TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Thank You For Visiting

Localtonians wishes a Happy Birthday to Louisville native John Jacob Niles, born in 1892.  John was composer, singer and collector of traditional ballads called the “Dean of American Balladeers.”  He was an important influence on the American folk music revival and the likes of Odetta, Joan Baez, Burl Ives, Peter, Paul and Mary and Bob Dylan.

April 28, 1892, William H. Cheppu, a well-known bookmaker who was in debt, sold his land in Lexington.  Colonel James E. Pepper, the owner of the Pepper Distillery, bought it, refurbished the large home in 1892, and added a new front gate with “Meadowthorpe” inscribed on it.  It would see one more owner before becoming Lexington’s first major airfield in 1927.

April 28, 1898, Deputy Sheriff Henry M. Coots, Leslie County Sheriff’s Office, was shot and killed while attempting to arrest an escapee from the county jail.  A posse returned the man to jail.

April 28, 1940, Breathitt County Deputy Jailer, Benton Sizemore was shot and killed while responding to the scene of a shooting involving the county jailer.  The county jailer and his wife were visiting relatives when a truck full of assailants pulled up and opened fire on them, fatally wounding the jailer.

April 28, 1953, actress Judy Garland, second from right, arrived at Lexington’s Union Station to perform at Memorial Coliseum as part of Blue Grass Festivals pre-Derby attractions.  While in Lexington, Garland, described by Fred Astaire as “the greatest entertainer who ever lived,” visited children at Shriners Hospital.

April 28, 1959, Conservation Officer James Brady McClain, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, was killed in a vehicle crash on U.S. 68 one mile west of Gracey.

April 28, 1960, a mysterious detergent was dumped into Beargrass Creek in Louisville, causing foam to rise 6 feet high and killing fish by the hundreds.  The substance emptied into the Ohio River, and the local drinking water was not affected.

April 28, 1961, Miss Dillard Marr, 18-year-old UK freshman became the Kentucky Derby festival Queen.  Dillard lived on a horse farm in Lexington and enjoyed riding and caring for her herd.

April 28, 1968, Army SP4 Fredrick E. Bauerle III from Dayton in Campbell County, Army SP5 Jordan Belcher from Dorton in Pike County and Army CPL Roger Nester from Mt. Sterling in Montgomery County, died in the Vietnam War.

April 28, 1973, the first Great Kentucky Derby Festival Balloon Race created a magnificent picture in the sky as 11 balloons drifted southeast over the Louisville sky, starting at Iroquois Park.  Although one balloon touched a 12,000-volt wire, the only fatality was a calf who got frightened when a balloon landed in his field.

April 28, 1976, the Kentucky Colonels professional basketball team played their final game, losing to the Denver Nuggets in game 7, of the ABA Semi-Finals Championship.  The ABA merged with the NBA the same year.  The Colonels, like the ABA as a whole, had an overall winning record against the NBA throughout their existence.

April 28, 1982, John R. Gaines is shown on his Gainesway Farm shortly after promoting his “Parade of Champions” in which the world’s best Thoroughbreds would compete in a day of racing.  The first Breeders’ Cup took place in 1984.

Kentucky Trivia:  John R. Gaines took over a Standardbred operation begun by his grandfather, Thomas P. Games, in 1925 and started a Thoroughbred division of Gainesway Farm in 1962.  John’s father, Clarence Francis Gaines, introduced a complete dog meal product that revolutionized the dog food industry.

April 28, 1989, Racing Hall of Famer Julie Krone becomes the first female jockey to win a Keeneland stakes when she rides Gaily Gaily to win the Bewitch Stakes.

April 28, 1990, Officer Donald Lee Ferguson, Albany Police Department, was killed when a drunk driver attempting to evade a sobriety check point struck him at a high rate of speed.  The suspect was apprehended and sentenced to ten years in prison but released after only three years.

April 28, 1998, the annual Kentucky Derby Trainers dinner took place at $100 a seat.  Two things have been certain at the dinner for many years; jokes are told, and many are at the expense of D. Wayne Lukas.  Without a horse in the field, the legendary trainer did not attend. 

April 28, 2001, James Still died.  James was an Appalachian poet, novelist and folklorist who lived most of his life in a log house along the Dead Mare Branch of Little Carr Creek in Knott County.  He was best known for the novel River of Earth, which depicted the struggles of coal mining in Eastern Kentucky.

April 28, 2002, an early morning tornado hit Providence in Webster County that destroyed 50 homes and left another 160 inhabitable.  No deaths occurred; however, 25 people seek medical attention in nearby Madisonville.

April 28, 2003, Dr. David Proctor from Ashland pleads guilty to three felony charges of prescribing controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose.  He made an average of $4,000 to $5,000 a day pushing drugs but also took sex as payment.

April 28, 2010, Pennsylvania-based energy company PPL Corp. announced it was buying LG&E and sister company Kentucky Utilities from their German Owner Eon AG for $7.6 billion.  The new owners would serve 900,000 Kentucky customers.

April 28, 2018, Woodbine runs their GIII $100,102 Whimsical Stakes for fillies and mares four-years-old and upward.  The Keeneland graduate takes first prize money of $58,538.

April 28, 2020, Governor Beshear announced 230 new coronavirus positive cases for a total of 4,375 and 12 deaths to total 224.  Meanwhile, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron filed a motion in federal court to make the Governor’s coronavirus travel ban unconstitutional.