Capt. John “Jack” Jouett, Jr.
Historical Marker #1528 in Owingsville provides a tribute to the life of Revolutionary War hero, Captain John "Jack" Jouett, Jr.
Jack Jouett was born in Virginia on December 7, 1754. During the Revolutionary War, Jouett served as captain in the state militia and became famous for his "all night ride" in which he rescued Governor Thomas Jefferson from British capture.
In June 1781, Jouett overheard the conversation of a group of British soldiers at a local tavern. The soldiers belonged to Banastre Tarleton's cavalry command and had just come from Richmond. The troopers implied that men were on their way to Charlottesville to capture Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and the current governor of Virginia. They also hoped to capture members of the Virginia Legislature who were gathered at Monticello, Jefferson’s home.
Jouett assumed that the British troops would make their way along the main road to Monticello, so he traveled along back roads on horseback. Riding through the night, he covered the distance just before dawn. Jouett was able to warn Jefferson and the lawmakers in time to evacuate. For his bravery, Jouett was awarded a sword and pair of pistols and earned the title the "Paul Revere of the South."
The following year the war hero moved to Mercer County, Kentucky, and married Sallie Robards. The couple had twelve children. One of Jouett's sons, Matthew, was born April 22, 1788, and became a famous Kentucky painter. Jack Jouett disapproved of Matthew's occupational choice and encouraged him to pursue a law career instead. Despite his father's protest, Mathew continued his work, eventually studying under the leading American portrait artist of the time, Gilbert Stuart. Matthew's determination paid off. He became one of Kentucky's most recognized artists.
Jack Jouett served in the Kentucky legislature and was an avid supporter in the fight for Kentucky statehood. He represented Mercer County and then Woodford County. Jouett eventually moved to Bath County, where he became a farmer. He died in 1822 and was buried on his farm.