Thomas Stevenson Pettit papers, 1864-1932

Descriptive Summary

Thomas Stevenson Pettit papers, 1864-1932
Pettit, Thomas Stevenson, 1843-1931.
1 reel of microfilm (partial), .4 cubic ft.
Beckham, John Crepps Wickliffe, 1869-1940.
Brown, John Young, 1835-1904.
Bryan, William Jennings, 1860-1925.
Butler, Marion, 1863-1938.
Clay, Cassius Marcellus, 1846-1913.
Goebel, William, 1856-1900.
Hearst, William Randolph, 1863-1951.
Leslie, Preston Hopkins, 1819-1907.
McCreary, James B. (James Bennett), 1838-1918.
Pettit, Thomas Stevenson, 1843-1931.
Peoples Party (U.S.).--National Committee.
Kentucky.--Constitutional Convention (1890-1891)
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Prisoners and prisons.
Kentucky--Politics and government--1865-1950.
United States--Politics and government--1865-1900.
Chronologically arranged.
Finding Aid Author
Processed by: Archives Staff ; machine-readable finding aid created by:Eric Weig
University of Kentucky

Collection Overview

Biography / History
Journalist, Politician. Pettit, a native of Frankfort, began his journalistic career working in a print shop. In 1864 he purchased the Owensboro MONITOR. His editorials criticizing the Republican Party and the war policies of the Lincoln administration quickly resulted in an arrest by military authorities and his subsequent banishment to the Confederacy. Upon his return after the War, Pettit found his newspaper office had been destroyed by the federal army. He reestablished the MONITOR and entered politics, serving as reading clerks in both the Kentucky and U.S. House of Representatives, and as private secretary to Governor James B. McCreary.
Pettit made an unsuccessful bid for Congress as a Democrat in 1882 and represented Daviess County as a delegate to the 1890-1891 state constitutional convention. Pettit left the Democratic party in the 1890's, first winning election as an independent to the General Assembly, then running as the People's Party candidate for governor in 1895. Pettit campaigned for Goebel in 1899 while the People's Party nominated someone else. The People's Party objected to "Goebel's law," the measure sponsored by Goebel in the General Assembly establishing partisan control over local election boards. The law resulted in the invalidation of Republican William S. Taylor claim of victory in the 1899 election.
Scope and Content
The papers of Thomas Stevenson Pettit consist of correspondence, documents, speeches, a scrapbook and an autograph album. Correspondence, which makes up most of the papers, focuses mostly on political topics. Included are letters and documents related to his Civil War arrest, and letters from John Young Brown, Cassius M. Clay, Jr., Senator Marion Butler of N.C., William Randolph Hearst, P.H. Hopkins of Glasgow, Ky., and James McCreary. Of particular interest is an exchange of letters between Pettit and William Goebel when the latter was the Democratic candidate for governor in 1899. There are also a number of letters from the national People's party concerning the 1900 presidential race and their candidate, William Jennings Bryan (also nominated by the Democrats).
The papers also contain a scrapbook and an autograph album from the 1890-1891 constitutional convention. The speeches relate to religion, education and politics. Three letters from Governor J.C.W. Beckham relate to Pettit's appointment and other political matters.

Restrictions on Access and Use

Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.

Researchers are encouraged to request collections at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Questions? Contact us at


No items have been requested.

Enter a comma-separated list of the tags you want associated with this request.

Researchers are encouraged to request collections at least 48 business hours in advance for retrieval. Questions? Contact us at