J. C. S. Blackburn
Governor of Panama Canal Zone
In office
April 1, 1907 – December 4, 1909
Appointed byTheodore Roosevelt
Preceded byRichard Reid Rogers
Succeeded byMaurice Thatcher
Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus
In office
June 4, 1906 – March 4, 1907
Preceded byArthur Pue Gorman
Succeeded byCharles Allen Culberson
United States Senator
from Kentucky
In office
March 4, 1901 – March 4, 1907
Preceded byWilliam Lindsay
Succeeded byThomas H. Paynter
In office
March 4, 1885 – March 4, 1897
Preceded byJohn S. Williams
Succeeded byWilliam J. Deboe
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 7th district
In office
March 4, 1875 – March 3, 1885
Preceded byJames B. Beck
Succeeded byWilliam Breckinridge
Personal details
Joseph Clay Stiles Blackburn

(1838-10-01)October 1, 1838
Spring Station, Kentucky, U.S.
DiedSeptember 12, 1918(1918-09-12) (aged 79)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
RelativesLuke P. Blackburn (Brother) James W. Blackburn (Brother)
EducationCentre College (BA)

Joseph Clay Stiles Blackburn (October 1, 1838 – September 12, 1918) was a Democratic Representative and Senator from Kentucky. Blackburn, a skilled and spirited orator, was also a prominent trial lawyer known for his skill at swaying juries.[1]


Mrs Joseph Clay Stiles Blackburn

Blackburn was born on October 1, 1838, near Spring Station, Kentucky.[1] He was the younger brother of Kentucky governor Luke P. Blackburn.[2]

He attended Sayres Institute in Frankfort and graduated from Centre College in Danville in 1857. He studied law in Lexington and was admitted to the bar in 1858. He practiced in Chicago until 1860 when he returned to Woodford County, Kentucky, and entered the Confederate Army as a private in 1861.[1]

A staff officer, by the end of the Civil War Blackburn had attained the rank of lieutenant colonel. After the war he settled in Arkansas, where he was engaged as a lawyer and a planter in Desha County until 1868 when he returned to Kentucky and opened law offices in Versailles.[1]

He was a member of the State house of representatives from 1871 to 1875. He was then elected as a Democrat to the Forty-fourth and to the four succeeding Congresses (March 4, 1875 - March 3, 1885). He was the chairman of the Committee on the District of Columbia (Forty-fifth Congress) and the Committee on Expenditures in the Department of War (Forty-fifth and Forty-sixth Congresses).

In 1885, U.S. Army Lt. Henry T. Allen named a mountain after Joseph Blackburn. Mount Blackburn is the highest peak in the Wrangell Mountains of the state of Alaska and the fifth highest peak in the United States.[1]

He was elected to the United States Senate in 1884, was reelected in 1890, and served from March 4, 1885, to March 3, 1897. He failed to be reelected in 1896. He was the chairman of the Committee on Rules (Fifty-third Congress). He was once again elected to the United States Senate in 1900 and served from March 4, 1901, to March 3, 1907, but failed in his next election bid in 1906.[3] Loosely associated with the free-silver wing of the Democratic party, he was well known nationally and his name was placed in nomination for the presidency in 1896.[1]

He was appointed Governor of the Panama Canal Zone by President Theodore Roosevelt on April 1, 1907. He resigned and returned to his estate in Woodford County.[1]

He died on September 12, 1918, in Washington, D.C. He was interred in the State Cemetery in Frankfort.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Jos. C. S. Blackburn, Ex-senator, Is Dead. Aged Kentuckian Served in Three Administrations and Was Civil Governor of Canal Zone". The New York Times. September 13, 1918. p. 11. Retrieved April 14, 2021 – via NewspaperArchive. Joseph C. S. Blackburn, former Senator from Kentucky and in recent years a Resident Commissioner of the Lincoln Memorial Commission, died early today at his home here. He was stricken shortly after arising with a recurrence of heart attack from which he was a chronic sufferer. ...
  2. ^ Baird, Nancy Disher (1979). Luke Pryor Blackburn: Physician, Governor, Reformer. Lexington, Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-0248-0.
  3. ^ "S. Doc. 58-1 - Fifty-eighth Congress. (Extraordinary session -- beginning November 9, 1903.) Official Congressional Directory for the use of the United States Congress. Compiled under the direction of the Joint Committee on Printing by A.J. Halford. Special edition. Corrections made to November 5, 1903". GovInfo.gov. U.S. Government Printing Office. November 9, 1903. p. 36. Retrieved July 2, 2023.

Further reading

U.S. House of Representatives Preceded byJames B. Beck Member of the U.S. House of Representativesfrom Kentucky's 7th congressional district 1875–1885 Succeeded byWilliam Breckinridge Preceded byAylett Hawes Buckner Chair of the House District of Columbia Committee 1877–1879 Succeeded byEppa Hunton Preceded byWilliam M. Robbins Chair of the House War Department Expenditures Committee 1877–1881 Succeeded byJames Frankland Briggs U.S. Senate Preceded byJohn S. Williams U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Kentucky 1885–1897 Served alongside: James B. Beck, John G. Carlisle, William Lindsay Succeeded byWilliam J. Deboe Preceded byNelson W. Aldrich Chair of the Senate Rules Committee 1893–1895 Succeeded byNelson W. Aldrich Preceded byWilliam Lindsay U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Kentucky 1901–1907 Served alongside: William Deboe, James B. McCreary Succeeded byThomas H. Paynter Party political offices Preceded byArthur Pue Gorman Chair of the Senate Democratic Caucus 1906–1907 Succeeded byCharles Allen Culberson Political offices Preceded byRichard Reid Rogers Governor of Panama Canal Zone 1890–1899 Succeeded byMaurice Thatcher