Home > 000828. William Garrard, 000829. Mary Naughty > James Garrard: Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States

James Garrard: Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States

Source: Robert Sobel and John Raimo, editors, Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States
1789-1978
, Volume 2 (Westport, Connecticut: Meckler Books, 1978), pages 508-09.

Garrard, James, 1796-1804

Born on January 14, 1749 in Stafford County, Virginia, son of Colonel William, a successful planter, and Mary (Naughty) Garrard; a Baptist. Brother of Mary Anne Mountjoy; several half-brothers and sisters from his father’s two other marriages. Married Elizabeth Mountjoy on December 20, 1769; of his children, John, Nancy and Sarah died in infancy; other children were William, James, Mary, John Mountjoy, Daniel, Elizabeth, Anne, Margaret and Maria. Garrard probably fought in the Revolution, and was a Colonel of the militia in 1781. Elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in 1779. Moved to Stoner Creek in Fayette (later Bourbon) County, Kentucky in 1783 or 1784. Built “Mt. Lebanon,” his permanent home. A devout Baptist, Garrard served as minister of Cooper’s Run Church, and helped to organize other churches. He was also a prosperous farmer and active in public undertakings. Elected to the Virginia House of Delegates from Fayette County in 1785, he supported Jefferson’s and Madison’s struggle for religious freedom. Member of 1785, 1787 and 1788 conventions which sought Kentucky’s statehood; member of the 1792 Constitutional Convention. Elected second governor as a Jeffersonian Republican in 1796 by the state’s electoral college on its second ballot, after Benjamin Logan had won the first ballot plurality. Doubts as to the legality of Garrard’s election led to a revision of the state constitution in 1799. A popular but not outstanding governor, Garrard denounced the Federalists’ Alien and Sedition Acts and supported the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798 and 1799. During his administration Kentucky grew rapidly with many new towns and counties. Garrard was reelected by popular vote, as prescribed by the new constitution, in 1800; he polled 8,390 votes, while Christopher Greenup received 6,745, Benjamin Logan 3,995, and Thomas Todd 2,166. The Circuit Court System was inaugurated in 1801, and an insurance company was chartered with banking powers in 1802. After he came under the religious influence of Toulmin, his Unitarian Secretary of State, Garrard was dropped by his church and the Baptist Association. After leaving office in 1804, Garrard lived quietly on his estate; he sought no other public office. Ill for several years, Garrard died at home on January 19, 1822 and was buried in a family graveyard. Bibliography: G. Glenn Clift, Governors of Kentucky (Cynthiana, Ky., 1942); Anna Russell des Cognets, Governor GARRARD of Kentucky: His Descendants and Relations, revised by Lou des Cognets Jr. (Princeton, 1962); Kentucky Gazette [Lexington] (January 31, 1882); Orlando Brown, “The Governors of Kentucky (1792-1824),” Register of Kentucky Historical Society, vol. XLIX, no. 167 (April, 1951). Garrard’s public papers are in the Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort.

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