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January 8, 1810, Kentucky created Rockcastle County from Pulaski County, Lincoln County, Knox County, and Madison County and named it for the Rockcastle River, the boundary between Rockcastle and Laurel County.  Cities and towns located in the county include: Brodhead, Livingston, and Mount Vernon which is the county seat.  The 52nd county, Rockcastle County, covers 318 square miles.

By David Benbennick

On January 8, 1815, Ephraim Brank earned fame as a sharpshooter and hero at the Battle of New Orleans.  “Crack shot” served in the Kentucky Militia, returned home to Greenville after the War of 1812, and died in 1885.

January 8, 1861, Elizabethtown native John LaRue Helm chaired a meeting in Louisville that advocated for Kentucky’s neutrality in the Civil War.  Mr. Helm governed the state before and after the Civil War, one of only four men who became governor twice in non-consecutive terms.

January 8, 1877, Monticello native Shelby Moore Cullom became the 17th Illinois governor.  The village of Cullom, Illinois, is named in his honor.

January 8, 1910, Kentucky State University (UK) defeated Kentucky Wesleyan in overtime 14-12.  They played the game in the Kentucky Wesleyan Admin Building in Winchester.

January 8, 1914, Governor Simon B. Buckner passed away.  The 30th governor spent much of his time curbing violence in Eastern Kentucky.  Shortly after his inauguration, the Rowan County War escalated so bad that Buckner’s adjutant general recommended that the General Assembly dissolve Rowan County.  In 1888, a Kentucky posse entered West Virginia and killed a Hatfield clan leader in the Hatfield-McCoy feud.  The murder caused a political conflict between the two state governors; WVA complained that the raid was illegal.  Later in Buckner’s term, feuds broke out in Harlan, Letcher, Perry, Knott, and Breathitt counties. 

January 8, 1924, Kentucky defeated Mexico City Y.M.C.A. 25-14 in Buell Armory Gymnasium.  “The annual affairs with Centre College and the windup of last year’s high school tournament did not pack as many persons into the gymnasium as witnessed the battle between the Mexican Triangles and the Blue and White team,” written by Norris Royden, Lexington-Herald.

On January 8, 1928, Newport native Josephine Kirby Henry died.  In 1888, Josephine and Laura Clay founded the Kentucky Equal Rights Association.  Josephine later sought passage of the Kentucky Married Woman’s Property Act.  Referred to as “The Husband and Wife Bill,” it passed in 1894.  Ms. Henry was the 1st woman to campaign publicly for a statewide office in Kentucky.  

January 8, 1941, Henderson native Rear Admiral Husband Edward Kimmel became Commander-in-Chief (CIC) of the U.S. Fleet, the 3rd Kentuckian to do so.  Frankfort native Admiral Hugh Rodman was CIC of the Pacific Fleet when organized in 1919.  Woodbury native Admiral Claude C. Bloch led the fleet between 1938 and 1940.

On January 8, 1942, Kentucky lost $1,250,000 from bourbon sales tax and another $1,600,000 from new automobile sales tax to fund the Military Industrial Complex’s current war.

On January 8, 1947, six Kentucky hospitals increased their rates by 50 cents daily.  The new prices included $5.00 for a ward bed, $6.00 for a two-bedroom, and $7 for a private room.  Hospital executives stated drug prices would remain the same, except for the new penicillin drug.

On January 8, 1955, the greatest home-court winning streak in Division One college basketball ended when Kentucky fell to Georgia Tech, 59-58.  The loss ended a 129-game streak that started in 1943.  That’s over 12 years of winning and three presidential terms.  Led by Adolph Rupp, the winning streak included NCAA titles in 1948, 1949, and 1951.  In 1954, the team went 25-0.

On January 8, 1956, the new owners of the Louisville Colonels baseball team asked two African-Americans to be on the team for the 1st time.  Then, in another custom-shattering move, the Cuban owners wanted integration in the stands.

January 8, 1966, Marine Corps LCPL Arvel D. Akers from Grethel in Floyd County died fighting in the Vietnam War.

January 8, 1968, Army MSG Freddie A. Blackburn from Lexington and Army PFC Paul J. Lively from Cynthiana both died fighting in the Vietnam War.

January 8, 1970, Army CPL George M. Hines from Somerset died fighting in the Vietnam War.

January 8, 1974, on the opening day of the General Assembly, Democrats made public the names of 76 corporations who illegally donated to their party, totaling $18,873.  “Oh hell,” Democratic Treasurer George Dudley said when he learned from a reporter that the corporation names were public.  “Well, I blew that one.”

January 8, 1984, Judge-Executive Hallice Upchurch ended a three-hour hearing by refusing to issue a business permit for a self-proclaimed psychic who wanted to practice as a clairvoyant in rural Wayne County.  The judge’s decision ended a three-month controversy.  Still, locals continued to accuse Ms. Reboulet of being a witch.

On January 8, 1991, the Bluegrass Parkway became toll-free after opening in 1966.  In 2003, Kentucky renamed it the Martha Layne Collins Bluegrass Parkway.

January 8, 2009, Augusta native Donald Poe Galloway passed away.  He graduated in 1955 from Bracken County High School, where he played varsity basketball.  In 1959, he graduated from UK in drama.  He is best known as Detective Sergeant Ed Brown in the long-running crime drama series Ironside (1967–75) and reprised the role for a made-for-TV film in 1993.

January 8, 2011, Joker Phillips lost his only bowl appearance as Kentucky’s head coach in the BBVA Compass Bowl, 10-27, against Pittsburg.  Moncell Allen scored UK’s only touchdown on a 1-yard run.  Legion Field in Birmingham hosted the game.

January 8, 2012, Army PFC Dustin P. Napier, 20, of London died in Afghanistan fighting in Operation Enduring Freedom.

January 8, 2020, Governor A. Beshear disclosed who paid for his $601,976 inaugural parade.  A shortlist of corporate donors included the Kentucky Hospital Association ($25,000), Spectrum ($15,000), Ford Motor Co. ($15,000), and UPS ($13,000).  Two individual donors included the Goldman family of Texas ($50,000) and Britt Brockman, a Louisville doctor ($15,000).

On January 8, 2021, the coronavirus continued to top the headlines, “4,750 New Covid-19 Cases, 13 More Deaths in Kentucky.”  Meanwhile, in Frankfort, Republican lawmakers ignored cries of overreach from their democratic colleagues and advanced bills challenging the governor’s ability to enforce emergency orders during a crisis.  House Bill 1 would allow businesses to stay open during an emergency if they followed federal guidelines.