TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Kentucky Trivia

December 21, 1793, Harrison County is created from Bourbon and Scott.  Harrison was named in honor of Benjamin Harrison, co-author of the Kentucky Constitution.  The county seat is Cynthiana.  Other cities and towns include Berry, Boyd, Breckinridge, Broadwell, Buena Vista, Colville, Connersville, Hooktown, Lair, Lees Lick, Leesburg, Kelat, Morningglory, Oddville, Poindexter, Ruddles Mill, Rutland, Shadynook, Shawhan and Sunrise.  Harrison County covers 310 square miles and was the 17th county created.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Fayette County native James Lane Allen, born in 1849.  He was one of Kentucky’s first best-selling novelists.

On December 21, 1861, Kentucky legislators expelled John Milton Elliott from the General Assembly for supporting the Confederate cause.  Milton went on to join the Confederate government in Russellville.  After the war, in 1876, Milton was assassinated while serving as a judge.  The murder received national attention.

December 21, 1868, Nelson County native Charles Slaughter Morehead, passed away.  Governor Slaughter was the 20th Kentucky governor and the only Know-Nothing to hold the office.

December 21, 1869, James Stone, a black male, was lynched in Graves County for an alleged murder and rape.  There were 135 recorded lynchings in Kentucky from 1882 to 1921.

December 21, 1922, Deputy Sheriff Robert H. Napier, Perry County Sheriff’s Office, was believed to have been shot and killed after confronting a subject near his home at Walker’s Branch.  His mangled body was located on a set of nearby railroad tracks.  Evidence showed that his body had been dragged to the tracks and his revolver had been fired four times.  A subject was arrested 13 years after his death.

December 21, 1929, Police Officer Jesse B. Dills, Paintsville Police Department, was shot and killed by a former county constable who held a grudge against the officer for a previous arrest.  Officer Dills had previously arrested the constable for being drunk in public.  Officer Dills was on duty and had gone into a local pool hall on Main Street to get a cup of coffee.  As he did so, the suspect and the county jailer, who had both been drinking, waited for him to exit.

December 21, 1935, Patrolman James Powell Hays and Patrolman Robert Rowland, Kentucky Highway Patrol, were shot and killed while attempting to question two brothers about a stolen automobile at the garage they operated in Franklin.  One of the brothers was sentenced to life and one was sentenced to six years.  The brother who was released after only six years went on to murder two more police officers in Tennessee.       

On December 21, 1954, one hundred patients at Eastern State Hospital in Lexington completed a life-size nativity scene, including three large sheds, each 15’x20’.  The scene included the usual suspects, including a live mule, cow, three sheep, and a goat, all provided by the hospital’s farm.

December 21, 1954, the Wildcats barely snuck by Utah in the last minute to advance to the finals of the annual U.K. Invitational Basketball tournament held in Memorial Coliseum.  Kentucky, ranked #1 in the nation easily defeated La Salle, like they did the previous year, to win the tournament again.

December 21, 1965, the Kentucky School for the Deaf’s, Jacobs Hall, became a National Historic Landmark.

dec 21 jacobs hall

December 21, 1965, Transylvania’s Old Morrison became a National Historic Landmark.

Dec 21 Old Morrison

December 21, 1970, the U.S. Supreme Court approved 5 to 4 allowing 18-year-olds to vote for president and congress.  Approximately ten million young voters became eligible to vote.

December 21, 1980, The Courier-Journal spotlighted Kentucky’s first trout farm located in Canmer in Hart County.  State agriculture officials believed that it was also Kentucky’s first fish farm.  The rainbow trout from the Glenbrook Trout Farm served 40 restaurants in Louisville and Lexington.

December 21, 1990, a Kentucky legislative report stated that Toyota’s presence in Kentucky had meant an investment of nearly $1.7 billion and 5,179 jobs for in two years of operation.  Meanwhile, the final group of IBM Lexington workers who accepted a recent voluntary separation left their jobs.

December 21, 1990, Defense Secretary Dick Cheney, who was in the Persian Gulf, stated he didn’t think peace talks would occur any time soon and that the likelihood of war was growing.  Operation Desert Storm began less than one month later and the Gulf Wars lasted for 30 years.

December 21, 1990, the Bush Whitehouse released a statement cutting $18.7 billion from Medicare from 1992 through 1996.  The cuts were applied to doctors and hospitals.

December 21, 1990, State Representative Anne Northup announced she would introduce a bill to raise the cigarette purchase age from 16 to 18 in the 1992 General Assembly.  The Kentucky age limit is now 21.

December 21, 1990, five people in Washington D.C. believed Frankfort’s Blanton Distilling Company make the best whiskey in America.  “Dark Horse Emerges As Clear Favorite In Washington Bourbon Race,” proclaim full-page ads in The New York Times and USA Today.  Old Fitzgerald finished second and Jim Beam third.

December 21, 1999, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission proposed an $88,000 fine against the operators of the Paducah uranium plant for retaliating against a manger who raised safety concerns about the facility.  The plant enriches uranium for use as nuclear reactor fuel.

December 21, 2008, Marine Lance CPL Thomas Reilly Jr., 19, of London, died in Iraq, while fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

December 21, 2009, the Kentucky men’s basketball team became the first college basketball program to win 2,000 games.  It happened to be during John Calipari’s first season in Rupp Arena for the home crowd.  The Cats defeated the Drexel Dragons 88-44.

December 21, 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that Kentucky grew by a modest 7.4% during the last decade putting the population at 4,339,367.  The state’s growth was less than the nation’s at 9.7%.

On December 21, 2015, Harlan threw a parade for Jordan Smith for winning The Voice.  Jordan thanked all the locals for his support and sang Hallelujah, which was his big hit on the show.

December 21, 2015, Coach Jeff Brohm’s Western Kentucky Hilltoppers defeated the South Florida Bulls 45 to 35 in the Miami Beach Bowl.  The game was played in Marlin’s Park and was the only college bowl game of the day.

December 21, 2016, the #10 ranked Cardinals defeated the 6th ranked Cats 73-70 in front of 22,783 in KFC Yum! Center.  It would be the last time Pitino and Calipari coached against each other ending the series at 8-2 in Calipari’s favor.

December 21, 2017, the historic James E. Pepper distillery filled and closed its first barrel of whiskey 59 years after it closed.  The recipe for the new batch was the same recipe as last produced in 1958.  The whiskey was released in 2019.

December 21, 2020, Kentucky started vaccinating one of the most vulnerable populations, nursing home residents and staff.  Governor A. Beshear, “Today we celebrate another great and hopeful day in our battle against covid-19.”  Kentucky had 20,000 residents in long-term care.

December 21, 2020, the Trump administration and Congress passed a $2,300,000,000,000 spending bill that consisted of 5,593 pages, by far the largest bill in American history.  The pandemic relief package was $900 billion, and the omnibus bill was $1.4 trillion.  The complete bill quickly passed through both houses, with Senator Rand Paul being one of six senators who voted no.