September 26, 1820, Daniel Boone dies in Missouri a few months short of his 86th birthday. He was buried in Missouri but was reinterred at Frankfort Cemetery on a scenic spot overlooking the Kentucky River. The granite monument is the number one tourist attraction in the city—but is Daniel Boone really buried there?
September 26, 1844, in one of his final acts of Governor, Robert P. Letcher proclaimed “a day of Prayer, Praise and Thanksgiving,” which he asked “the people of the Commonwealth to set apart, observe and keep holy” in appreciation of “the rich and abundant blessings of the past and present year.” Kentucky’s first official Thanksgiving Day was almost two decades before President Lincoln established the national holiday.
September 26, 1918, Willie Sandlin, in WWI, single-handedly destroyed three German machine gun emplacements and killed twenty-four of the enemy at Bois de Forges, France. For these actions he received the Congressional Medal of Honor. Mr. Sandlin was a Perry County native born in Buckhorn.
Happy Birthday to Ashland native Venus Ramey Murphy, born in 1924. She won the 1944 Miss America competition in Atlantic City to be the first Miss America photographed in color. She was also the first red-haired contestant to win the coveted national title. She was wooed by Hollywood in 1947 but dissatisfied with show business; she returned home to her Eubank, tobacco farm. Ms. Murphy farmed for 50 years until she died in Lincoln County.
September 26, 1930, following the installation of field lighting, the first night game was held at Maxwell Field for the Louisville Male Bulldog Football Team. The contest with Georgetown ended in a 7-7 tie.
September 26, 1931, Chief of Police James Charlie Smith, Central City Police Department, was shot and killed after stopping a vehicle he suspected of bringing a load of illegal alcohol into Central City. He had received information that the vehicle would be making the delivery and he stopped it on the outskirts of town. One of the three occupants of the vehicle opened fire on him, striking him twice and also killing one of the other occupants. Chief Smith was 42 and survived by his wife, adopted son, and two brothers.
September 26, 1946, the Louisville Cardinals opened their season by beating Evansville in Indiana 13-7. Louisville was a member of the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and was coached by Coach Frank Camp who was in his first season. Coach Camp finished the 1946 season with a 6-2 record.
September 26, 1959, Sheriff Dona Arnett, Magoffin County Sheriff’s Office, was intentionally struck and killed as he walked along Route 7 near his home in Royalton. Two men who had previously been arrested by Sheriff Arnett had planned to go to his home to murder him. As they approached the home they saw him walking along the street. They waited until he was in a more isolated area, turned around, and struck him. They then ran over him a second time before fleeing. Both suspects were later arrested by the Kentucky State Police and charged with murder. Sheriff Arnett was 62-years-old.
September 26, 1964, Kentucky defeated the #1 ranked Ole Miss Rebels 27-21 in Oxford, ending the run of good fortune for the Rebels and perhaps cursing them for a half a century. In fifty years, Ole Miss has never returned to the top of college football. This is how the game went according to NCAA.com: Ole Miss had no answer for Kentucky wide receiver Nick Kestner, who caught a total of nine passes for a then-school record 185 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Wildcats back from a pair of second-half deficits for the victory. It was the only highlight of the seven-year Charlie Bradshaw era at Kentucky, when the Cats went 25-41-4. It wouldn’t hurt to point out Bradshaw was the last Kentucky coach to defeat Tennessee twice in Knoxville and the last coach to defeat Auburn twice. The next time a Kentucky coach beat a #1 team was Rich Brooks in 2007 when Kentucky defeated LSU after a loss to South Carolina.
September 26, 1978, after many versions and amendments, the U.S. Senate passed a compromised off-track betting bill. Thus the complex issue of regulating the relatively new phenomenon of legalized inter-state off-track betting is resolved.
September 26, 1983, the 1,294 acre Cumberland Falls State Park Nature Preserve in McCreary and Whitley Counties was dedicated. The preserve protects six species of rare plants and ten rare animals, including the endangered species, the Cumberland Bean Mussel. In addition, the preserve includes a number of waterfalls, among them Cumberland Falls, which plummets sixty-seven feet into a rocky gorge. The Cumberland River, designated a Kentucky Wild River, flows through the preserve.
September 26, 1991, Richard Smith Vaughn, known as Billy Vaughn, passed away. While attending Western Kentucky University, he formed the Hilltoppers with Jimmy Sacca, a fellow student. With the addition of Seymour Spiegelman and Don McGuire, they recorded a demo of “Trying.” One year later, they were on the cover of Cash Box magazine. They had a second hit, “P.S. I Love You,” which went gold and became so popular Ed Sullivan invited them to be on his show. Vaughn left the Hilltoppers in 1954 to become more famous. He was the first American recording artist to be awarded a gold record in Europe and the first artist anywhere to receive a platinum record for more than 3 million sales. Over his 40 year career, he sold more than 200 million records worldwide. Billy Vaughn has garnered trophies and awards from Brazil (where he is known as the “King of Romantic Music”), Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, Peru, Mexico, Korea, and Japan.
September 26, 2002, unranked Louisville beats the 4th ranked Florida State Seminoles in Louisville 26-20. The Cardinals were seeking revenge from last year, at home, under the lights, in the pouring rain.
September 26, 2009, Army SPC Kevin J. Graham of Benton, Marshall County died in Kandahar, Afghanistan of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his vehicle with an IED. He was fighting in Operation Enduring Freedom.
September 26, 2011, Owsley Brown II dies at 69-years-old. He was the retired Chairman of his family-controlled liquor company, Brown-Foreman. He was the great-grandson of the founder and worked in the business for 37 years, 12 years as CEO. During his tenure, the company expanded overseas and the stock value more than quadrupled.