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Below is a family biography from the book, History of Kentucky, Edition 8a by J. H. Battle, W. H. Perrin and G. C. Kniffin and published by F. A. Battey Publishing Company in 1888.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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HON. WILLIAM FONTAINE BULLOCK was born in Fayette County, Ky., January 16, 1807, and is descended from one of the prominent families of Kentucky. The following was written by himself, of his parents, some years ago: “My father, Edmund Bullock, the oldest son of Edward and Agnes Bullock, was a native of Hanover County, Va., and was descended from a stock distinguished for integrity. His education was as thorough and accurate as the times would permit. In early life he emigrated to the ‘District of Kentucky,’ where he soon acquired a high standing, based upon his exalted merits as a man and as a citizen. In all his dealings he was faithful and just, and in his intercourse with his fellow-men he was polite, noble and generous. He was soon called into public life, and was, for many years, a leading member of the Legislature of Kentucky. He was speaker, at different times, of both branches of that body, and in that capacity won for himself a high reputation. He was alike remarkable for his dignity and urbanity of manners and for his stern and unbending sense of justice. Throughout a long life he lived above reproach — a noble specimen of an honest man. He died in the eighty-ninth year of his age, at peace with God through faith in Christ, My mother, Elizabeth, was the second daughter of Aaron Fontaine, who was the youngest son of Rev. Peter Fontaine, and was born in Virginia, in 1754. The Rev. Peter Fontaine came from England to America in 1715, and was soon thereafter installed as rector of one of the oldest parishes of the Episcopal Church in the State of Virginia. He was the son of Rev. James Fontaine, who fled from France to England upon the revocation of the edict of Nantes in 1685. He was a Huguenot of noble birth and of the most indomitable energy, and was especially distinguished for his heroic devotion to his Protestant faith. My grandfather was a noble scion of such a stock. I never saw my mother; she died at my birth. My knowledge of her is derived from my father, who, to the close of a long life, never ceased to cherish her memory and to impress upon my heart the highest appreciation of her lovely character.” Such was the family from which the subject of this sketch sprung. Judge Bullock has long been conspicuous in a corps of celebrities, second to none in the Union in the point of ability and fame. The Kentucky bar enjoys a high reputation, and its members have largely influenced the character, not only of the great West, but of the entire country. The mother of most of the Western States, she can point to her deeds in National Councils, and her sons’ glory in the fame of her Breckinridge, Nicholas, Davies, Clay, Rowan, Crittenden, Barry, Sharp, Boyle, Owsley, Mills, Trimble, Bibb, Robertson, and a host of others, who contributed to the imperishable legal renown of the State. For a long period of time, in the early history of Kentucky, Lexington enjoyed a large portion of the renown of the State. The first newspaper west of the Alleghenies was published in Lexington; Transylvania University, for a number of years the most renowned institution of learning in the great valley of the Ohio, was located there. From that venerable hall of learning, Kentucky scattered, with a profuse hand, her intellectual treasures over the West and South. While Transylvania University was under the auspicious administration of President Holley, it is doubtful whether any city in the United States possessed a larger share of intellectual activity than Lexington. Education flourished in all its departments, and a love of literature and science pervaded all ranks. The general pursuit of knowledge which characterized the people enabled them to support for many years the finest public library in the West, to which was attached reading-rooms, containing all the best periodicals in the English language. The great genius of Matthew Jouett, one of the noblest artists on canvas that his country has produced, and the cultivated taste, public spirit and enterprise of John D. Clifford, command the prosperity of the fine arts. Philosophy, literature, classical learning, science and art, went hand in hand, and Lexington was the glory, the pride, and the cynosure of the West. In addition to the resources of intellectual growth and activity already mentioned, Lexington maintained, for about fifteen years, the ablest, most prosperous and successful medical school in the western country. Nor were the interests of a law-school neglected in the midst of these intellectual energies; but one was established, as a department of the University, which speedily attained a high rank. The genius and abilities of the bar of Lexington were illustrated by Henry Clay, William T. Barry, William Blair, Jesse Bledsoe, Joseph Cabell, Breckinridge, and others, who, with less extended fame, enjoyed a high reputation at home. It was in the midst of these intellectual energies, that the subject of this sketch first saw the light. At an early period he exhibited a fondness for study, and such was the proficiency attained at a country school, that he entered Transylvania University, and graduated in 1824, when he was but seventeen years of age. No student ever entered those classic halls with a higher reputation; and his devotion to study, his modesty and good habits, enabled him to add largely to his youthful fame. At the time of his graduation, he was esteemed as second to none of the distinguished eleves of Transylvania University, then in the zenith of her renown. As an orator, he was unrivalled in that institution; and such was his great distinction, that upon the return of Mr. Clay to Kentucky, after his vote for Mr. Adams, when his congressional district determined, in its own language, “to speak its instructions to Henry Clay, in a language that could neither be misunderstood or mistaken,” the youthful orator of Transylvania was selected to deliver the speech, welcoming the patriot of Kentucky to the hearts of those who had long entrusted their political interests to his keeping. It was an occasion of deep interest; it drew people from various parts of the State, and an immense assembly of Kentuckians, and citizens of other States were gathered to receive the illustrious sage of Ashland. For the time being, the eyes of the nation were upon Lexington. The traducers of the fame of her most illustrious son looked on the scene with fear and trembling, while the friends of the administration of Mr. Adams looked to it as a source of hopeful energy and triumph. In the midst of all these great interests, in the presence of that great assemblage, indeed, of the American people, the young orator of Transylvania addressed a speech of welcome to Henry Clay that was worthy of the occasion. It was an effort of eloquence of which any son of Kentucky might well have been proud. Even during the mighty response of Henry Clay, whether its eloquent tones were moving the best feelings of our nature, or its withering scorn was hurling defiance and its anathemas upon the heads of those whose machinations were struggling for his ruin, the calm and elevated eloquence of the youthful orator worked its way into the memories of the people, and placed him conspicuous among the speakers of Kentucky. In 1828 Mr. Bullock moved to Louisville, Ky., and commenced the practice of law, in the midst of as formidable competition as could be found in the State. But the same habits that had given him such enviable distinction in the curriculum of Transylvania University, soon attracted attention to him in his new sphere of duty, and gave him high rank among the able men who adorned the Louisville bar. He was elected a member of the House of Representatives in 1838, 1840, 1841, and was the author of some of the noblest monuments of Kentucky legislation. To his well directed efforts Kentucky is indebted for her common-school system. He introduced the bill into legislature, and by his eloquence, his mastery of the whole subject, and his untiring labors, both as the eloquent exponent of the cause before the representatives of the people and the profound writer for the press, he so deeply engraved the merits of the common school system upon the public mind, that it now defies all the powers of its enemies. Various efforts have been made to cripple this system, and the most formidable was in 1843, to cancel the bonds of the State, which had been given to the Board of Education, on account of a loan of the money that had been appropriated to the common-school system. The original appropriation was $850,000, a portion of the dividend paid to Kentucky from the surplus revenue of the general government. This sum was loaned to the State on her bonds. In 1843, an attempt was made to cancel these bonds, by which the common-school system would have been utterly destroyed. Mr. Bullock was not at that time a member of the legislature, but he earnestly appealed, through the press, against this great outrage. While the danger lasted he was always at his post, battling for the cause that had enlisted his zeal and his best abilities. A profound debt of gratitude is due to Judge Bullock for his services in the cause of education. Nor were the philanthropic exertions of Mr. Bullock, while he was in the legislature, confined to the cause of popular education. When efforts were first begun in Kentucky for an improved management of the insane, those efforts found in him a zealous and intelligent champion. In 1842, he produced a profound impression upon the public mind, by a report which he submitted to the Kentucky legislature on the management of the insane. He accompanied the report with a speech which commanded the attention of the State, and to his exertions the triumph of the cause is due. Kentucky has been exceedingly liberal since that time in her appropriations to the insane; and the lunatic asylums now compare for excellence with any in the United States. Another crowning glory of Judge Bullock’s legislative career, was in his successful exertions to procure an endowment from the State for an institution for the education of the blind. His eloquent advocacy of the cause, his zeal and energy, were crowned with success; and in 1841 the legislature of Kentucky appropriated $10,000 towards establishing a school for the blind. This is the favorite eleemosynary institution in Kentucky. The legislature has been liberal in its endowments for its support, and the institution has resources now to place it upon a sure basis. Judge Bullock was one of the original trustees of this institution, and has been one of the most active and useful members of the Board to the present time. He has been president to the Board of Trustees most of the time from its first organization until now. These are the monuments of the legislative career of Judge Bullock, and his friends point to them as the characteristics of the man. After the close of his legislative career, Mr. Bullock again resumed the practice of his profession. In 1846, he was appointed to the bench as judge of the Fifth Judicial district, an appointment that gave general satisfaction. His high legal reputation, his urbanity of demeanor, his decision and firmness, and his universally acknowledged integrity in all things, gave an earnest of a successful career in this new sphere of usefulness, which has been fully redeemed by his judicial course. Pursuing a strong natural bent, Judge Bullock has played a conspicuous part as a popular orator. A devoted personal friend and an ardent political admirer of Henry Clay, he long ranked among the most attractive and effective Whig leaders in a period when the hustings offered in Kentucky a high arena for intellectual conflict, and an exciting theater for brilliant displays of eloquence. In view of the close relationship to Mr. Clay, he was befittingly chosen to deliver the oration that was uttered in the presence of a vast assemblage in Louisville, May 30, 1867, on the occasion of unveiling the life-size statue of the great statesman — the handiwork of Joel T. Hart — which now adorns the rotunda of the court-house. But it is chiefly as a lawyer and jurist that Judge Bullock has evinced his highest powers. During the last forty years he has ranked among the foremost members of the Kentucky bar. The records of the court show that he has been an unusually successful practitioner, often making great and triumphant arguments before judges and juries, and always exhibiting marked ability in the management of his cases. He has justly been styled one of the most courteous and yet most formidable antagonists in the forum. For twelve years, dating from 1849, he was a member of the law faculty of the University of Louisville, in which capacity he displayed much learning and skill as a teacher, and inspired his students with a love of the science which he taught. He has virtually retired from active practice, but as late as 1882, he appeared before the Court of Appeals, in the case of the Louisville Bridge Company against the city of Louisville, as attorney for the former corporation, and delivered an argument for his client seldom equaled in the presence of that tribunal.

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This family biography is one of 195 biographies included in the Jefferson County, Kentucky section of the book, The History of Kentucky, Edition 8a published in 1888 by F. A. Battey Publishing Company.  For the complete description, click here: History of Kentucky, Edition 8a

View additional Jefferson County, Kentucky family biographies here: Jefferson County, Kentucky Biographies

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