1852: John Custis Darby to Robert Richardson

This letter was written by John Custis Darby (1811-1886), a physician from Lexington, Fayette county, Kentucky.  He was the son of John Darby (1772-1835) and Lucy Burwell Lilly (17xx-1842) of Middlesex county, Virginia. Dr. Darby was married to Amanda Daugherty Richardson (1822-1867) in 1838. He wrote the letter from his residence in Lexington which was located at 575 W. Short Street — the two story brick home originally built in 1806 by Stephen H. Reed.

[Note: To read a letter that Dr. Darby wrote to John C. Calhoun, see Lexington, Ky. 4th December 1848.]

Dr. Darby wrote the letter to Hon. Robert Richardson (1826-18xx), the son of Samuel Q. and Mary H. (Harrison) Richardson. Robert was born in Lexington and graduated from Transylvania University in 1846. In 1848 he attended the law school at Lexington and soon after relocated to Covington where he entered the practice of law.


Addressed to Mr. Robert Richardson, Esqr., Covington, Ky.

Lexington [Kentucky]
21 October 1852

Dear Robert,

The article in “The Kentuckian” of the 18th headed “the late murder case in Fayette County” &c. surprised me beyond measure. I wrote you quite a long letter after reading the first notice of the death of Fraser in your paper. You can not have received my letter or else you would not have allowed such a publication as the last to appear. I say so because from what I know of you & of your feelings towards me, I have every reason to believe that you would put as much confidence in what I would say to you as you would in what any man in Lexington would say. What you publish as facts must have been communicated from this place. To believe them to be true you must believe what I wrote you to be false. This I cannot believe of you. I therefore believe that you either did not receive my letter, or if you did, that the article referred to was published without your knowledge. I can assure you that almost every material thing published as facts in that article is positively false; & the lawyers for the Commonwealth if sworn would say so.

The gentleman who took down the testimony in court (x) has this minute come into my office & coincides entirely with me. The Louisville Courier has published as facts in this case a number of slanderous lies for which I believe he could [be] made accountable in a court of justice. I can not believe that you would knowingly persecute the innocent or even those charged with crime unless you were satisfied that they were guilty. As I said in my first letter, I now repeat that I honestly believe that Fraser’s death was entirely accidental & that William Fraser & Gregg are as innocent as I am. This letter is not for publication & you will please not use my name.

Yours very truly, — Jno. C. Darby

Please keep this letter.

x according to the new code of practice.


Griff View All →

My passion is studying American history leading up to & including the Civil War. I particularly enjoy reading, transcribing & researching primary sources such as letters and diaries.

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