (L. A. and U. P. James, 1848), 41. Lewis Collins's original 1848 book was updated through 1874 by his son Richard.
(162.) HOFC, 563–65.
(163.) Maximilian, Prince of Wied, “Travels in the Interior of North America, 1832–1834,” in Early Western Travels, 1748–1846 (Arthur H. Clark, 1906), 22:157–58.
(164.) C. Robert Ullrich et al., “Germans,” in EOL, 338–39.
(165.) Karolyn Smardtz Frost, I’ve Got a Home in Glory Land (Farrar Straus Giroux, 2007), 77–79.
(166.) Naomi J. Kirk, “George Keats,” Filson Club History Quarterly 8 (1934): 88–96.
(167.) John Keats, The Poetical Works and Other Writing of John Keats, ed. Harry Buxton Forman, rev. by Maurice Buxton Forman, 8 vols. (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1938), 1:lxxiii–xcvii.
(168.) Thomas Speed, who authored Records and Memorials of the Speed Family, was a grandson of Thomas Speed of Cottage Grove, Bardstown.
(169.) Letter from Betsy Speed Rich to the author, 1 February 2007.