TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Kentucky Trivia ● Kentucky Tweets

February 23, 1836, Logan County native James “Jim” Bowie hurried to gather provisions and herd cattle into the Alamo compound while he was ill and confined to a bed.  The Battle of the Alamo had begun and would end March 6 when he died with his compatriots.

February 23, 1847, Henry Clay Junior got shot in the left thigh in the Battle of Buena Vista of the Mexican War.  He requested that his men leave him and fall back to regroup.  Before sending his men away, Clay entrusted a subordinate officer with returning a set of pistols to his father in Kentucky.  As the wounded Clay watched his men go, he was pierced multiple times by the feared Mexican lancers.

Feb 23 HCJr

February 23, 1847, Monterey in Owen County received its new name.  Originally called Williamsburg, locals wanted to commemorate the Battle of Monterey in the Mexican War.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Lexington native Katherine Rebecca Pettit, born in 1868.  Pettit co-founded Pine Mountain Settlement School with Ethel deLong Zande in Harlan County.

February 23, 1874, the General Assembly passed “an act to protect the citizens of this Commonwealth from empiricism.”  The act prohibited the practice of medicine to anyone “who has not graduated at some chartered school of medicine in this or some foreign country.”  Physicians who practiced “regularly and honorably” for ten years were exempt from this requirement.

February 23, 1906, Louisville native Marvin Hart, known as the Louisville Plumber, lost the World Heavyweight Boxing Championship in a decision.

Feb 23 MarvinHart
By Found LOC photo

February 23, 1921, Shelby County native Smith Cook died.  Smith was known as the “largest policeman in the world.”  The 64-year-old, 6’11” 275 lbs. police officer contracted blood poisoning after being bitten by a prisoner.  For two years, he guarded the door for the Kentucky House of Representatives.

February 23, 1935, Officer James Banahan, Lexington Police Department, died when a hit-and-run driver struck him while directing traffic on the Jefferson Street Viaduct.

On February 23, 1937, President F. D. Roosevelt established a national forest in Kentucky called the Cumberland National Forest.  As early as 1933, the federal government began acquiring land.  Initially, the forest contained 350,000 acres in 16 Kentucky counties.  Today there are nearly 709,000 acres in 21 counties.  In 1966, after years of debate, the name changed to the Daniel Boone National Forest.

February 23, 1938, a young Governor Happy Chandler announced his bid for U.S. Senate in Newport against Senator Alben Barkley.  In one of Kentucky’s most grueling campaigns marked by federal investigations and poisonings, Alben beats the governor decisively.  However, Governor Chandler would be a Kentucky Senator the following year.

February 23, 1940, Senator Chandler filed for reelection to keep his senate seat.  No Democrats opposed him.  He won in November and resigned the seat to become MLB Commissioner from 1945-51.

February 23, 1951, sophomore Cliff Hagan grabbed a loose ball during the No. 1-ranked Cats’ 88-41 win over Georgia at Memorial Coliseum.  It was UK’s first season playing in their new home court.

February 23, 1955, Democratic Governor Weatherby called Happy Chandler’s backers hypocritical when they criticized the Weatherby administration for asking state employees to contribute to the Bert Combs campaign.  Weatherby claimed Chandler did the same when he was governor.  Chandler, the rebel Democrat ran against Combs.  Chandler won and served a 2nd term starting in 1955.

February 23, 1966, Air Force A1C George W. McNees from Frankfort died in the Vietnam War.

February 23, 1966, UK students threw eggs at fellow students who were protesting the Vietnam War in front of Memorial Coliseum.

February 23, 1967, Marine Corps LCPL Leon G. Howard from Lytten in Elliott County died in the Vietnam War.

February 23, 1968, Army SP4 David Isom from Cottongim in Clay County died in the Vietnam War.

February 23, 1969, Army SP4 Edwin D. Caswell from Lexington, Marine Corps PFC Ronald McIntosh from Booneville in Owsley County and Army SP4 Robert J. Blaut Jr. from Silver Grove from Campbell County, all died in the Vietnam War.

February 23, 1970, Kentucky teachers began a statewide strike after they rejected a proposal offered by the state, days earlier.

February 23, 1971, Army SP4 John W. Bruin from Georgetown and Army CW2 James A. Miner from Grove in Campbell County died in the Vietnam War.

February 23, 1972, Riverview at Hobson Grove, also known as Riverview or as Hobson House, was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, located in Wester Bowling Green.

Feb 23 HobsonGrove
By OPMaster

February 23, 1974, Patrolman Jonah Darrell Cox, Louisville Police Department, was shot and killed when he intervened in a disturbance outside of a night club while off duty.

February 23, 1980, Housing Equality for All of Lexington (HEAL) dedicated their first home.  HEAL began when five Lexingtonians formed a group to build homes for those who could not afford one.

February 23, 1986, Rex Chapman, high school superstar, led his Apollo teammates into Memorial Coliseum to play Henry Clay, two of the best teams in the state.  Over 11,000 fans showed up.  Chapman hits a 22-foot jump shot over Sean Sutton with seconds remaining to win 68-67.

Localtonians wishes a Happy Birthday to Louisville native D’Angelo Russell, born in 1996.  In the 2015 the Los Angeles Lakers selected him second overall.  After two seasons in Los Angeles, the guard went on to play for the Brooklyn Nets, Golden State Warriors and Minnesota Timberwolves.

On February 23, 1996, Rex Chapman scored 39 points (converting 9 of 10 3-point attempts).  He led an injury-plagued Miami Heat team with an 8-man roster to a 113–104 victory over the Chicago Bulls.  This loss was one of ten for the Bull’s historic 72-10 run.

February 23, 2002, UK retired Sam Bowie’s jersey #31 to the rafters of Rupp Arena.

On February 23, 2003, Jamal Mashburn scored 50 points in the NBA for the second time in his career.

February 23, 2013, Orb, trained by Lexington native Shug McGaughey III won Gulfstream Park’s GII $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes.

February 23, 2016, Senator McConnell stated his party wouldn’t permit a vote on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee but would revisit the matter after the November elections.  Obama did not push back, believing the dispute would motivate the Democrats to get to the polls and elect H. Clinton. 

February 23, 2019, with an 80-53 victory over Auburn, John Calipari moved past Joe B. Hall for the 2nd most victories by a UK head coach.  He trails only the Baron of the Bluegrass, Adolph Rupp.

February 23, 2020, volunteers feed the free roaming horses of Breathitt County.  The Appalachian Horse Project and the Humane Society care for these wild animals.

February 23, 2021, Governor A. Beshear announced a 6.60% covid-19 positivity rate, the lowest since November 2020.  February 17, 2022’s rate was 15.9%.  Meanwhile, at the Capitol, Kentucky lawmakers introduced a bill to curtail the no-knock search warrant.

February 23, 2021, Ashford, part of Coolmore, Spendthrift Farm, and Three Chimneys, filed a federal lawsuit against the Jockey Club’s rule of limiting stallions to 140 covers a year.