Owen County Historical Records
Contributed By: Thomas S. Fiske
Times were hard in 1866 when a new U.S. Congressman was elected for Kentucky’s Fifth Congressional District. The Civil War was over, and a Democrat had killed a sitting U.S. President. In many areas all, a Republican candidate for office had to do, was point to his opponent and say, “He belongs to the party that killed Lincoln.” That usually ended the argument.
But this was not true in the district that stretched through Owen County and included a part of Louisville. It was called the “Louisville” district. Owen County citizen Asa Porter Grover, a local politician, farmer, banker and attorney was well-enough known to win the congressional election in an area that was defiantly Democrat.
He went to the 40th Congress and served his district well. What was the importance of the 40th Congress? That was the Congress in which President Andrew Johnson was impeached. But it would not have been that Congress if Grover had his way. He and all other Democrats voted against the impeachment. But they were outvoted in the House 126 to 47.
Johnson was trying to implement Lincoln’s plan of rapid reconstruction in the South with pardons for most Rebels and a reinstatement of property (except slaves) and return to the old government rule. Radical anti-slavers in the Northeast saw this as a return to slavery practices and wanted to exact revenge. They were both right and wrong. Johnson himself could be rough and crude, so he made few friends. In the end he was impeached but not removed by the Senate by only one vote.
It was an exciting time to be a Congressman. After serving just two years, Grover lost the next election by a half vote. He never ran for Congress again, but took an active part in State politics.
There is an interesting note by Grover’s name when he was seated. It said, “Charges of disloyalty unsustained . . .” Anyone who named his firstborn son in 1861, Jefferson Davis Grover might be suspected of disloyalty to the Union.
Note: There is a biographical record of each member of Congress. Probably Congressmen (and women) supply these comments. Here is the one about Owen County’s Congressman as found on the Internet at:
GROVER, Asa Porter, a Representative from Kentucky; born near Phelps, Ontario County, N.Y., February 18, 1819; attended the common schools; moved to Kentucky in 1837; attended Centre College, Danville, Ky.; taught school in Woodford and Franklin Counties; studied law; was admitted to the bar in 1843 and commenced practice in Owenton, Ky.; member of the State senate 1857-1865; member of the Democratic State convention in 1863; elected as a Democrat to the Fortieth Congress (March 4, 1867-March 3, 1869); resumed the practice of law; moved to Georgetown, Scott County, Ky., in 1881 and continued the practice of law until his death in that city on July 20, 1887; interment in Georgetown Cemetery.
How he got to Georgetown is another story.
Thomas S. Fiske
March 15, 2007