Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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OWSLEY, William, jurist, born in Virginia in 1782; died in Danville, Kentucky, in December, 1862. In 1783 he removed with his father to Lincoln county, Kentucky, and he afterward became a teacher and lawyer in Garrard county, and represented it several years in the legislature. He was judge of the supreme court of Kentucky from 1812 till 1828, when he resigned. In 1824 he maintained with great courage the principle of anti-repudiation, which Henry Clay had eloquently advocated. The repudiation party, who were a majority in the legislature, attempted to get rid of the judge by abolishing the supreme court and establishing a new one, but he held his post, and the act of the legislature was declared unconstitutional by the supreme court of the United States. In 1844 he was elected governor of the state by the Whigs, serving two terms.
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