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JIM: A little something to spice up Monday morning.

The outcome of the battles between Democrat Frank Wolford and Republican Hugh Franklin "Frank" Finley, who fared no better challenging Wolford in politics than Rebel John Hunt Morgan did in war.


"...and politics -- the damnedest in Kentucky!"

In 1882, Adair County native Col. Frank Lane Wolford, late of Civil War fame, unsuccessfully sought the nomination on the Democratic ticket for the Clerk of the Court of Appeals, a plum position in what was then the highest court in the Bluegrass. Shortly thereafter, however, the 11th Congressional District was created and as Judge H.C. Baker penned years later, "the concerting opinion of the Democracy of the State pointed to [Wolford] as the man to lead the party in the fight, to place [the 11th] in the Democratic column."

Wolford handily won in 1882 and again in '84, but failing health prevented his running in 1886, and Republican Hugh Franklin "Frank" Finley won the seat.

Come 1888, however, the tough old veteran of battlefields and political rough and tumble was back on the stump, challenging Finley. In March of that year, the Democratic Louisville Times ran this piece:

The Maysville Republican consoles itself with the hope that Frank Finley will mop up the face of the earth with Frank Wolford. Just twenty-one years ago Frank Finley undertook to do that very thing, with the result that the old war-hoss run him through like a threshing machine. Since that time Frank Finley has never permitted himself to get in hearing of Frank Wolford's voice, and it is not probable that he ever will.

(Mr. Finley had learned first hand the hard truth of Judge Baker's words: "No man ever engaged in a political debate with Wolford when he was in his prime, who did not come out of it second best.")

By 1888, however, the old Colonel had seen threescore and 11 summers and his many battles in war and in the political arena had caught up with him. When the smoke and dust settled from the general election that November, incumbent Finley's vote tally stood higher than did Wolford's. Turning again to the inimitable words of Judge Baker,

[Wolford] had an enthusiastic walk over for two terms, but, in his third he met his Waterloo. This was not strange as he was never known to write a letter to a constituent during his two terms of office.

Another source, the Interior Journal of Stanford, KY (August 6, 1895), flatly refuted that statement, adamantly contending that Wolford did indeed answer one letter, "to say he was [in Washington] to attend to public matters and not to private affairs."

Compiled by JIM

This story was posted on 2012-04-16 05:49:26
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Col. Frank Wolford: Soldier-Statesman of Adair Co., KY

2012-04-16 - Photo courtesy Vonnie Kolbenschlag. Col. Frank Lane Wolford, was a high profile character in the Civil War era. Elected to state and federal government positions after the war, Wolford tried to bring healing to the nation by supporting amnesty for soldiers who fought for the Confederacy. He died at home on Greensburg Street in Columbia, KY and his funeral was held in the Adair County courthouse because the crowd was too large for any church. He is buried in the Columbia City Cemetery. Click "Adair Soldier refused to apologize to the President" for his story, by Vonnie Kolbenschlag
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