(Mayfield, KY - June 21, 2012) - On this date in 1862, Graves County Unionists were rallying behind their candidates for the August state elections.
The Union men endorsed Circuit Judge Rufus King Williams of Mayfield for the court of appeals -- then the Bluegrass State's highest court. They wanted Ballard County Judge Charles Marshall to succeed him. Major P.D. Yeiser of Paducah was their choice for commonwealth's attorney. The trio was "eminently entitled to the support of all loyal men," Thomas H. Mayes declared in a June 16 letter published in the Louisville Journal, the state's most important pro-Union newspaper.
Mayes also shared the news of a recent Union meeting in Mayfield. Local lawyer Lucian Anderson, an ex-state legislator, delegate to the 1860 Democratic national convention and the son of Mayfield founder John Anderson, fired up the crowd with a two-hour oration delivered "in his usual happy and impassioned style...to an attentive and appreciative audience."
Afterwards, the Union men got down to business, naming Mayes chairman and Richard Neal, secretary, of the gathering.
The Union men adopted a series of resolutions, including one that declared "the Constitution and laws of the United States are the supreme laws of the land, and that all who have given aid and comfort to the rebellion...are guilty of treason and should be dealt with accordingly, but for the masses we earnestly ask for an amnesty and pardon."
They also resolved "that the rebellion...was not authorized by any grievance on the part of the Government and now stands condemned by the calm and deliberate judgment of all men who are at heart for preserving inviolate the Constitution of the United States."
Too, the Unionists urged "that every true patriot should stand by the Government in the use of all Constitutional means in putting down this unholy rebellion and thereby restore peace and tranquility to the country."
Furthermore, the Union men condemned "the doctrine of secession" as "a political heresy, with no constitutional warrant, and destructive of the peace and tranquility of the Government."
Confederate guerrilla raiders were disturbing "the peace and tranquility" in Graves County and the rest of the Purchase, according to the Unionists. They decried guerrillas as violators "of civilized warfare." Guerrillas and civilians who aided and abetted them were "outlaws and should be treated as banditti by the Government," they insisted.
Too, the Unionists resolved "that secessionism, like abolitionism, is unauthorized by the Constitution."
Anderson, though a slave owner, would ultimately turn against human bondage. He would win election to Congress in 1863, help start the Republican Party in the Bluegrass State and, in 1865, vote for the 13th Amendment to the Constitution that ended slavery.
Even so, the majority of Anderson's friends and neighbors would remain pro-slavery and pro-Confederate to the end of the war in 1865.
Like many Kentucky families, the Andersons were divided. Lucian's brother, Ervin Anderson, was staunchly secessionist. Yet Ervin and Lucian evidently reconciled after the war. Ervin's son, L.B. Anderson, studied law with his Uncle Lucian and went into practice in Mayfield, according to Battle, Perrin and Kniffen's 1885 History of Kentucky.
Lucian Anderson's wooden home -- the oldest house in Mayfield -- is on North Fifth Street. It is the residence of Martha Nell Anderson, a descendant of Ervin Anderson.