TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

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October 14, 1803, Lewis arrives at Clarksville, across the Ohio River from present-day Louisville, and soon meets up with William Clark.  Clark’s African-American slave York and nine men from Kentucky are added to the party.  This date is considered the start of their great exploration west.

October 14, 1816, George Madison, Kentucky’s sixth Governor, became the first Kentucky Governor to die in office.  In ill health, Madison was overwhelmingly elected in August in part due to his distinctive service in three wars.  Madison traveled to Blue Lick Springs, at the time in Bourbon County, for his health soon after the election, but was too weak to return to Frankfort for the inauguration or his duties as Governor.  Madison took the oath of office on September 5, 1816, at the springs, where he also passed, forty days later.

October 14, 1816, Gabriel Slaughter became the seventh Governor of Kentucky and was the first person to ascend to that office upon the death of the sitting Governor.  

On October 14, 1922, Kentucky Football hosted the Louisville Football team, winning 73 to 0.  The series record stood at 5-0, all wins being shutouts.  Coached by William Juneau, Kentucky would end the season with a 6-3 record.

October 14, 1934, Jesse Stuart’s rambling and powerful collection of 703 sonnets called Man with a bull-tongue Plow was published.

October 14, 1939, Constable Thomas Walton Centers, Breathitt County Constable’s Office, was shot and killed while attempting to keep the peace during an argument between two men who were playing cards in Clayhole, Kentucky.  One of the men went to his home, obtained a .38 caliber pistol, then returned and shot Constable Centers multiple times.  Despite being mortally wounded, Constable Centers was able to return fire and wounded the man critically.  The 43-year-old suspect recovered, was tried, and acquitted.

October 14, 1951, Army PFC Anthony Combs from Clark County, Army PFC James D. Gardner from Fleming County, Army CPL Johnson S. Harris from Boyd County and Army SFC Virlen E. Kelly from Pike County, all died fighting in the Korean War.

October 14, 1952, Army CPL Ray Church, Jr. from Knott County, Army PVT John L. Dillon from Campbell County, Army PFC James E. Fain from Hopkins County, Army PFC Henry E. Gibson from Floyd County Army CPL Marvin Williams from Knox County and Army 2LT Stuart M. Blazer from Monroe County, all died fighting in the Korean War.

October 14, 1962, President Kennedy greeted crowds outside St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church in Louisville, where he attended Sunday Mass.  He was in Louisville campaigning for the presidency and had spoken at the State Fairgrounds the day before.

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October 14, 1966, Marine Corps LCPL, James C. Dobson from Shively died fighting in the Vietnam War.

October 14, 1967, the Kentucky Colonels played their first game in the ABA, losing to the Indiana Pacers 95-117 on the road.  McHenry native John Givins coached the Colonels.  The starting lineup included; Darel Carrier, Randolph Mahaffey, Cotton Nash, Goose Ligon and Kendall Rhine.

October 14, 1968, Marine Corps LCPL, John R. Parsons from Combs in Perry County died fighting in the Vietnam War.

October 14, 1978, the Jockey Club Gold Cup had six entries that included Seattle Slew, Affirmed and Exceller.  

October 14, 1989, Patrolwoman Regina Woodward Nickles, Harrodsburg Police Department was shot and killed while investigating a suspicious person in the parking lot of an automotive store.  She and her partner were approaching the suspect when he turned and fired at them.  Patrolwoman Nickles was struck twice in the neck, killing her instantly.  Other officers on the scene were able to return fire, severely wounding the suspect.  Patrolwoman Nickles was the department’s only female police officer and was running for Sheriff of Mercer County.  She was 45 years old and is survived by her two children.

October 14, 1993, Bill Collins, after a seven week trial, was convicted of influence-peddling and sentenced to five years and three months in federal prison, which was at the low end of the range prescribed by the federal sentencing guidelines.  It was alleged that he exploited this perception to pressure people who did business with the state to invest nearly $2 million with him.    

October 14, 2003, Governor Edward Thompson Breathitt Jr. died at age 78 in Lexington.  Four days earlier he had collapsed while making a speech at the Lexington Community College.  During his term as Governor, Breathitt was chair of the Board of Trustees at the UK.  Under his leadership, the state’s community colleges were placed under the governance of the university.  Four state colleges achieved university status during Breathitt’s administration.  He also established the KET and Kentucky’s vocational education system.

October 14, 2003, began the 200th Anniversary celebration in downtown Louisville, marking the beginning of the Lewis & Clark expedition.  Part of the activities included the statue unveiling of William Clark’s slave York.  Ed Hamilton, who lives in Louisville, sculpted York from bronze.

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October 14, 2007, the U.S. Centers for Disease Controls and Preventions reported that Americans are dying less than cancer in part due to anti-smoking efforts, early detection and better treatment.  The report went on to claim that Kentucky has the highest cancer death rates in the U.S.

October 14, 2010, the Federal Government under President Obama lowered the limits on miners’ exposure to coal dust.  The administration’s goal was to cut the exposure level in half within two years.  Coal dust is responsible for 1,500 deaths a year from black lung disease.  Theses changes would affect about 72,000 miners working in more than 400 underground mines and more than 1,100 surface mines.

On October 14, 2014, the 100th Anniversary of the Belle of Louisville celebration began.  The multiday festivities enjoyed a $1 million budget.  It was the largest gathering of riverboats since 2006 along Louisville’s shorelines and approximately 300,000 people gathered.  The Belle of Louisville is the oldest authentic river steamboat in the U.S. and the second oldest in the world.  On October 18, 1914, the steamboat was launched under the name Idlewood.

October 14, 2017, a Kentucky bred wins the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup GI by half a length to take home $300,000.