Caleb Powers

Caleb Powers

Caleb Powers was born in Williamsburg, Kentucky, on 1st February, 1869. He studied at the University of Kentucky and Valparaiso University before attending West Point Military Academy (1890-91).

Admitted to the bar in 1894, Powers worked as a lawyer in Barbourville, Kentucky. A member of the Republican Party, Powers served as superintendent of public schools in Knox County (1894-99).

After the election of William Sylvester Taylor, Powers became his Secretary of State. Taylor's opponent in the election, William Goebel of the Democratic Party claimed the Republicans were guilty of ballot rigging. When Goebel challenged the result of the election, threats were made that if he won on appeal he would be assassinated.

William Goebel was given bodyguards but on 30th January, 1900, while Goebel was entering the State House, a gun was fired from the window of Powers' office. The bullet hit Goebel and he was taken to hospital and while receiving treatment it was announced that as a result of the investigation he was now the governor of Kentucky. However Goebel died of his wounds on 3rd February, 1900.

William Sylvester Taylor fled to Indiana and refused to return to face charges of conspiring to murder Goebel. Several men were arrested including Powers. Eventually Henry Youtsey and Jim Howard were convicted of murder while five others, including Powers, were found guilty of conspiracy. While in prison Powers wrote My Own Story(1905).

On 23rd April, 1909, the Republican Party governor of Kentucky, Augustus Everett Willson, pardoned Powers and William Sylvester Taylor for their involvement in the murder. had been found guilty of conspiracy.

Powers returned to politics and was three times elected to Congress (March, 1911 to March, 1919). He continued to live in Washington where he served as assistant counsel for the United States Shipping Board (1921-1932). Caleb Powers died on 25th July, 1932.