Jesse Saul Bledsoe, lawyer and politician, was born in Culpeper County, Virginia, on April 6, 1776, the son of Joseph and Elizabeth (Miller) Bledsoe. He moved to Kentucky with his brother, Robert Emmett Bledsoe, and eventually graduated from Transylvania Seminary at Lexington. Around 1800 he married the oldest daughter of Col. Nathaniel Gist. Bledsoe entered law school and was admitted to the bar about 1800. He took part in Kentucky politics from 1808 to the 1830s, holding offices as secretary of state, state legislator, state senator, and United States senator. As an attorney, he instructed his nephew, Robert Emmett Bledsoe Baylor, in his law office, and one of his clients was John Peter Schatzell. In 1822 Bledsoe was appointed circuit judge of the Lexington District and became professor of law at Transylvania University. In 1831 he left the office to become a minister. He traveled to Mississippi in 1833, moved to Nacogdoches, Texas, in 1835, and died there on June 25, 1836. He is supposed to have amassed a large collection of Texas historical documents with the intention of writing a definitive Texas history. Shortly after his death, his papers were sold at an auction in Nacogdoches. Robert E. B. Baylor possessed some of the collection, but most of the documents have disappeared since Bledsoe's death.
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Mann Butler, A History of the Commonwealth of Kentucky (Louisville: Wilcox, Dickerman, 1834). George W. Ranck, History of Lexington, Kentucky (Cincinnati: Clarke, 1872).
Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Laurie E. Jasinski,
“Bledsoe, Jesse Saul,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 21, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
November 1, 1994