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Kentucky Heritage Council
3rd Annual Holt House Community Day planned Saturday, Sept. 24 in Breckinridge County

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, September 13, 2011  
Contact Information:  Diane Comer
(502) 564-7005 Ext. 120

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The public is invited to a third annual community day and open house from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. CDT Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Holt House in rural Breckinridge County. Period music, reenactors, storytelling and tours of the house and grounds will be featured throughout the day.

Judge Joseph Holt (1807-1894) was a prominent attorney with a long career in the national spotlight. He served several posts under President James Buchanan and was appointed the nation’s first judge advocate general by President Abraham Lincoln, a role in which he subsequently presided over the trial of the Lincoln conspirators following the president’s assassination. As portrayed by actor Danny Huston, Holt was a featured character in the recently released motion picture “The Conspirator,” directed by Robert Redford.

The house was constructed during this time of national service, with the original portion dating to the 1850s. Today the site is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is noted for its significance in the areas of national history, politics and architecture. It is owned by Breckinridge County Fiscal Court with support from the nonprofit organization Friends of the Holt House, a committee of the Breckinridge County Historical Society.

Because the home is a featured site along the Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail, the Kentucky Historical Society HistoryMobile will be on hand with its “Kentucky’s Abraham Lincoln” exhibit. President Lincoln and his wife, Mary Todd, will be portrayed by Larry and Mary Elliott of Louisville, and Judge Holt will be portrayed by Hardin County Circuit Judge Kelly M. Easton. Other entertainment will include:

  • Music by Mark Ford, performing as a Civil War drummer; Paul Joseph O’Donoghue and his daughter, Alison O’Donoghue Mattingly; the 113th Army Band Brass Quintet; the Kentucky Home Guard Band; and flute player Jacquie Miller.
  • Civil War storyteller Dr. Judy C. Pierce from Western Kentucky University.
  • Civil War reenactors from the 9th Michigan Volunteer Infantry.
  • Book signing by Susan Dyer, author of “Lincoln’s Advocate: The Life of Judge Joseph Holt,” published by Acclaim Press.

A brief program at 11 a.m. will include special guest speakers Marcheta Sparrow, secretary of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, and state Sen. Carroll Gibson. Immediately after, a military honor guard from Fort Knox will perform a wreath-laying ceremony on Judge Holt’s grave in the family cemetery next to the house.

The Holt House was purchased by Fiscal Court in December 2008 through a $158,000 grant from the Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office, and made possible by the Kentucky Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, which named the house’s preservation an official Legacy Project of the bicentennial celebration. To assist Fiscal Court in long-term rehabilitation plans for the house, a steering committee has been formed including representatives of the Kentucky Heritage Council, Kentucky Historical Society, local leaders and elected officials, volunteers and advocates.

The site is north of Hardinsburg along KY144, six miles from the intersection with U.S. 60 east of Cloverport. For more information about the event, visit, call 270-756-0268 or email For photos or more about Holt and the house, visit

The Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail is a scenic driving route across central Kentucky, made up of historic sites that in some way shaped the Lincoln legacy and influenced the president throughout his life.  For more, visit

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An agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, the Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office is responsible for the identification, protection and preservation of prehistoric resources and historic buildings, sites and cultural resources throughout the Commonwealth, in partnership with other state and federal agencies, local communities and interested citizens.  This mission is integral to making communities more livable and has a far-ranging impact on issues as diverse as economic development, jobs creation, affordable housing, tourism, community revitalization, environmental conservation and quality of life.


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Last Updated 9/13/2011