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Francis M. Bristow

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Title: Francis M. Bristow  
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Subject: Opposition Party (United States)
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Francis M. Bristow

Francis Marion Bristow (August 11, 1804 – June 10, 1864) was a United States Representative from Kentucky. He was born in Clark County, Kentucky. He pursued preparatory studies and studied law. He was admitted to the bar and commenced practice in Elkton, Kentucky.

Bristow was a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives 1831–1833. Later, he served in the Kentucky Senate in 1846 and was a delegate to the Kentucky constitutional convention in 1849. He was elected as a Whig to the Thirty-third United States Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Presley Underwood Ewing and served from December 4, 1854, to March 3, 1855 and was elected as a candidate of the Opposition Party to the Thirty-sixth United States Congress (March 4, 1859 – March 3, 1861). He was not a candidate for reelection in 1860.

Bristow organized and served as the first secretary of the Green RIver Female Academy, a notable female academy located in Todd County, Kentucky. Bristow donated land for the academy and influenced the mission of the school, which under his guidance, established equal opportunities for women to study advanced mathematics and sciences, subjects typically reserved for men during the time period.

After leaving Congress, he resumed the practice of law. Bristow was a member of the House Committee of Thirty-three appointed by the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives in December 1860 to consider proposals to avert the impending disaster and also attended the peace convention of 1861 held in Washington, D.C. in an effort to devise means to prevent the impending American Civil War. He died in Elkton, Kentucky in 1864 and is buried in the family burying ground.

He was the father of Benjamin Helm Bristow (June 20, 1832 – June 22, 1896) who was an American lawyer and politician who served as the first Solicitor General of the United States and as a U.S. Treasury Secretary.


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  • Webb, Ross A. Francis Marion Bristow, A Study in Unionism. Filson Club History Quarterly, 37 (April 1963): 142-58.
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