Home > 000828. William Garrard, 000829. Mary Naughty > James Garrard: National Cyclopedia of American Biography

James Garrard: National Cyclopedia of American Biography

Source: National Cyclopedia of American Biography (New York: James T. White and Company), 13[1906]:2.

GARRARD, James, second governor of Kentucky (1796-1804), was born in Stafford county, Va., Jan. 14, 1749, son of William and Mary (Lewis) Garrard. He was a descendant of Peter Garrard, a French Huguenot, who after the revocation of the edict of Nantes emigrated to England and being naturalized as a British subject, became a man of prominence and influence. Two of his grandsons, one of them William, the father of Gov. Garrard, came to America and are regarded as the progenitors of all the Garrards in this country. James Garrard served with distinction in the revolutionary war, was a member of the Virginia legislature, where he zealously supported the bill for the establishment of religious liberty, and having emigrated to Kentucky in 1783, settled near Paris, and became an influential factor in shaping the early history of that commonwealth. He was a member of the convention which met at Danville in 1757, looking to the formation of a new state; he served in the conventions of 1787 and 1788, representing Bourbon county, and was a member of the convention of 1792 which framed the first constitution of the state of Kentucky. Having been previously ordained to the Baptist ministry, he served as chairman of a committee of the Elkhorn Baptist Association in 1791, which presented to the convention a memorial and remonstrance in favor of excluding slavery from the commonwealth by constitutional enactment. Mr. Garrard served several times as a member of the legislature, and in 1796 was elected governor of Kentucky, which position he filled by re-election until 1804. He administered the affairs of the state with distinguished ability, and by his presence, wisdom and vigor promoted peace and prosperity and endeared himself to the people, who named a county in his honor. The most important events of his term of office were the abolition of capital punishment except for murder in the first degree, the passage of the famous Kentucky resolutions, and the adoption of a new state constitution. Gov. Garrard was married in Stafford county, Va., Dec. 20, 1769, to Elizabeth Mountjoy and had twelve children. His son James (1773-1838) was a distinguished officer in the war of 1812, and a member of the Kentucky legislature, 1813-17. He died at his residence, Mount Lebanon, Bourbon co., Ky., Jan. 19, 1822, and in the winter of that year the legislature ordered a monument to be erected to his memory.

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