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Vice President
Alben William Barkley

Vice President Alben William Barkley

Barkley was born at in Graves County, at Wheel, Kentucky (close to Lowes, just 20 minutes from Paducah) on November 24, 1877. His earliest home was a log house on his grandfather’s homestead. His maternal grandmother had been married to a member of Morgan’s Raiders, who had died of his wounds during the Civil War.

Young Barkley farmed with his father and attended public schools. He graduated from Marvin College (now defunct) at Clinton, Kentucky. He worked his way through college, sweeping floors and raking the grounds. A sign used to hang in the building, long after he left, which read, "Alben Barkley swept here."

In 1903, he married his childhood sweetheart, Dorothy Brower, and had three children, David, Marian, and Laura Louise (better known as Wahwee.) Laura would later marry Douglas, McArthur, II, a nephew of the general.

Barkley started upon his political career and was elected to six successive Congressional terms, then was elected a Senator. In addition, he held the positions of minority Leader as well as Majority Leader of the Senate, among other distinguished posts.

His wife, long an invalid, died in 1947, prior to his inauguration as Vice president under Harry S. Truman, on January 20th, 1949, for the term ending January 20, 1953.

Barkley married second, a younger widow named Mrs. Carleton (Jane) Rucker Hadley. They lived in Washington, and later, in the home named "Angles" in Paducah.

After holding office as Vice President, Barkley became a Senator once again, and died, tragically, while giving a speech at Washington and Lee University. He had just uttered, "I would rather be a servant in the house of the Lord than to sit in the seats of the Mighty," when he fell over, having suffered a massive heart attack. His services were conducted at Broadway United Methodist Church in Paducah, and is buried at Mount Kenton, Cemetery.

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