George Graham Vest

George Graham Vest

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George Graham Vest

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"George Vest" redirects here. This article is about the 19th century politician. For the 20th century diplomat, see George S. Vest.
George Graham Vest (December 6, 1830 August 9, 1904) was a U.S. politician. Born in Frankfort, Kentucky, he was known for his skills in oration and debate. Vest, a lawyer as well as a politician, served as a Missouri Congressman, a Confederate Congressman during the Civil War, and finally a US Senator. He is best known for his "a man's best friend" closing arguments from the trial in which damages were sought for the killing of a dog named Old Drum on Oct 18, 1869.

Early life and career

Vest graduated from Centre College, Danville, Kentucky, in 1848 and from the law department of Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky, in 1853. He was admitted to the bar in 1853 and planned to move to California. However, while en route, he stopped in Pettis County, Missouri, where he defended a young African-American man accused of murder. Vest's client was acquitted but soon burned at the stake by an angry mob. Vest's own life was also threatened, but he nonetheless decided to stay in Missouri permanently, settling in Georgetown. In 1854 he married Sallie Sneed of Danville, Kentucky. They had three children, two sons and a daughter.

Initial public service

In 1860, after moving to Boonville, Missouri, he was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives and served as a Democratic presidential elector. As a Missouri...
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