Fred A. Vaughan’s father, H. S. Vaughan, was born in Halifax, Virginia, and came to Paintsville in Johnson County, Kentucky, in 1844. He was a Union sympathizer, served four years as county judge, and was also a Methodist preacher. Fred’s mother, Mary E. Burgess Vaughan, was born in Paintsville. She was H. S. Vaughan’s second wife whom he married around 1864. Fred had a total of eleven siblings and half-siblings. He was the fifth child of H.S. Vaughan’s second marriage, born on December 8, 1876, in Paintsville.
He attended the public schools in Paintsville and then the University of Kentucky; he left college in 1896 and taught school in Johnson County for ten years. He got involved in Republican Party politics and was elected to the State House of Representatives from Johnson and Martin counties where he served from 1904 to 1906.
In 1906 he became chairman of the Republican campaign committee in the Tenth Congressional District which elected John W. Langley to Congress. He then served as Langley’s assistant in Washington, D.C., until 1909, and for the next ten years he worked for the Census Bureau and for the United States Revenue Service in Louisville.
Vaughan was elected Johnson County Judge in 1913 and again in 1917. He was then elected Secretary of State in 1919, resigned his judgeship, and served in the administration of Governor Edwin P. Morrow (1919-1923). He held a variety of other positions on various school boards, including ten years on the Board of Regents of Eastern Kentucky State Normal School. Like his father, Vaughan was active in the Methodist church.
After leaving public office, Fred Vaughan was receiver for the Ohio Valley Fire and Marine Insurance Company. He practiced law several years in Frankfort and in 1926 returned to Paintsville to practice law there. He also planned to campaign for circuit judge of the Twenty-fourth Judicial District.
He married Mary Muir Halstead in Bardstown in 1914. The couple had no children. He died suddenly in Paintsville on January 21, 1927, apparently of a stroke as a consequence of hypertension. He was survived by his wife, mother, and several siblings. He is buried in the Mayo Cemetery in Paintsville.
Kentucky Death Records for 1911 to 2000
C. Mitchel Hall, Johnson County, Kentucky: A History of the County and Genealogy of its People Up to the Year 1927 (2 vols.; Louisville, 1928), 2:575-76
Charles Kerr, ed., History of Kentucky by William E. Connelley and E. Merton Coulter (5 vols.; Chicago and New York: American Historical Society, 1922), 3: 467-68
Obituary, Paintsville Herald, January 27, 1927.