Kentucky Trivia

December 16, 1802, Lexington’s first bank, the Kentucky Insurance Company, was incorporated.  The bank failed in the general depression of 1818.
The Squire’ Sketches of Lexington by J. Winston Coleman, Jr.; pg: 24

December 16, 1840, Bourbon County native Thomas Corwin became Ohio’s 15th governor.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Stoney Point native, John Fox, born in 1862, in Bourbon County.  John was an author who was awarded many honors in his lifetime including a membership in the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1899 and a medal for his literary contributions from the Emperor of Japan.  His dedication and lobbying led to the passing of the Federal Copyright Act.

December 16, 1897, Madison County native Lewis Garrard Clarke died a free man in Louisville.  Clarke published the story of his life as a slave in 1845, after he had escaped from Kentucky to become a well-regarded abolitionist lecturer throughout the North.  His book was the first work by a slave to be acquired by the Library of Congress and copyrighted; Narratives of the Sufferings of Lewis and Milton Clarke, Sons of a Soldier of the Revolution, During a Captivity of More than Twenty Years Among the Slaveholders of Kentucky, One of the So-Called Christian States of North America.  His body lay in state at the Kentucky State Capitol on the order of Governor Bradley; he was subsequently buried in Westwood Cemetery in Oberlin, Ohio.  The character George Harris in Uncle Tom’s Cabin was based on Mr. Clarke.

December 16, 1908, Elmer Hill, a white male, was lynched in Russell County for an alleged rape and murder.  There were 135 documented lynchings in Kentucky from 1882 -1921.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Paris native William Stephen “Bill” Arnsparger, born in 1926.  Bill was the coordinator who crafted two of the most distinctive defenses in NFL history; the famed “No-Name” and “Killer B’s” defenses for the Miami Dolphins.  The first unit powered the only unbeaten season in NFL history in 1972.  The latter took the Dolphins to the Super Bowl following the strike-shortened 1982 season.

December 16, 1929, Deputy Sheriff Thomas C. Tackett, Pike County Sheriff’s Office, was shot and killed when he and another man investigated a car that was stopped in the middle of a roadway.  As the two approached the car, Deputy Tackett’s friend observed one of the men inside the vehicle hide something behind his back.

December 16, 1950, Kentucky played a much-anticipated game versus Kansas.  Bill Spivey was matched up against Jayhawks center Clyde Lovellette.  The Wildcats won by 29 points as Spivey outplayed Lovellette, in what he later called the best performance of his college career.  After one steal, he drove to the Kansas basket and did a slam dunk; this was rare for Kentucky basketball at the time, as Rupp instructed players not to dunk during games.

December 16, 1951, Air Force 1LT Lawrence B. Kelly from Louisville died in the Korean War.

December 16, 1968, Army SP4 Richard W. Randolph from Greenville in Muhlenberg County died in the Vietnam War.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Maysville native Deron Feldhaus, born in 1968.  Deron was one of four seniors on the 1991–92 team known as “The Unforgettables.”  During his senior season at the University of Kentucky, Feldhaus averaged 11.4 points per game.

December 16, 1970, in the ongoing legal turf battle over the 1968 Kentucky Derby disqualification, the Kentucky State Racing Commission announced they will appeal a court decision that gave the winner’s purse to Dancer’s Image.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Grayson native Jason Smith, born in 1977.  Jason is a self-taught professional chef and reality TV star best known for winning the Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship.

December 16, 1980, Maker’s Mark became a National Historic Landmark.

December 16, 1980, Harland Sanders died at Jewish Hospital in Louisville of pneumonia at 90.  Sanders had remained active until the month before his death, appearing in his white suit to adoring crowds.  His body lay in state in the Kentucky State Capitol’s rotunda after a funeral service at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Chapel, attended by more than 1,000 people.  By the time of Sanders’ death, there were an estimated 6,000 KFC outlets in 48 countries worldwide.

December 16, 1981, the dedication of Bat Cave and Cascade Caverns State Nature Preserves took place.  The preserve consists of two tracts totaling 146 acres located in Carter County.  Bat Cave houses and protects the federally endangered Indiana Bat, which has wintering numbers estimated at 28,000.

December 16, 1983, Miss Sweet Evening Breeze died in a nursing home at the age of ninety-one.  She was buried in the Lexington Cemetery, the headstone bearing her birth name.  Her house still stands on Prall Street by the train tracks, and the generations of people that knew her still speak of her fondly.

December 16, 1983, President Reagan visited Fort Campbell to comfort the military families of 245 men and three women.  These soldiers lost their lives when their plane exploded in mid-air while returning to Kentucky after six months of peacekeeping duties in Egypt.

December 16, 2003, Jenkins native Gary Ronnie Stewart passed away.  Gary was a musician and songwriter known for his distinctive vibrato voice and his outlaw country sound influenced by southern rock.  At the height of his popularity in the mid-1970s, Time Magazine described him as the “king of honkytonk.”  He had a series of country chart hits from the mid-to-late 1970s, the biggest of which was “She’s Actin’ Single I’m Drinkin’ Doubles,” which topped the U.S. country singles chart in 1975.

December 16, 2004, Neon native Martha Carson, born Irene Amburgey, passed away.

December 16, 2006, Kentucky defeats Louisville 61-49 for the Wildcat’s third straight win in the series.

December 16, 2009, Steven Troxell, 21, died in Sloans Valley Cave in Tatesville in Pulaski County.  Steven died of blunt force trauma, and crews worked for hours to recover the body.  According to Pulaski officials, the cave system is one of the longest in the world and is probably one of the most treacherous caves to explore.

December 16, 2015, the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center coordinated with the Kentucky Blues Society to teach fifth-graders at McNeill Elementary School, in Bowling Green, about the Blues.

December 16, 2019, Chief Deputy Bobby Wayne Jacobs, Knott County Sheriff’s Office, suffered a fatal heart attack several hours after responding to assist at the scene of a barricaded subject who had threatened to kill law enforcement officers.

December 16, 2019, a three-week online auction that offered more than 80 pieces of glass art blown by protégés and friends of Stephen Rolfe Powell ended.  All proceeds from the auction benefited the Stephen Rolfe Powell Memorial Fund to ensure that the hot glass program he developed at the Centre College would continue at a high level.  The auction featured distinctive pieces inspired by the iconic Maker’s Mark bourbon bottle design.


December 16, 2019, Governor A. Beshear allowed former House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins and at least one other former lawmaker to inflate their legislative pensions as they accept high paying jobs in his administration.  Beshear rescinded an executive order made by Bevin, in his last days of office, aimed at preventing “pension spiking.”