TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Kentucky Trivia ● Kentucky Tweets

January 8, 1810, Rockcastle County was created from Pulaski County, Lincoln County, Knox County and Madison County and was named 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.  Rockcastle County was the 52nd county created and covers 318 square miles.

1280px Map of Kentucky highlighting Rockcastle County.svg
By David Benbennick

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 was governor before and after the Civil War, one of only four men who held the governorship twice in non-consecutive terms.

January 8, 1877, Monticello native Shelby Moore Cullom became the 17th Illinois governor.

January 8, 1914, Governor Simon Bolivar 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; the violence had been 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.

January 8, 1928, Newport native Josephine Kirby Henry died.  In 1888, Josephine and Laura Clay co-founded the Kentucky Equal Rights Association.  Josephine later sought passage of the Kentucky Married Woman’s Property Act, and it passed in 1894.  It is sometimes referred to as “The Husband and Wife Bill.”  Ms. Henry was the first 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.  He is the 3rd Kentuckian to head the fleet.  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 reported that it would lose $1,250,000 from bourbon sales tax and another $1,600,000 from new automobile sales tax.  The war machine needed industrial alcohol, jeeps, and tanks.

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

January 8, 1955, the greatest home-court winning streak in division one college basketball, came to an end when the 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 and was ranked No. 1 by the Associated Press, but the NCAA ruled some players ineligible at the last minute before the tournament.  As a result, Rupp decided to boycott the tournament.

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

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, 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, but accusations that Ms. Reboulet was a witch continued.

January 8, 1984, Lt. Gov. Steve Beshear announced he would oppose a constitutional amendment to abolish his office.

January 8, 1984, two families tried to settle a dispute in Fogertown, in Clay County, with gunfire.  Four were injured and two landed in the hospital for extended stays after being shot in the foot, chest and arm.

January 8, 1991, the Kentucky Supreme Court refused to reconsider the theft conviction of state Agriculture Commissioner War “Butch” Burnette, setting the stage for impeachment proceedings.  There have been four impeached Kentucky politicians, two convicted; Butch resigned before his impeachment vote.

On January 8, 1991, the Bluegrass Parkway became toll-free after opening in 1966.  Today, the road is called the Martha Layne Collins Bluegrass Parkway.

January 8, 2009, Augusta native Donald Poe Galloway passed away.  Donald was a 1955 graduate of Bracken County High School where he played varsity basketball and a 1959 UK drama graduate.  He is a best known as Detective Sergeant Ed Brown in 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.  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, 2017, a Keeneland graduate trifecta wins Santa Anita’s GII $200,000 Santa Ynez Stakes for three-year-old fillies.

January 8, 2017, twenty-three-year-old Justin Thomas wins the SBS Tournament of Champions in Maui, Hawaii, for the second straight year, becoming the first multiple winner of the 2016-17 PGA season.  His three tour victories up to this day were the 2015 CIMB Classic, 2016 CIMB Classic, and 2017 SBS Tournament of Champions.  Justin has won over $44 million to date.

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 top bold headline in the Lexington Herald-Leader read, “4,750 New Covid-19 Cases, 13 More Deaths in Kentucky.”