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January 24, 1848, miners found gold in California.  Kentucky’s high migration rate to find the precious metal fell behind Ohio, Massachusetts, and New York.

January 24, 1850, “Under the auspices of Heaven, and the precepts of Washington, Kentucky will be the last to give up the Union.” D.C. legislators had this inscribed on black marble on the Washington Monument. Kentucky in Retrospect by Lila Jones Kington, pg: 73

January 24, 1853, “The President’s Daughter,” by escaped Kentucky slave William Wells Brown, became the 1st novel published by an African American.  The book is a fictionalized account of two mulatto daughters born to Thomas Jefferson.

On January 24, 1861, Robert Perkins Letcher passed away.  The 15th Kentucky governor sided with Wigs Henry Clay and John J. Crittenden.  When Letcher lost the election to the U.S. House in 1851, it signaled the Whig Party’s end.

January 24, 1886, Henderson County lynched Calvin Simpson for alleged murder.

January 24, 1904, Todd County lynched Lewis Radford for alleged murder.  One source recorded 135 lynchings in Kentucky between 1882 and 1921.

On January 24, 1924, Adjutant General Jouett Henry carried out an order by Governor Fields to send 100 guardsmen from Bowling Green to Glasgow to protect Will Chambers, Negro, on trial for murder.

January 24, 1937, the early morning was the darkest moment during the “Great Louisville Flood,” every part of the Ohio River reached flood stage four.  The Weather Bureau reported total flood damage for Kentucky at $250 million, an incredible sum in 1937.  Another flood of this magnitude would not occur in the Ohio River Valley until 60 years later.

January 24, 1945, Aaron native (Clinton County) Lt. Garlin Conner, with a telephone and wire spool, sprinted 400 yards toward a German battalion with a hip injury.  Lying in a shallow snow-covered ditch, he directed artillery onto the Germans while his body remained partially exposed to enemy fire.  When they closed in on him, he accepted his possible death and directed artillery on his position until they retreated into the forest.  Conner’s leadership resulted in the deaths of 50 German soldiers, 150 casualties, and the destruction of the tanks.  For these actions, he received the Medal of Honor.

January 24, 1946, Louisa native (Lawrence County) Fred M. Vinson became the 13th Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.  He had the unique experience of holding positions in all three branches of the federal government, a U.S. Congressman, the 53rd U.S. Treasury Secretary, and Chief Justice.

January 24, 1950, Burkesville native William Branham, a faith healer, is shown during a debate between a friend, F.F. Bosworth, and a local Baptist minister, W. E. Best, regarding the theology of divine healing.  Bosworth argued in favor, while Best argued against.  The photograph showed a light above Branham’s head, which he and his associates believed was supernatural.  The picture became well-known in the revival movement, and his followers regard it as an iconic relic.  Branham believed the light was a divine vindication of his ministry; others thought it was a glare from the venue’s overhead lighting.

By J.Leys

January 24, 1953, Marine Corps PFC John Willie Jones from Williamsburg in Whitley County died in the Korean War.

January 24, 1955, Bert Combs resigned as a judge of Kentucky’s Court of Appeals to campaign for the Democratic nomination for governor.  Combs made the announcement moments after Attorney General Hubert Meredith demanded the 43-year-old judge resign or face disbarment for campaigning while sitting on Kentucky’s highest court. 

January 24, 1961, Hickman native (Fulton County) Elvis Jacob Stahr Jr. became the 6th U.S. Secretary of the Army.

January 24, 1963, Muhammad Ali (17-0) fought Charley Powell (23-6-3) in the Civic Arena, Pittsburg.  Powell played in the NFL along with his brother, the great receiver Art Powell.  Charley was bigger than Clay, but he would not be intimidated.   Powell started strong and caught Clay with a few body punches, but he soon realized the deceptiveness of Clay’s strength.  At the end of Round Three, Clay KO’d Powell when he said he would.  At this point, Clay had predicted knockouts in 13 of his 14 KOs.

January 24, 1967, Army CPL James P. Spencer from War Creek in Breathitt died in the Vietnam War.

January 24, 1968, Army SP5 Kenneth R. Gay from Lexington died in the Vietnam War.

January 24, 1969, Navy PO3 Lloyd I. Luttrell from Lexington died in the Vietnam War.

January 24, 1974, the Kentucky Senate passed a bill that set a maximum speed limit of 55 M.P.H. for all Kentucky highways in a 35-0 vote.

On January 24, 1995, individuals asked UK’s Board of Trustees to hire Fitzgerald B. Bramwell, a New York City educator.  They eventually did.  In 1996, he became the university’s highest-ranking African American.

January 24, 2015, a Keeneland graduate exacta won Gulfstream Park’s GII $200,000 Forward Gal Stakes for three-year-old fillies.  The Kentucky bred, Birdatthewire, paid $26.00 for a $2.00 win ticket.  

January 24, 2018, HCR 34 passed the Kentucky House 73-5.  The bill, sponsored by a pharmacist, wanted to stall a medical marijuana vote and asked legislatures for further studies.  The bill failed to pass the Senate.

January 24, 2019, turf writers voted undefeated Triple Crown winner Justify the 2018 HOY in the 48th annual Eclipse Awards dinner at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, FL.

On January 24, 2023, Louisville citizens learned the city’s industries released about 2.9 million pounds of toxic chemicals into the air, water, and soil last year.  The emissions are self-reported by facilities, and not all facilities are mandated to report, making it an imperfect measure of the area’s total toxic pollution.  The largest polluters are Louisville Gas & Electric’s Mill Creek Station and Chemours Company.