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  • Writer's pictureKirk Jenkins

Colonel Curran Pope, First Commander of the 15th Kentucky

Updated: Apr 6, 2020

Colonel Curran Pope was born in Louisville, Kentucky on June 30, 1813, the fourth son of Worden Pope and Elizabeth Thruston. Following graduation from West Point, Pope was assigned to a garrison at Fort Jackson, Louisiana. Pope served as an assistant engineer on a project for the improvement of the Kentucky and Cumberland Rivers in 1835. In 1838, he succeeded his father as clerk of the Jefferson County Court of Common Pleas. Pope was one of the original directors of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, an organizer of the Louisville Water Works, a director of the State Bank, and a trustee of Danville College and assorted other educational institutions. He served for eleven years on the General Council of Louisville, where he worked with (later Major) William Campbell. Pope was commissioned in early September 1861 by General Robert Anderson to raise what became the Fifteenth Kentucky Volunteer Infantry, and he enlisted the help of Lt. Col. George Jouett and Major Campbell. Colonel Pope died at Danville, Kentucky, at the home of Reverend E.P. Humphreys on November 5, 1862, of typhoid fever contracted while recovering from a wound in the arm received at the Battle of Perryville, October 8, 1862. Curran Pope’s funeral was held in Louisville on the morning of November 7, 1862, with the Reverend John L. McKee of the Chestnut Street Presbyterian Church officiating. Pope was buried at Cave Hill Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky, in the Union burial grounds. In 1880, he was reinterred in the Pope family plot at Cave Hill. He was survived by his wife, Matilda Prather Pope, his daughter, Mary Tyler, and his son Patrick. Their son John Jacob Pope died in 1858. Mary Tyler Pope, the only child to live to adulthood, married her first cousin, Alfred Thruston Pope, and had three sons, Pendleton Pope (1872-1914), Alfred Thruston Pope Jr. (1876-1924) and Dr. Curran Pope II (1866-1934).

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