TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Kentucky Trivia ● Kentucky Tweets

February 28, 1807, President Thomas Jefferson nominated Frankfort native Thomas Todd to the U.S. Supreme Court.  He served 18 years, 9 months, and 3 days.

February 28, 1835, locals incorporated Frankfort.  The town likely received its name from a skirmish in 1780 when Native Americans attacked a group of settlers making salt on the Kentucky River.  Pioneer Stephen Frank died.  The locals called the crossing “Frank’s Ford,” later edited it to Frankfort.

February 28, 1838, Fayette County native Rev. Joseph J. Bullock, appointed by Governor Clark and the Senate, became Kentucky’s first Superintendent of Public Instruction.

February 28, 1854, an earthquake shook Paris, Lexington, Richmond, Barboursville and other points.  It was the 2nd earthquake of the month.

February 28, 1867, Bell County was created from Knox County and Harlan County and was named in honor of Joshua Fry Bell, Kentucky legislator.  Pineville is the county seat.  Other localities include: Middlesboro, Arjay, Beverly, Black Snake, Blackmont, Colmar, Cubage, Field, Fonde, Fourmile, Frakes, Harbell, Hutch, Ingram, Jaybel, Keenox, Kettle Island, Laurel Ford, Meldrum, Miracle, Mocking Bird Branch, Noetown, Oaks, Olcott, Ponza, Premier, Pruden, Red Oak, Rella, Stoney Fork, Stony Fork Junction, Sugar Run, Tejay, Timsley, Tuggleville, Varilla, Wallsend, and Wasioto.  Bell County was the 112th county created and covers 361 square miles.

1280px Map of Kentucky highlighting Bell County.svg
By David Benbennick

February 28, 1869, City Marshal John T. Thompson, Covington Police Department died.  The City Marshal was shot in front of the tollhouse of the Cincinnati and Covington Bridge (Suspension Bridge), three weeks earlier.  A $1,000 reward was offered, but the murderer was never caught.

February 28, 1885, Harrodsburg native Beriah Magoffin, Kentucky’s 21st governor died.

February 28, 1914, State University, Lexington (UK), coached by Alpha Brumage, hosted and defeated Marietta, winning 19-17 in Woodlawn Auditorium.  Ashland native Karl Zerfoss was the high-scorer with eight points.  

February 28, 1920, Coach George C. Buchheit’s Kentucky Wildcats played Tennessee for the 4th time in the same season.  They finally won this game in Knoxville, 34-26.  Paris native Basil Hayden earned high-scoring honors with 18.

February 28, 1921, President-Elect Warren G. Harding stopped at the Southern Station in Lexington on his way to his inauguration.  The eight-minute visit started at 6:30 p.m. and included a short, upbeat statement, from the caboose, with Mrs. Harding standing beside him.

February 28, 1933, Kentucky wins the first Southeastern Conference (SEC) Tournament Championship by defeating Mississippi State, 46-27, in Atlanta.

On February 28, 1956, the General Assembly approved “an act relating to educational benefits for the children of certain deceased veterans.”  The act provided that the children of Kentucky veterans killed while serving in the armed forces shall be granted a free education anywhere in the U.S.

February 28, 1957, Johnny Longden became the first jockey to win 5,000 races.  In 1956 he had become thoroughbred racing’s winningest rider, breaking the record of 4,870 wins by British jockey Sir Gordon Richards (1904–1988).  Longden, who was called “The Pumper” because of his riding style, rode many of the day’s great thoroughbreds.  In 1943, he captured the U.S. Triple Crown aboard Count Fleet.  Longden’s sculptured bust, along with busts of fellow jockeys William Shoemaker and Laffit Pincay, has been placed in the paddock area at Santa Anita Racetrack.

February 28, 1958, a Floyd County school bus plunged into the Big Sandy River, taking 27 people’s lives.  After a period of heavy rains and thaw, the school bus with 48 elementary and high school students was bound for school in Prestonsburg on a cold and cloudy morning.  On U.S. Route 23, the bus struck the rear of a wrecker truck.  It fell down an embankment into the swollen waters of the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River, where it was swept downstream and submerged.

Twenty-two children escaped the bus in the first few minutes as it became fully immersed in the raging flood stage waters.  However, 26 other children and the bus driver drowned.  Navy divers found the bus and removed it from the river 53 hours later.  The Sandy River and Carrollton (’88) bus crashes both took 27 lives.  In both crashes, the victims were all thought to have survived the initial collisions.  After the 1988 crash, Kentucky changed its public school bus equipment requirements and now requires a higher number of emergency exits than any other state.

February 28, 1967, Army SP4 Charles Combs from Hazard, Marine Corps CPL Donatus J. Geilen from Covington, Army CPL Ralph D. McNew from Lily in Laurel County, died in the Vietnam War.

February 28, 1968, Marine Corps CPL Charles A. Smith from Louisville died in the Vietnam War.

February 28, 1970, Dan Issel became the first UK player to score 2,000 career points as the #1 Wildcats avenged their only loss of the season beating Vanderbilt 90-86.

Kentucky Trivia:  In 1974, William Benjamin Ray Sr. founded the Black Theater Productions, which put on sketches highlighting racial prejudice and the dismal treatment of minorities in Stuttgart, Germany.  Twenty-three years later, the gregarious performer received the National Opera Association’s “Lift Every Voice” Legacy Award, honoring African American Artists’ contributions to opera.  The Lexington native, opera star, civil rights activist, former Peabody Conservatory professor died, at 94.

February 28, 1983, millions gather around their television sets to watch the last episode of M.A.S.H.

February 28, 1986, Governor M.L. Collins signed a final agreement with Toyota Motor Corporation, pledging the Commonwealth would spend $35 million to buy and improve the 1,600-acre site in Scott County and then turn it over to the Japanese Automaker.

February 28, 1991, the 1st Persian Gulf War also known as the 1st Iraq War or Operation Desert Storm ended.  Six Kentuckians gave their life for this military operation.

February 28, 2001, the UK basketball program retired the jerseys of Lexington native Burgess Carey and Kenny Walker #34 during the Auburn game at Rupp Arena on Senior Game Day.

February 28, 2005, America’s life expectancy was at an all-time high, 77.6 years.  Women had an expectancy of 80.1 years, 5.3 more than men.  In 2019, Kentucky ranked 45th at 75.8 years.

February 28, 2013, Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo said Ashley Judd would be a formidable candidate to run against Senator M. McConnell. 

February 28, 2013, Coach Matthew Mitchell (2007-13) tied Terry Hall (1980-87) to be the all-time winningest coach for the UK women’s basketball program.  The win over Ole Miss also guaranteed a 1st round bye in the SEC tournament.

February 28, 2018, Attorney General A. Beshear told lawmakers that a proposal to overhaul Kentucky’s ailing public pension systems contained “multiple legal violations.”  Beshear said lawmakers should instead expand gambling in the Commonwealth.

February 28, 2019, Kentucky teachers returned to class after a “sick-out.”  They traveled to Frankfort to protest a bill that restructured the Teachers Retirement System a day earlier.  They went back to work disappointed after the House voted along party lines to go forward with the change.

February 28, 2020, Jackson native Sturgill Simpson and Paintsville native Tyler Childers performed at Rupp Arena.

February 28, 2021, for the seventh straight week Kentucky reported a declining number of new coronavirus cases.  “We can see the light at the end of the tunnel and the direction we are headed is good but we can’t quit till the job is done.” Governor A. Beshear.