Emmet W. Bagby
Sketches from, "Kentucky, History of the State"
Main Author; William Henry Perrin 1887
Submitted by: Vera Burnham
Emmet W. Bagby, lawyer, was born on June
7,1845, in Glasgow, Ky. His father, Albert K. Bagby was a native of Kentucky,
of Scotch and Irish Decent, and a mechanic by occupation. His mother, Martha
A. Wooten, was a native of Barren County,Ky., of Virginia parentage. E.W.
Bagby received a good english and classical education, which he completed
in Urania College, of his native town. He studied law with his uncle, Hon.
John C. Bagby, of Rushville, Ill., an ex-congressman from the Tenth District
of that State. In 1866 he was chosen principle of the second ward public
schools of Paducah. After occupying that position for two sessions, in
connection with John W. M'Gee was placed in charge of the Paducah Male
University, and in the meantime engaged in the study of law under Hon.
J.Q.A.King. He was admitted to practice July 7,1868, at the bar of Paducah,
but did not enter regularly into the practice of his profession until 1869.
In 1868 he began his political career espousing the cause of Seymour and
Blair. In 1870 he entered the ranks of the Republican party, believing
the principles, on which the organization is based, to be conducive to
the greatest good in his section and to the country at large.
In 1872 he made the race for city attorney, of Paducah, and was defeated to that office by a majority of ninety votes. In 1872 he was Republican presidential county elector; and in 1876 was district elector on the Republican ticket, exerting his influence in favor of Hayes and Wheeler, and engaging in a joint discussion with the Democratic elector throughout his congressional district. In 1878 he made his third race for the city attorney of Paducah, and was defeated by eight votes. He made the fourth
race for city attorney in 1882 independently , and was elected by a majority of 500 votes. he was the Republican candidate for congress in the First Congressional District of Kentucky in 1878, and in 1883, without his solicitation, was placed before the Republican State Convention in Kentucky for nomination for Governor. Mr Bagby is a man of decidedly advanced views.
In 1880, in Princeton, Ky., he made a speech against the then existing capitation tax law, relating to the State fund for colored schools, collected of colored persons, and advocated the creation of a general State school fund by taxation, and its pro rata distribution among all the pupil children of the comm-wealth, irrespective of their race or color. Soon after this speech he had occasion to defend a suit against a colored man for the collection of his capitation school tax; of this suit he made a test case, carried it to the United States Circuit Court, where Justice Baxter decided the capitation tax law unconstitutional. This decision was the cause of awakening the Kentucky legislature, then in session, to the necessity of a more efficient law, and that body immediately passed the law now in force, which was first voiced by Mr. Bagby in his Princeton speech. He is an able and elegant public speaker, possesses many excellant qualities of mind, is controlled by manly and upright principles,
prepossessing in person and manners, and has the necessary traits of character which insure his sucess and popularity. He was married. in 1873, to Miss Ellen D. Saunders, daughter of Dr. Rueben Saunders, one of the most worthy physicians in Paducah