County, Kentucky Biography
L. (EDMUND LYNE) STARLING
L. (EDMUND LYNE) STARLING, historian of Henderson
County, Kentucky was the son of Lyne STARLING and Miriam P.
DILLON; born Saturday morning 9 May 1840 in a two-story frame building,
situated near the southwest corner of Elm and Second Streets.
Edmund’s mother, Miriam, a woman of beauty and of culture, died
when he was nine months old, leaving her son to his grandmother, Anne
Maria Todd STARLING, of whom he often said, “No sweeter or nobler
mother ever lived.”
Edmund’s father, Lyne
STARLING, died when he was eleven years old.
The formative period of this orphaned boy’s life was spent on a farm two
and one half miles from Henderson on the Knoblick Road. His environment
was one of ease and of culture and it is easy to discern how he became
the idol of doting grandparents. He was sent to the best schools
the town afforded, but it was to his grandmother, Ann that he owed
more than to any one person, his knowledge and love of books.
Ann was the daughter of Judge Thomas TODD, a Justice of
the United States Supreme Court. She inherited rare mental qualities,
and it was her delight to inculcate in her grandson a love of good literature.
I have never understood why my father was denied a finished education.
The reason was not pecuniary; no doubt it was sentimental.
When he was fourteen years of age, E. L. STARLING’s grandfather
bought from Dr. W. B. READ the property situated on the corner
of Green and Clay Streets. He gave up farming and moved to Henderson
to live. The portals of the STARLING home were always open
to the stranger, the friend, and the wayfarer and distressed.
There the subject of this sketch grew into young manhood, and counted
among his friends, men his seniors in years and experience.
When he was fifteen years of age he was place in the Circuit and County
Clerks office under Mr. William D. ALLISON, who held the two offices
for over thirty years. E. L. STARLING’s grandfather as of
a great educational value to a young man regarded a term of service with
MR. ALLISON. He started in as a copy boy and resigned his position
five years later while in full charge of the two offices.
In 1860, prior to the outbreak of the war, Mr. ALLISON died and
E. L. STARLING, his only deputy at the time, held the two offices
until the appointment of a successor, for being a minor he could not legally
succeed Mr. ALLISON. His health too had become impaired from
close confinement and on the advice of a physician he resigned only to
be recalled to assist the new clerk, Mr. Tignal J. HOPKINS, in
adjusting himself to the affairs of the office.
During the same year, Fort Sumter was fired on and the tocsin of war sounded.
Governor MCGOFFIN called for volunteers. Among the first
to offer his service was Colonel John H. MCHENRY of Owensboro.
Being commissioned by the State of Kentucky to raise a regiment for service,
he established a camp at Hartford, Kentucky, and called for recruits.
At that time E. L. STARLING was in command of a company of one
hundred men, fully equipped with arms by the State. The company
was the result of a largely attended mass meeting held at the Courthouse.
The best citizens were enrolled. After organization there were nominations
for the Captaincy, and E. L. STARLING then twenty-one years of
age, was elected by a large majority. He immediately assumed command
and began preparing his men for any call that might be made upon them.
For several weeks after the outbreak of hostilities, he caused the town
to be guarded at night and was the means of keeping order and quiet during
that perilous time.
During the summer and early fall of 1861, Captain E. L. STARLING
received military orders from Frankfort to go with his company to Spottsville
on Green River and there go into camp as guard to the locks. “There
situated until further orders.” It was known that an attempt would
be made to destroy this very valuable and important piece of property,
and protection was necessary to keep the river open. Here Captain
E. L. STARLING was in command until relieved by a regiment of U.
He soon received orders from Frankfort to proceed forthwith to Henderson
and demand of Captain E. G. HALL, who was in command of what was
known as a state Guard Company, all arms consisting of rifles, swords,
bayonets, sixty sets of accouterments, a brass cannon and seven artillery
sabers and belts. Third Lieutenant Samuel W. RANKIN, the
only commissioned officer at the time, turned over the keys of the Armory.
In a short time the guns were packed ready for shipment. They were
taken aboard a steamer and in a few hours safely stored in Evansville.
A second order Military headquarters authorized, Captain E. L.
STARLING to take charge of a complete outfit of Calvary Arms, they
were in the possession of a company of which John S. NORRIS was
Captain. The arms were secured and shipped to Evansville.
Captain E. L. STARLING was complimented from Military headquarters
for his valuable service to the State.
Soon afterwards the various State organizations disbanded for the purpose
of enlisting into either the Confederate or Union Armies.
Colonel John H. MCHENRY tendered Captain E. L. STARLING
the position of Adjutant of his Regiment, which position he accepted.
A month later the Regiment was mustered into the United States service
and went into Camp at Calhoun, Kentucky, on Green River as full-fledged
soldiers. After camping for several weeks without anything of real
interest to give them an idea of a soldier’s life, the call came in February
1862. The Regiment was ordered to embark on board of a fleet of
steamers. The Fleet was directed to Fort Henry on the Tennessee
River, arriving too late to take part in the battle, orders directed their
return to Paducah and proceeds with all possible dispatch up the Cumberland
River to Fort Donelson.
On Friday morning, February 13, Lieutenant E. L. STARLING took
part in the bloody Battle of Fort Donelson. After the surrender
of the Fort, Saturday night the 17th Kentucky Regiment to which he belonged
marched into the town of Dover and received the surrender of several Regiments.
On April the sixth and seventh 1862, Lieutenant E. L. STARLING took
part in the Battle of Shiloh or Pittsburg Landing.
The hardship of camp life and exposure to weather brought on camp dysentery
and E. L. STARLING’s health was so impaired it necessitated his
resignation from the Army. His Colonel complimented him in his report
to the Department for his bravery and attention to duty during each engagement
and a personal letter to his family said “He won not only the confidence
and esteem of the officers associated with him, but he endeared himself
to every private soldier in his Regiment.”
E. L. STARLING resigned as First Lieutenant and Adjutant of the
17th Kentucky Volunteers. GENERAL HALLECK and GENERAL
U. S. GRANT signed his honorable discharge from the Army.
E. L. STARLING returned home and was welcomed as one of Henderson’s
favorite sons, but it was many months before he regained his health.
On October 6, 1863, he married Mary Belle STEWART of New Orleans
and of Louisville, Kentucky. The wedding was solemnized in St. Paul’s
Protestant Episcopal Church, the Rev. Daniel H. DEACON officiating.
Seven children bless this union. E. L. STARLING possessed
a bass voice of unusual quality and for years sang in the choir of St.
Paul’s Church, and also served in the capacity of Vestryman and Warden.
In 1864, he organized the grocery firm of STARLING, NORRIS & Company,
the largest in Henderson. They occupied what is now known as the
P. A. BLACKWELL Building. Mr. NORRIS decided to go
to California to live and was succeeded in the firm by Mr. NUNN.
Later he had erected the three-story building now occupied by the Henderson
Publishing Company, where he continued in mercantile pursuit with David
In 1868, E. L. STARLING was elected Mayor of Henderson, holding
the office for six years. His administration was an able one.
Practically his first step was in the interest of education. During
the first year of his incumbency in office, he placed before his council
the paramount importance of a good Public School System. In 1869
an act was passed incorporating the Henderson Public School Bonds
to the amount of $50,000 were issued, and the first Board of Trustees
elected, with E. L. STARLING President Ed-officio.
During the same year the high school was incorporated with E. L. STARLING
the first President of it’s school board.
In 1870, the building now known as the Center Street School was completed
and the first public school opened to the youth of Henderson. Prof.
Maurice KIRBY of the Louisville Male High School became its first
superintendent and Miss Lydia HAMPTON of Hampton College, Louisville,
the first Principal of the high school.
As mayor in Henderson’s formative period, E. L. STARLING was a
fearless executive and planned wisely. Pavements, public ways, the
terminus of the Evansville, Henderson and Nashville Railroad secured by
him, gas works, city buildings and even the town clock was due to his
efforts. During the latter part of his administration, plans were
formulated for the construction of our water works system.
After six years as chief executive of Henderson, E. L. STARLING retired;
leaving a record in accomplishment that will always be a monument to his
In 1875 E. L. STARLING entered the field of journalism, first he
was associated with The Henderson Reporter, then The Henderson Journal
and ultimately closed his reportorial work as Managing Editor of The Gleaner.
Something like forty years of his life was devoted to newspaper and journalistic
work. He used his pen and the press as a means of making the world
better within the corner of his habitat.
He upheld the cause of Christianity, democracy and education at all times
and continually advocated public improvements, many of which he had the
satisfaction of seeing materialized. His success was not counted
in dollars but was that of a duty well performed. He believed in
Henderson and wrote it so from time to time.
It was while Editor of The Reporter that he decided to write the history
of the county he knew and loved so well. He was prepared for the
task for his mind was a storehouse of knowledge, knowledge of a character
to lend value to a book of historical import.
Only those nearest to the author could appreciate his effort and the labor
involved in the completion of his history, for the work entailed long
and patient research, and required courage to go forward in the face of
indifference on the part of many who later were to call the history their
In the spring of 1893, E. L. STARLING suffered an accident to his
knee that left him a cripple the rest of his life. After a year’s
illness, he resumed his journalistic work, which he pursued with interest
until a few months before his death.
My father died Sunday, 15 May 1910, aged seventy years. He was a
gentleman of the old school, in religion a church man, in politics a democrat,
in which cause he vigorously used his pen in the advocacy of those principles.
Sketch by Mary
of Edmund Lyne Starling” by his daughter, Mary Starling Price
was found in the Henderson County Historical & Genealogical Society’s
“Henderson County Death Records, 1839 – 1911” Edmund L. Starling
d) 15 May 1910, pl) Henderson, bur) Henderson, cause) tuberculosis, Dr.
W. F. Armstrong, age) 70, b) unknown, res) Henderson, parents) unknown.
of Henderson” Page 638, Col. Edmund Lyne Starling married
Ann Maria TODD, 2 October 1817 at Frankfort. Ann
Maria was born 30 Mar 1801 and was the third child of Judge Thomas
Todd. Page 640, Ann died 15 Dec 1862.
Page 637, Col.
Edmund Lyne Starling was born in Mecklenburg County, VA on 9 May 1795.
Page 640 Edmund Lyne died 30 Aug 1869.
Page 639, Col.
Edmund Lyne Starling and Ann Maria Todd had eleven children:
Lyne, Thomas Todd, Sarah Carneal, Jane Davison, Elizabeth Todd, William,
Charles Todd, Susanna, Ann Maria, Lucy Bell and Edmund Lyne.
Page 640 Lyne Starling
was born Logan Co on 23 Aug 1818. He died at the age of 33,
having been married 3 times – first to Miriam P. Dillon of Franklin
Co. Miriam died 20 Jan 1841, one year and seven months after
her marriage, leaving one son, E. L. Starling. Lyne
married secondly, Anna Belle WALKER on 30 Jun 1843. Anna
Belle died 13 Nov 1844 leaving no issue. Lyne married
third Mary F. ALLISON 20 Apr 1846. Mary is the eldest
daughter of William D. ALLISON, for many years clerk of the Circuit
and County Courts of Henderson County. Lyne died 25 Nov 1851.
By his last marriage, one child, Ann Maria was born 26 Jan 1849.
Ann Maria died 22 Nov 1865.
Page 642 Mary Belle
(Mollie) STEWART was born 31 Mar 1844, Louisville, Kentucky.
Mary died 17 Jan 1920.
643 E. L. Starling and Mary Belle had 8 children born unto
them: Edmund Lyne b) 31 Jul 1864, Stewart b) 9 Mar
1866, Ann Maria, Lyne, Mary Stewart (Mamie),
Thomas Stewart, Miriam and Susanna Lyne.