TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

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October 20, 1865, Champ Ferguson, a Civil War guerrilla from Spring Creek in Clinton County, was hung for 53 counts of murder.  Sometimes associated with Morgan’s Confederate Raiders, he spent most of his time as an independent insurgent.  As unlikely as it may seem, Champ was one of only two men tried for Civil War crimes.
The Kentucky Encyclopedia edited by John E. Kleber; pg: 313

October 20, 1910, Town Marshal John T. Skaggs, Clarkson Police Department, was shot and killed in Henderson, while returning a prisoner to the Henderson County Jail.  The prisoner had been arrested the previous week for stealing a horse in Leitchfield.  As the marshal and the prisoner walked through Henderson’s central park en route to the jail another man approached them and fatally shot the marshal.  The man and the prisoner then fled the area.  The prisoner was re-arrested after a chase in Daviess County the following week.  The man who murdered Town Marshal Skaggs was also apprehended, convicted of murder and sentenced to life on February 8, 1911.  Town Marshal Skaggs was survived by his wife and daughter.  He was buried at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville.

Localtonians wishes a Happy Birthday to Niagara native Louis Marshall (“Grandpa”) Jones, born in Henderson County 1913.  Grandpa was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1978 but is best known for his role on Hee Haw.

Localtonians wishes a Happy Birthday to Murry native U.S. Army PFC Billy Lane Lauffer, born in 1945.  In 1966, President L. B. Johnson presented the Medal of Honor (posthumously) to Mr. Lauffer for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving in Vietnam.

October 20, 1950, Army CPL Marshall E. Crowe of Boyle County died fighting in the Korean War.

October 20, 1951, Army PFC, Kelly Justice from Pike County died fighting in the Korean War.

October 20, 1952, Army PFC Francis Maloney from Kenton County, Army PVT Otis E. Pingleton from Madison County and Army Roland D. Thompason from Jefferson County, all died fighting in the Korean War.

October 20, 1951, UK basketball players Alex Groza, Ralph Beard and Dale Barnstable are charged with accepting bribes for point-shaving in a 1949 game against Loyola.

October 20, 1965, Army SFC Joseph D. Baily from Christian County died fighting in the Vietnam War.

October 20, 1967, Army SSG Carl A. Ballenger from Valley Station died fighting in the Vietnam War.

October 20, 1968, the Fayette County Attorneys’ Association of Kentucky stated their opposition to legislation that severely restricts firearms use and possession.  The meeting took place in Gilbertsville and was signed by Grant County Attorney Lee Lanter and Fayette County Attorney Armand Angelucci.  The association said the public is in a state of panic caused by the assignations of JFK, MLK and RFK, but they did not want to see Washington put restrictions on law-abiding citizens.

October 20, 1969, Army SGT James E. Conkright from Daviess County and Army SP4 Dennis G. Hall from Oldham County, died fighting in the Vietnam War.

October 20, 1971, Army SFC Billie L. Coleman from Butler County died fighting in the Vietnam War.

October 20, 1973, Ali fights Rudi Lubbers at the Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia.   Ali, looking ahead to a rematch with Frazier, easily dispatched the Dutchman in 12 rounds.  A crowd of 35,000 watched the bout, and 10,000 showed up at an exhibition Ali gave for his fans.

October 20, 1983, Rosewood native Merle Robert Travis passed away.  His songs’ lyrics often discussed the lives of American coal miners.  His unique guitar style, still called Travis Picking by guitarists, is a syncopated guitar finger-picking style rooted in ragtime.  He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970 and elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1977.  His body was cremated and his ashes scattered around a memorial erected to him near Drakesboro.

October 20, 1995, senior quarterback Tim Couch, the front runner for Mr. Football honors, threw for 533 yards and six touchdowns in the Shelby Valley – Hyden County high school football game.  Couch went 20 for 29 and improved his team’s record to 7-2.

October 20, 1995, former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Dan Jack Combs had his drug charges dropped as part of a plea agreement in which Combs promised to stop smoking marijuana and insulting the State Police.  But later in an interview, Combs was unrepentant.  Asked if he would indeed quit smoking, Combs answered, “I refuse to answer that on the grounds that it may incriminate me.”

On October 20, 1998, Karen Johnson, from Louisville, won a $13.1 million verdict from Humana Healthcare Plan.  The three-year battle with the insurance giant started when she was diagnosed with cancer and Humana refused to cover her cost for treatment and surgery.  The verdict sent shockwaves through the managed care industry.

October 20, 1999, Millersburg native Mae Jones Street Kidd passed away.  “The Champion of Civil Rights” had a distinguished career in public relations, served in the Red Cross during World War II, and was a member of the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1968 to 1984, representing Louisville’s 41st state legislative district.

October 20, 2017, the University of Louisville fired Tom Jurich as Athletic Director. The board of trustees agreed to a $4.5 million settlement with Jurich that cleared him of any wrong doing and phrased his termination as “retirement.”

October 20, 2019, Justin Thomas won his 11th PGA Tour event and his second in South Korea in three years with a final-round, 5-under 67 and a two-stroke victory over South Korean-born New Zealander Danny Lee.