Trimble, Robert
March 04, 2007 05:05PM
Lawyers and Lawmakers of Kentucky, by H. Levin, editor, 1897. Published
by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago. Reprinted by Southern Historical
Press. p. 149. Bourbon County.

ROBERT TRIMBLE, judge of the court of appeals and of the United States
district court of Kentucky and United States supreme court, was born in
Berkeley county, Virginia, and when three years old was brought by his
parents to Kentucky. He received but the imperfect rudiments of an
education. He, however, improved himself by teaching for a few years
and reading carefully the scanty libraries afforded by his neighborhood.
He began the study of law under the direction of George Nicholas, later
continued his reading under James Brown, and in 1803 was licensed by
the court of appeals to practice his profession.
He commenced his career in Paris, and the same year was elected a
member of the legislature from Bourbon county; but, politics not being
congenial to his disposition or taste, he ever afterward refused to be a
candidate for office. He devoted himself exclusively to his profession,
and rapidly rose to the first class of jurists. In 1808 he was
commissioned second judge of the court of appeals. He retained that
office only a short time, but long enough to greatly distinguish himself
in it by his rectitude, learning and ability. He was appointed chief
justice of Kentucky in 1810, but in consequence of his limited
circumstances declined the first judicial station of the commonwealth.
After retiring from the bench he resumed with great assiduity the
practice of his profession, and in 1813 was appointed Unites States
district attorney for the state, and in 1817 he was appointed by President
Madison judge of the United States district court for Kentucky. He filled
this office until 1826, when he was promoted by John Quincy Adams to
the supreme court of the United States. He died August 25, 1828, in his
fifty-second year and in the full vigor of his powers.
He was not only one of the first lawyers of the state but also one
of the most able men of the nation. The eminent jurist, Judge Story, said
of him: "Men might differ with respect to the rank of other lawyers, but
all admitted that none was superior to Robert Trimble in talent, in
learning, in acuteness, in sagacity."
His private life was marked by the same admirable traits that
distinguished his public career, his simple habits and noble nature
shedding a luster on his entire life.
His brother, John Trimble, was a lawyer of ability and judge of the
"new" court of appeals of Kentucky.
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