Kimbrough, Joseph M.

1851 – 1890

Distillery Manager

Joe Kimbrough was born in Harrison County, Kentucky, on June 10, 1851.  Around 1870 he became a bookkeeper for the firm of Cussen, Megibben & Kimbrough, dry good merchant of Cynthiana, Kentucky.  His father was a partner in the firm.  In 1876, he was married to Mattie Megibben, daughter of Thomas J. Megibben.

In January 1879 he came to Lexington to manage the Ashland Distillery, part owned by his father-in-law.  The same year the distillery was incorporated as Wm. Tarr & Company and Kimbrough acquired ten percent interest.  He remained manager of the distillery until his death.

He was one of the organizers of the Lexington Chamber of Commerce in 1884 (and President in 1885).  In 1884, he was also appointed by the Governor as a director the Eastern Kentucky Lunatic Asylum in Lexington.  In 1886, he was elected to the City Council and in April 1888 was elected its President.  He was a staunch Democrat and slated by the party for higher offices.

He died unexpectedly in July 1890 of typhoid fever.  He was also a member of the firm of J. A. Lail & Company, whiskey merchants.  He was a partner in the racing stable Megibben & Kimbrough, with his brother-in-law, James K. Megibben.  Their stable ran Sportsman in the 1889 Kentucky Derby, where it placed sixth. [i]


[i] Lexington Leader, March 24, 1889, page 1, column 4 and July 13, 1890, page 1, column 3.

William M. Ambrose, Bottled In Bond under U. S. Government Supervision, Limestone Press, Lexington, 2008.