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Matthew Harris Jouett

JOUETT, Matthew Harris, artist, born in Mercer county, Kentucky, 22 April, 1788; died in Lexington, Kentucky, 10 August, 1827. His ancestors were Huguenots, who emigrated to North Carolina, and finally settled in Virginia. They were stanch patriots during the Revolution, MATTHEW, his uncle, being clerk of the first legislative body that assembled west of the Alleghany mountains, 23 May, 1775, and subsequently serving as captain in the Revolutionary army, falling at Brandywine. His father, JOHN, eluded the British commander Tarleton, and gave the alarm to the legislature, then in session at Charlottesville, Virginia, for which action he received complimentary resolutions from congress, and Virginia presented him with a sword and pistols. The son was educated for the law, but devoted much time to drawing and painting. He enlisted in the war of 1812 as lieutenant of the 28th infantry, serving in the northwest, and was appointed captain. In 1815 he taught himself portrait and miniature painting, but in 1816 went to Boston, where he studied four months under Gilbert. Stuart. In October, 1816, he returned to Lexington, achieving reputation as a portrait painter, practising his art with success in New Orleans and Natchez, and throughout Kentucky. He painted more than 300 portraits, among which one of Lafayette was ordered by the legislature of the lower house of congress of Kentucky. A sketch of his life is now (1887) in preparation by his grandson, Richard Jouett Menefee.--His son, George Payne, soldier, born near Lexington, Kentucky, 14 April, 1813; killed at the battle of Perrysville, KY., 8 October, 1862; was educated at Transylvania, Where he studied medicine under Dr. Benjamin W. Dudley. Subsequently he read law with his brother-in-law Richard H. Menefee and finally engaged in commerce until the civil war, and was the owner of steamboats on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. He raised with Colonel Curran Pope and Major Campbell the 15th Kentucky Federal regiment. His amateur efforts in sculpture proved rare artistic talent.--Another son, Alexander Stuart, soldier, born near Lexington, Kentucky, in 1816; died in Harrodsburg, Kentucky, in 1849. was a non-commissioned officer in young Henry Clay's regiment of mounted infantry that fought so gallantly at Buena Vista. He possessed great courage and gained a reputation in the Mexican war.--Another son, James Edward, naval officer, born in Lexington, Kentucky, 27 February, 1828, was educated at the high school in Lexington, and entered the United States navy as a midshipman on 10 September, 1841. He served in the Mexican war, was made a lieutenant on 15 September, 1855, and took an active part in the civil war. In command of the first and second launches of the United States frigate "Santee," on the night of 7 November, 1861, he captured by boarding the armed schooner "Royal Yacht," in the harbor of Galveston, Texas, after an obstinate encounter, during which he was twice severely wounded. He was appointed lieutenant-commander in 1862, and ordered by Admiral Farragut to the steamer "R. R. Cuyler," off Mobile. He was afterward sent to command the "Metacomet," which was selected by Farragut to accompany the flag ship "Hartford" through the engagement in Mobile bay, the two vessels being lashed together according to his plan of the battle. During the engagement the "Metacomet" cast off to chase Confederate gun boats, and crippled the "Gaines," so that she ran ashore and was destroyed by her captain. The "Morgan" had retreated, and in one hour's running fight up the bay the " Sehna" was cap-tured, Captain Jouett having attacked four times the number of his guns in this encounter. In his official report of the battle Farragut says: "Lieutenant-Commander Jouett's conduct during the whole affair commands my warmest commendations." A board, composed of Admirals Farragut, Dupont, Goldsborough, Davis, and Porter, recommended that Commander Jouett should "receive an advancement of thirty numbers for heroic conduct in battle." He was subsequently engaged with the "Metacomet" on blockade duty off the coast of Texas. He became a commander, 25 July, 1866, and a captain and member of the board of inspection on 6 January, 1874. He was made commodore, 11 January, 1883, and while in command of the North Atlantic squadron conducted the operations on the Isthmus of Panama in 1885 for the protection of American interests during an insurrection, securing a free transit across the isthmus, restoring order, and receiving the thanks of the citizens, both native and foreign. He became a rear-admiral, 19 February, 1886, and is now (1887) president of the board of inspection and survey.

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