TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

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On October 2, 1854, John LaRue Helm became the second President of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, between his two terms as Kentucky Governor.  Helm worked diligently to convince residents along the line’s main route of the economic benefits it would bring. He persuaded many of them to help clear and grade land for the line, accept company stock as payment, and sold stock subscriptions to people in the same area.  He was the 18th Governor from 1850-1851 and the 24th Governor in 1867.  

October 2, 1861, Former U.S. V.P. John C. Breckinridge flees Kentucky.  After his loss in the presidential election of 1860, the Kentucky legislature appointed Breckinridge to the U.S. Senate, but he did not serve long.   As Southern states began seceding from the Union following Lincoln’s election, Kentucky resolved to remain in the Union.  Suspecting Breckinridge’s pro-Southern sympathies, Unionists forced him to flee Kentucky.

On October 2, 1901, Jimbo Fields, a black male, was lynched in Shelby County for murder.  There were 135 recorded lynchings in Kentucky from 1882 thru 1921.

Localtonians wishes a Happy Birthday to Joseph Nathaniel Kendall born in Owensboro in 1909.  Joe was an American football player nicknamed “Tarzan” for his athletic prowess.  He dominated black college football in the 1930s while leading Kentucky State to a Black College Football National Championship in 1934. 

October 2, 1911, Laurel Park opened.  The facility started during a track building boom in Maryland.  With racing dark in New York because of a gambling ban, and racing legal in only a handful of states, Maryland opened Laurel, Havre de Grace, and Bowie race tracks in a short span of four years.  The opening of Laurel marked the beginning of the golden years of Maryland racing.

October 2, 1920, the Kentucky Wildcat football team opens the season with a shutout of Rhodes 62-0.  It was head coach William Juneau’s first game.  The Wildcats would go onto a 3-4-1 record and Juneau would finish his Kentucky career with a 56-28-5 record.

October 2, 1940, Deputy Sheriff John F. Cable, Pike County Sheriff’s Office, was shot and killed by a prisoner he had arrested for disorderly conduct.  As Deputy Cable drove the suspect to jail they stopped at a service station after the man requested to use the bathroom.  The man was taking an unusually long time and when Deputy Cable went to check on him the man opened fire.  Despite being mortally wounded, Deputy Cable returned fire.  The 22-year-old suspect was arrested, convicted of murder, and sentenced to life two months later.  Deputy Cable was survived by his wife, four daughters, four brothers, and one sister at 45-years-old.

October 2, 1950, Marine Corps Charles L. Johnson from Morning View in Kenton County and Army PFC Robert J. McKie from Muhlenberg County, died in the Korean War.

October 2, 1951, Army CPL David Wireman from Magoffin County, died in the Korean War.

October 2, 1952, Army SGT Bobby V. Combs from Letcher County, Army 2LT James O Lambert from Clark County and Army CPL Reno D. Stice from Jefferson County, all died in the Korean War.

October 2, 1954, Blanton Collier in his first year as UK head football coach beats LSU 7-6 in the third game of the season.  Blanton coached for eight years.

October 2, 1968, Army SP4 Donald L. Wester from Cleaton in Muhlenberg County, died fighting in the Vietnam War.

October 2, 1973, the Johnston–Jacobs House was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.  The house is a Greek Revival style brick house located near downtown Georgetown.  The original structure was built in approximately 1795 by Adam Johnston for use as a tavern-inn.

Johnston Jacobs House Scott County Kentucky

October 2, 1977, Deputy Jailer Joe C. Lykins, Boyle County Detention Center, suffocated to death after being overpowered and gagged during an escape attempt from the Boyle County Jail.  Four inmates overpowered him, gagged him, and tied his head to cell bars during the escape shortly after 2300 hours.  The gag that was placed in his mouth restricted his breathing. Several other inmates in the cell block at the time used a razor to free Deputy Jailer Lykins after the escaping inmates made their escape but were unable to resuscitate him.  The four inmates who were all apprehended within 24 hours, plead guilty to murder, and were sentenced to life in prison.  Deputy Jailer Lykins was 62-years-old.

October 2, 1980, Berea College celebrated its 125th anniversary with an all-day celebration.  The Army Band from Ft. Knox played for the many quests and speakers.

October 2, 1980, Muhammad Ali, at the age of 38, attempts a comeback in a title fight against Larry Holmes, a former Ali sparring partner, but his skills obviously had faded.  Ali’s trainer stops the fight after ten rounds, marking the only time in his career that Ali lost by anything other than a decision.  The battle was estimated to have been watched by a record two billion viewers.

October 2, 1985, Rebecca Caudill Ayars, from Poor Fork, now Cumberland, Kentucky passed away.  Rebecca was an American author of children’s literature with more than twenty books published.  Her Tree of Freedom (Viking, 1949) was a Newbery Honor Book in 1950.  A Pocketful of Cricket (Holt, 1964), illustrated by Evaline Ness, was a Caldecott Honor Book.

October 2, 1987, the Kentucky Theatre was closed due to a fire next door.  Witnesses stated the fire looked as though an entire downtown block was a blaze. The Kentucky did not reopen until 1992.

On October 2, 1987, the Pikeville Cut-Through Project was completed.  It was called “the eighth wonder of the world” by The New York Times.  Spearheaded by former Mayor William C. Hambley, the Project took four phases spanning 14 years and cost approximately $80 million.  The project created a three-quarter-mile-long channel through Peach Orchard Mountain to provide a path for railroad tracks, the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River and U.S. Highway 23, 460, 119 and KY 80.  18 million cubic yards of earth moved during the entire project, which filled the empty riverbed, creating a total of 400 acres of usable land for Pikeville City’s expansion.  The Project is a unique engineering feat that provides a shining example of cooperation among agencies on a federal, state and local level.  Being the second-largest earth removal project in U.S. history, the Pikeville Cut-Through Project is a marvel that visitors cannot miss.

October 2, 2003, Tina Conner pleads guilty to mail fraud in U.S. District Court.  She planned to go to trial but exchanged a guilty plea for probation.  Tina and her attorney later pressed ahead with lawsuits against her former secret lover, Governor Paul Patton.  The Governor acknowledged the affair and said it ruined his chances of running against Republican Jim Bunning for the U.S. Senate seat.

October 2, 2015, Hills, Hollers & Haints – A Day on the Fork. Forkland, Kentucky hosted their 44th Forkland Heritage Festival continuing traditions such as the bean supper theater, sorghum-making, a silent auction and living history skits.