Henry County Biographies

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Reuben T. Durrett

10390 HENRY CO - DURRETT, REUBEN T - Durrett, Rawlings, Duret, Durret, Bates

#10390: The Biographical Encyclopaedia of Kentucky, J. M. Armstrong &
Company, 1878, Cincinnati, Ohio.Reuben T. Durrett, Lawyer, was born January
24, 1824, in Henry County, Kentucky, and is the son of William Durrett and
his wife, Elizabeth Rawlings, both natives of Virginia. His grandparents
were among the early settlers of Kentucky and became residents of Henry
County when it was yet a part of Jefferson. The Durrett family is of French
origin, the name being spelled in France, Duret and Durret. Many of the
family were writers and authors of considerable celebrity in that country.
He was sent from the schools of his native county to Georgetown College
where he remained from 1844 to 1846. He then went to Brown University where
his education was completed and where he graduated with the degree of A.B.
in 1849. In 1853 his Alma Mater conferred upon him the degree of Master of
Arts in compliment of his continued progress in scholarly attainments. In
the fall of 1849, he entered the law department of the University of
Louisville, delivered the valedictory address, and took the degree of
Bachelor of Laws in 1850, and immediately entered on the practice of his
profession, at the bar of Louisville, where he has been since, actively and
successfully engaged. In 1852, he was appointed Assistant Elector,
advocating the claims of Gen. Scott for the Presidency, and canvassed his
district; in 1853, was elected member of the City Council, holding the
position for one term, but has had but little aspiration in the direction
of political preferment, confining his time and energy mainly to his
profession, in which he has been eminently successful, acquiring a
considerable fortune, upon which he might at any time retire from active
life. He has been noted for his scholarly attainments; is a poet of
considerable ability; has delivered many fine addresses which have been
considered literary models; has been selected on many occasions to deliver
orations, many of which were published in daily journals. In 1857, he
purchased a one-half interest in the Louisville "Courier"; for two years
conducted the editorial department, distinguishing himself with the
Southern side of national politics. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he
was confined on account of his faith, for a time, at Fort Lafayette.
Probably more than any other man, he contributed to the establishment of
the Public Library of Kentucky, drawing up the charter for that institution
in 1870, and securing its passage by the Legislature in the following
spring; and to his executive ability and skill the scheme for the
establishment of the Library, and the museum connected with it, is mainly
owing, he conceiving the original plan and pushing it to its final
execution. He is an able lawyer, is a scholar of varied and extensive
learning, is one of the most finished and accomplished speakers of the
Louisville bar, and is an elegant writer. Mr. Durrett was married December
16, 1852, to Miss Elizabeth H. Bates, only daughter of Caleb Bates, of
Cincinnati, and has two living children.