TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

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September 21, 1846, the Battle of Monterrey in the U.S. – Mexican War took place.  In 1847, a vibrant Kentucky River town called Williamsburg changed its name to Monterey to commemorate the battle.

Happy Birthday to Steve Beshear, the 61st Governor who was born in 1944 in Dawson Springs.

September 21, 1937, Brig. Gen. Henry H. Denhardt of Bowling Green, a former Lt. Governor of Kentucky, was to have started his second trial for the murder of his fiancée on this date.  However, about 12 hours earlier, brothers of Verna Garr Taylor killed him in front of the Armstrong Hotel in downtown Shelbyville.

Happy Birthday to Kelly “King” Coleman from Wayland, born in 1938.  Kelly Coleman was without question the greatest Kentucky high school basketball player of all time.  He finished his amazing high school career by gathering 4,263 points in 127 games for a nifty 33.6 per game mark in his four-year career at Wayland High School in the hills of Floyd County.  In the 1956 Kentucky State High School basketball tournament, Kelly broke four of the individual records himself and his Wayland team established four more.  He went on to set records at Kentucky Wesleyan College and played two years in the ABA.

September 21, 1945, Bernie Shively coaches his first game for the Wildcats in a SEC loss to Ole Miss in Memphis.  He would win two games in his only season as Kentucky’s head football coach.

September 21, 1946, Coach Bear Bryant coached his first game for Kentucky, beating Ole Miss in Lexington 20-6.  He would be the Kentucky Wildcat’s football coach for eight seasons.

Happy Birthday to Marsha Norman from Louisville, born in 1947.  She is an American playwright, screenwriter, and novelist.  Marsha received the 1983 Drama Pulitzer Prize for her play ‘night, Mother.  Norman wrote the book and lyrics for the musical The Secret Garden that won the Tony Award for Best Book in 1991.  She wrote the libretto for the musical version of The Color Purple, which opened on Broadway in 2005, receiving a Tony Award nomination for Best Book of a Musical.  She also wrote the libretto for the musical adaptation of the film The Bridges of Madison County.

Happy Birthday to Jack “Goose” Givens from Lexington, who was born in 1956.  Givens led Kentucky to the 1978 NCAA Basketball Championship and was named that year’s Final Four Most Outstanding Player (MOP).  His 41-point performance in Kentucky’s 94-88 victory over Duke University in the championship game was one of college basketball’s greatest performances.  In 1978 there was no 3-point shot.  The “Goose” is one of five UK players to receive the NCAA Final Four MOP award.

September 21, 1966, Private First Class Billy Lane Lauffer of Murry was fatally wounded during his selfless act of courage and devotion to his fellow soldiers during the Vietnam War.  He received the Congressional Medal of Honor posthumously.  Bill is buried at Murray Memorial Gardens in his birth city.

September 21, 1967, Navy P03 Joseph Anthony Combs, from Owensboro, died in the Vietnam War. Joseph was 21-years-old.

September 21, 1968, Marine Corps 1st LT Stanley Garfield Larson, from Shelbyville, died fighting in the Vietnam War.

September 21, 1968, Western Kentucky played their first football game in Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium. The facility has seen several phases of improvements since then. The official seating capacity is listed at 22,113.

September 21, 1968, the Kentucky Football Wildcats opens their season with a win over Missouri.  This was particularly welcoming as they only won two games the previous season.  They would go 3-7 for the year, with Charlie Bradshaw as head coach.

September 21, 1975, the President of the Burley Tobacco Growers Cooperative Association and Vice Chairman of the Kentucky Tobacco Research Board alarmed Kentucky tobacco farmers that “we could take an awful beating from foreign growers.”  Not everyone shared his concern.  In 1973 more than 100,000 Kentucky tobacco farmers received more than $470 million for their crops.

September 21, 1988, Louisville and Lexington announced that they would be taking their sewage sludge to some Hopkinsville County abandoned mines as an experiment.  The goal would be to address two environmental problems at once, by reclaiming old strip-mine sites with hard to dispose of sewage sludge. The sludge would be mixed with lime dust from cement kilns.  

September 21, 2007, Fair Grounds Race Course became the first Churchill owned racetrack to offer slot-machine gaming.

September 21, 2008, Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville hosted 37th Ryder Cup.  Kentuckians Kenny Perry and J.B. Holmes were team members.  The U.S. led from start to finish winning 16½-11½ and regaining the Cup after three consecutive European victories.  For the first time since 1995, the opening matches featured foursomes.

September 21, 2019, Deputy Sheriff Chris Hulsey, Meade County Sheriff’s Office, suffered a fatal heart attack after struggling with a subject while executing a search warrant at 1299 Greer Road in Payneville.  The suspect he struggled with was charged with manslaughter following the altercation.  He is survived by his four sons, his father who served as a local fire chief for 40 years, his sister, and other family members. Officer Hulsey was 46-years-old.