Thursday, June 30, 2016

Ryland Christmas Musick (1884-1924)

                                                           Portrait courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society.

  One of the more humorous names you'll find while perusing a list of Kentucky state legislators, Ryland Christmas Musick represented the counties of Breathitt, Lee and Magoffin in the Kentucky House of Representatives for one term in the late 1910s. Born (appropriately enough) on Christmas Day 1884 in Russell County, Virginia, Ryland Christmas Musick was the son of the Rev. Elexious F. and Rebecca Ann Musick.
  A student at both the Georgetown College and the University of Kentucky, Ryland Musick graduated from the latter school's law department in the mid-1900s. He married in 1908 to Bessie Peoples (1887-1946), with whom he had four children: Juanita Lenora (died in infancy in 1909), Arthur Judson (born 1911) and twin sons Hansel Walton and Ryland Dalton (born April 19, 1914). 
   Prior to establishing a law practice, Musick engaged in "newspaper and journalistic work", being the editor of the Jackson Times. He began the practice of his profession in that city and in 1911 was elected as City Attorney of Jackson, serving in that capacity from 1912-13. In November 1917 he was elected to the Kentucky State House of Representatives from the counties of Breathitt, Lee and Magoffin and during the 1918-20 term served on the committees on the Geological Survey, Juvenile Courts and Children's Homes, Retrenchment and Reform, Legislative Redistricting and Suffrage and Elections.
   A member of the Elks and Knights of Pythias Lodges, Ryland Musick continued to advance politically during his time in the legislature, being an unsuccessful candidate for Kentucky State Attorney General in the 1919 Democratic primary. Profiled in the July 26, 1919 edition of the Kentucky Irish American, Musick was touted as a "lawyer of ability" and:
"As a legislator he voted and made a speech for the eight hour law, the twice a month pay bill and other legislation and supported appropriation bills to make secure the Kentucky School for the Blind in Louisville, and the State Fair, all of which mean so much to Louisville"
  Despite carrying both Madison and Powell County in the vote count Ryland Musick was defeated for the Democratic nomination by Frank Daugherty. Four years later he was again a candidate for state Attorney General and lost out to the same man who had bested him in 1919, Frank E. Daugherty

                                                              From the Kentucky Irish American, July 26, 1919.

   In the year of his death, Ryland Musick was a candidate in the Democratic congressional primary from Kentucky's 9th district, running against future U.S. Treasury Secretary and Supreme Court Chief Justice Frederick Moore Vinson. On election day (August 2, 1924) it was Vinson who won out, defeating Musick by a vote of 18,284 to 7,308
   Just a few weeks following that primary loss Musick undertook a business trip to Virginia and on August 22, 1924, the car in which he was a passenger lost control and turned over several times. Pinned underneath the wreckage, Musick was extricated from the vehicle and later died at a hospital near Lebanon, Virginia, aged just 39. He was survived by his wife Bessie, with his funeral taking place at Jonesboro, Tennessee. A burial location for him remains unknown at this time.

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