TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

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Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Governor William Justus Goebel, the 34th governor, born in 1856.  He is the only U.S. governor to be assassinated.  As a lawyer, he took on large corporations, specifically the Louisville & Nashville Railroad, the largest rail network in Kentucky.  Goebel became known as the “the railroad lawyer,” the “poor man’s lawyer,” and the “champion of the common man.”

January 4, 1865, the courthouse at Owensboro in Daviess County, occupied by Union troops was burned by guerrillas.  All county records were saved. 
Roadside History: A Guide to Kentucky Highway Markers edited by Melba Porter Hay, Dianne Wells, Thomas H. Appleton, Jr., Thomas H. Appleton; pg: 11

January 4, 1871, Frankfort native Benjamin Gratz Brown became the 20th Missouri governor.  He was a founding member of the Liberal Republican Party.

January 4, 1897, Robert Burns Smith was sworn in as Montana’s 3rd governor.  Smith was born on a farm in Hickman County and was educated in the local schools.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Bellevue native Harlan Hubbard, born in 1900.  Hubbard saw the industrial development in America as a threat to the natural world and came to reject consumer culture.  He was an artist and author, known for his simple lifestyle.

January 4, 1929, Policeman Grant Smith, Evarts Police Department, was killed from ambush by two men whom he had previously arrested for violating liquor laws.  The men had been released on bond the previous day.  He was walking home through a schoolyard when he was shot in the back by a blast from a shotgun.

January 4, 1942, Constable Russell Ward, Johnson County Constable’s Office, was shot and killed while attempting to arrest two men for drunk and disorderly conduct.  The subject who murdered him was sentenced to six years in prison.  Constable Ward has served as constable for only two months.

January 4, 1943, the greatest home-court winning streak in college basketball, and all sports for that matter, began when Kentucky beat Fort Knox 64-30.  The streak ended with 129 wins in 1955, and during that time, the Cats won three NCAA titles.

January 4, 1951, Kentucky Utilities Company announced a $20,000,000 expansion at an employee dinner held in Lexington’s Phoenix Hotel.  A large portion of the funds improved the Tyrone Plant in Woodford County and Green River Plant in Muhlenburg County, both coal-fired plants.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Pikeville native Patty Loveless, born in 1957.

January 4, 1962, doctors reported 700 cases of “influenza” to the State Health Department in one week.  However, the State Health Commissioner said there were no confirmed cases despite constant testing.  Instead, the cases were severe colds or flu-like cases.  Officials reported 10,500 influenza cases in 1961 and 83,883 cases in 1960.

January 4, 1962, the UofL Medical School, trying to attract more medical students, started a scholarship program for the first time.  New students, recommended from alumni, and meeting qualifications would receive $500 for the fall semester.

January 4, 1968, Army SP4 Lowell Johnson from Melvin in Floyd County died in the Vietnam War.

January 4, 1969, Army 1LT Lawrence Beattys from Louisville and Army CPL Frank E. Brawner from Frankfort, died in the Vietnam War.

January 4, 1972, winter finally arrived in Kentucky, causing 12 counties to close schools.  Meanwhile, in Frankfort, on the opening day of the General Assembly, Governor Ford tells representatives and protestors in the halls how we would tighten strip-mine regulations.   

On January 4, 1978, localtonians began to ask why the state was selling their driver’s license information to insurance companies, causing their rates to go up.  In 1976, the Kentucky government profited $875,494, averaging $2.00 per license with 1.2 million drivers in their computers.  

January 4, 1980, Lexingtonian Bradley F. Bryant was arrested in Philadelphia at the Sheraton Airport Inn with a cache of semi-automatic weapons, a silencer, daggers, ski masks, and a variety of government documents.  The hotel staff called the police because Bradley forgot to pay his bill.  Some would say it was the beginning of the end for the Bluegrass Conspiracy players.

January 4, 1983, Deputy Sheriff Alex Eversole, Perry County Sheriff’s Office, died from a gunshot while serving a warrant with two state troopers.  As soon as the officers were in the house the suspect opened fire, killing Deputy Eversole and wounding both troopers, leaving one of them paralyzed.  The suspect and a child in the house were also killed.

January 4, 1990, the U.S. Post Office raises the price of a stamp to 29 cents.

January 4, 1997, Kentucky demolished Tennessee, 74-40, in their SEC openers. Jamaal Magioire scored 13 and Nazr Mohammed had 12.

January 4, 1998, Officer Michael Anthony Partin, Covington Police Department, drowned after falling almost 90 feet through a gap in a bridge into the Ohio River at approximately 2:30 am.  Officer Partin joined a foot chase for a man wanted for DUI, possession of marijuana, and running a red light.  Officers on the scene searched the river by air and boat until he was located.

January 4, 2002, to trim the waterfowl population, officials at the Greenbo Lake State Resort Park in Greenup County allowed hunters to shoot ducks and geese.  In 1989, the park’s beach had to be closed because of high levels of fecal bacteria.

January 4, 2005, Guy Mattison Davenport, Jr., one of the great UK faculty members in the institution’s history, died.  Washington Post book critic Michael Dirda wrote in 1996, “Guy Davenport is the best literary essayist since Randall Jarrell and Cyril Connolly.”  In 1990, he received the MacArthur Foundation grant, commonly called a genius grant, and taught whatever he wanted; his classes filled up quickly.  Because he never learned to drive, Mr. Davenport lived near campus and walked to his office.

January 4, 2009, Edgar Sosa had made seven three-pointers all season long, coming into the latest installment of the Commonwealth’s “Dream Game.”  However, his ninth provided perhaps the most improbable ending in the series’ history.  A 20% three-point shooter, Sosa buried one from 26-feet away with 2.3 seconds left to give #18 Louisville a 74-71 victory over Kentucky in Freedom Hall.  The historic building hosted 20,078 fans on this day.

January 4, 2010, Governor S. Beshear announced that no Kentucky law enforcement officer died in the line of duty in 2009.  This was the first year in more than a century.

January 4, 2012, Carlisle native Louis Gatewood Galbraith passed away.

January 4, 2017, angry union workers packed the halls of Kentucky’s capitol annex while lawmakers pushed anti-union bills banning mandatory union dues and repelled union protection legislation.

January 4, 2020, Benny Snell officially gained the most yards in the 2019 SEC season.

January 4, 2020, Santa Anita’s GIII $200,000 San Gabriel Stakes is won by a neck and pays $16.20 to win.

On January 4, 2021, Governor A. Beshear gave his first live coronavirus update for 2021, informing citizens that 60,414 Kentuckians were vaccinated; well under the 174,750 doses the state received.  The reported death toll reached 2,749, beginning in March 2020, when the first positive test came to light.