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Lawyers and Lawmakers of Kentucky, by H. Levin, editor, 1897. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago. Reprinted by Southern Historical Press. p. 103. Trigg County.
JOHN R. GRACE, who served on the bench of the court of appeals, was born in Trigg county, Kentucky, in 1834, and throughout his life he made his home in that locality. He studied for the bar, having chosen the law as his life work. He recognized the opportunities afforded by the bar, thoroughly prepared himself for the practice and became one of the illustrious characters of the history of the bench of Kentucky. He practiced successfully until 1868, when he was called to the bench of the circuit court and by re-election was continued in that office for twenty-six years, a record rarely paralleled in the history of Kentucky jurisprudence. His term then was ended only by his election to higher office. In November, 1894, he was elected associate judge of the court of appeals, and resigned his position on the bench of the circuit court in order to assume the duties of appellate judge on the first Monday in January, 1895. Nature seemed to have designed him for the work to which he devoted his life; his mind was one of the distinctively judicial order, and his varied legal learning and wide experience in the courts, the patient care with which he ascertained all the facts bearing upon every case which came before him, gave his decisions a solidity and exhaustiveness which usually made them final. They were strictly impartial, simple in style, exact in diction. Few men have been more deeply or sincerely mourned than was Judge Grace by the bench and bar of Kentucky and by his old time friends of his native county. He died suddenly in Frankfort, February 20, 1896. A friend of many years said: "Kentucky has lost one of her best and greatest men. He was the kindest and purest man with whom I have had anything to do in life, and he was always gentle and just." In addressing the court of appeals, Judge Pryor, then chief justice, said: "Although with us but a brief periods of time, by his mild and gentle manner, Judge Grace endeared himself to every member of this court. In the consultation room his clear statements in the exposition of the law gave undoubted evidence of his ability and learning as a judge. No court ever lost a member whose judicial career was purer than that of our beloved associate."