The Descendants of Ambrose Geoghegan



Taken from "Who Was Who in Hardin County" compiled and prepared by Hardin County Historical Society. Copyright 1946.

Ambrose Geoghegan, Senior

Ambrose Denton Geoghegan, senior, was an Irishman, born in Dublin, March 30, 1753. He grew up in Ireland, where he was well educated and graduated as an engineer. As a young man he emigrated to America, landing at Baltimore on May 6, 1777, some ten months after famous old Liberty Bell had rung out the glad tidings of the Declaration of Independence. Six years to a day after his landing he married Peggy Zelman. After her death, he again married, in 1784, and resided at Hagerstown, Md., until about 1804. Then with his sons, Denton, Thomas and John H., he joined the westward migration to the new lands of Kentucky. For a short time he stopped at Crab Orchard, in Lincoln county, and while there purchased of Armistead Churchill the Hynes Station tract at Elizabeth-town and came on to make his home at the old site of Fort Hynes. He was an accomplished surveyor and a finished scholar, socially prominent, possessed of considerable wealth, "and by his example and under his influence the state and tone of society was greatly improved" (Haycraft). Coming from a country that for many generations had struggled for its own liberation from the British crown, he took deep interest in politics and pride in the victory of the American colonists, which he had witnessed while residing near the scenes of some of the heroic activities of the Revolutionary War and the shaping of the new government. In early Elizabethtown he organized a Whig club and followed the fortunes of that political faith. Haycraft records that the first Fourth of July celebration he remembered "was gotten up" by Geoghegan, and "freely participated in by all the gentry of the county." This statement is significant as the county then embraced all of the present Hardin and Larue and approximately half of Grayson, Hart, Meade and Edmonson. The celebration was a big affair---a barbecue dinner, speech making, patriotic toasts and general jubilation. They began their preparations early. A County Court order, dated Monday, May 25, 1807, shows that on petition of Geoghegan and nineteen other prominent citizens, permission was granted to use the Court-house in celebrating "the anniversary of American is customary among the citizens of the United States." Geoghegan died here and was buried in the Catholic cemetery at St. John church.

His son, Thomas, died soon after coming to Elizabethtown, leaving only a daughter, who married John B. Wathen.

Denton, the eldest son, was a large farmer, and for a number of years served as a justice of the peace and as sheriff of the county. Denton had considerable litigation with Thomas Lincoln, father of Abraham Lincoln, over the hewing of timbers for a mill. He died April 5, 1850. He had two sons and several daughters. Among these were Ambrose D., a well-to-do farmer, whose daughter, Margaret, married Henry M. Hagan; Rebecca, who married Col. Charles Cecil, who with his sons, H. A., T. G., and A. D. Cecil, incorporated Cecilian College in January of 1867; Margaret, who married John Vertrees, son of Joseph, son of Capt. John.

John H. Geoghegan, son of Ambrose, Sr., was also a farmer. He inherited the old homestead at Hynes Fort, and died there January 11, 1854, at the age of 75 years. He had six sons and two daughters. Three of the sons were doctors---Thomas D., who practiced at West Point; Ambrose E., who practiced at Leitchfield, Elizabethtown and River View, and Denton, who practiced at West Point with his brother for a while and later at Elizabeth-town, where he died. Robert D. and William S. were Elizabethtown merchants. John H., Jr., was a farmer in Nelson county.



"If you teach them where they come from, they won't need as much help finding where they are going!"
               Cordelia Carothers " Aunt Dee" Geoghegan (1894-1987)

2002-2007 by Ann Allen Geoghegan

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