The Marshall County Judge/Executive’s Office and the Kentucky Historical Society will dedicate a Kentucky Historical Highway Marker in honor of former Marshall County Judge Henry Hardin Lovett, Sr. on Monday, Sept. 16 at 9 a.m. at H.H. Lovett Park in Benton.
Lovett was born in Oct. 1882 near Jonathan Creek and was raised in the Olive community of Marshall County. He attended Marvin College in Clinton, Ky., and Southern Normal School in Bowling Green.
He became Marshall County’s first Superintendent of Public Schools in 1906 and was the first superintendent in the state to have his curriculum approved by the Kentucky Board of Education. He helped form the first graded school in Marshall County in 1906 and the first high school in 1908. He also served as superintendent of public schools in Chaffee, MO., and Bardwell, Ky.
Lovett is credited with introducing the game of basketball to western Kentucky in early 20thcentury.
Lovett became an attorney in the ‘20s and was active in the Kentucky Bar Association and Kentucky Democratic Party. He served as Circuit Clerk, County Judge and Commonwealth Attorney in Marshall County. In 1954, he was appointed as the first Circuit Judge of the 42nd Judicial District which included Marshall, Calloway and Livingston counties. He served in that capacity until 1958.
Lovett helped form the Marshall County Fair Association and donated the land for Benton City Park which was named in his honor following his death. He was active in preserving Big Singing Day, one of the oldest, indigenous musical traditions in the U.S. Lovett died in 1971 and is buried in the Benton Cemetery.
All 13 of Lovett’s grandchildren will be in attendance, as well as his former legal secretary Doris Stice.
Justin Lamb, administrative assistant in the Marshall County Judge Executive’s Office, will serve as master of ceremonies.