TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

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January 21, 1819, the Kentucky General Assembly founded Centre College.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Louisville native Roscoe Tarleton Goose, born in 1891.  Roscoe rode Donerail to victory in the 1913 Kentucky Derby; he was also in the inaugural class of inductees in the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame.

January 21, 1894, M.G. Gamble, a black male, was lynched in Whitley County for an alleged rape.  There were 135 recorded lynchings from 1882 to 1921 in Kentucky.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Paris native Edward Fretwell Prichard Jr., born in 1915.  From a well-connected political family, the Kentucky press touted him as a “boy wonder.”

January 21, 1922, UK, coached by George C. Buchheit, hosted Louisville, coached by John O’Rourke, in the Buell Armory Gymnasium.  Kentucky wins their 100th game 29-22.

21 Buell Armory Gymnasium in 1909
Buell Armory Gymnasium

January 21, 1926, UK hosted Centre in Alumni Gymnasium winning 45-25.  From the Courier-Journal post-game report, Playing listlessly but outclassing their opponents, the UK basketball team tonight easily defeated Centre College’s quintette, 45 to 25.  Centre was no match for the smoothly functioning Wildcat five, which while far off on its basket-shooting, never was pushed after the first quarter of the contest.

21 gym
Alumni Gymnasium

January 21, 1935, the 23rd annual Farm and Home Convention opened at UK’s Agriculture Experiment Station.  The exhibits and talks focused on general farmers, AAA cooperators, homemakers, rural pastors, dairy farmers, beekeepers, and veterinarians.  

January 21, 1948, Senator William Blanton from Paris introduced a bill to create a first-class medical school at the University of Kentucky.  The University of Louisville already had one.

January 21, 1950, Cliff Hagan had 27 points to lead defending state champion Owensboro to a 58-39 victory over Manual in Louisville in a regular season game.

January 21, 1957, approximately 350 Kentuckians loaded up on train cars and traveled to Washington D.C. to be a part of President Eisenhower’s Inauguration.  Many in the group found time to visit the two Kentucky senators, Cooper and Morton.  A majority came back on the train that same night.

January 21, 1961, Rupp’s Wildcats crushed Tennessee 83-54 in Memorial Coliseum.  Four Mile native Larry Pursiful is the high scorer with 20 points.  Four Mile is located in Bell County.

On January 21, 1961, Lebanon native Kelly Thompson of Western Kentucky State College became the 2nd consecutive college president named Outstanding Kentuckian of the Year by the Kentucky Press Association.  President Adron Doran of Morehead State won the 1959 award.

January 29, 1964, the U.S. military ordered Muhammad Ali to the Armed Forces Induction Center in Florida for an examination and standard aptitude test.

January 21, 1968, Marine Corps LCPL Thomas H. Retschulte from Covington died in the Vietnam War.

January 21, 1972, John Sherman Cooper, seventy-one years of age and becoming increasingly deaf, announced to the Kentucky Press Association that he would not seek re-election to his Senate seat.  He had served longer in that body than any other Kentuckian except Alben Barkley at the time.  Before his retirement, however, he would try one more time to end the Vietnam War.

January 21, 1976, Trooper William Francis Pickard, Kentucky State Police, was shot and killed while assisting the Hodgenville Police Department in serving a warrant.

January 21, 1978, Louisville native William Brent Girdler, 30, a movie director, died in a helicopter crash in the Philippines while scouting for movie locations.  His films had grossed over $60 million.

January 21, 1980, the U.S. Supreme Court finally decided in favor of Ohio on a long disputed boundary claim.  “The boundary between Ohio and Kentucky is the low-water mark on the northerly side of the Ohio River as it existed in 1792 when Kentucky was admitted to the Union, not the current low-water mark on the northerly side of the river.”

January 21, 1985, Berea College student John Harder ended his 15-day 150-mile hike on Sheltowee Trace Trail at Peter’s Mountain in McCreary County.  He studied human isolation in the cold; he cried on his last day hiking as it became almost unbearable.

January 21, 1985, President Ronald Wilson Reagan was publicly sworn in as the 40th U.S. President.

January 21, 1991, the war in the Persian Gulf clouds Martin Luther King Junior Day.  1991 was the 1st year Kentucky celebrated MLK Day as a state holiday where government employees had the day off with pay.

January 21, 1992, Wallace Wilkinson attended his first board meeting as a UK Trustee.  He appointed himself to the board in his final days as governor.  Wilkinson got into a verbal scuffle with a UK professor.  Simultaneously, Governor Jones was busy drafting a bill to purge all university governing boards for a clean start.

January 21, 1998, parents claimed that Clay County High School Coach Bobby Keith bit their son during a game and filed charges.  The winningest boys’ high school basketball coach, in Kentucky, denied the charges.  After a day-long investigation, the principal stated if it did happen; it was accidental.

January 21, 2002, Kentuckians celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  “What set this year apart,” said James H. Lee, chair of the 14th annual Unity Breakfast, “is that more Hispanics, Asians, Arab Americans, and people from other cultures and races marched alongside each other in Lexington’s Freedom March.”

January 21, 2003, the federal Government announced that Hispanics surpassed blacks as the largest minority group in the U.S.

January 21, 2008, Kentuckians celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

January 21, 2008, the 37th annual Eclipse Awards ceremony took place at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.  Curlin was named the 2007 Horse of the Year as well as the Champion 3-Year-Old Male.  Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs was awarded Champion Breeder for the 4th year in a row and 5th overall.  Trainer Todd Pletcher took home the trainer award, also for the 4th year in a row.

January 21, 2010, Governor S. Beshear took the witness stand for 90 minutes in the bid-rigging trial of road contractor Leonard Lawson and former Transportation Secretary Bill Nighbert.  The testimony included a phone call the governor made to Mr. Lawson.

January 21, 2013, President Obama is publicly sworn in for his second term on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

January 21, 2017, a Keeneland graduate takes Santa Anita’s GII $200,000 Santa Monica Stakes for fillies and mares four-year-olds and upward.

January 21, 2017, the 46th annual Eclipse Awards were held at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida.  California Chrome was named Horse of the Year as well as the unanimous choice for Champion Older Male.  These gave him a total of four Eclipse titles along with Champion 3-year-old Male and Horse of the Year in 2014.

January 21, 2019, Kentuckians celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  In Lexington, Freedom Marchers braved 13-degree weather to show their respect for the civil rights leader.

January 21, 2020, during President Trump’s first impeachment trial, Senator McConnell eases parliamentary rules at the last minute, giving Democrats more time to call witnesses, infuriating some members of the GOP.

On January 21, 2022, Kentucky saw its deadliest day of coronavirus deaths with 58, bringing the state’s total to 3,301.  Meanwhile, on his first day back to the Senate, Senator McConnell made it clear he blamed President Trump for the Capitol riots.