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By Hesler, Alexander, 1823-1895

February 12, 1820, Kentucky created Grant County from Pendleton County and named it for Colonel John Grant, who led a party of settlers in 1779 to establish Grant’s Station in today’s Bourbon County.  Williamstown is the county seat.  Other cities and towns include Corinth, Crittenden, Dry Ridge, and Jonesville.  The 67th county created, Grant County, covers 261 square miles.

By David Benbennick

February 12, 1825, Jefferson County native James Brown Ray became the 4th governor of Indiana.  Taking office one week before his 31st birthday, he became the state’s youngest governor and served from 1825 to 1831, the longest period for an Indiana governor under the state constitution of 1816.

February 12, 1833, Senator Henry Clay asked the Senate to modify the Tariff of 1832 to make it more agreeable towards northern and southern interests.  He explained that he refused to get rid of the tariff simply because one side did not agree with it nor would he keep it precisely as it was because one side was happy with it.  He believed it was his duty as a congressman to adopt legislation for “the whole face of the country.”

February 12, 1842, Kentucky created Marshall County from Calloway County and named it in honor of John Marshall, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.  Benton is the county seat.  Other localities include Calvert City, Hardin, Gilbertsville, Aurora, Big Bear Area, Brewers, Briensburg, Draffenville, Fairdealing, Harvey, Moors Camp Area, Oak Level, Olive, Palma, Possum Trot, Sharpe, and Tatumsville.  The 95th county created, Marshall County, covers 304 square miles.

By David Benbennick

February 12, 1902, Judge James Mulligan published his famous poem “In Kentucky” in the Lexington Herald-Leader after he read it at a banquet in the Phoenix Hotel the night before.  The Kentucky by Thomas D. Clark pg: 362

February 12, 1904, Kentucky University (KU/Transy) and Georgetown College called off the scheduled basketball game because they couldn’t agree on a referee.  Instead, the large KU Gymnasium crowd watched the Agriculture and Mechanical College of Kentucky (UK) team, who offered to play KU.  KU accepted the challenge and defeated the A&M team by a score of 12 to 5.

February 12, 1907, Central University (Centre) hosted and defeated the Agriculture and Mechanical College of Kentucky (UK) 25-23.  The game was a tie at the end of the second half, but everyone agreed to continue the game until one of the teams scored.  The old Boyle Humphrey Gymnasium hosted.

February 12, 1909, President Theodore Roosevelt traveled to Hodgenville on a cold rainy day for the centennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth.  Escorted by twelve Confederate veterans, the President arrived at the Sinking Spring Farm by carriage and spoke for the cornerstone’s formal laying for Lincoln Memorial Hall, the 1st Lincoln Memorial.  The President then addressed the crowd of nearly 3,000 a month before the end of his 2nd term.  The celebration reverberated across the country.  Speeches, formal dinners, and fireworks marked the celebration from New York to San Francisco.  President Roosevelt was a well-known Lincoln admirer devoted to preserving Lincoln’s memory and passionately endorsed the project.  The Roosevelt family attended, including daughter Ethel Roosevelt.

President Theodore Roosevelt arrived at the Sinking Spring Farm

February 12, 1916, UofL defeated State University, Lexington (UK) 28-22 in basketball.  From the Courier-Journal, “Louisville’s victory tonight gives them a big claim for the state championship.  They have already defeated the fives from Georgetown, Transylvania, and Central.  A return game will be played at Louisville sometime in the future and the best State can hope for is an even break on the series.”

February 12, 1927, Coach Basil Hayden’s UK Wildcats traveled to Boyle Humphrey Gymnasium and defeated the Centre College Colonels 22-16, with Ashland native Frank Phipps as high scorer with 11 points.

February 12, 1932, producer and director Tod Browning of Louisville released Freaks, the horror film.

February 12, 1935, Governor R. Laffoon created a five-member commission to investigate Harlan County, led by General Denhardt, leader of the Kentucky National Guard.  The governor declared “that actual civil strife is imminent, threatening the lives of many men and the destruction of valuable property.”  The commission had broad authority to overrule local authorities.

February 12, 1942, Patrolman James L. Hedgepeth, Louisville Police Department, succumbed to injuries sustained ten days earlier while directing traffic at the scene of a fire when a drunk driver entered the area at a high rate of speed.

On February 12, 1947, America celebrated the 138th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth.  President H. Truman visited the grand monument by the Potomac and the White House hung the famous painting, The Peacemakers.

By George Peter Alexander Healy

February 12, 1950, Dr. Albert Einstein warned the world that the “hysterical” armaments race between the U.S. and Russia “beckons….general annihilation.”  The doctor appeared on Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt’s 1st weekly N.B.C. television show.

February 12, 1951, Army 2LT John C. Barbey from Hardin, Army PVT Roy K. Bellamy Jr. from Boyd County, Army CPL Howard R. Boyd from Boyd County, Army PFC Robert Dempsey from Floyd County, Army CPL Neal M. Knight from Todd County, Army PFC Jesse L. Leisure from Hardin County, Army PVT Richard C. McCowan from Lincoln County, Army SFC Mosco Mills from Knox County, Army PVT Henry Ransom Jr. from Madison County, Army SGT James W. Sampson from Whitley County and Army CPL Ray B. Yates from Jefferson County, all died in the Vietnam War.

On February 12, 1954, more than 50 persons gathered at Crystal Cave in Cave City for the most extensive cave exploration ever attempted in the U.S.  The privately-owned cave resided inside of the 51,000-acre Mammoth Cave National Park.  The expedition lasted one week.  Crystal Cave is now part of the National Park.

February 12, 1968, Army SP4 Ralph E. Peters from Booneville in Owsley County died in the Vietnam War.

February 12, 1969, Marine Corps PFC Michael A. Shepherd from Milton in Trimble County died in the Vietnam War.

February 12, 1986, Detective John R. Weiss, Shively Police Department died while conducting an undercover narcotics investigation.  Detective Weiss returned fire, wounding his killer.

February 12, 1996, the Lexington Herald-Leader spotlighted Governor P. Patton’s son.  For a $1 per year, Chris Patton expanded the state’s computer network to link the governor’s office, to his staff, and beyond.  “We got to do what Toyotas and IBMs are doing in this state.”  He accepted $1 a year to avoid trouble for his father.

February 12, 2006, shortly after the beginning of the General Assembly’s legislative session, Governor E. Fletcher went to the hospital with abdominal pain.  They discharged him on March 1.

On February 12, 2014, Judge John G. Heyburn II of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky ruled that Commonwealth must recognize same-sex marriages established in other jurisdictions.  As of June 2016, all counties had issued same-sex marriage licenses or have announced their intention to do so.

On February 12, Churchill Downs printed the 2016 Derby Poster for the 1st time.  Cathy Sullivan had the honor of creating and presenting the artwork.

February 12, 2017, a Keeneland graduate exacta won Santa Anita’s GII $200,000 San Vicente Stakes for three-year-olds.  A Kentucky bred took home $120,000.

February 12, 2021, the Kentucky House passed a bill that attempted to save slot like machines at Kentucky racetracks, which the Kentucky Supreme Court recently ruled illegal.  Senate Bill 120 created a new definition of pari-mutuel wagering.  Meanwhile, Kentucky began campaigns to vaccinate more Black residents.

On February 12, 2023, Lexington native Chris Stapleton headlined the national anthem for the 57th Super Bowl which brought tears to the Eagle’s head coach.  Two Wildcats, defensive lineman Phil Hoskins and offensive lineman Darian Kinnard, earned rings when the Kansas City Chiefs won 38-35.