JOHN C. BAGBY, attorney at law, was born in Glasgow, Barren county, Kentucky, January 24, 1819. His father was Rev. Sylvanus M. Bagby, a native of Louisa county, Virginia, born September 29, 1787. His grandfather was Richard Bagby, a native of the same county, and his great grandfather was John Bagby, a native of Scotland, who went from there to Wales, where he married and lived a number of years, and then came to America in colonial times, accompanied by his family, and settled in Virginia. He settled in Louisa county, where he became a prominent planter and slave owner. Richard Bagby, the son of John Bagby, and grandfather of our subject, was also a planter and passed his entire life in Louisa county. His wife was Miss Sarah Kimbrough, a native of the Old Dominion and of Welsh descent. The father of our subject, Sylvanus M. Bagby, was left an orphan at all early age and was cared for by an uncle, John Bagby, of Rockbridge county, Virginia. He learned the carpenter trade, and in 1808 removed to Kentucky, and was one of the early settlers of Glasgow. While there, in June, 1813, he married Miss Frances S. Courts, a native of Caroline county, Virginia, born May 17, 1793, her father, John Courts, being a native of England, and an early emigrant to Virginia. His wife was Frances Winn, a native of Culpeper, Virginia.
Sylvanus M. Bagby was converted in early youth and joined the Baptist Church. He became a preacher of that denomination, but did not give up his trade as a carpenter, which he followed during the week, preaching on Sundays. He remained a member of the Baptist Church until 1828, when he accepted the religious doctrines of Alexander Campbell, whom he assisted in organizing a Christian Church in Barren county, and was from that time forward a minister of that denomination. He resided in Glasgow until 1842, when, with his wife and eight daughters, he journeyed overland to Illinois, stopping at Rushville, where he engaged in the mercantile business. Later he purchased a farm, a portion of which is now included in the city, upon which is located the railroad depot. He died in 1848, having lived a useful, pious and honorable life. His wife passed away in 1858. She reared ten children as follows: Albert K., who still resides in Glasgow; Martha A. Hall; Frances H. Montgomery; Clara Ramsey; Sarah C.; Elizabeth Lusk; Mary M. Doyle; Emily C., Zorelda VanHosen, and our subject, John C.
In the school of Barren county our subject, John C. Bagby, was educated, supplementing the same by an attendance at Bacon College, which at that time was located in Georgetown, but later was removed to Harrodsburg. He continued at this college until his graduation as a civil engineer, in 1840, when he returned to Glasgow, and taught school five years, devoting this spare moments to the study of law with Judge Christopher Tompkins of that town. He was admitted to the bar in 1846 and in April of that year came to Rushville and began the practice. In 1847 he formed a partnership with William A. Minshall, which partnership continued until 1848, when Mr. Minshall was elected Circuit Judge. Mr. Bagby, with the exception of the time spent in Congress, continued the practice of law until he was elected Circuit Judge in 1885. He cast his first presidential vote for William Henry Harrison, and was a prominent Whig and Free Soiler until 1856, when he was one of seven to organize the Republican party in this county. He continued a Republican until 1872, when he branched off and voted for Horace Greeley, since which event he has affiliated with the Democratic party. He has filled various offices of trust, and in 1874 was elected a member of Congress. He served as Circuit Judge six years, entering upon his duties in 1885. He has been a member of Rushville Lodge, No. 9, A. F. & A. M., for forty-six years, and was Master of the lodge eleven terms. He was one of the organizers of Stapleton Chapter, No. 9, R. A. M., and has been a member of the order of the Sons of Temperance. On October 1, 1850, he married Miss Mary A. Scripps, a native of Cape Girardeau county, Missouri, and daughter of George H. and Mary (Hyler) Scripps. They have been blessed with nine children: Mary Frances; John S.; Virginia Ellen, who died at the age of eleven years; Albert; Morris; George Henry, who died aged twenty-seven years; William Ray, who died in infancy; Catherine B.; Arthur F. and Edwin H.
Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, Biographical Review Publishing Co., Chicago, 1892, pages 150-151.
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