TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Kentucky Trivia ● Kentucky Tweets

January 24, 1848, gold was discovered in California.  Kentucky’s high migration rate to California fell behind Ohio, Massachusetts, and New York.

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, Calvin Simpson was lynched in Henderson County for an alleged murder.

January 24, 1904, Lewis Radford was lynched in Todd County for an alleged murder.  There were 135 recorded lynchings in Kentucky between 1882 and 1921.

January 24, 1937, early morning, was perhaps the darkest moment during the “Great Louisville Flood,” as every part of the Ohio River was above flood stage four.  The Weather Bureau reported that total flood damage for Kentucky’s whole state was $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 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 enemy soldiers closed in on him, he accepted his possible death and directed artillery on his position until the Germans 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, Fred M. Vinson, a native of Louisa, became the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.  He had the unique experience of holding positions in all three branches of the federal government.  Fred was a U.S. Congressman, the 53rd U.S. Treasury Secretary and the 13th Chief Justice of the U.S.

January 24, 1950, Burkesville native William Branham, a faith healer, was photographed 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 to be supernatural.  The picture became well-known in the revival movement and is regarded by Branham’s followers 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.

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 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, Pittsburgh.  Powell was a former pro football player and the American Football League’s brother receiving great Art Powell.  Charley Powell was bigger than Clay and not intimidated by him.  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 3, Clay KO’d Powell again finished an opponent in the round he had predicted.  At this point, Clay had predicted knockouts in 13 of his 14 KO victories.

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.  The vote was 35-0.

January 24, 1980, the coal industry announced that Kentucky retained their position as the nation’s number one coal-producing state with a record 145,140,000 tons mined.  One hundred and four million tons came from Eastern Kentucky and forty-one million tons from Western Kentucky.

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, 2005, Ghostzapper wins the 2004 Eclipse Awards Horse of the Year (HOY) and Champion Handicap Horse.  There was much debate between him and Smarty Jones for HOY since neither raced a full year, but the voters overwhelmingly selected Ghostzapper off his impressive win in the Breeders’ Cup.

January 24, 2005, the Supreme Court gave police broader search powers, saying the Constitution doesn’t protect motorists’ vehicles from the “nosy” inquiries of drug-sniffing dogs during traffic stops.

January 24, 2006, Governor E. Fletcher wrote a letter to actress Pamela Anderson to say the bust of Col. Harland Sanders will stay in the Kentucky Capitol, despite her claims that Sanders is a symbol of cruelty to chickens.

January 24, 2006, the House Labor and Industry Committee approved a measure raising the minimum wage from $6.00 an hour to $6.50 per hour.  State Rep. J.R. Gray, Benton, sponsored the bill.

On January 24, 2010, Col. Harland Sanders’s bronze bust disappeared from the KFC on Chestnut Street in Berea.  Four young men had been the only customers during the time.  After they left, an employee “discovered that the colonel had left also,” said Capt. Ken Clark of the Berea Police Department.  The art’s value was $1,200.

January 24, 2010, Marine Corps LCPL Timothy J. Poole, 22, of Bowling Green, died while fighting in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.

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

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

January 24, 2020, a Kentucky family sued Whitefield Academy, a Christian School in Louisville, for expelling their 15-year-old daughter for being gay.  The expulsion occurred days after the girl appeared in a photo with a rainbow shirt and cake.  The school stated the image demonstrated “a posture of cultural acceptance contrary to their beliefs.”

January 24, 2021, Keeneland and Red Mile stopped their historical racing operations temporarily after the Kentucky Supreme Court declined their petition to rehear a case regarding the legality of some of their games.  Months earlier, the court ruled some of the games were not legal.