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November 20, 1822, the National Course of D.C. hosted a famous battle between the North and South. James Harrison of Brunswick, Virginia, wagered $5,000 that his horse, Sir Charles, could beat New Yorker, Cornelius Van Ranst’s, American Eclipse, in a series of four-mile heats. National Course of D.C. hosted the event and put the track on the map. Out of the ten-odd racetracks that graced the Washington area from as early as the late 1700s, the National Course was the best known nationally. The National Course drew various crowds, from “the President of the United States to the beggar in his rags.” Sir Charles was the champion of Virginia and embodied the Southern ideal of elegance and speed. American Eclipse, a New York mare through and through, was built mostly for power and stamina. Before the race even started, Sir Charles injured himself in a trial run. Harrison agreed to pay the forfeit and decided to put Sir Charles through at least one heat with American Eclipse. Sir Charles lost badly, breaking down in the last portion of the race, giving American Eclipse a comfortable victory.
November 20, 1861, George W. Johnson became the first Kentucky Governor for the Confederate States of America. Johnson served less than a year, when he died at the Battle of Shiloh in 1862. The rebel government had two governors and disbanded shortly after the war.
November 20, 1863, Warren County native Thomas Henry Hines finished digging the tunnels and began his escape in what some historians call “the most incredible prison escape of the Civil War.” He escaped from an Ohio prison.
November 20, 1878, Marshal James Lewis Young, Mount Sterling Police Department, succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained two days earlier while responding to a disturbance call. Marshal Young had been with the agency for four years and was survived by his wife.
November 20, 1919, Maj. August Belmont, Jr., announced that Fair Play would stay in Kentucky at his Nursery Stud, after selling him for $100,000 to G.A. Cochran of New York. August also received the right to breed 10 mares to him. Fair Play was the leading sire in North America of 1920, 1924 and 1927, and the leading broodmare sire of 1931, 1934 and 1938. He was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1956. Fair Play is best known for siring Man o’ War.
November 20, 1922, in the early morning hours, the third Eclipse Park burned to the ground.
Baseball In Louisville by Anne Jewell
November 20, 1925, Deputy Sheriff Will Pace, Harlan County Sheriff’s Office, was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a known bootlegger at Wilson-Berger, Kentucky. The man had brought a load of moonshine into the town and boasted that he was going to bring another load in that night. Deputy Pace, overhearing the man, told him if he brought it he would be arrested. When the man appeared at the foot of the mountain with the next load Deputy Pace attempted to arrest him. Deputy Pace and the suspect were both killed in the ensuing shootout. Deputy Pace’s brother, Deputy Harve Pace, was fatally wounded in the line of duty only two weeks later while also serving with the Harlan County Sheriff’s Office.
Thanksgiving Day, November 20, 1941, the Harrodsburg Tankers landed in the Philippines. On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and only hours later they began an attack on the Philippines. The Harrodsburg Tankers, along with the allied forces, fought the Japanese valiantly without reinforcements or resupply until ordered to surrender in April 1942. Those who could not escape to Corregidor were in the infamous “Bataan Death March.” They were all eventually taken prisoner of war. Only 37 of the original 66 Kentucky Guard Members from Harrodsburg survived Japanese captivity.
Localtonians wishes a Happy Birthday to Danville native Craig Yeast, born in 1976. Coach Yeast is the head football coach at Kentucky Wesleyan College, a position he has held since December 2018. He played professionally as a wide receiver and kick returner in National Football League with the Cincinnati Bengals and the New York Jets. He played four seasons, from 1995 to 1998 with UK. When he graduated, Yeast was the all-time leader in career receptions in the history of the Southeastern Conference, with 208 catches, and was second in career receiving yards with 2,899.
November 20, 1997, was the dawning of an era as new head coaches Tubby Smith and Morehead State’s Kyle Macy tipped off the season in Rupp Arena. Smith won his first game at UK, 88-49, over the former UK All-American and his Eagles.
November 20, 2000, Jake Graves, 75, prominent Fayette County farmer, handed out bumper stickers in Midway as his friend Governor Louie Nunn watched. The bumper stickers read Industrial Hemp for Farmers, Fibers and Food.” The topic of hemp was becoming mainstream again.
November 20, 2013, the man who shot Kentuckian Larry Flint was executed by lethal injection. Flint was shot in Georgia after a court case involving freedom of speech in 2007. The shooter, many years later claimed he was outraged by an interracial photo shoot in Hustler. Flynt expressed his opposition to the death penalty and was not in favor of the execution.