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George Robertson Manuscript, 1818-1870 (bulk 1858-1870)

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George Robertson Manuscript


1818-1870 (bulk 1858-1870)


Kentucky Historical Society. Special Collections & Archives. Frankfort, Kentucky 40601-1931

Conditions Governing Access note

Access at KHS only. Use microfilm, transcriptions or images when available.

Preferred Citation Note

[Identification of item], George Robertson Manuscript, 1818-1870 (bulk 1858-1870), 86SC07,Library Special Collections and Archives, Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort.


1 volume


Robertson was a native of Mercer County. He attended Transylvania University for a year before reading law in the office of his brother-in-law, Samuel McKee, an U.S. Congressman. Robertson began the practice of law in Lancaster in 1809. He won election to Congress for three successive terms, beginning in 1817. In 1829 he became Chief Justice of the Kentucky Court of Appeals. After fifteen years in the post, Robertson resigned to practice law privately in Lexington and teach law at Transylvania. He was a friend of Abraham Lincoln and Lincoln's father-in-law, Robert S. Todd, and also served as Lincoln's attorney at one time. Robertson was reelected as Chief Justice in August, 1864 during rising unrest over the imposition and administration of martial law in Kentucky. He held the post for seven more years, until 1871, when he retired due to ill health. He died three years later.

Scope and Content

This is a manuscript volume, presumably in the handwriting of George Robertson, a member of Congress from Kentucky and twice Chief Justice of the Kentucky Court of Appeals, of his autobiography. Accounts from his private law practice are also in the volume. The autobiography was published posthumously in 1876. The volume contains a longhand draft of the majority of the later publication, begun in 1858 and concluded in 1870. (Robertson's son, Judge Alexander Robertson, finished the book, of which a copy is held in the KHS library.) Many changes are evident, which apparently are all reflected in the published version. The volume also contains accounts apparently kept by Robertson in his law practice from 1818 to 1832.

Arrangement: Original order

Creator's Occupation: U.S. Congressman, Chief Justice, Ky. Court of Appeals, Attorney

County: Mercer; Garrard; Fayette


  • Robertson, George, --1790-1874 -- Manuscripts
  • Legislators -- United States -- 19th century
  • Judges -- Kentucky -- 19th century

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