Hon. Joseph M. Bigger
Source; Biographical Sketches
from, "Kentucky, History of the State"
Main Author; William Henry Perrin 1887
Submitted By : Vera Burnham
Hon. Joseph M. Bigger, lawyer, and one of the ablest jurists of the State of Kentucky, was born in Simpson County, Ky., on the 22nd day of September, 1824. He received the rudimentary education in the common schools of Barren and Warren Counties, Ky., and in early life conceived a taste for the profession of the law. In order to gratify this inclination, he in 1846, entered the office of Judge E. I. Bullock, of Hickman, Ky. Under the instruction of this able precepter, he pursued his legal studies until his admission to the bar, which was granted in 1847. He at once commenced practice in Ballard County, where he remained until 1853, and from whence he came to Paducah, his present home. The legal record of Judge Bigger presents a series of continued successes until he has attained to the proud distinction of one of the foremost men of Kentucky, a State already famous for able men. In 1858 he was elected to the position of judge of the equity and criminal court, for the First Judicial District of Kentucky, then comprising the area of fifteen counties. In this responsible office he served with acceptance for three years and until the court was abolished as a result of the civil war. In 1866, he was elected to the Kentucky State Senate, to fill an unexpired term, after which he declined a re-election. In 1877 his ability was agian recognized by his election to a seat in the lower house of the state legislature to which he was re-elected in 1879, and in the organization of that body was made Speaker of the House, which position he filled with marked abitity. Judge Bigger is of commanding appearance a man of true culture, and a highly moral and social character. He is a member of the I.O.O.F. having served as Deputy Grand Master and is now Grand Master of that fraternity for the State of Kentucky. He is also a member of high standing in the Masonic fraternity and an official member of the Christain Church. In politics Judge Bigger was an ardent and warm supporter of the Whig party, and so continued until the banner of that noble party was furled and laid at rest. He then joined the Democratic party and has steadfastly supported the candicates and principles of that party ever since. When the Democratic party divided in that ever memorable contest of 1860, and one wing nominated John C. Breckinridge, and the other Stephen A. Douglas for president against the much lamented Abraham Lincoln the nominee of the Republican party, Judge Bigger, although a Kentuckian "to the manner born" carried out his convictions of what he believed to be right, and gave his earnest support to that gifted and idolized Kentuckian, John C. Breckinridge. In 1846, in Fulton County, Ky., Judge Bigger was married to Miss Fannie daughter of Richard Stephens of Fulton County.