Moments in Kentucky
Legislative History

Presented by the Kentucky Historical Society

Dueling Oath

By an act approved November 30, 1821, the Kentucky General Assembly provided that “whenever it may become necessary, hereafter, for any person to take an oath of office, or the oath to be taken by all who are admitted to the practice of the law within this commonwealth, the said oath shall be ‘That he had not sent or accepted a challenge to fight in single combat, with any deadly weapon, nor that he had been the bearer of a challenge for another, since the first day of September 1821; and that he will not, during his continuance in office, give, accept, or knowingly carry a challenge to fight in single combat or otherwise, with any deadly weapon, either in or out of this state.’” A similar non-dueling oath was later inserted in the 1849 and 1891 state constitutions and remains there today.

Set of .50-caliber dueling pistols

Set of .50-caliber dueling pistols. According to family tradition, the set belonged to Francis Major (1755-1835), who came to Kentucky from Virginia about 1786. He was living in Lawrenceburg by 1820. Francis Major Collection. KHS Collections.

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