Lawyers and Lawmakers of Kentucky, by H. Levin, editor, 1897. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago. Reprinted by Southern Historical Press. p. 57. Franklin County.
BAYLESS L. D. GUFFY, of Frankfort, associate justice of the court of appeals, was born in Muhlenberg county, Kentucky, December 24, 1832, but was reared in Logan County. His father, James Guffy, was a native of Pennsylvania, and with his parents came to Kentucky about 1798, the family locating in Logan county among the pioneer settlers. The ancestry is Scotch-Irish, and the grandfather, Alexander Guffy, was a Revolutionary soldier. James Guffy was a farmer and school-teacher, and married Malinda Jameson, of the Virginia family of that name. Judge Guffy obtained his early education in the schools of Logan county and supplemented it by a course in Urania College, of Glasgow,
Kentucky. He studied law with Judge J. J. Harrison, of Hartford, Kentucky, where he was admitted to the bar in September, 1856, after which he began practice in Morgantown. With the exception of a short period spent in Lincoln, Nebraska, he remained a member of the Morgantown bar until 1894, when he was elected to the bench of the court of appeals. His practice was extensive and of an important character. He was remarkable among lawyers for the wide research and provident care with which he prepared his cases. At no time has his reading ever been confined to the limitation of the questions at issue; it has gone
beyond and compassed every contingency and provided not alone for the expected, but for the unexpected, which happens in the courts quite as frequently as out of them.
Mr. Guffy was appointed assistant assessor of Butler county, and served as police judge of Morgantown; in 1860 he was United States deputy marshal and took the census of the county; in 1862 he was elected county judge and re-elected in 1866, again in 1878 and 1882, serving in all for sixteen years. In 1868 he was the Republican nominee of the
second congressional district for the position of elector on the Grant and Colfax ticket. In 1891 he was the nominee of the People's party for attorney general of Kentucky, and in 1894 was the Republican candidate for the appellate court, his opponent for the nomination being Hon. John Feland, of Owensboro, Kentucky. The nominee of the Democratic party was Judge W. L. Reeves, of Elkton. Although the usual Democratic majority of the district is thirty-seven hundred, Judge Guffy won the election by a vote of fourteen hundred, and is now a member of the
highest court of Kentucky. His logical grasp of facts and principles and of the law applicable to them has been another potent element in his success, and a remarkable clearness of expression, and adequate and precise diction which enables him to make others understand not only
the salient points of his argument or decision, but his every fine graduation of meaning, may be accounted one of his most conspicuous gifts and accomplishments. In ante-bellum days Judge Guffy was a Democrat, but during the war
was unionist, and for some time afterward affiliated with the Republican party. In 1878 and 1882 he was elected county judge on the Greenback ticket, and has labored for the progressive interest of the People's party, wherein he has believed its measures best calculated for the common good. In 1894 he was nominated on the Republican ticket, although he is a firm believer in the free and unlimited coinage of silver. His identification with the various parties is indicative of the character of the man, who fearlessly advances his views and gives to his honest convictions his unwavering support, without regard to the effect it may have upon his personal popularity and chances for office; and this very quality has made him "trusted and honored by every party with which he has been connected".
Judge Guffy is very happy in his home relations. He married Miss Mahala A., daughter of Andrew B. and Alice (Harris) Monroe, of Ohio county. Her father was a cousin of Hon. T. B. Monroe, judge of the United States district court, and her grandfather, Justinian Harris, was the first sheriff of Ohio county. The Judge and his wife have six
daughters and three sons, the latter all practicing lawyers. Estill D., is now assistant secretary of state; Speed is a member of the Morgantown bar, and Bayless L., was admitted to the bar in Frankfort by the court of appeals in 1896. The Judge is a worthy Christian gentleman, who since 1848 has been an active member of the Methodist Episcopal church, an able lawyer, and a judge of unquestioned probity and uprightness.