The namesake of Kentucky’s Magoffin County, Beriah Magoffin was born in Harrodsburg, Ky. April 18, 1815. The son of an Irish immigrant, Beriah graduated Centre College in 1835 and the law school at Transylvania College in 1838 where he earned a degree in law.
Magoffin was elected Kentucky’s 21st governor in 1859 and although he supported states rights, including their right to secede from the Union, he was prevented from calling a convention to consider Kentucky’s possible secession by the states mostly pro union legislature. Magoffin did advocate for Kentucky’s right to remain neutral during the Civil War conflict rejecting both the Union and Confederate calls for military volunteers.
Because of his ongoing conflict with the state legislature regarding Kentucky’s position in the Civil War, Magoffin resigned the Governorship in 1862. In 1865, he supported Civil Rights for blacks and urged the sanctioning of the 13th amendment to the constitution, which officially abolished slavery. Governor Magoffin passed away on February 28th 1885 and was buried at the Spring Hill Cemetery in Harrodsburg, Ky along side his wife Ann Shelby Magoffinn. They share a beautiful White Bronze Monument.
His side reads:
OUR WAR GOVERNOR BERIAH MAGOFFIN BORN APRIL 18, 1815 DIED FEB 28, 1885
Her side reads:
ANN SHELBY WIFE OF BERIAH MAGOFFIN BORN AUG 5, 1818 DIED MAY 7, 1880 “MY CHILDREN ARE MY JEWELS.”
The 3rd side reads:
“WHAT ATTITUDE SHALL KENTUCKY OOCUPY IN THIS DEPLORABLE CONFLICT. LOOKING TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES, THE NATURE OF OUR INSTITUTIONS AND THE CAUSE OF THIS WAR, I THINK KENTUCKY HAS A RIGHT TO ASSUME A NEUTRAL POSITION.”
LET HER BE A PEACEMAKER AND WHEN OPPORTUNITY OFFERS, AS A MEDIATOR, PRESENT TERMS OF PEACE AND OF SETTELMENT, ALIKE HONORABLE TO BOTH THE CONTENEDING PARTIES.”
The 4th side reads:
“WHILE OPPOSED TO THE PLOLICE OF THE GOVERNMENT AND THE MEASURES USED TO PRESERVE THE CONSTITUTION, WE WOULD NOT EXCHANGE THE GOVERNMENT OF OUR FATHERS FOR ANY EXPERIMENT ON EARTH”
“WE OFFER OLY AS TO THE REST MEANS OF PRESERVING THE UNION”
“MAY GOD YET PRESERVE AND BLESS AND GUIDE US BY HIS WISDOM IN THIS DREAD HOUR”