TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Kentucky Trivia

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Richmond native Christopher Houston “Kit” Carson, born in 1809 in Madison County.  Kit became known as a White Native American who learned the universal sign language used by western tribes and spoke in six different tongues.  At 25 he took a Native wife for five blankets, three mules and a gun.

December 24, 1864, a group of rebels branched off from General Lyon and burned the courthouse at Leitchfield in Grayson County.  They were ordered to harass and delay the Union Army. 
Roadside History: A Guide to Kentucky Highway Markers edited by Melba Porter Hay, Dianne Wells, Thomas H. Appleton, Jr., Thomas H. Appleton; pg: 10

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Newport native Brent Spence, born in 1874.  The long-time congressman, attorney, and banker from Northern Kentucky is better known today for the bridge that connects Covington and Cincinnati.

December 24, 1881, the Ashland tragedy occurred.  This was the name given to a violent murder of three teenagers, Robert and Fannie Gibbons and Emma Carico.  The crime has left its lingering mark that still haunts the town to this day.

December 24, 1887, Town Marshal Jim Tom Hubbard, Barbourville Police Department, was shot and killed while attempting to arrest three drunken men who had been firing their guns into the air in an effort to ambush him.  Marshal Hubbard had arrested one of their friends 30 minutes earlier for being drunk in public.  The remaining three subjects then began to shoot their guns in town to attempt to get Marshal Hubbard to try to arrest them as well, when he tried, they killed him.

December 24, 1879, Belle Brezing began her profession at the “bawdy house” of Jenny Hill on Main Street in Lexington.  This house was formerly Robert S. Todd’s home, where Mary Todd Lincoln grew up.  Belle was so successful at this enterprise that she started her own house two years later.

December 24, 1892, Marshal John Cox, Lamasco Police Department, was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a man for disturbing a religious gathering on Christmas Eve.  The subject fled the area after shooting Marshal Cox but was arrested in Princeton two months later.

December 24, 1898, Town Marshal Sam Casebier, Hartford Police Department, was stabbed to death while attempting to arrest a man who had interfered in another arrest.  Marshal Casebier was attempting to arrest a drunk and disorderly man when the second subject pulled out a large dirk.

December 24, 1900, Deputy Sheriff John B. Usher, Graves County Sheriff’s Department, was shot and killed as he and the sheriff attempted to serve a warrant.  The lawmen were met with gunfire when they arrived at the scene and Deputy Usher was killed.  The sheriff was able to return fire and kill the suspect.

December 24, 1910, Town Marshal A. H. Hamby, St. Charles Police Department, was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a man causing a disturbance in a company store.  During the arrest, the man produced a handgun and opened fire.

December 24, 1911, Deputy Marshal Elijah F. “Lige” Hoskins, Crab Orchard Police Department, was shot and killed while investigating a disturbance at a local soft drink stand.

December 24, 1923, Deputy Sheriff William Smith, Perry County Sheriff’s Office, was killed in a shootout with a suspect.

December 24, 1931, Deputy Sheriff Jason Andrew “Bee” Webb, Letcher County Sheriff’s Office, was shot and killed by a man he had attempted to arrest earlier for drinking.  Deputy Webb was at home in his barn milking a cow on Christmas Eve, 1931.  His wife and two young daughters were in the house preparing supper for the Christmas celebration when a local man whom Deputy Webb had arrested on an alcohol charge a little while prior, stood outside the barn.  As soon as Deputy Webb stepped from the dark barn, the suspect shot him in the chest with a double-barreled shotgun at close range.

December 24, 1938, Officer Charles W. Campbell, Augusta Police Department, was stabbed and shot to death by a drunk man he had just arrested.  The man pulled a knife and slashed at Officer Campbell, then pulled a pistol and shot him three times.

On December 24, 1939, Louisville native Helen Humes performed with the Count Basie Orchestra, and James P. Johnson, at the concert From Spirituals to Swing at Carnegie Hall.  Helen was a vocalist with Count Basie’s Band and a saucy R&B diva.

December 24, 1943, Deputy Sheriff James Cornett, Perry County Sheriff’s Office, was shot and killed while attempting to arrest an intoxicated man at a roadhouse in a rural area 11 miles south of Hazard on Christmas Eve.  As he made the arrest the subject and another man both opened fire.  Despite being fatally wounded, he was able to return fire and killed the subject.

December 24, 1946, Deputy Sheriff Jason Wells, Leslie County Sheriff’s Office, was shot and killed while attempting an arrest at a half-way house.  Deputy Wells was survived by his wife and nine children.

December 24, 1949, Saint Nicholas sat at the Ben Ali Theater and handed out bags of goodies at the Junior Chamber of Commerce’s annual Christmas party for children.  About 1100 youngsters received oranges, tangerines, apples, hard candy, comic books, toys, mittens, crackerjacks, and cheese crackers.  This was the seventh year the Jaycees had given their party, which was financed by their annual minstrel show.  The children also saw six cartoons and a full-length feature picture.

December 24, 1952, President Truman said a prayer for universal peace and then lit the 35-foot Norway spruce Christmas Tree on the White House lawn.  Truman dropped the atomic bomb eight years earlier.

December 24, 1965, Santa exchanged his traditional suit for Bermuda shorts as temperatures across the Commonwealth reached the high 60s.  Louisville topped 68 degrees, three degrees below the December 24 record in 1889 and below the 70 degrees in 1964.

December 24, 1968, Army SGT Edward L. Vanderpool from Beattyville in Lee County died in the Vietnam War.

December 24, 1970, Bethlehem held their traditional live nativity scene off the shoulder of HWY 22.  There were three shifts of 12 cast members working an hour each from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.  They included: Mary, Joseph, three wise men, three angels, and four shepherds.  The Baptist, Methodist, and Christian Churches worked together to make it happen.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Lexington native Briana Green, born in 1989. Briana is best known for her freestyle and trick-style basketball dribbling and as the fifteenth woman on the Harlem Globetrotters.  She shares pictures and videos with her 300,000 Instagram followers.

December 24, 1990, businessman Wayne Mullis from Paducah provided 260 underprivileged children in Western Kentucky shoes for Christmas.  Mullis worked with Payless Shoes for the 4th year in a row to play Santa Clause for McCracken County.

December 24, 1995, Tim Couch announced his intention to sign a letter of intent at UK.  About 200 fans attended a hotel news conference before the Kentucky-Louisville basketball game across the street from Rupp Arena.

On December 24, 2000, patients at Central State Hospital had their 50 hand-made ornaments displayed on Kentucky’s Christmas Tree on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.  “The Pathways of Peace” exhibited 56 trees representing each state, U.S. possessions, and territories.

December 24, 2018, Detective Deidre Irene Mengedoht, Louisville Metro Police Department, died when her patrol car was struck by an impaired driver while conducting a traffic stop on I-64 in downtown Louisville just after 2:00 pm.  The driver was a city employee driving a tractor-trailer.  Today, I-64 in downtown Louisville is the Detective Deidre Mengedoht Highway.

December 24, 2020, Facebook took down the Kentucky Hemp Works page for “promoting the sale of prescription pharmaceuticals.”  The owners immediately appealed to no avail.  Attorney Jonathan Miller stated that this had happened several times to other hemp pages, and there was nothing anyone could do about it.  President Trump had legalized hemp nationally four days earlier.