Jesse Bledsoe
Jesse Bledsoe.jpg
United States Senator
from Kentucky
In office
March 4, 1813 – December 24, 1814
Preceded byJohn Pope
Succeeded byIsham Talbot
6th Secretary of State of Kentucky
In office
September 1, 1808 – July 26, 1812
GovernorCharles Scott
Preceded byWilliam C. Greenup
Succeeded byFielding Winlock
Member of the Kentucky Senate
In office
Member of the Kentucky House of Representatives
In office
Personal details
Born(1776-04-06)April 6, 1776
Culpeper County, Virginia
DiedJune 25, 1836(1836-06-25) (aged 60)
Nacogdoches, Texas
Political partyDemocratic-Republican

Jesse Bledsoe (April 6, 1776 – June 25, 1836) was a slave owner[1] and Senator from Kentucky.

Life and career

Bledsoe was born in Culpeper County, Virginia in 1776. When he was very young, his family migrated with a Baptist congregation through Cumberland Gap into Kentucky. Many of the adults in this traveling congregation were property: Negro slaves. Jesse attended Transylvania Seminary and Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, where he studied law. He was admitted to the bar about 1800 and commenced practice.

In 1808, Bledsoe was appointed Secretary of State. He was a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives in 1812. Afterwards he was elected as a Democratic Republican to the United States Senate and served from March 4, 1813, until his resignation on December 24, 1814. He then became a member of the Kentucky State Senate in 1817, serving until 1820.

Bledsoe was judge of the Lexington circuit in 1822. He settled in Lexington and was professor of law in Transylvania University. He then became minister in the Disciples Church. He moved to Mississippi in 1833 and to Texas in 1835. He died near Nacogdoches, Texas under circumstances his contemporaries and kinfolk could only describe as a significant fall from grace.

Sometimes a volatile being, he earned the sobriquet "Hot headed" Jesse Bledsoe. Besides being a brilliant jurist he was a fascinating maternal uncle to 1) Robert Emmett Bledsoe Baylor, who studied law with him, 2) Thomas Chilton who likewise represented Kentucky in Congress, and 3) William Parish Chilton who would rise to political prominence in Alabama and the Confederacy.


  1. ^ "Congress slaveowners", The Washington Post, 2022-01-27, retrieved 2022-01-31


Political offices Preceded byWilliam C. Greenup Secretary of State of Kentucky 1808–1812 Succeeded byFielding Winlock U.S. Senate Preceded byJohn Pope U.S. senator (Class 3) from Kentucky 1813–1814 Served alongside: George M. Bibb, George Walker, William T. Barry Succeeded byIsham Talbot