Patrick Henry Darby

Patrick Henry Darby was born on September 23, 1844, in Princeton, Caldwell County, Kentucky, to George and Mary Caldwell. George was a farmer who owned at least ten slaves. He died in May 1858, leaving behind six children under the age of 16. 

Patrick received his early education in Caldwell County before attending Cumberland College in Princeton, Kentucky. In 1860, he enrolled at the University of Virginia to study Latin, Greek, and modern languages. He withdrew from the university on April 16, 1861, one day after Lincoln's call for volunteers.

On August 14, 1862, he enlisted in the Union army, mustering in as a private in the 15th Kentucky Cavalry. His unit spent most of the next year on garrison duty in Kentucky and Tennessee, but in July 1863 they took part in an expedition against Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Darby’s “meritorious conduct” won him steady promotion: to sergeant major on May 1, regimental commissary on June 9, and first lieutenant on June 15. He mustered out of service on October 6, 1863, in Paducah, Kentucky. 

Darby enrolled at the University of Michigan in 1864 to study law. Darby married Mary Louisa McNary on December 21, 1869, in Caldwell County, Kentucky. They had at least three children: Mariah, born 1872; Nannie, born 1874; and Lucy, born 1880. He was admitted to the bar at Princeton, Kentucky, in 1870. He specialized in corporate law, working as an attorney for several railroad companies. He joined the Democratic Party and served as secretary and committee member at local party meetings. In January 1877, Darby and other Kentucky Democrats accused Republicans of stealing the presidential election of 1876 through "fraud and force." They urged Congress to "stand up squarely and unflinchingly" and declare Democrat Samuel J. Tilden the next president of the United States. While Darby hoped for "peace and prosperity," he "scorn[ed] to accept either at the cost of the freedom of elections."

Darby and his family moved to Louisville in 1882 and returned to Princeton in 1898. Darby established a reputation as “one of the foremost members of the bar of this portion of the state.” He devoted himself to the “general welfare, aiding materially in the upbuilding of social, intellectual and moral interests.” He belonged to the Presbyterian Church, the Free Masons, and the Knights of Honor, and he served as president of the Board of Trustees for Princeton Collegiate Institute. 

In 1901, he was elected county attorney for Caldwell County, a position he held for the next several years. He joined the Republican Party late in life, and in 1902 the party nominated him for a seat on the Kentucky Court of Appeals. He applied for and received a veteran's pension. Darby died of heart disease on June 27, 1909, in Princeton, and was buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery.


Patrick H. Darby Attends a Democratic Party Meeting

Obituary for Patrick Henry Darby, July 3, 1909

Name:Darby, Patrick Henry
Alternative names:
  • Soldier
  • UVA (Union)
15th Regiment Kentucky CavalryF&S
15th Regiment Kentucky CavalryF
15th Regiment Kentucky CavalryE
Branch of service:Army
Enlistment1862-08-14Smithland, KYaccepted19
Muster Out1863-10-06Paducah, KY
Residence at UVA:Fredonia, KY
UVA Begin Year:1860
UVA End Year:1861
Residence at enlistment:
Rank In:Private
Rank Out:Lieutenant
Highest rank achieved:Lieutenant
Person 1Person 2NumberRelation Type
Darby, Patrick HenryDarby, Patrick Henry1285393application-invalid
Darby, Patrick Henrynoneapplication-minor
Darby, Patrick Henrynoneapplication-parent
Darby, Patrick Henrynoneapplication-widow
Darby, Patrick HenryDarby, Patrick Henry1067396certificate-invalid
Birth date:1844-09-23
Birth date certainty:Certain
Birth place:Princeton, KY
Death date:1909-06-27
Death place:
Causes of death:disease: heart disease
Person 1Relation TypePerson 2
Darby, Patrick Henryparent ofDarby, Mariah
Darby, Patrick Henryparent ofDarby, Nannie F.
Darby, Patrick Henryparent ofDarby, Lucy
Darby, Mary Louisa McNarywife ofDarby, Patrick Henry

Patrick H. Darby's pension record could not be located at either the National Archives in Washington, D.C., or the Veteran Personnel Record Center in St. Louis, Mo.

Compiled Service Records for Patrick H. Darby, RG 94, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.; United States Census, 1850, 1870, 1880, and 1900, accessed through; UVA Student Catalogue, Jefferson's University: Early Life; Patrick Henry Darby, accessed through; The Courier Journal (Louisville, KY), January 17, 1877, March 16, 1899; H. Levin, Lawyers and Lawmakers of Kentucky (1897); Memorial Record of Western Kentucky (Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1904).