Edmund Lyne Starling

by Edmund Starling, 1886

EDMUND LYNE STARLING.-In treating of the life of the one whose name heads this brief sketch, one must feel that the difficulties he has to encounter, are equally great with those of the photographer when he attempts to reproduce on prepared paper, the exact features of a picture that presents aspects of a marked character. From his earliest childhood he possessed a mind remarkable for its strength and clearness. His chief aim seemed to be to earn an honorable name through the practice of those civic virtues whice, while they adorn their possessor, are the strongest supports of both society and government. At an early age he began to exhibit those of character, which, in their fuller development, caused him to be beloved and respected wherever he was known.

In his domestic life, his home stood with hospitable gates ajar, welcoming the stranger, the friend, the wayfarer and the distressed. No cloistral quiet there, with grave and irksome duties, where life was treated as a great sorrow to be borne in peace; nay, but a genial homelike pleasantness, rife with joyous sounds and echoing with contagious laughter, from its open windows and light, inviting chambers. Little children loved and came to him, their intuitions, wiser than our skill, recognized his kindly, generous nature, and they climber about his knees, roguishly and confidingly. He ever could sympathize with the child over its broken doll, as well as he could with a man borne down to earth with his sad and sorrowful bereavements. The young maiden, strange with the new love springing in her innocent heart, and wandering over the prize, found in this plain and good man, the tenderest advisor and friend, a confident more true than her old schoolmate, to whom she planned a future in the soft brilliance of their moonlit chamber. this enlarged good feeling for charity as God made the world, and not narrowly, as man uses it, was one of the qualities and attributes of Col. Edmund L. Starling. All those who knew him and felt his kindly influence, know that it is no more possible to resist a kindly nature shining from a noble heart, than it is for the earth to turn ungrateful to the sun and refuse its plants and flowers its generous kiss.

Col. Edmund L. Starling was born in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, on the ninth day of May, 1795. Sir William Starling, of Stopplesy Hall, of Bedfordshire, England, his paternal ancestor, was knighted in 1661, and Lord Mayor of London in 1670. The celebrated William Penn, it is said, was arraigned before Lord Mayor Starling for non-conformity of his religious opinions to the accepted creed of the government. William Starling, grandfather of the subject of this sketch, was the first man of the name who came to America, coming as an assistant or merchant's clerk, with his uncle, Benjamin Hubbard. He settled in King William County, Virginia, about 1740. William Starling, his son, and father of our subject, was born in King William County on the fourth day of September, 1756. He married Susanna Lyne, daughter of Col. William Lyne, of the same county, in 1774. They had eleven children, our subject being the youngest. Anne Starling, the second child, married Major John Holloway, a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and soon aftewards removed to Kentucky, settling in this county. William Starling, soon after his marriage, removed to Mecklenburg County, Virginia, where he lived for many years, following the occupation of merchant and also serving as High Sheriff of the county. During his term of office he won considerable reputation for coolness and courage by the arrest of a notorious and dangerous character, who had long been the dread and annoyance of the whole country, and who, upon the occasion referred to, had ridden into the courtyard heavily armed, and, with insolent bravado, defied the officers and dared them arrest him.

In 1794, William Starling removed to Kentucky and settled on a farm near Harrodsburgh, in Mercer County. He had purchased lands before coming there, but lost them through the conflicting and uncertain titles that were characteristic of those days, and which, for many years thereafter, were the source of much trouble and litigation, until the Legislature, by a few general and sweeping acts, quieted the titles and confirmed the possession to the fortunate holders. Mr. Starling, in addition to his large landed interest, was the owner of a great many slaves, and engaged in mercantile pursuits at Harrodsburgh on an extensive scale, having branches of his house in Henderson and Frankfort. He died December 25th, 1826; his wife, Susanna Lyne, died Septemt 7th, 1802. Colonel Starling, as he was called, derived his title from the fact that he was selected Colonel of a temporary regiment, called out when Virginia was threatened with invasion by Benedict Arnold and his command, after his treason, and when he had joined the British army. He represented Mercer County in the Kentucky Legislature, and, according to the document under the seal of the State, was appointed Assistant Judge for his district December 18th, 1806.

Col. Edmund Lyne Starling, the subject of this sketch, October 2d, 1817, at Frankfort, married Ann Maria Todd. She was born March 30th, 1801, and was the third child of Judge Thomas Todd. Judge Todd was born in King and Queen County, Virginia; was a soldier in the revolution and, in civic life, one of the most eminent men in the nation. He first married Miss Harris, of Pennsylvania, by whom he had three children. She died, and he then married a widow of a nephew of General Washington, who was born Lucy Payne, a beautiful, highly intellectual and imperious woman, sister of Mrs. President Madison. They had two sons. Judge Todd immigrated to Kentucky when about twenty years of age. He chose the profession of the law and devoted himself so earnestly to its duties that he soon became known as one of the ablest lawyers in the Western country. The honors of his profession came thick and fast upon him. He rose to the position of Chief Justice, the highest judicial office of the State. No one achieved a greater reputation in the adjustment of perplexing difficulties arising out of the defective land laws of Virginia than Judge Todd. His success was such that President Jefferson, in 1807, called him to a seat on the Supreme Federal Bench, a position he held until his death. Justice Story pronounced a beautiful tribute to his memory. A brother of Mrs. Edmund L. Starling was Col. Charles Stewart Todd, who was on the staff of General Harrison and served with distinction in the War of 1812, was United States Minister to the court of Russia in the Harrison-Tyler administration, and was afterwards charge d' affaires to South America. He married a daughter of the great Governor Shelby, Kentucky's first and fighting Governor.

Col. Edmund L. Starling, in his younger days, indeed, throughout his whole life, was of a gay and easy disposition, more disposed to enjoy the pleasures of life than settle down to business. For a number of years he resided in Frankfort. Later on he removed to Logan County and settled on a farm not far from his brother William, where he lived for several years. About the year 1830, he removed to Henderson County and located upon the farm now owned by Mrs. W. S. Elam. Fifteen years after he settled the farm known as the "Smith Farm," near the People's Coal Mines, on the Knoblick road, and built the frame resident yet to be found standing there. Col. John Rudy, of this county, was the contractor, and the building is a credit to his honesty and mechanical skill, as it is, one of the best frames in the county.

Col. Starling was never an office seeker, but, by appointment, served this county, under the old Constitution, as Magistrate from 1835 to 1850, both years inclusive. He would have been the next Sheriff under the old Constitution rule. He served in many public trusts, such as guardian, administrator, and vestryman of his church.

In November, 1854, Mr. Starling sold his farm to Chas. T. Starling, and having, on the twenty-first of March, 1851, purchased property in the town from Dr. W. B. Read, gave up farming and removed with his family into the town. In early times the country bordering along creeks was exceedingly unhealthy, and about all that a farmer could make, he was required to pay to doctors and for calomel, quinine and such medicines; for this reason, therefore, it is most likely Mr. Starling removed into the town. His country home was one of the happiest and most cheerful. There was hardly a time that it was without visiting company, gay young persons from the town and from far off places.

It is seldom so many lovable traits of character are to be found embodied in one personage as were possessed in such an eminent degree by Mrs. Starling. She was a most lovable woman, full of heart, truth, justice, charity; in fact, all those attributes that go to make a pure, noble, perfect woman. She was the light of the household, the anchor to which the family clung, the brightest star in the constellation surrounding her, and a highly cultivated and most intelligent lady.

Unto Colonel and Mrs. E. L. Starling there were born eleven children, to-wit: Lyne, Thomas Todd, Sarah Carneal, Jane Davison, Elizabeth Todd, William, Charles Todd, Susanna, Ann Maria, Lucy Bell and Edmund Lyne, all of whom, with the exception of Charles Todd, preceded their parents in death. Truly a sad harvest of death in one family. Mrs. Starling died December 15th, 1862, and was followed by her husband August 30th, 1869. They were both members of the church, Mr. Starling of the Protestant Episcopal, his wife of the Presbyterian. Only three of the children married, to-wit: Lyne, Sarah Carneal and Charles Todd. Lyne Starling, the eldest son, was born in Logan County on the twenty-third day of August, 1818. He died at the age of thirty-three years, having been married three times-first to Miriam P. Dillon, of Franklin County, a lady of the brightest mind and highest order of intellectual accomplishments. As an artist, she ranked among the most noted amateurs. As a poetess and writer, she knew but few equals, and, as a lady calculated to adorn society, she was pre-eminently recognized and beloved. She died January 20th, 1841, one year and seven months after her marriage, leaving one son, Edmund Lyne Starling, born May 9th, 1840.

Lyne Starling married, secondly, Anna Belle Walker, on the thirtieth day of June, 1843. She was a beautiful woman and very much beloved. She died November 13th, 1844, leaving no issue. Five years before his death, April 29th, 1846, Lyne married, for his third wife, Mary F. Allison, eldest daughter of William D. Allison, for many years clerk of the Circuit and County Courts of Henderson County. She is still living and is justly known as one of the most estimable of her sex, and a devoted true friend and Christian woman. Lyne Starling, for a number of years, was engaged in the mercantile trade, and ejoyed a large and extensive patronage. He was a noble, high-spirited man, but never enjoyed good health. He died November 25th, 1851. By his last married, one child, Ann Maria, was born on the twenty-sixth day of January, 1849. She was as pure as a dew drop and as lovable as it is possible in human nature. She died November 22d, 1865.

Sarah Carneal Starling, the eldes daughter, a most amiable and affectionate woman, fulfilling every promise of her bright youth, was married on the second day of January, 1849, to Henry Lyne, eldest son of George Lyne, and grandson of Gen'l Sam'l Hopkins, agent for Richard Henderson & Co., who located the town of Henderson. By that marriage, four children were born-George, William Starling, Susanna Starling, and James. George was born Sept. 20th, 1849, in Henderson. He married, has one child, Susanna, and is teaching school in Vanderburg County, Indiana, and farming on a small scale in Henderson County. William Starling Lyne was born January 7th, 1853; married Miss Mary Meyer, daughter of Dr. J. M. Meyer, a leading physician of Boyle County, and, a few years after, purchased land in that county, built him a handsome home and located with his family, where he yet resides, engaged in farming and raising fine Jersey cattle. His wife is a very handsome woman, thoroughly domestic and very popular. They have had five children, to-wt: Charles Starling, Meyer, Oscar, Mary and William Starling, all fine looking, intelligent children. Susanna Starling Lyne married Jacob Swigert, of Frankfort, a gentleman of high order of intelligence, a thoroughly honest and reliable business man, much respected by all who know him, and in all a most estimable man. Mr. and Mrs. Swigert reside upon a fine blue grass farm, near Spring Station, Woodford County. They have had two children, Mary Hendricks and Starling, both bright and intelligent. Mrs. Swigert is a thorough Christian woman, devote to her husband, children, relatives and friends, and is a most lovable person.

CHARLES TODD STARLING, fourth son of Col. Edmund L. Starling, was born in Logan County on the twenty-second day of Septemter, 1829. He, as in the case of the other children, was raised upon a farm, but was given the best educational advantages to be had in those early times, his father employing the best private teachers when his children were young, in order that they might be prepared to enter the higher grades. At the age of twelve years, young Charles was sent to Gambier College, Ohio, where he remained from three to four years. Subsequent to that time, he received educational training from Rev. John McCullagh and others, until he had possessed himself of a liberal education. He then, for a short time, served in the Circuit and County Clerks' offices as deputy under William D. Allison. On the twenty-seventh day of February, 1851, he married in Louisville, Miss Maria J. Tunstall, eldest daughter of Henry J. Tunstall, who, for many years, held positions of important trust in that city and afterwards served as Councilman of Henderson for many years, with credit to himself and the city. Mrs. Starling was, and is yet, a very handsome woman, though for many years a great sufferer from ills the flesh is heir to. Charles T. Starling is one of the noblest men, honest beyond peradventure and liberal to a fault. He is a devoted husband, relative and churchman. For many years during his manhood, he evinced but little interest in religious matters, but for the last twenty years or more, has been an active, earnest worker in the church and Sunday school. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and, a few years since, was made an Elder.

In 1867 he was elected Teller of the Farmers' Bank, and filled the position with such credit that, at the death of Col. L. H. Lyne, Cashier, in 1881, he was unanimously elected to that important position and is yet serving in that capacity. He has held the important position of City Treasurer since 1875.

All of the remained of Col. Edmund L. Starling's children, eight in number, died unmarried. Edmund Lyne Starling, son of Lyne Starling and Miriam P. Dillon, and grandson of Col. Edmund L. Starling, whs[sic] born in the town of Henderson on the ninth day of May, 1840. On the sixth day of October, 1863, he married Miss Mollie B. Stewart, of New Orleans, a handsome, intelligent, energetic and most estimable woman. She, at the age of nineteen years, became the mistress of a large household, including the care and management of a large number of slaves, a majority of whom were quite young. Her executive judgment was so marked as to attract the attention of her Grandfather Starling, who, upon all occasions, deemed it a pleasure to speak to her in a most complimentary way. She was born in Louisville March 31st, 1844, educated in the best private schools of that city, and finished her school course with Mrs. W. B. Nold, principal of the "Louisville Female Seminary," a noted educational institution. She also received the highest musical advantages offered at that time, being taught by Messrs. Gunther & Brainard, eminent instructors.

In the seventeenth century, during the troublous times in Scotland, two brothers, Patrick and Thomas Stuart, resolved to immigrate claimed to be descendants of the Royal family of Stuarts, they mutually agreed, as they were beginning a new life, in a new country, to change the mode of spelling their names from Stuart to Stewart, Patrick settled in New York City, became very wealthy and died a bachelor. His brother Thomas settled in Virginia, where he married. He afterwads removed to Jefferson County, Kentucky. He was a successful farmer, accumulating considerable property, and was noted for his strict integrity and upright life. he was a kind hearted man, careless in preserving important papers and looking closely to business affairs. In consequence of this he lost the valuable estate of his brother Patrick, which he, in his old age, always claimed his heirs were entitle to. At one time the City of New York advertised for the heirs of one certain Patrick Stewart, who had left much property and died without issue. Nearly every family in the Union by the name of Stewart put in their claim, except the descendants of the two brothers. These descendants, like their ancestors, were careless about records and too wise to indulge hope, knowing they would be required to furnish positive proof, dates, etc., and without which they could lay no claim to the property. One of Thomas Stewart's sons bore his name. Thomas, this son, on the thirty-first day of August 1815, married Dorothy Longest, of Jefferson County, and lived and died in the City of Louisville July 26th, 1836, a leading and highly respected citizen. He was a successful contractor, having built many houses and accumulated considerable property. At the time of his death, he was considered wealthy, but placing too much confidence in mankind, and being too easily imposed upon, his affairs were found to be in an embarassed condition. Three sons survived him, Coleman W., Thomas Jefferson, and Richard Claibourne  Thomas Jefferson, father of Mrs. Starling, was born in Louisville on the seventh day of September, 1818. He grew to his majority a brave, noble-hearted, generous man, full of life and of the happiest disposition. On the twenty-second day of April, 1837, he married Miss Mary T. Rucker, of Louisville, and unto them were born three children, Thomas Coleman, Jefferson and Mary Belle. Jefferson died in infancy.

Thomas Coleman was born April 20th, 1838, and was educated at the Kentucky Military Institute, near Frankfort. He was a very handsome and most excellent young man, a devoted son and brother. He served in the Confederate army throughout the War of the Rebellion, enlisting in the City of New Orleans when Beauregard made his call for troops, prior to the battle of Shiloh. He fought at Shiloh and was seriously wounded. After the war he engaged in steamboating on the lower Mississippi, and on September 3d, 1867, died in New Orleans of yellow fever, away from those most dear to him, but attended by the best of nurses, and surrounded by many friends. His remains were removed to Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville. Captain Stewart, the greater part of his life was a prominent steamboatman on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. In 1860 he settled with his family in New Orleans and engaged in business very successfully, until broken up by the troubles incident to the war. In 1865, his health failed him, and while traveling through Kentucky, was stricken in Louisville, and died July 13th, 1865, after a few days illness. Edmund L. Starling and Mary B. Stewart, his wife, have had eight children born unto them. Edmund Lyne, Stewart, Ann Maria, Lyne, Mary Stewart, Thomas Stewart, Miriam and Susanna Lyne. Edmund, the eldest, was born July 31st,1864 and since his seventeenth year has occupied the responsible position of bookkeeper in the employ of the Farmer's Bank, with credit to himself and great satisfaction to his superiors. Stewart was born on the ninth day of March, 1866, and since his fifteenth year, had held a position with Thomas Soaper, in his dry goods employer. This young man has shown a talent for oil painting almost, if not quite, equal to that of his Grandmother Starling. Without the aid of a teacher, graced in the art, and simply from a natural talent, he has produced some wonderful specimens. It seems no effort for him to master any subject he undertakes. Both his taste and touch are fully up to the standard of artists of reputation.

Ann Maria, eldest daughter, is an accomplished, high-spirited girl, and possesses a remarkable vocal talent for which she has been highly complimented by eminent judges.

Mary Stuart, Mamie, as she is so called, is a bright, happy hearted, rosy cheeked girl, thoroughly domestic and talented. The three younger children are most lovable and promising.

Return to the Henderson County KyGenWeb Home Page