Message Boards > Localities > North America > United States > States > Kentucky > Sandi Gorin's Kentucky Biographies
Subject: CORBETT 1282 Sumner Coil Morrow Smith McDonald, Ballard Co.
Author: Sandi Gorin
Date: Saturday, July 18, 1998
Memorial Record of Western Kentucky, Volume I and Volume II, Lewis Publishing Company, 1904, pp. 118-124. Ballard Co. [Portrait p. 119]
JACOB CORBETT Through many years the name of Corbett has figured conspicuously and honorably in connection with the official history of Kentucky. Our subject, his father and grandfather have been honored with various positions of public trust and responsibility, and have taken an active and beneficial part in molding the policy of county and commonwealth. Over the record of their public careers there falls no shadow of wrong or suspicion of evil, their capability and fidelity to duty being such as to win for
them admiration and high regard. Jacob Corbett, the grandfather, a native of Virginia, removed to Hickman county, Kentucky, at an early date in its development, and not only aided in its material improvement but also discharged various public services in a most commendable manner. For some time he was deputy county clerk there. In 1842 he removed to what is now Ballard county and was the
first county clerk. So loyal was he to the trust reposed in him that he filled the position for nearly forty years, being re-elected for many consecutive terms. He married Elizabeth Sumner, a native of South Carolina, and to them were born two sons and five daughters. Jacob Corbett
was a man of great force of character, of keen foresight and marked energy, qualities which were exerted in behalf of the general good as well as for his personal advancement and success. He died in Blandville about 1886, at the advanced age of eighty-three years. Thomas H. Corbett, the father of our subject, was born in Hickman county, Kentucky, January 8, 1830, and was educated in the old Kentucky Military Institute, near Frankfort. When a young man he began the practice of law in Blandville, where he continued in active connection with the profession until 1876, when he removed to Paducah, Kentucky, where he
engaged in the tobacco commission business for a few years. For ten terms he served in the general assembly, being elected first in 1855. He became one of the active working members of the house, and his opinions carried
weight in its councils. He made a close study of the questions affecting the weal or woe of the state, and left the impress of his individuality and patriotic spirit upon the legislation enacted during his service as
representative. In 1887 he was nominated and elected register of the land office for the state of Kentucky, serving in that position for four years, after four years' service as deputy there. In 1893 he was appointed by
President Cleveland as receiver of the land office at Guthrie, Oklahoma, and after acting in that capacity for four years, returned to Kentucky and was appointed register of the land office by the state auditor, serving in
that office at the time of his death. At about the time of the outbreak of the Civil war he was elected commonwealths' attorney, but did not serve during the full term, as he was strongly in favor of the Confederacy. As had been indicated, his political support was always given the Democracy, and throughout the whole of his public service he labored with conscientious fidelity for what he believed to be the best interest of the state and its people. His sincerity was never called in question, and he commanded the respect of even his political enemies. In early manhood Thomas H. Corbett wedded Rebecca H. Coil, a daughter
of Adam and Dorcas A. (Morrow) Coil, who were of Virginian birth. Both Mr. and Mrs. Corbett were devoted members of the Christian Church, and he also belonged to the Masonic fraternity. His death occurred in Frankfort, May 9, 1902, and thus passed away one who had figured prominently in public affairs for many years, and who left behind him an untarnished reputation. His wife is now living in Frankfort. They were the parents of nine children, of whom Jacob Corbett is the second. The eldest died in infancy,
as did the third, fourth and eighth members of the family. The fifth is Hal S. Corbett, a lawyer of prominence in Spokane, Washington; and James L. is residing with his mother, who is now sixty-seven years of age. Jacob Corbett was reared and educated in Blandville, and from 1869
until 1873 he served as a page in the Kentucky house of representatives. He studied law under the direction of the Hon. James D. White, of Blandville, and in July, 1878, was admitted to the bar. He has served as city attorney of Blandville, and has been prominent in political circles.
He acted as private secretary to Governor Blackburn during that gentleman's entire service as chief executive of the state, and was also private secretary of J. Proctor Knott during six months of his term in the gubernatorial chair. He also served as secretary of the first Kentucky state board of equalization, and was enrolling clerk during one session of the house of representatives, and also sergeant at arms during one session. During one year he was deputy in the office of the state land register, and thus again and again has he been called to public service by those who
recognize his capability and appreciate his thorough devotion to the general good and to the trust reposed in him. He has also labored earnestly and effectively for the welfare of his party, and was secretary of the Democratic state central committee in 1888. From 1893 until 1896 he
was cashier in the government land office in Guthrie, Oklahoma, and then resigned in order to engage in the practice of law in Spokane, Washington, where he remained until 1898, when he returned to Kentucky, locating in
Wickliffe for the practice of law. In 1901 he was elected county prosecuting attorney, in which position he is now serving, being a faithful custodian of the legal interests of the county. In 1893 Mr. Corbett was married to Mrs. Emma V. Smith, nee McDonald, a native of Milan, Tennessee. They reside upon a farm about a mile and a half from Wickliffe, and Mr. Corbett is engaged in practical farming, in
connection with the practice of law. He belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and to the Knight of Pythias fraternity, and also holds membership in the Christian Church. Fortunate is the man who comes of an
honorable and distinguished ancestry. Mr. Corbett has been so blessed, and in character and in talents he is a worthy scion of his race. His own career has reflected credit upon the family name which had previously become associated with the records of honorable service in Kentucky.