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January 5, 1773, Virginia created Fincastle County, Virginia, from Botetourt County, Virginia.  Botetourt County used to stretch to the Mississippi River.  In 1777, Fincastle County, Virginia, divided itself into Montgomery, Washington, and Kentucky Counties.

Fincastle County, VA

January 5 1815, the Bourbon Furnace in Bath County shipped cannonballs downriver to New Orleans during the War of 1812 to help secure an American victory over the British in the Battle of New Orleans.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Louisville native William Preston Johnston, who was born in 1831.  His mother died when he was four, and his father took off to Texas.  William stayed behind to be raised by his Kentucky family.  He graduated from Yale in 1852 and studied law at the UofL.  At the outbreak of the Civil War, Johnston joined the Confederate Army and rapidly advanced to lieutenant colonel.  After being stricken with pneumonia, Johnston served as aide-de-camp to President J. Davis as colonel, starting in May 1862.  In May 1965, the Union captured and held him with President Davis for several months.  After his release in 1867, Gen. Robert E. Lee, president of Washington University in Virginia, offered him the History and English Department chairs.  Later, he became president of Louisiana State University in 1880.  Two years later, he organized the University of Louisiana in New Orleans.  Renamed Tulane University in 1884, Johnston remained president until his death. 

January 5, 1912, State University (UK) defeated the Georgetown College basketball team in the State University Gymnasium 38-9.  The game was characterized by “rough playing, occasioned in large measure to the non-enforcement of the new rule prohibiting the player from taking an advance step immediately before throwing for foul.”

January 5, 1925, Patrolman Benjamin Frank Law, Covington Police Department, died from four gunshots while intervening in a robbery while off duty.  He was at his home on Russell Street when he heard a woman screaming.  Patrolman Law ran to the scene where he confronted a suspect.

January 5, 1935, Kentucky played their 1st game in Madison Square Garden III.  Adolph Rupp’s Cats lost to New York 22-23.  From The New York Times, “The University of Kentucky, the powerhouse of the South, in the feature game of the college double-header before basketball’s largest crowd in Eastern court history.”  Kentucky’s final record when the Old Garden closed in 1951 was 24-10.

On January 5, 1941, Deputy Sheriff Clifton F. Arnsparger, Bourbon County Sheriff’s Department, died questioning a theft suspect who suddenly produced a pistol and opened fire.  Locals convicted the 25-year-old and sentenced him to death.  After a second trial, he got life and then was paroled.  In May 1961, two state troopers in Breathitt County shot him dead.

January 5, 1953, Army PFC Chaffine Smothers from Marion County died in the Korean War.

January 5, 1963, locals, including lawyers, began asking questions about raising car insurance premiums.  The concerned citizens wanted oversight on the new charges and asked government officials to step in.

On January 5, 1966, The Lexington Herald-Leader headline read, “Negro Is Named To City Service Board.”  Two weeks earlier, the 1st black city commissioner, Harry Sykes, verbally blasted the civil service board for overlooking another black man.  Meanwhile, in Frankfort, legislators announced bipartisan support for an increase in teachers’ pay by $400 over two years in Governor Edward T. Breathitt’s $2 billion budget.

January 5, 1968, Governor L. Nunn rewarded A. B. “Happy” Chandler with a seat on UK’s Board of Trustees.  Chandler bolted from his Democratic Party to support the Republican candidate during the campaign.

January 5, 1973, America held a memorial service for former President Harry Truman at the Washington Cathedral.

January 5, 1979, Deputy Sheriff Lester E. Reid, Warren County Sheriff’s Department, died in an automobile accident while on duty.

January 5, 1980, Spectacular Bid, with the Shoe up, faced only four others in Santa Anita’s seven-furlong Malibu Stakes.  Bid broke another track record; this time it was 3/5 of a second faster than the old 1954 track record, and just 1/5 of a second off the 1972 world record.  Spectacular Bid won all nine races he started in 1980.

January 5, 1988, Governor W. Wilkinson addressed the Kentucky House of Representatives during the opening day of the General Assembly.

January 5, 1991, #16 Kentucky hosted Shaquille O’Neal and the #14 LSU Tigers for a 93-80 victory.  Lexington native Tom Hammond provided the play-by-play for a national audience.

On January 5, 1996, Kentucky returned an indictment on David Cheak for stealing $3.8 million in tax refunds; they also recovered a $2.4 million check from a post office box that Mr. Cheak never picked that he sent to himself.  David worked at the Kentucky Revenue cabinet for 19 years until officials uncovered his scam.  The bewildered officers wondered why he never picked up the check.

On January 5, 1999, a legislator who said he was joking when he challenged a publisher to a duel took his seat in the House, even though by law he shouldn’t have.  The constitutional oath requires those who take office to swear they have never fought a duel with deadly weapons or sent or accepted a challenge.

On January 5, 2006, Shaun Alexander won the 2005 NFL MVP, becoming the 1st Seahawk to do so.  He beat out the NY Giants running back Tiki Barber and the Colts QB Peyton Manning, who had won the award the previous two years.

January 5, 2007, Army MAJ Michael L. Mundell, 47, of Brandenburg, died in Iraq fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

January 5, 2008, Louisville exploded on a 32-9 run out of halftime on its way to a convincing 89-75 victory at Rupp Arena.  Louisville ended a three-game losing streak in the bitter rivalry.

January 5, 2009, Bob Baggage, an influential lobbyist, and Adam Edelen, Governor S. Beshear’s top aid, dissolved a land development company after they violated the state’s ethics law for not disclosing it.  Mr. Babbage said it was an omission of paperwork.  Governor S. Beshear backed the partnership, claiming, “Everyone has a right to make a living.”

January 5, 2011, a historic event occurred in Washington, D.C.  For the 1st time in congressional history, a child served in the Senate while the parent simultaneously served in the House.  V.P. J. Biden swore in Rand Paul as the Junior Senator for Kentucky.  The V.P. also swore in Ron Paul for his 12th term as a congressman for Texas.

January 5, 2020, Louisville native Justin Thomas won the PGA Sentry Tournament of Champions in a three-person playoff for his 3rd victory in his last six starts to earn his 12th career title.

January 5, 2021, taking advantage of their supermajorities in Kentucky’s House and Senate, Republicans began to push through ten priority bills to strengthen the General Assembly and weaken the executive branch.

January 5, 2022, Governor A. Beshear delivered his State of the Commonwealth address. “And while they may knock us down, no tornado, no pandemic, no flood no ice storm can break us, because we do not break.”

On January 5, 2023, Governor A. Beshear tweeted, “It’s past time we take action on a few key items discussed last night:
✅Sports betting
✅Legalization of medical cannabis
✅5% pay raise for public school educators
✅Universal pre-k
Let’s show Kentuckians we are listening and provide them what they want.”