Title: Judge Edward Polk Hill
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00024768/00001
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Title: Judge Edward Polk Hill
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Coleman, Caroline Hill ( Interviewer )
Hill, Edward Polk ( Interviewee )
Publisher: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: March 3, 1982
Copyright Date: 1982
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Bibliographic ID: UF00024768
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
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MARCH 3, 1982


Caroline Hill Coleman

The following interview occurred on March 3, 1982 at apart-
ment 2-C, Creston House Condominium, Crescent Beach, Florida.
Judge Hill served two terms as County Judge of Floyd County,
Kentucky (Prestonsburg, the county seat) (1938-1945); Three
terms as Judge of the 31st Judicial Circuit (1946-1963); and
one term as Judge of the Kentucky Court of Appeals representing
the 31st District (1964-1973).
During the Judge Hill's term of office, Kentucky had only
two judiciary levels, the Circuit County and the Court of Appeals.
The interviewee is the father of the interviewer, Caroline
Hill Cloeman.

Jan-May Judge Edward Polk Hill
324 Sickle Court
Frankfort, Kentucky 30601

May-Jan 2-3, Creston House
Route 5
St. Augustine, Florida 32084

Interviewee: Judge Edward P. Hill
Interviewer: Caroline Coleman
Date: March 3, 1982
Place: Crescent Beach, Florida

C; I'm Carol Coleman interviewing my father, Edward Pope Hill II on March 3, 1982

at Cresten House, 2C, Crescent Beach, Florida. Daddy, today we're aa talk

a little bit about eastern Kentucky and how it was to be a judge and politician

up there. -F~~t^he Hill family has a long history of being involved in

politics. Who was the first one that you know of that was involved in it?

H: My great-grandfather, Edward P. Hil,,w4e was sheriff of Floyd Countya at a

time when Floyd County weas&, encompassed most of eastern Kentucky. He

died in 1852 at the age of thirty-two or -three years of age. ) he was in

the military prior to his political work.

C: We still have his sword, don't we?

H: Yes.

C: Anid-the your father, Edward Prebble Hill, was in politics too, wasn't he?

H: Yes.

C: What did he do? What offices did he hold?

H: He was of the magistrate, a member of the fiscal court for about one or two ,,.

four-year terms. W't then he ran for county judge and was elected three consecutive

times. -/our year terms.

H: Ending-'about 1929.

C: 4te-4-r-- ow history of eastern Kentucky talks about his work on

getting the roads started in eastern Kentucky. It ended up being Met-TUfTr r. Do

you know about that? Thz4at I gu 4 -e.i.ng-the-.[o

H: Yes, he was instrumental in getting the right-of-way. He was for constructing a
mpr;\ trail in U.S. twenty-three through the Bull Creek section of Floyd County.

And Jack at the time wg1 a prominent lawyer, later a congressman, prevailed

over Se Governor Fields thattmt=me to build it up in the / 4 L river route)

Because it accomodated some of his relatives. So that's what was done. They built

Page 2

. it up the river route. -t later the federal engineers built it through the

Bull Creek section. Ai Mack 6A\ -l,- the federal engineer at the time, was

for building it through the Bull Creek section but the local governor prevailed and
built in 0i Ti1-' e Tg N k.orVs t-/

C: ft6a have they changed it now to go the way that Pappa wanted to take it?
H: Yes. b ) o -he\c
C: % I've heard the story about pi-l, ..peo.-. prLnd..

Pappa k. hrW' my grandfather) T^at-w les"d in on horse

back and maki-g th v te another way What's that story?
H: ",We ,i/../,, in those-days, the labor unions didn't have much influence. They

weren't organized a lot of the ...

C: The early B

H: Before that. V ._you had a good many colored people at Wheelright and Whalen

and the company bosses would usually vote them. k Dad was standing at the

voting place and they kept sending the same colored people in to vote. He finally

pulled out a little thirty-two pistol and made some of them walk back.

C: Was that one of his campaigns?
H: Ak* Ye S.
C: So he wasn't o let them vote two or three times against him, was he?

H: That worked.
in h'o C: M. did you campaign in any of his elections? Did you learn how to campaignAwhen

you were a boy,-irh- ra- es?--
H: No, I didn't have the opportunity. I was in school part of the time.

C: *MI I know he ran against Dr. Walk Stumball What's that story? He ended up with

a farm in Ohioa How'd you manage that?
H: jL he was defeated in 1929, I believe,'by Doc Stumball. 't* four years later, he

ran against Doc Stumball again. 1% Dr. Stumball had a lot of friends and he and his

brother had been prominent doctors. 1'WiJe was real strong in e left river


Page 3

8;. section of the county. ia^s Dad, at that time, 4N8 had lost a lot of money in
the coal business and was not able to finance his campaign. ;*i.he had e ___
se STOi eS no: tdr
0s mortgage on his property *( n --It f I ing ts talkiP to

Clayburn Bailey who owned a big farm of north of __o__ He also had

a small mortgage on it and I knew he was for Doc Stumball a I told him .iiM s

I want to get my dad out of this county and out of this political situation. And
-ek Qs-oi rze your-
I'd like trade Cit his property here in ffsea tk-Brok for Ats farm m-n s.-
SBat Westville, ' I knew he'd run and tell Doc Stumball and they'd

encourage him to trade. that'ss what he did. A44s& the trade went through
pt4 t promptly"a then when they executed the deeds, the lawyer for Mr. Bailey

called me back privately and said, now you waft to have your father sign a written
statement withdrawing his candidacy.// And I said absolutely not. That has,.~l32h
4 -not a damn thing to do ith this trade. 3S hey went ahead anywayJew assuming

that old Dad would quit, v* he didn't quit. He went ahead and continued to_

e arrivedd tce.ewa something like three-fourths of the county.

C: %'" e didn't actually win?
H: No, they beat him where _was born2je raised and

whefeto e practiced his medicine all these years.
C: Wasn't there some kind of case about it afterwards ?

H: *iwEf t Doc Stumball's friend, Bill Reynolds, filed a petition in the circuit court
to disbar me from practicing law.

H: .4ye had a hearing on it and the judge threw it out ,Aismissed it.
C: 1 that was a pretty serious case though, wasn't it? Pretty close?

H: No, it wasn't close. The facts were not in dispute. I just worked a trade out that
I knew wouldB. ,ZSai.,get my dad out of the financial situation. I didn't have any

hopes for him beating Doc Stumball anyway.

C: 9t that was a good way to do it. Ib\, Daddy, where were you born?

Page 4

H: I was born in Creek in Floyd County.

C: What year?

H: 1904.

C: And where'd you go to 1($ grade school and grammar school? How-dodecs,

H: I went to grade school at a one-room school at Coppers L e A- __ on -be


C: Is that that old building that used to be there until fairly recently? An old log

house -

ft Jn'a little point..
H: .ah.y.)CS

C: I remember going in that when I was a child.

H: You mean down on >lor Point?

C: Out near Uncle Harry's.
H: No, 9*if the school that I went to was a o~ve old home place up about a mile.

C: OhgnjIOdAft I think Pappa went to school in 'tm one that I went to, didn't he?

H: e4, he did.

C: -WMaft. 4~aNi=S W did you go to high school in Prestonsburg?

H: Yes. And )e- College.

C: How long were you at of-e-r ? At their high school?

H: ~f .I~_'3a about a year and a half.

C: ASA why did aou leave?-

H: W1% I got (-aeih4.g) fired.
C: GU~FT%?d What happened?
H: 1 I smoked a little and had a couple of fights. tEl they found out about itA/old

me I had to go home.

C: S what did Pappa say when you came home?

H: I don't remember.

C: AMfdidn't you go to ABowling Green Business School in Bowling Green?

Page 5

H: Yes.

C: How long were you there?

H: About eight months.

C: Did you have any problems there?
H: WesAhad a fight or two.

C: They knew you were there, didn't they? MAWae.Jhere'd you go to law school?

H: VW before I went to law school, I went back to Prestonburg and worked i the

bank there a couple of years. S_ ro'_ bank. The I went to Lous_ aw

School' ) \ Jefferson School of Af. Th+-wesr-n had night classes
/ TrJed+-rr- dr
at the time. ATwo yearsA graduated in 1927.

C: r~-i-.ybi- lW-yo; -irte s wh~e did you de s work in the daytime?

H: I worked in a bank.

C: iMZ, how'd you p tPW h decide to go to law school?

H: Wtcs I just decided I wanted to practice law.

C: Were you thinking then that you'd like to get into politics sometime?

H: No. I don't believe so.

C: W--w R-u4 s How'd you happen to run the first time? S% Jhat was

in 1937 th;t you campaigned for county judge the first time. How'd you happen to

H: N60 I had practiced law for ten yearsA/,ad a good law practice. 10 I had a friend

that fia'si, I roomed with {tt when I was in law school, O O Short, who tb

was county attorney^ Af he was making a race for re-electiorgasT he told me that

4 iMlEdySE'tr-r e-a -g if I didn't run against Henry Stevens for county
judge, that Henry and John Allen)who was Short's opponent, would gain up on him

and defeat him, he thought. i he wanted me to run for county judge. (0f;-nally
IAagreed to make the race. W I was about to change my mind and he got after me

again so I continued the race and won it.

C: ,i jjidn't you have a little bit of a bad feeling because srmethng=Eauk Pappa

Page 6

had helped him out and...?
H: We4V--yeah.. I guess I had an old mountain grudge against him. My dad had helped
him in his first race and donated a little money to his campaign. ALt then tW,

Dad's last race, Henry lined up #thathe with Dad's opponents and he was in the

same campaign running for something else. iA$ I guess I held that against him.

C: Airkhow much do you guess he spent in it?
H: ~ s1 a good amount offmoney. Oh, I'd say tenAfifteen thousand dollars.

C: lr )wc~ ; .-.-How mnay.,.. By how many votes did you win?

H: I spent about five hundred dollars. It was a small amount. Hired cars and trucks

to haul the votes in. I won by fifty-eight or -nine votes, I believe it was.
C: That was close! Well. I-r-emember_ you remember Suzy Baldrich that worked for ust

/dhen we were children.
H: (Cyes.

C: tHl, what was it about her precinct?

H: Cnhw1t, the Hale family lived in that precinct and they were influential in

political affa1rsm(ed they were distantly related to my opponent, Henry Stevens.

S they $~e controlled the votes in that precinct. I had a lot of friends there

but some of them couldn't read and writeg they eae election officers

and voted against their wishes. But Suzy and her family. -3t. som-of'o emi.

insisted on voting for me even though the Hales tried to prevent it. 44i bf

So I wound up with only five votes in the precinct.

C: And you knew who they were.

H: Yet that was Tommy Baldwin and his family.

C: Wea, how could they do that? HuwTii- Uiey vote-tiem=it h-way-they1i How could the

control the votes? The people didn't...

H: 1is lots of them at that time couldn't read and write. AA they voted on a table.

At _they'd just go in and tell the officers of the election who they wanted to vote

for. Sometimes the officer of the election would read off the names of the candidate



Page 7

k A~*4 then the officers of the election, if they got their heads together and agreed

on it, Wy would just vote for the people any way they wanted to. They didn't know

how the ballots would be marked, Le3

C: Nff-=was Did people buy votes? Was that a common thing that went on?

H: ~.yes. That was widespread that time.

C: tr =r wh, were they called scalpers? Is that a term that was used?

H: WKr the people who bought the votes were called strikers.

C: SS 4T~-l t&. Ja did people usually vote the way they were.-thepway- tyswe~

bought or t0h0 when they got in, did they vote o\, where they wanted to?

H: Widi in the old days, they voted just the way they were bought you-seeA.

C: That was an honest hand.

H: They were honorable about selling their votes.

1 That's the only honor they had.

C: That was Cf --)_\_ that you voted the way you were bought. A14^-s f -'but

what would it cost? What would they pay per vote?

H: % back in those days, ITVMa dft ac when money was worth something eopa,

two or three dollars. Maybe five or ten later. 'A^ I~'ve heard that some of the local

elections 6O for subdistrict trustees got so worked up in these local elections, t1u
-Sj l00oo
't district elections, that they paid large sums of money. ,Fft t lrnrr eu J-l-ars or


H: B(vote. But that's when t1 the Z]teetr= issue was the employment of the teachers

for the district.

C: OQ, .that was a school election?

H: Yeah.Ye,

C: l ,~I.ater on, after people got a little more sophisticated, ,Cjiei did they start

voting the way they wanted to and take the money?

Page 8

H: t~Rstt- -1tk sf tet: Lots of that occurred.

C: *Wc4,-dTjf~yoglhave-geedT-. I know as county judge, you had to work a lot with the

magistrates. Did you have good working relations with them? 4i Htik how did that


H: Pretty good relations. I recall one of them-wanted to get C _____ allowed to

help themselves politically and I had a little trouble with him sometimes. W)

irl ioth*e1'& ari one time, thh I believeall four of the magistrates were

republicans and I was a democrat. *A4 I got along well with them. They took my

recommendations almost always.

C: M h_ how did you happen to be a democrat instead of a republican?

H: Mde3 I guess it's on account of my father's affiliation with the democratic party.

C: 'W4, I remember going up to the old courthouse and watching the vote count. How did

that work?

H: W ,, all the candidates had a right to bbserve the voting of the county ,r have

representatives there. S9 the courthouse was usually full. Theo-seswtroom. f

-Z- took days to count it. At WaV-f1, back in the late thirties, there were about
fifty-ktosand fifty-five thousand people in the county. It required a lot of
time to count all those ballots.

C: tt*W~ And theywoulbring the ballot boxes into the county from the precincts?

H: Yes.

C: I remember those old tin boxes. Don't you? Sitting out in the hall.
H: Yes.

C: A~tjid people watch pretty closely when they were counting it?

H: Oh sure.

C: Did they ever protest or contest what the counters were doing?

H: Sometimes "At there'd be some conflict or controversy in regard to a particular ballot

which wasn't plain on his face. That's about all.

C: Didn't you do a lot to landscape the old courthouse? The one that's gone now.

Page 9

\OoG )Soo
H: _xyes. I got a lot of criticism for spending a thaufiand or 6i! f-n- I: dA" dollars
I think it was, to landscape the place.
C: "BLM didn't the LOO J\Courier Journal commend you for it?

H: I don't recall.

C: I thought I remembered that. W$~. who worked in office?
H: W,. my wife worked part of the time. Marv n worked a little while.
That's all I remember.
C: WJs Adid you enjoy working with t't-Ats the county people that would come in?
Did you enjoy that?

H: %h.yes, I guess I did. They a$V% all had some kind of problems. I tried to help 'u
where I could,"t-/, -fS pl#r .r
C: Weth did you have much to do with administering the programs during the depression?
Did ;you have anything to do?

H: 1g6uS I was instrumental in getting a building constructed by the federal government
A ,
which was needed toJ bidate^S house a workshop ASchool Fett,-trainig: people to weld and o0 f, /- _- S o Tt_ n fact, when the representative of the
government came out tvS and wanted to establish a workshop, he wanted the county to
furnish the land and a building. At% I thought it had such 4 eatek-that I got Joe
Hobson to have his family the c family r deed the county a lot t&
S\rW.e 'A r c ,' nd wait @# the money to come in July. For the price of the lot.
*AA0 jn a short time,they had $=:I=4S1a a co "Building there which was used for
a good many years before the fOPCMt-\ school took it over. 9r)' literally Andwed
of boys 4 got training in that schoolA /Ient to the middle west a t Detroit, Indiana,
places like that. (Socd jobs.
C: Wp. that was one of the...

C: -.-New Deal programs?
H: Yes. That was One of the best ones they ever had, too.

.Page 10

C: What was that called? NYA?

H: No. I forgotten the technical name for it.
-C-i.- W. l T-didr^ -

H: Industrial School.

C: 4WeT i, did people come to your office ~1mk to get on the WPA?

H: tyes. But tritey'mdr-a.,I didn't have much to do with that. They had an agency

there to qualify the people and sign them up) G ability.

C: WTmP=too. Remember when Rosa Columbus, the twelve year old girl

ihA married 4t7 that thirty-eight year old man? Do you remember that?

H: Yes, vaguely.

C: What happened in that situation?

H: B I think we put the man in jail and got a home for the girl. She was about twelve
W e.,
years old(5 * kept the man in jail a few:days and I think they got a divorceV or

annulment of the marriage.A county attorney, I think, filed suit and had it annulled.

C: XNj had her family given permission?

H: I think so.

C: -We~n Wrhy?

H: WVe you never know sometimes. -~1f I don't remember the details. Maybe he had a

little job or something.' Maybe he was on the WPA and they weren't.

C: Nj~ when you were campaigning against Henry Stevens, Mother was.-te+1in me aseem

that they used to make speeches from the truck. Do you remember that speech?

H: "-e4h1q fl I started in that campaign by taking one precincts a test

precinct on-AnInd d istct.

C: Why?

H: EM 4M I ka~e to walk tp --ctes~- f up the hill halfway to the top to see the

people sometimes. Sometimes they'd be Vo "Gcorn way up on top of the hill.

OEi~i-ra S. .sA I visited every house, every voter in the district. -iZiA Henry

had sete good many kin folks in that precinct. V I carried it two-to-one exactly

Page 11

.---two t-one,-

\--1 wte41---de -you-,.
H: After that, taggfN I decided it was too much work to try to cover ,ttb fifty
some-odd precincts so %'4-t;- I got a loudspeaker and invited my opponent and
all the other candidates to have speeches all over the county(y ,d that's the way
I beat Stevens. 'ees jhe got in a fuss with one of the candidates for jailer,

N ) Q\G 'k. A T> A wasAa candidate I believe at that time. -'A-a~
.aca~tdid.te. ~4* I got them to fussing ems. Sa I got them up to speak and cuss
each other out 600) 9UAzb I just came along and talked about something else

and^that enabled me to beat him@ s~Pdesa

C: We&h- didn't he accuse you of dealing off the bottom of the deck or something?
H: W" I I used to play a little poker and he claimed Ift he heard 't1 I was
a crooked dealer or something. A~tkhe said something in the papers about me dealing
from the bottom.

C: Ss when you got up, what did you say to him?

H: i I just ignored it.
C: telt~ 'anY-there was a man named Elder MooreA trat,h? made some kind of speech. Do
you remember that, about Mother's tears? He was running for dailer.

H: No, I don't recall.
C: How he'd take care of the boys if he had them in jail.
H: Elder Moore? You're talking about another preacher, Jhe one that rum for jailer,
said he' gonna give all the prisoners ham and eggs and all that. Is that the one

you're talking about?

C: -Ut h. ea S he ran on that?

H: that was Vsht. Richard Dust. % yes. But he was defeated.
C: Sb. his pork chops and ham and stuff didn'tpay off. Ti ^Qa in 1942,,you ran
against Doctor Gearhart. AS tell me about that campaign.

H: w t4_that was just the usual campaign. Dr.Ahad a hospital at thAt time ,nd he'd


Page 12

T filed a number of claims amounting to -ihundreh sth tndsa.'~ thousands of dollars

that I knew were padded and unjust. AI% I opposed it /nd causedothe fiscal court

to disallow him. A) he was incensed by i "my action. ,* so he ran against

me for county judge. MAse5 I beat him badly. I got more votes than all of the other
w rthr s candidates combined. So he filed x- =0O /lYection contest claiming

that I spent money and violated the practice law. fAtf-he case was decided in my

favor -wt4 the district court and was taken to the court of appeals. Then it was

affirmed in the court of appeals. But he went as far as he could go.

C: He had a big grudge, didn't he?

H: He must have.

C: i*44. why is it that doctors seem to run so dften up there in eastern Kentucky? You

had a lot of doctors run against you.

H: Jes. (nd-e-f-as.)

S*:-^-^-- --get -into-po1 it-i4cs'so- often.?

I don't know unless it's... The practice of medicine becomdmonotonous, boring, or

they just PasiB think that there's a fascination about politics. 4. another

thing probably that contributes to it., ;a, their work involves doing things for

humanity and they get the i!deaS..'guWS that people do anything we want them to do.

C: s maybe it's ego?
H: In some instances. PVS in some instances, I think that there's an important element.
D- rGeckrbar4-
C: V1^s how much money do you guess 4e^spent against you?

B, not a great deal. He didn't have a lot,.of" money, a~ didn't have much hope of

winning so I don't think he threw much money away in that election.

C: Wift Daddy,-d4a.you,. I know the women in Floyd County thought you were always)a fair

judge with them and their.ylTiRe domestic problemskm.k How did you do that?

H: Wb f that was an outgrowth of my tenure as a circuit judge. Vh^^ I had jurisdiction

over domestic matters.as well as other general jurisdiction. -Al I think the fact

Page 13

#i S~SM- I had good support among women wa =aO Wab I decided a good many divorce

cases for thRwomen /The custody of the children. But I think that was the result

of the fact that more men were at fault. There wasi-t many things that I did to favor

the women as such.
C: W943did you ever it to men?
H: W t4.,_yes, when I thought they were entitled to it.
C: -WeL., I know Mother said nthe popYeI women would sometimes call her and g'fet'he' ask

her to intercede on their behalfin the divorce case. Did you ever have any people
do ye that way? Call you at home and want you to do simttp, favors for them?
H: h, yes. They used every means they could to influence a judge iyts-kht.
C: ^OU remember the time the man called you to ask you if he :could plant corn on Sudday?
H: No, I don't remember that.
C: I do. I- rememberA/anted Pe~ented to know if i~-~iba t it'd be bad to plant

corn on Sunday. -Wc~~aat you started telling me the other night about one Mse,
two times when you lmstjwe r shot by people Wfo, you were working with. What happened
in those cases?

H: V~9 one of those instances involved a prominent preacher, Ernest Boyd, who lived
___ Martin and v e owned a real estate adjoining the hospital. 'A4 he

got the impression tb'th~- Owhet, that his deed covered I part of the street It** in
Martin in front of the hospital. So he went out and.dug posts in the street. t

they brought it before me when I was the county judge) /nd I directed that the posts
.b- >-------,__ (^c he
be L-~C-,--xa moved. 1PH Ernest came ir~n i he was a Baptist preacher4 ame
in and talked to me about iltajt-I just told him that he was wrong about it /hat the
road had been used for thirty or forty years by the public /nd had been "___

askedbanaa right in front of the hospital p I cut him off pretty short on

the discussion and he sat there for a time. 'Btt later he told somebody he came uve
close --o -
p-4,-just pulled his pistol out to shoot me.

C: ts, he carried a pistol?

H: He must have. thd.ie.l-
.*C: "Was thVta.

H: .._the only other time tka I recall ateet any person thought about doing me injury

was the jailer, Guy VCco"? I opposed one of his' claims, I remember. 44he came

in and talked to me about it after the meeting in the fiscal court. -At I cut him

off pretty short)arnd turned around and started working on something width the type-

write man*_he sat there a few minutes before he walked out. 4Aht he told somebody e.

came very near shooting me.A^aid he hated shooting me in the back but sa& if I'd

turned around, he was gonna shoot me.
C: It's a good thing you didn't turn around. '9w w.as it common for people to carry

a gun?
H: 4W1;-J ots of people carried guns in those days.

C: Was it against the law?
H: Carrying a concealed/fweapon, yes.

C: After two terms as county judge th you ran for circuit judge. Who'd you run

against the first time in 1946?
H: John Allen.

C: A~&why'd you decide to run against him? s_ was it more for the office?

H: I just wanted to run for the office, I guess.
C: ~*t what county was in the circuit other than Floyd?
H: gKr

C: AtSF" how did that campaign go?

H: Ut% John was Co~Moe attorney of the district/, wo-county district at that

time0 Mi I first declared the candidate for county judge on the theory that I ean

000 CCO
get the county out of debt in one more term. The county was in debt over-a-m i'ef

Tkiu ccUJc I'.ld (y sI1t
dollars when I was-elected. AkdAthe county claims!were-r-:roTUr.nt-haard e:UlysIthem.
--- -- 1 -^ ~-^ nAvrve^ ,. \
ABt a fella fr omcame in a real good friend of mine.A Combs. b~ s .r

-&a-e I had announced for county judge. He came in said, "Eddy, haven't you

Page 15

42 got any guts?" And I said why? I% he said you ought to run for circuit judge.
to00 CXv- ',,-\r ,STocircuit judge. S/ I,;got to thinking about it)a decided to
change my mind and ran against John Allen for circuit judge.

C: An T=o-h7t, at ou and l/6 went over to Knott Countyl /oultold me once ae
_) 9
Ad /,no 'kind of feel around. What happened?
H: 49, I just stopped whatever crowd I'd see)ewad told them who I was and asked them
what they thought about me running for circuit judge in that district. a I was
e awepageea very much encouraged by spontaneous expressions for it.
C: Was that where you rented the horse?
H: Ye Knott County.

C: What happened about that?
H: ~-a I covered that county pretty thoroughly by automobile. That was in '45, I

guess. 4*.Where's one section of the county, Quicksand w s2~r~i creek, that

we couldn't get into in the automobile. So I hired a horse and rode down T-o aT

th.s.hk t-ro>ottreb two precincts, I believe it was at that time. t(pent a
couple of days in there^ Stayed all night and -V! L Ose. u,.,

C: 1~Rg, how did the people get in and out?
H: They rode horseack for the most part. There was one little road, I think, that

crossed the hill into Quicksand but you didn't go far. /ust went to one store, I
C: 1~ ltkB o>.s- I know at one time they changed the circuit to Martin County. Why did
they do tht?
H: *'W't'Atete purely political situation. Reverend Turner had been defeated in
Breathitt, Magoffin, and ma*SE one other county so he came down before the

legislaturegidAhad a lot of influence with the governor at that time) /nd W

got him to create a district for themselves composed of Breathitt a~d Wolfe,ALeev

amidit c *W i reshuffled the dtai te. 06.a0azt e counties in my

district. t I was given Floyd and Martin county instead of Floyd and Knott.

Page 16

.-9 And Knott and Magoffin were put in district.

C: How did you like that?

H: < enjoyed the work because Martin county was a rock-bred republican county.

But the judge in that district had permitted the _:_c KEto become congested and

there was a number of old cases pending for years and years. I cleaned up the
Y)C'-- for about a year-and-a-half, I believe nd I tried all those cases.

-- tried one death penalty case.

C: Was that the first time you sentenced a man to die?

H:'Airst and only time.

C: How did that feel?
- Or\ tOO1 rn,
H: 4i-- it was a bad case. The jury of twelve people"includingAaAschoolteacher ,.~e

.wsns decided the case)arl found him guilty and F penalty,death. ftmea6s

I believedin the death penalty, then and still do. But it is a little t nu when

you come right down to the nitty-gitt. Matter -~*yiig a, : the judge in this
court)that you be taken to the (_ri_ and thereut to death by electric currents

sq but it didn't phase him much, I guess.

C: What did he do?

H: MIRr43 he had an affair with this fell* wifeJiawetL went to his home and got
his own pistol. A*4 went up on the hill where this man was working and shot i4&

Filled him. Then"tried to cover him up with brush.

C: 1kb tried to conceal it. M0 dcid they electrocute him?

H: -0! e-h. / ,S
C: 1MU I can remember owrnu that right before a term of court would start, we
w;t-h DUrf-
could hardly eat a meal Wk the phone ringing. WVh what was that all about?
H: *A 0a large part of that was the effort by prospective jurors to get excused from

jury service.

C: 9ajkdidn't some of them want on?

H: qAW yes. Some wanted off and some wanted on.

Page 17

C: Why would they want on?
H: -'ba'a lot of unemployment back in those days-,nd they got three dollars a day.

-A6-they wanted the income.
C: 4W1ts. 1i you've talked sa%* Ebout how you handled juveniles. How'd do you do that?
That was pretty successful. How did that work?

H: -WelFsJ'i-~'ridt ',atanvronn ever hears this program would conclude that I

was not much of a parent as a jLdge to hear the way I am with most of the juvenile
cases. I would hear the evidence in the case and if the evidence justified t*~A
some corrective remedy, I would announce that I was gonna send them to reform
a1/I/ T n e-
school iPL they were twenty-one dears of age. 'tl%'tell the jailer to take them

right on to jail. BhdwS I .aw it understood with the jailer that he would put
So. a ST WJa& s ckcf
them in jail )Aeparate place f-ror.other prisoners. Wh-.t ey~oee44 a slam a small
room with steel doors and bars, a then when he'd take them on to jail, I would
tell the parents I wanted to talk to the nlBE a IR'd call them in and explain
to them that I wanted to scare the boy t.;&,sd ," and for them not

to tell them that I might pro~taet him in a few days. j they would cooperate
with me and not go tell ia there's any chance of them getting out.soon. Wj then
the next couple of days I'd usually have them brought out in court and see how

they were taking it. ibM~ until they softened up and showed some remorse

and conscience a g g i I'd keep them in there sometimes a week. 9kth\ni,
when they finally came around to where I thought they were sorry enough PFr
rgpotanc- I'd send them home robate them.

/ -
'W It worked. 4mt
Go. It -twook2' .-
4aE. There were many instances of young boys that came out of it
and mud. prominent, well-to-do am respected citizens.

C: Did you ever have any of them taTk to you about it after they were grown?

Page 18

H: Oh yes. One man lives here in Florida now 1, over here _STOf that
I probated. Vave him a chance and hega; he* holds a real responsible job$ now
in construction work. 'yMarried and has a family.
C: I3~is I remember a lot of people it.tf.WL in the prisons that you'd sentenced 49
plran-would send ir, send you gifts, like that copper box and the smoking _STA__
How did that happen?
H: l't I guess it was the fact that I said a sympathetic word to them before I socked
it to them. I'd Rhesay 1L-&, I'm sorry for you, or something other like that.
~MAthey'd forget the fact that I was sW thM~;-ti~ sentencing them to prison.
I.recall one fell I tried down in Bullitt County, I believe, SPeCA*- 'Q'.=C
AfA.4he was stealing tv sets out of motels and I gave him Timit. M*A I gave
some other fells* charged with theft the same day only one year. @Ph he fussed
about it so I explained to him that he had been charged in other counties with
similar cases and $I that he planned it and all that. inV the others were sentenced
for first offensesy,5 z,2..ts~ytk-wc ft I did say that I, regretted that he had
a family and I was sorry for his wife and childrernbeadEe- AOf later he wrote to
me )n thanked meand wanted me to recommend him for parole. -AF~tg I guess he
just wanted my assistance in that particularly.
C: WJWt ORS .in 1952, who did you run against? Did you have opposition then for
circuit judge?
H: No, I believe not.
C: How did you manage that? Didn't anybody want to run?
H: WAS I guess not.
C: A -t0k in 1948 you ran for Congress? Do you remember SkWVts, how they came up
and got you out? Didn't that have something to do with CleIe rS ho ran for
H: No, I ran for congress *o I thought I'd win. Carl Perkins went to with
mewN to line-up some support -vo Ac Commonwealth's attorney / _r

Page 19

A. Reynolds. 4tk later Governor CJ..paes got called around. There was about five of
us running at that time Dr. on Dr. Bill Hayes...

C: ?
7 --C ---C Y\ 7-
H Yeh. AndO itnemselvesgd I got $5 in the __ of labor at Pike County.
A4dCleme.ns got them to back up PA my endorsements the day before the elections. *
Karl nosed me out. I was second close to the end but f.04, he got this labor
0kA41 I abbbor I |<,d ders
endorsement in Pike Countyj-whikew --e*wafjjAte already endorsed me in public meetings

in Will amsg t -. r?- der-

C: Wewtou-ieel~tbea=11 of us came home and campaigned. We wentfup to Pike County and
campaigned. Remember that? Ed went with youad=AteCheTr d L-4*
H: Yeak, I remember now.

C: Mother and I went to the little precinct there and handed out your cards. How did
it feel to lose the first time?

H: 'iWt it didn't feel very good, I guess, but somebody has to lose ya~tes ws I just
took it in stride.

C: 4e J t y TheP T T -e Hartley law was the big thing. How were you on that?
Did you think it was a good law?

H: WQWfk at that time, it had a place. I'd seen an awful lot of abuses with p ..

aiOTL e' people, Xnd they needed a union.A trouble with the union's organized labor.
It was a fact ftIa for many years and I guess up until the present time, their leaders

had been uneducated people end didn't know anything about economic E ..d0a a ll they
wanted to do was get a raise every time a contract was renewed. ,qaas a result, I;
think they've been one of the greatest causes of the inflation situation that
we are in today. But at that time I didn't take any approach to that. It wasn't
an issue in the election in those days.

C: 10S I can remember people calling up after the election) ld telling you they were
sorry you lost and you were such a good sport about it.'-4 I thought you were
great. rou remember thatl) people calling up.

Page 20

H: No, I don't recall the details.

C: Mii-=then in 1958, Martin was your opponent. What was his big issue in the
campaign? What did he run on?
H: ~Nls he thought I should retire. Then he said he'd been in the army while I was
sitting in a feather bed.
.'1-HLd 'bTteerr-si eeping-r-the -grounrid?-

H: That was one of his Cbe? .
C: He'd been sleeping on the ground and the Hills were sleeping in feather beds?
H: 4-VE. Something like that.
C: A ntrt- ati~-,is Didn't he have about twenty-eight years and a pension
for life, something like that?
H: I think so.
C: 9& .what was the story about him and ? Nee eS
H: ~4 I don't recall the details. I think he was driving along and picked her up.
She was walking to town. *AlBkhe started campaigning with her and she said,,p;g she
was for Eddy Hilb __ stopped the car and made her get out. fthen they
had some words, I think, and later t~bs she got out a handbill on him, accusing of
so-and-so.. *i he answered it and they hadAa4mJ~bi exchanges. I don't recall the
details of that.
C: tik> I remember her. She smoked a pipe and wore long dresse Asunbonnets. She was
a typical old mountain woman, wasn't she?
H: Mother Hubbard dress.
C: &i AdtpM was interesting.

C: 3l,..hat was the story about the time you helped the postmaster recover the 00
twtee d oi larsl ;.t was lost.
H: Q 8 W . AqorSTartin was the postmaster in' .._T and he had this woman
that he'd raised the children e gaE was his assistant n the post office. Rt

Page 21

14 stl on her way from the post office):p-Ltohe a .s *a-- a

snw -**te -dr -- o-pped-.the bag of money on the railroad and this lady
found it and JAl cV og\re called me 'w the jailero.az And reported that
he thought that this Tdl-dy, I've forgotten her name, had found it but refused to
admit tblal hDn it. h.he said that her daughter was coming down to geS-_r ,nuoQ
Co uld
on a busAthat night .tts /nd for us to intercept her and see if we en find out
anything about it. So wetS-ai~ d we met the bus and got the girlj!)LAmat fifteen or
sixteen yearoold.girl. Mfl asked if Xf4 her parents got that money and she said
she didn't know anything about it. 5a we put her in jail over night and the ( i,:
next morning we called her out and asked her about i4ae d she said,"yes, they've
got it.and they hid it under the bed ,e a,, removed a board in the floor
and buried it. the-elxt-morni e- .that morning we went up to 't~ sS f
their home and tge y r ~~ut~:wee _r ti __Martin had all these people

around sv the hill aCG1a1 trying to find it. %s we called him ingp told him
where it was kN went in ~m -moved the bed back br raised the boards around it
and there it was. n a food jar. b~_we took it in the kitchen and counted it out.
About -twe tyfdred dollars, I believe it was. M_ o sat there and
rubbd hi had F~ -! -- -- z
rubbed his hands- ~ l X e got rough counting i ad there never was any

prosecution of any kind. Blind luck (o e r \ C: Wi. !iNh that was a lot of money. You would have been out a lot of money, wouldn't
you? i~\ there was a case where waoi* Leon Cook ih the school principal or
superintendent of schools, )A4ft had some pressure put on you to pardon himl)
What was that story?
H: Cook?
C: Leon Cook %a56&was the principal that stole some money. i some people came and
wanted you to pardon him$

T- Cora Cook's husband.

Page 22

%; food friends of ours.
Rik LvC _S
H: fa yes. --&E1: he was the high school principal. VWeF pretty well-liked and he
Z= _T finally caught
got a lot of money from the athletic department, I believe. finally caught
him amd he came in and pleaded guilty. $*i Bob May and Bill Hurt came to me ad
they were good friends pro C v^r ad Y a e that they had the money in their

pocket =dr- >wyaat-b21.- to p.se epa nd-repay the school people or the athletic
department, I think it was. T ey wanted me to probate him. A4I told them I couldn't

probate a man A alerted who'd steal money from children' programs. 69 I'd
send him on to prison.
C: ~tawhy did you gso think that wasAa good idea /o probate him?
H: Well, if you're gonna let the good citizens... (ed of t c'.-p -)-..

TAPE 2: Side 1

was a good thing I did it te because his wife took her two
children, a boy and girl, to Berea College, got a job, and they
got a divorced 4tink...She--got a divo~e. Johnny Cook)
-*the son-t graduated r Berea College. Mrs. Cook kept a VaW
job there for a good many years. I think she still lives there.
Johnny aaaesoccupies an important position at Berea College
now, I think. He was the director of a clinic over at Lexington,
Kentucky for a few years before he went back to Berea. So I
think it was a good thing I sent tim off ~;=e abe He had
Nik&biE a drinking problem anyway, that Cook. he i-e 5?
'1ti-'Qagg I guess it was the best thing I ever did for h
and his family,A for the public as well.
C-WJeL _did athd e any of the school children want you to pro-
bate him?
H-I think some of them wanted him probated.
C-Wel? .were you concerned about how it would effect them if you
H-I thought it would be a bad example to let the school children
ca mon iO 4c+a poaf ior
know thatAy-eW can get by vrith stealing ..p a- t-i n,

C- Wo., as in 1964, you ran against Hollie Conleyotfor Circuit
Judges. What happened in that campaign?
H-WeoemS -my--r'~f~MOlaer.Hollie Conley at that time sesa.
started to run for Commonwealth's Attorney, and some of my
relatives were against himO^sB tarted talking against himt and
he heard about it. Na he and the Stumbo family got together
and pooled their effortsand beat the socks off me.

C-I guess you had a lot of pastAcoming due, didn't you?
-.ap ans-T--an7Tf-thin gs?-
H-W,6e-) six years before that I had announced that I planned to
retire at the end of that term and that came back to haunt me,
I guess.
C-~- rd$--to*aom e- f-e- erfL en !~ kthy^,idn' t Aunt

Maggie make some of the Stumbos mad or something?
H-I don't know about that. I heard that my Uncle Harry and pos-
sibly Maggie_ had said something around the drug store about
Conley that probably got back to him.

C-W&s, what did he campaign on? What did he promise?
H-%k hemecampaigned on the idea that I'd been in long enough
and could retire on a good Afaa
C-W~94% do you feel ?S^ you helped the people -%& you served
up there in eastern Kentucky?
H-k I feel t~S. I did a pretty good job) although I don't want
to blow my own horn,
C-What was most fun about it? What did you like the most about
H-UN I was working for a pay check, but I did enjoy doing what
I thought was right in a particular case.

C-VQ--%Uh what part didn't you like about it?
H-WkS I can't say that I disliked anything about it, except the
hard work of campaigninwHAfor the most part.
C-Va* did you make much money?
H-% no. ~ tb_my first office paid ;iAR -anonth, I-beliLeve,
i" $125 a month., t Ag ot a circuit judge, I
think it was $5,000 QVW'Vths*a year, ws S l.I believe(D


C-iB~you'd have to spend a good bit on the campaign wouldn't you?
C-AT\~ in 1964,you were elected to the Court of Appeals of Ken-
tucky. How big a district did you have?
H-Twenty-seven counties. [Seventh District
C-a; l4 what was that campaign like?
H-6LT that was a hard campaign because I had to doa lot of trav-
eling~ga I did my own driving and covered a large part of
eastern part of, the state.
C-How did it feel when you got elected to that office? That was
very high.
H-17^ yes. That was the highest judicial office in the state.
C-There were only seven?
H-Seven judges, yes. 44%1 I got a pretty good kick out of win-
ning that.
C- V do you remember tha morning of the investiture? State
Capitol, Frankfort, Kentucky-
H-O0 yes.
C-What was that like?
H-94)El~_ MEs I was sworn in by theagg* J chief justice, and
my Dad wEdward Prebble HillM was there3 i$ of course, my own
P~wSanpbspart of my own family. You, and I believe, your...

C-Sarah. (Coleman's daughter)
H-* Sarah Douglas was there, and a good many friends. I took
the oath of office and then -eti~.~p. the old court retired
to chambers aia I came back with my robe on and they got pic-
turesftgi^aA~yI *D I enjoyed seeing my dad there. That was
the biggest part about it.


C-That was really a thrill, I thought.
H-He was pretty old at that time, and he knew that I had worked
pretty hard to get through law school.
C-~CNlst~4, agsDo you remember anything he said to you
that morning?
C-* ohew did itl rrwlike.. -g
-e~l-tt-~bite.. We were a little bit looked down on, down

there in the Bluegrass)by the aristocrats4*th hillybillies
from eastern Kentucky, How did it feel to be going down there?
H-iW^lfte ~EPi the judges all *J looked like anybody else
as far as I was concerned. I figured they put their pants on
just like I did. Laughter

C-& that didn't bother you?3Wh
H-No, I was a little bit embarrassed with the preparation of o-
pinions for whileN because I had been sitting on a trial bench
for eighteen years and hadn't done very much writing in the
way of opinions. -$$ it took me awvhile to get so I felt com-
fortable with my opinions. In fact it took a while for me to
get them in such a shape that the court would approve them.

-I recall the first few weeks after I was on the Supreme Court
that I stated*^WV a half-dozen cases. -, got the court: to'
ket wp ,~.hty "rote on th.e outcome, and I went to my office to
prepare the opinions ia them. V&i I think I figured I'd clean
up the docket in a short time, and I came in with four or five
opinions in one week. (Iaughter_ I they edited all of them
nearly all of them, I think.
Yt*tM for quite 4hile I had difficulty writing opinions


that would be accepted by the other members of the court. But

I think before I left the court I had their respect)am4- I also

wrote opinions that were approved by some of the bigger news-
papers in the state.
C- tMh you we*reeadbin me one time about a case you had of
a black man marrying a white woman, and you had the minority

ruling on it. What was that?
H-ft I don't think I wrote any dissenting opinion. I argued on
behalf of the woman, I believe. Butt 4e' the court de-
cided the case contrary to my opinion in it.

C-How did it go? Was it child custody?

H-Yes. It was a child custody case. This/woman had been married
to a white man.wawhite woman and they'd seperated, af the

husband had some problems with drinking and didn't appear to be
a very suitable person to have ij custody of the children.

After she got her divorce she married this black man. %1" I

think the controversy was between the first husband and the
mother. The court decided, I think, that the father of the
children have custody of the children, and I argued but I don't

think I dissented. I-arlgued that the mother ought to have cus-

tody of the children Icause she'd married this black man, and
he was employed and didn't have anything against his reputation.
C-Except that he was black.

H-?aEs I'm not sure this$ I wrote any dissenting opinion. I'm

not sure about that.
C-Tftm one time -aes you made a speech or fkt swore in some state
patrolmen, you g$t critica!A over some of the comments you made.
Do you remember that?
H-WQ yes. Wg I, twenty or thirty of the graduates of the high-

ay patrol...I administered the oath to them there in the ro-
tunda of the capitol. Ad4=-t-d--t e L-hatn =2
to tell--them...I'm not sure I went into too much detail about
/ -M-
it7 I ut I told themAwhen they lEzz encountered a situation
where a man was insane G? had mental trouble or whe~ee-r has
had etDteblam family trouble, they'd better be carefulW,

because a number o-peofle ave enkili-edA officers hate been
killed in situationslike that. -~An I said something about
shooting at the whites of their eyes or something like that,

and the newspapers picked:it up and fussed about it. But I

wrote a letter to the point-of-view of the paper, and explained
what I said. They took it out of context, I guess.

C-! what was the point you wanted to get across?
H-That they'd better shoot quick when they encounter some of
these real desperadoes or people who are mentally disturbed
or family -situtions~ a~t often) when an arresting officer
goes in vhtSp,*to arrest a man whise he's had family trouble,
they get killedsw= Bd9rn ~B a man gets mad wi-f44 his

family, he's dangerous.
C-Out of control. .i I guess yourmost famous ruling was on
the broad form mineral) deed. Hotd,'^pu' W4u etell me about
that. I know it's a long story but maybe just something about

H-O~@ weZli the Supreme Court of Kentucky decided 'abt 1956 that
the broad form deed was valid. AM it came up in another case
with an identical question 1hen I was on the /ourtAag
I" \
An appeal to the Court of Appeals of Kentucky of a judg-
ment against a "suit by surface owners for a declaration that
owner of minerals had no right to remove coal by strip mining
or auger mining." 429 South Western Reporter, 2nd Series, P.395.

'66, I guess it was. And the court voted to uphold the pre-
vious case, and uphold the broad form deal. w\rI wrote a dis-
senting opinion and it's in the South Western Reporter. I
believe illiken Judge joined in the dissent, and that opinion
has never been disturbed.
But every legislature, including the one iht~h~i in
session^in Frankfort, Kentucky3 has considered a bill to outlaw
the broad form deed. I thought I was on sound ground in my dis-
sent based on some other the previous opinion in 1956 held otherwise. In fact, the case

in 1956) which was a majority report, first ruled against the
broad form deed, %A the opinion was written by Judge Watson
Clay UCommissioner) fkhthe losing party filed a petition for
rehearing. Judge Morris Montgomery was on ,the court at that
time. (1ontgomery was still a member of the court in 19683) And
the court reconsidered that, ,U, ,lay' s opinion, threw it
out,Awrote another opinion, upholding the broad form deed.
Ng Watson Clay will tell you that. He' s still living.
C-,% you wanted to see the mountains protected from strip mining?
f A I D ri1+ bt-
H-V*b that wasn't the question. hu.e&s the people who sold
their mineralSback in those daysl~2s ~t t-tief didn't know
that a-lo sof-them-dsTr-i' t-know. they had any mineral The coal
had never been floored and developed up there except once in
awhile down in a creek bed where the creek had washed out a
little seam of coa(thva-_blacksmiths would come along and get
it and use it in their blacksmith.
fisEat that time thay weren't paid much4easfifty cents or
a dollar a acre for their mineral Ley' i ng. coal, oil,
gas, or whatever was under the surface. -A.I thought th'% at

that time 'Ei; that what miningAthere wasV,,. up in Penn-
sylvannia and qt'un~..r was all deep mines at that time~sea
lt-I didn't think that-.t.& tn stripping was in the contem-
plation of the parties at the turn of the century when most of
those deeds were executed Il was on sound ground _To 0
C-Why do you think that so many judges ruled in favor of that
broad form deed in the past
H-.eWA4 some of them were honest about it, I guess. 4* coal
people had qt%probably had a whole lot of influence ~f lob-
bies and good lawyers. Railroads used to have a lot of in-
fluence, and they were with the coal people.
C-VWh)L I know a lot of the wealth of eastern Kentucky was taken
out without benefiting the people. What do you think about
that? Do you think there was anyway it could have been avoid-
ed? Could there have been a way to protect the people?
H-W$knot unless the courts held otherwise than to uphold the
broad form deeds.

C-WVi'-l:h't'.do-yo.''thinlk.what do you think were some of the'
most worthwhile things you did? ^'Did you eel Did you feel
goodwhen you got through)about what you'd done?
H-While I was on the Supreme Court? Sure.

C-How did you like that as opposed to being a bench judge?
H-7t14L it was a more sedentary position. I enjoyed the work
although it was pretty confining and dull sometimes.
C-Did you miss being with the people?
H-~ somewhat, I guess.
C-'~VXe, it sure is a good heritage that 'p~l tie .-ehtatt
you've given us. Worth more than any money I know of.

H- (, I guess I'm consoled i. the fact that 34e Jack Poe
local mountain philosopherD said, "I've never been catched
a-stealing yet." Laughterj
C-I think it's a pretty good heritage myself. Worth more than
money. Wlde youva.. ...Daddy let 's go back to the race for
Congress, in which you were beaten by Carl Perkins who has re-
mained in that office since that time. He's i.h'.
still the Congressional representative from that area. Seventh
DistrictQ Wasn't there a .t-ao aort of revenge thing by
Clements* You'd been for the wrong person for governors
Hadn't been for him)and it was a revenge things?
H-*T yes. I was not for Clements Carle C. Clements) when he
ran for governor, and of course, he remembered that. Perkins
was for him and he didn't want me to be elected to Congress.
C-'h. didn't you say he came up to Pres... restonsburg) o)me-
body brought him in to see you, and you didn't talk to him much.
What happened about that?
H-Jack Howard a prominent Prestonsburg attorney] brought him to
me And wanted me to support him for governo2-rraB I didn't
give him any satisfactions in fact I was against him. I expect
he later learned all..about that.
C-Didn't Perkins talk about withdrawing?
H-John Y. Brown, Sn .m I think, was a candidate for sentatop;^
e8Mfe 1~4a a S t one time)in the early part of the campaign)
Perkins was planning to withdraw. V4L Clements called him and
encouraged him to stay in the race. /old him he could work it
out alright for him. So he did.'

C- ae I remember the night before the election CMay, 1948D) /e

were-eai-n.'fib were going to spend the night in Williamson,
West Virginia, and you had made a radio tale ant~d 1.hen you got
through with the radio talk you found out that labor had en-
dorsed Coldiron (Dr. J. C. Coldiron, M.D]J Do you know what
happened on the labor sell-out?
H-)% it was all hearsay, ut Dr. Coldiron from the Kentucky
River side of the district, recieved the endorsement of labor@
a&4 rumors were that he had dealt with the top labor people.
1%4 Clementst AI think was instrumental in getting the Big Sandy
River labor people for Perkins4~4after labor had endorsed me in
public. I first learned of that on Pond Creek in Pike County,
just over the line from West Virginia while Ed FsoI and I were
justt over
going from house to house. 1 .1 in fact,Agoing to see the
district leaders of labor. W$ that same night, I think we
were in Williamson4 broadcasting station.
C-I~ --I remember when we went to the precinct the next day,
they were bringing the miners in to vote them, and so many of
them weQd--e drunk. Was it common to offer alcoholic beverages
to voters to try to get their vote?
H-That was^pretty widespread custom.
C-How did that work?
H-~e it didn't help. It had a counteracting effect in lots of
C-Would they just give them a little bottle)or how did they give
it to them?
H-WE~~,f opponent Stephens in my first racq~k4kj brought a
number of cases of half-pints and gave them to the miners as
they came off the night shift, along with some peaches.
Laughter ) Aext morning when I got up and was around the coal

,camp they told me about it. A laughed about it.
C-_hat was an unusual combinationwa-s-rt.it?:.
H-I expect so.
C-Well, Jow do you feel about the issue of judges being elected
as opposed to appointed?
H-8a I think that I favor the election of local judges in
county districts, but I believe for the supreme court vacancies
and the intermediate t8f.)u districtt courts, they should
be appointed on the proper recommendations.
C-Why the difference in the local and higher co4os?
H- tq he district courts are manned by people who are local,
and their conduct is more easily observed by the people anp
they'll soon find out whether a local trail judge is doing a
good job or whether he has the integrity essential for that
sort of job.

C-B1 gt4 harder to know the people who run for higheritT
ba-er pTace sath~~,. courts?
H-Wqt n districts larger than county, a lot of politics can
enter into the selection of judges, more so than in local
C-4*% of course, you know from your own experiencets,,my i11h
that the best man doesn't always win)even on the local scene.

nH-Wv, _sure. The good actor has an advantage nowadays' with
TV and radio) and sometimes it's difficult ~,;ndaie'hh.:
for the public to determine whether the candidate had the
essential honesty and integrity, and whether or not he's stable.
C-Do you thk?..y like e\p-the way you did itV Xoing

straight to the people S you like that better? ,jou think
that's better than the way they do it now?

H-W;W" no. I don't see much change in the system in those
days and the present time.
C-Butsaw more people, I bet, than a man today running
H-Cq I expect that's so, but that's because kh.,I had more

energy, I guess.
C-What do you think of the revision to the court system in
Kentucky? 1974)J
H-Well, I think it's a vast improvement.

End Tape 2: Side 1


\Local trial judges now have to be lawyers which I think helps

to a great extent.
C-Do you think there are too many judges for the amount of work

they have to do?
H-No, I doubt it.
C-I remember when you were in that Congressional race 7%A you

zemib t ng up somewhere in the very end of Pike County,
and ma~st-t some people that were^original Hatfield-McCoy
family and they had been isolated and '& didn't know the
war was over. Do you remember that?
H-I remember meeting one of the old Hatfield men.
C-What was that like?
H- ~ t te was a very intelligent, dignified old mountaineer,
and I didn't see any evidence of ignorance or backwardness ev'n
any of those people.

C-Did he tell you about the feud?
H-No. I doubt if he told me much. I don't recall anything he
told me. I just remember his appearance and his age.
C-%Qk when you were county judge, did you have hpi good
working relations with the state government and did you feel
]4M5 they supported you?
H-Yes, I think so.
C-Howdid that work? y when you were trying to get roads
built LXd they help you out much?
H-WEIk sometimes it was based on politics. I remember one time
I wanted a road built into Wheelwright community. There was
a gap between the road up Left Beaver Cree) and Wheelwright,
and I had promised that in my campaign. County judg- z
before the governor would let the contract for that road,
I was called by Zack Justice, one of the local Highway Com-
mission members, andktold that he wanted me to go to Frankfort
with him.
WiNat that timo Governor Chandler Albert B. was a
candidate for United States Senate against Barkley (Alben S.
B Barkley3).0 I was toldAif I didn't manage the campaign
for Chandler ftAi I wasn't 44 get .that road built. So I
said, "Well, I'm going to sell out for this road." M I
tried to manage the campaign for Chandler but to no avail, be-
cause Barkley just snowed him under with WPA money and so on.
C-W-~iEl ,ou didn't win in your county but -yre4t get your

H-. yes I got the road.
C-That's what counted. W ycJ;Ey~;:
H-Let me sayAlittle Et r about our new judicial system in

Kentucky. We have a fourteen-member intermediate Court of

Appeals which is doing a remarkable job. They hold their

sessions in different places over the state in panels of three

judges a they eliminate a lot ,of delays, and they are doing

a good job.

The only criticism I have of our system=4ithe change in

the plan has left the seven-member Supreme Court with very

little to do. It only has jurisdiction in constitutional

questions, appeals in death penalty cases, zLt~i as,.

perhaps, life sentence felonies Ahd by motions upon a showing

of just reason for appeal, &aVthat is seldom sustained by

the Supreme Court. ',Si they don't hlve very much to do anymore.

C-Wr-$cwaw-. 94you think the people are better served by the new



C-W~-q Daddy, don't you hold a record of having served as judge

in more counties than anybody that you know of?

H-No)I think Lawrence Grauman of Louisville, Kentucky has the
record of about 1nt~B ^ego twenty counties in which he

served as special circuit judge. \A I understand I was second

in about seventeen counties.

C-W'e after you retired or didn't run for a second term on the

Court of Appeals, you did a lot of special judging, didn't you?


C-Did you have some interesting cases? I think I remember one

down around Somerset where you had a family custody^that was

pretty interesting.

H-No, that was .


VlWhitley Countyy \5il JIC(Y U00 ,
C-That was an interesting case, wasn't it? lig't child
H-Yes. It was a pretty aggravating '3. case. custody of twinsi--
a boy and a girls was the central point of the controversy.
C-8.14, have you ever been sorry you went into politics?
H-No. 4-
C-V'~ $ S Ir ve often heard you say 'it~lty. you probably
would have been better offAif you'd practiced law. How about
H-'f^ I expect I would have.
C'-ou think you would have made more money in the law business?
H-Yes, after Black Lung cases came along.
C-Did many of the mountain lawyers make money on that?

H-& .a number of them did.
C-^W^ ith o'>b' ldo you think it was a fulfilling life?
'oouidS ^Sa vvoi sometimes you had
stayed on in *Vs law as far as an interesting and fulfilling
life? Do you feel b0fe you served the people?
H-Yes, I think so. You're asking an awful)lpersonal question.
C-41i',, do you? etkPt-4as fyour at this time none of
your offspring have chosen law. Do you ever think about
H-I've thought about it from the standpoint of our two sons,
and I expect)in their early life my income as county judge
for eight-year period was V* lowj kkAand having gone through
the Great Depression, my family had to make out on a mighty
small income. V1 I expect my two sons got the idea that per-
haps the political-law business wasn't too attractive.

dd ve
C-At that timeKentucky hal a statutory limit on their income?
Ia that-Oiht?
H-Yesat that time it was $5,000.
C-Even for the governor?
C-Ab"S~ h.what did you make?
H-My first terms as county judge was $1,500 a year, or $4,800,
I believe.
C-VWl that was very low compared to other states, wasn't it?
H-I think so.
C-Do you think they've made that more equitade noe? fudges
paid better now?
H-^ sure.
C-$ didn't Kentucky try to offset that with their retirement
H-No, they tried to avoid the constitutional limitations on
salaries by offering enormous side-benefits to some of the high-
er officers '3650 p especially governor.
C-S~$gl did you have a good time in all those years?
H-V$ part of the tim 30art of the time it was bleak days.
When you are serving the public)you're' in a shov(ase.
C-Do you remember that white Pontiac we had."they got so they
could tell you coming down the road, and they'd stop you.
Do you remember that?
C46n't remember the white Pontiac that everybody knew?
H-I think I remember the white Pontiac. That's the one : ,.
that Ed turned over in the creek?

G-'^^^^-^t^ ^/j

H-I don't,know.
C-And they'd see you coming and sEa call to you to stop.
They wanted to tell you their problems. But I thinkX
tW your family's proud of you. You can rest
assured about that. We feel proud of you. "t ,anyway,
it's a good life.

End of Tape 2: Side 2

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