September 20, 1863, Gen. Benjamin Hardin Helm was mortally wounded at the Battle of Chickamauga and died the following day. His father, John LaRue Helm, governed Kentucky for 13 months, starting in July 1850.
September 20, 1927, Constable Green Gambrel, Knox County Constable’s Office, was shot and killed while attempting to serve a warrant to the owner of a general store in Flat Lick. He was opening the door to the store when the owner shot him in the chest with a shotgun, killing him instantly. The store owner was arrested and charged with murder. Constable Green had been shot in the line of duty and almost died several years earlier. He had initially been pronounced dead but eventually made a full recovery. He died at age 35 and was survived by his wife.
September 20, 1948, Chief of Police George Benz and Juvenile Probation Officer August Utendorfer, Campbell County Police Department, were killed in a vehicle crash on Route 17 in Nicholson, Kenton County. They had just transported a juvenile inmate to the Greendale House of Reform, in Lexington, and were returning to Campbell County when the crash occurred. The vehicle skidded off of the shoulder of the highway. As Chief Benz tried to regain control of the vehicle it skidded into oncoming traffic and collided with a milk truck. Chief Benz who was 61-years-old died instantly. Probation Officer Utendorfer died approximately 30 minutes later. He was 61 and survived by his wife and daughter.
September 20, 1928, Constable William Tressler, Campbell County Constable’s Office, succumbed to gunshot wounds to the stomach and back sustained four days earlier when he was ambushed on Second Poole’s Creek Road in Campbell County. Two of the three suspects were later shot and killed by officers in Indiana. The third was taken into custody and sentenced to life. He was survived by his wife and son, one brother and one sister at the age of 48.
September 20, 1970, Free Life, Hot Air Balloon, was launched from New York. Free Life was conceived by Rodney Anderson and his wife, Pamela Brown. Pamela Brown was the actress and sister to future Kentucky Governor John Y. Brown Jr. At age 28, she and her 32-year-old husband, a commodities broker, hoped to break records with the first manned balloon flight across the Atlantic.
September 20, 1972, Muhammad Ali’s 40th fight was against Floyd Patterson in Madison Square Garden. The rematch drew 17,000 and Patterson, who had lost to Ellis during Ali’s exile, looked better early on than he had in years. But Ali opened a cut on Patterson’s eyelid, and the fight was stopped in the seventh round despite Patterson’s protests.
September 20, 1973, the Landward House was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. It is a brick Italianate mansion with a limestone facade and projected entrance located in downtown Louisville. The garden was created by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. in 1929.
September 20, 2005, Army Staff Sgt. William A. Allers III, 28, of Leitchfield was killed when an improvised explosive device detonated near his convoy vehicle in the vicinity of Khalis, Iraq, north of Baghdad. He died fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
September 20, 2009, Lexingtonian Tyson Gay, at the Shanghai Golden Grand Prix, ran the second-fastest men’s 100m on record, winning in 9.69 seconds. This matched Usain Bolt’s world record at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The current men’s world record is 9.58 seconds, set by Jamaica’s Usain Bolt in 2009.
September 20, 2015, a public monument dedication took place for the Naturalization Tree at Camp Zachary Taylor Memorial Park in Louisville. Thousands of foreign-born soldiers once stood beneath a vast North American ash tree at Camp Taylor and became U.S. citizens, starting with 400 in 1918.
September 20, 2017, experts tell lawmakers in Frankfort that the opioid epidemic in the Commonwealth is a “public health catastrophe.” They also stated, “when the clock strikes midnight tonight, four Kentuckians will have died of a drug overdose.”