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Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Silas Harlan, born in 1753 in West Virginia.  He journeyed to Kentucky with James Harrod in 1774 and served as a scout, hunter, and military leader.  Near Danville, he helped build “Harlan’s Station” with family members.  Harlan served under George Rogers Clark in the Illinois campaign of 1778-79 against the British.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Lexington, foaled in 1850 within Lexington’s current city limits on The Meadows Farm.  Dr. Elisha Warfield bred the great runner and sire.  The doctor was one of the most important early figures in Kentucky racing and a founder of the Kentucky Association Race Track.  The Meadows and the track bordered each other.  Darley was the name Warfield had given to the bay colt, but a new owner changed his name to Lexington.

March 17, 1876, jockey Alonzo “Lonnie” Clayton passed away, one of, if not the best jockey, of his era.  In 1892, he became the youngest jockey to win the Kentucky Derby at age 15.

March 17, 1890, Governor Simon Bolivar Buckner sent the militia to Harlan County in response to the ongoing Howard / Turner feud.  He also sent General Sam Hill as a personal favor to show his sincere interest in the county’s problems.

March 17, 1914, Kentucky passed the Enabling Act which gave the U.S. government permission to give Kentucky land for National Parks.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Powell County native Lily May Ledford, born in 1917.

Saturday, March 17, 1934, the sale of liquor became legal in Kentucky when Governor Ruby Laffon signed the Control Act.  America’s prohibition ended three and half months earlier.

March 17, 1953, Army PVT John E. Nielsen from Jefferson County died in the Korean War.

March 17, 1954, the Kentucky House passed an amendment to the Day Law when they voted 52 to 32 to let African Americans into private and church-affiliated schools.  The Rev. Felix S. Anderson sponsored the bill, the only African American general assembly member.

On March 17, 1956, in one semi-final game, Carr Creek beat Wayland, 68-66; in the other, Henderson won, 78-63; click to see a picture.  The 39th edition in Memorial Coliseum might be the most memorable High School Boys’ Basketball Tournament, thanks to an abundance of last-second heroics.  This tournament featured a collection of schools with exceptional basketball pedigrees and the record-setting dominance of Wayland’s “King” Kelly Coleman.

March 17, 1961, this picture shows the Ashland Tomcats’ bench erupt when the final horn sounded after beating archrival Seneca in the quarterfinals of the boys’ state basketball tournament in Memorial Coliseum.  Ashland went on to win the tournament, defeating Lexington Dunbar, 69-50.

March 17, 1969, Army SGT Delmer V. Ashbrook from Sergent in Letcher County died in the Vietnam War.

March 17, 1971, Army SP4 Harry C. King from Louisville died in the Vietnam War.

On March 17, 1971, First Lady Pat Nixon waved to the crowd after she, President R. Nixon and Governor Louie B. Nunn arrived at Blue Grass Field.  The President traveled to Lexington to attend the funeral of Whitney Young, Jr., Executive Director of the National Urban League.  The President delivered the eulogy at graveside services in Louisville’s Greenwood Cemetery.

March 17, 1979, in a carefully orchestrated media event, John Y. Brown (45) and Phyllis George (29) got hitched in the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan.  Norman Vincent Peale performed the ceremony.  Guests included Paul Hornung, Milton Berle, Bert Parks, Walter Cronkite, Eunice Shriver, and Andy Williams, who sang “Just the Way You Are.”  Willie Nelson gave them a bible.  The night before, the couple hosted a rehearsal dinner at Studio 54.  During the honeymoon in St. Martin, John announced his candidacy for governor.

March 17, 1988, an exuberant crowd of 15,000 to 20,000 education supporters marched on the Capitol, lashing out at Governor W. Wilkinson and demanding more money for Kentucky schools.  The crowd, which overwhelmed legislators and exceeded everyone’s expectations, was thought to be the largest ever to demonstrate in Frankfort.

March 17, 1990, Attorney General Fred Cowan made a public statement to confirm cock fighting was legal in Kentucky since 1980.  He went on to say the birds were exempt from a state law governing cruelty to animals.  Meanwhile, the Henry Clay Blue Devils won the 29th Girls’ State High School Basketball Tournament before 2,315 in Diddle Arena in Bowling Green.

March 17, 2009, the Wildcats returned to Memorial Coliseum to play in the 1st round of the N.I.T.  Coach Gillispie led the Cats to victory over UNLV 70-60.  The last time Kentucky played in Memorial was in 1976.  Gillispie’s one game in Memorial put him in the elite company to have coached the Cats in the Coliseum.  It was Gillispie’s last game coached in Kentucky.  The team won one more N.I.T. game and lost in the quarterfinals. 

March 17, 2018, Oaklawn’s GII $900,000 Rebel Stakes for three-year-olds, showcased a Keeneland graduate trifecta.

March 17, 2021, as the clock neared midnight, Kentucky legislators rushed more tax breaks for large corporations and others doing business in the Commonwealth, adding to the already billions of dollars given away.  In the meantime, Governor A. Beashear stated, “We are close to the finish line, but we can’t give up yet.  Keep masking up, keep social distancing and get vaccinated when it is your turn.  Let’s see this through till the end of the fight.”

On March 17, 2023, Thomas Massie tweeted, “You are what you eat.”  We must fight back against the proposition that we can prosper by eating USDA/FDA sanctioned slop processed by multinational corporations using feedstocks raised on corporate farms using chemically intensive methods, as long as we take our pharma meds.