James C. Calhoun
Sketches from, "Kentucky, History of the State"
Main Author; William Henry Perrin 1887
Submitted by: Vera Burnham
James C. Calhoun, the oldest representat
now living , of the pioneer days in Paducah, is the gentleman whose name
introduces this sketch. He was born in Livingston County, Ky., on the 25th
of July, 1811, where he was reared to early manhood, meantime receiving
such advantages for education as were
supplied in the pioneer schools of the country. His father died in Livingston County, and he with his widowed mother came to Paducah in 1828. James C. for a long time engaged as salesman in a merchantile house; later followed steamboating on the Ohio and Tennessee until 1836, when having saved some money, he embarked in the dry goods trade in Paducah, but shared in the general wreck of business circles in 1837. In 1840 he was appointed to the office of sheriff of McCracken County, and served continuously for eight years. Pressed by the misfortunes growing out of the panic of 1837, he took benfit of the bankrupt law in 1842 for about $8,000, and by the year 1847 he had paid to his creditors the entire amount on which he had bankrupted. In 1851 he was elected as the first sheriff under the new constitution, serving two years. In 1856 he embarked in the wholesale grocery trade, which he
prosecuted until the beginning of the war. He was again elected to the office of sheriff of the county in 1865, and in the year following, while in the discharge of his official duties was shot, sustaining a wound from which he has never recovered, notwithstanding which he filled his office with acceptance to the close of the sixth year, making a total service of sixteen years as county sheriff. At the close of his term as sheriff in 1870 he fell behind $10,000, owing to his not being able to give his personal attention to his business, from the wound received in 1866. He had due him in uncollected taxes for the last term of sheriff about $10,000, and about $2,000 in fee bills, all of which he surrendered to his creditors, together with his wife's property in her own right, to the value of $6,000. He now presides as judge of the Paducah city court, an office to which he was elected in 1882. Judge Calhoun is a man of strong mental ability remarkably well preserved, a genial companion, and one of the most highly respected citizens of Paducah. He was married in February, 1842, in McCracken County, to miss Mary E. Bowles, who died in October, 1881. He has five living children, viz;
Patrick E.,Andrew B., Thomas J., Miss Oreta T. Calhoun and Mary E. Rieke.