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Kentucky Heritage Council
Judge Joseph Holt House in rural Breckinridge County to host Community Day Saturday, August 15

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, August 05, 2009  
Contact Information:  Diane Comer
(502) 564-7005 Ext. 120

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The public is invited to an open house and community celebration from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (C.D.T.) Saturday, August 15 at the Judge Joseph Holt House in rural Breckinridge County, when the home will be the featured site along the Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail.  Activities will include period music, a portrayal of Judge Holt by Hardin County Circuit Judge Kelly M. Easton, and a signing of the new book Lincoln’s Advocate: The Life of Judge Joseph Holt by local author Susan Dyer, published by Acclaim Press.

The Holt House was purchased in December by Breckinridge County Fiscal Court through a $158,000 grant from the Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office made possible by the Kentucky Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, which has named the house’s restoration an official Legacy Project of the bicentennial celebration. 

Judge Joseph Holt (1807-1894) had a long career in the national spotlight, serving as Secretary of War under President James Buchanan and 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 and a position he held until 1875.  The house was constructed during this time of national service with the original portion dating to the 1870s.  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.

A military honor guard will perform a wreath-laying ceremony at 11 a.m. on Judge Holt’s grave located in a family cemetery next to the house.  Guest speakers will be:

  • Breckinridge County Judge-Executive Ray Powers
  • LaRue County Judge-Executive Tommy Turner, Co-Chair, Kentucky Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and a member of the National Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission
  • State Senator Carroll Gibson
  • Local volunteer and author Susan Dyer
  • Lindy Casebier, Deputy Secretary of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet
  • Mark Dennen, Kentucky Heritage Council Executive Director and State Historic Preservation Officer
  • U.S. Representative Brett Guthrie

Throughout the day visitors can collect a stamp in their Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail Passport, and the first 16 visitors will receive a free ornament with the official Kentucky Lincoln Bicentennial logo.
The Holt House is located north of Hardinsburg on KY 144, six miles from the intersection with U.S. 60 east of Cloverport.  To assist the fiscal court in long-term restoration plans for the house, a steering committee has been formed including representatives of the Kentucky Heritage Council, Kentucky Historical Society, Preservation Kentucky, Elizabethtown Heritage Council, Kentucky Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, local leaders and elected officials, volunteers and advocates.

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.  The Holt House community day is the latest in a summer promotion highlighting 16 sites along the trail over 16 weeks, in honor of our nation’s 16th president.  To participate, travelers may acquire a passport map at the Holt House, any Lincoln site or participating Kentucky interstate welcome center and receive a passport stamp from each site visited.  Once 10 stamps from any 10 locations are collected, travelers are invited to visit the trail Web site,, and log their visits to become eligible for the grand-prize gift basket drawing which will take place Labor Day weekend.

Remaining trail sites to be featured during the summer promotion are:

  • August 22: Whitehall State Historic Site, Richmond
  • August 29: Sarah Bush Johnston Lincoln Memorial Cabin, Elizabethtown
  • September 4: The Lincoln Museum and Lincoln Statue, Hodgenville

Information about stamp locations and hours is available at the Kentucky Heritage Council Web site,  Trailgoers are also invited to upload their photos to share at the Kentucky Lincoln Heritage Trail Flickr site,


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Last Updated 8/5/2009