Hon. James A. Munday, born in Hancock County, Ky., Aug. 14, 1843, was a son of Redmond and Martha L. (Hamilton) Munday. His father was a descendant of Reuben Munday, one of the first settlers of Virginia. He came to Kentucky when a young man, and was married here. He had a family of two daughters and one son, the daughters both deceased. He died when his son was two years old. After the death of his father James A. and his mother moved to Hawesville, where he attended school till fourteen years of age. He then entered Greenville Academy, at that time flourishing under the presidency of Hon. Edward Rumsey, and superintendence of James K. Patterson, present President of the Kentucky State College. He afterward attended the Georgetown College, his junior year being interrupted by the political troubles preceding the war, on account of which the school was discontinued. Mr. Munday then returned home, and in August, 1862, after several unsuccessful attempts, succeeding in reaching the Confederate lines and enlisted in Company H, Tenth Kentucky Confederate Cavalry, under command of Captain H.C. Meriweather. The regiment was afterward assigned to General Morgan’s command, in all the engagements and movements of which he took an active part. He was in a few months promoted to a Lieutenancy for soldiery conduct, and when Captain Meriweather was detailed for other duty, he took charge of the company, in which capacity he did much service as a scout. His company and another under his command were assigned to the advance of the Second Brigade on General Morgan’s memorable invasion of Indiana and Ohio, and were among the first to charge and carry the breast-works of Corydon. After the most remarkable ride on record his command was foiled in its attempts to rally a few men and assist in covering a retreat, he with several of his regiment were surrounded and captured, and taken to Johnson’s Island. The Government having determined on special severity with those who had dared to invade “the sacred soil,” sent half of General Morgan’s officers to the Ohio penitentiary, and the other half to the western penitentiary of Pennsylvania at Allegheny, holding them as exempt from the cartel of exchange. After eight months of close confinement, Mr. Munday with his fellow officers were transferred to Point Lookout, and afterward to Fort Delaware. At the close of the war he returned to Hawesville, and soon after his mother was killed by being thrown from a buggy. Mr. Munday attended a course of lectures at the Louisville Law University. On his return home he took charge of the Circuit Clerk’s office as Deputy, and the following summer was elected Circuit Clerk – the youngest clerk ever elected in the State. He held the office two years. During the time he was elected Assistant Secretary of the Kentucky Senate. After the expiration of his term of office he commenced the practice of law in Hawesville. In 1870 he came to Owensboro and formed a partnership with Judge George W. Williams. In 1871 he was made Master Commissioner of Daviess County Circuit Court; resigned that office in 1875 and formed a business partnership with Thomas S. Pettit in the manufacture of staves. He sold out in 1879 and became the owner of the Owensboro Monitor office, and established the Owensboro Messenger, a weekly Democratic newspaper, a half interest in which was sold in 1878 to C.W. Bransford. After beginning the publication of the dailyMessenger, in the fall of 1878, it was consolidated with the Examiner, a weekly paper then owned by L. Lumpkin, forming the Owensboro Messenger and Examiner, published weekly and semi-weekly. Mr. Munday continued in editorial charge of these papers until the spring of 1881, when he severed his connection with them and engaged in the canvass for Senator in his district, comprising Daviess and McLean counties. He was elected Senator in August, 1881, and took an active part in the legislation of the session of 1881-’82. He is a member of the Star Lodge, No. 19, K. of P.; Owensboro Lodge, No. 130, A.F. & A.M.; and Owensboro Lodge, I.O.O.F.
Source: History of Daviess County, Kentucky. Chicago: Interstate Publishing Co., 1883. Print.
Hon. James A. Munday, one of the able and prominent attorneys of Clarke county, was born in Hancock county, Kentucky, August 14, 1843, a son of Redmond F. and Martha L. (Hamilton) Munday, the former a native of Virginia and the latter of Kentucky. The paternal ancestors are of English extraction, and their advent on this continent was during the first settlement of Virginia. From this State the grandfather of our subject removed during the early boyhood of his only son to become one of the substantial citizens of Tennessee. The maternal ancestors of our subject, the Hamiltons and Russells, were of Scotch and Irish stock, and have given their courage, energy and ability to the development of Kentucky, since its early settlement.
James A. Munday, the subject of this sketch, was educated in the county schools of the neighborhood, at Greenville Academy and at Georgetown College, Kentucky, where his course was interrupted by the Civil war in the winter of 1861-62. He soon afterward joined a number of his neighbors, who made their way through the military lines and enlisted in the Confederate army. He served in the Tenth Kentucky Cavalry, was soon promoted to Lieutenancy and afterward entrusted, with the command of his company. He participated in all of the many engagements of his command until his capture, after which he suffered a long imprisonment.
After returning home, at the close of hostilities, he took a course of lectures at the University of Law in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1867 he was elected clerk of the Hancock Circuit Court. He was shortly afterward chosen Assistant Secretary of the State Senate, and re-elected two years later. Mr. Munday began the practice of his profession at Hawesville, the seat of his native county, and in 1870 removed to Owensboro, in Daviess county, where, after practicing a year in partnership with Hon. George W. Williams, he was appointed Master in Chancery of the Daviess Circuit Court. His health becoming poor in sedentary pursuits, he retired after four years’ service, purchased, with Mr. Thomas S. Pettit, a half interest in a stave factory with a large body of timber land and engaged in the manufacture of staves. On closing out that business he established the Owensboro Messenger, a weekly newspaper, which proved successful from the beginning. In the following year this paper was consolidated with the Examiner, its flourishing rival, conducted by Mr. Lee Lumpkin, and the new paper proceeded on its successful career, as a weekly and tri-weekly journal, with Mr. Lumpkin as manager and Mr. Munday as senior editor and Mr. C. W. Bransford as junior editor. In 1880 Mr. Munday sold his stock in the paper, retired from the business and was elected to the State Senate for a term of four years, during which as chairman and member of leading committees he took an active part in the important legislation of both sessions.
On the accession of Mr. Cleveland to the presidency Mr. Munday was appointed Special Agent of the General Land Office and was assigned, at his own request, to the Territory of Washington, where he had already intended to locate. After a vigorous and successful administration of this office, until the fall of 1889, he resumed the practice of law, remaining at Vancouver. He received the Democratic nomination for Superior Judge for the district composed of Skamania, Clarke, Cowlitz, Wahkiakum and Pacific counties, but was defeated at the fall election of that year with the rest of his ticket, though by a much smaller majority. He was a delegate from his State to the National Democratic Convention at Chicago in June, 1892. As one of the two nominees of the Democratic State Convention of September, 1892, he ran for Representative in Congress at the November election, but again shared the Democratic defeat and demonstrated his strength in his own and neighboring counties.
During his residence in Owensboro, Kentucky, Mr. Munday joined the Knights of Pythias, the Masons and the Odd Fellows, afterward becoming a Past Chancellor and Representative in the Grand Lodge of Knights of Pythias.
While devoting his time to his professional business he has given occasional attention to the development of fruit lands, and holds, jointly with John O’Keane, several hundred acres of dairy and fruit land on the Columbia and Lake rivers in Clarke county. He has been largely identified with the best interests of his county and ever ready to encourage public enterprises. He is a cultured gentleman of genial disposition, though retiring and undemonstrative in manner, and enjoys the highest confidence of those who know him best.
Source: Illustrated History of the State of Washington, By Rev H K Hines, The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1893.