Breckinridge, Colonel William Cabell Preston (1837-1904)

TITLE OF VIDEO CLIP Breckinridge Family

Section O, Lot 126
He was a lawyer, soldier, editor, and statesman, known as the "silver-tongued orator of Kentucky." His downfall was the publicity he received from a breach of promise suit brought in 1894 by Madeline Pollard against him. It was front- page news nationwide for six weeks. The court awarded Pollard $15,000 in damages, then Colonel Breckinridge announced his candidacy for a sixth consecutive term in Congress immediately thereafter.

The Suffragettes were aroused and publicly opposed him. The National Christian League for the Promotion of Social Purity sent a letter to Congress in protest. They also sent a letter to Col. Breckinridge's wife asking her, in the name of womanhood, to renounce her husband and refuse to live with him. When he arrived in Lexington to campaign in May, 1894, Laura Clay had organized an "anti- Breckinridge" rally at the Opera House. It was attended by the "best people in Fayette County" and among them were 1,000 women who loudly made their feelings known. Breckinridge lost the election and his political career was over. Without the ability to cast a single vote, the women defeated him.

Back to Notable People