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March 19, 1903, Deputy Sheriff James Wesley Williams, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, died in a gun battle with a suspicious man he attempted to question.  When Deputy Williams and his posse tried to approach the man, he drew two pistols and opened fire.

The March 19, 1911 Courier-Journal edition explained the duel between two Louisville magistrates in 1792.  It took place in a small opening in the woods, at the back of present day Broadway.  They chose rifles used at sixty yards.  The 12 ½ cent fee for issuing a warrant caused the conflict.  As the duel began, the seconds decided not to shoot at each other for a trivial sum and then proposed the winner receive a gallon of whiskey.  Famous Kentucky Duels by J. Winston Coleman, Jr.; pg: 135

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Neon native Martha Carson, born in 1921 in Letcher County.  Her rock & roll-flavored gospel tunes influenced her country peers, most notably “The King.”

March 19, 1925, Governor W.J. Fields mailed an invitation to the Boone Family Association to hold their 1st convention and reunion the first weekend in June in Lexington.  President William Boone Douglass of Washington, D.C., stated the association would help celebrate the city’s sesqui-centennial in a parade and other activities.

March 19, 1927, Deputy Sheriff Albert Phipps and Deputy Sheriff Alvin Tackett, Floyd County Sheriff’s Office, succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained arresting several men for moonshining in Weeksbury.

March 19, 1928, the General Assembly officially adopted My Old Kentucky Home as the state song 76 years after Stephen Foster wrote it.  Mrs. Grant Lilly presented the idea to legislators in 1928.

March 19, 1949, 18-year-old William Lee “Bill” Shoemaker, considered too small to be a jockey, rode his 1st race, at Del Mar, on a filly called Waxahachie.  They finished 5th.  Prophetically, cagey veteran Johnny Longden rode the winner by cutting off the young jockey at the starting gate.  Shoemaker eventually avenged himself when he broke Longden’s record for career wins in 1970.

March 19, 1951, Hopkinsville native Thomas R. Underwood became Kentucky’s 35th Class II Senator by appointment.  He filled the remaining term of Middletown native, Senator Virgil Munday Chapman, who had died in a car wreck days earlier.

March 19, 1953, legislatures approved blue & white auto license plates to honor UK football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.  The main and background color would switch every year from blue to white.  The gesture wasn’t enough to keep the “Bear,” he resigned at the end of the year.  It Happened Today in Kentucky History by Robert A. Powell, pg: 32.

Kentucky Trivia:  In 1974, the state began to reuse plates for multiple years when Frankfort introduced the decal sticker.  The state then initiated the Alpha System in 1975.  The 1st actual graphic change came in 1989 when the plates showed a mare with foal under the Churchill Downs twin spires.

March 19, 1966, Coach Rupp appeared in his last Final Four in one of the most historical events in basketballRupp’s Runts lost in the NCAA championship game, 72-65, to Texas Western.  The game marked the 1st time a starting five of all-black players won the title.  They did it against Kentucky’s all-white squad.

March 19, 1968, Army SP5 Harold S. Wood, Jr. from Lewisburg in Logan County died in the Vietnam War.

March 19, 1969, Marine Corps PFC John F. Allen from Bowling Green died in the Vietnam War.

March 19, 1987, Conservation Officer Robert C. Banker, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, died after issuing a man a citation for fishing without a license on the spillway of Lacy Lake in Christian County.

March 19, 1998, south of Long Island, NY, the USS Kentucky (SSBN-737) collided with the USS San Juan (SSN-751).   The two submarines were conducting a joint training drill before deployment.  USS Kentucky returned to patrol the next day.

March 19, 1998, Larry S. Salachi of Stanton caught a state record White Sucker weighing 1.63 lbs. in Slate Creek, Montgomery County.

White Sucker

On March 19, 2003, President George W. Bush announced Operation Iraqi Freedom had begun.  The U.S. invaded on well-documented lies we now know as “Weapons of Mass Destruction.”  A little over a month later, “Mission Accomplished” happened.  In 2008, Obama took over the Iraqi War and moved it to Afghanistan.

March 19, 2005, Army SPC Jonathan A. Hughes, 21, of Lebanon, died in Iraq Operation Iraqi Freedom.

March 19, 2005, a connection into the Roppel Cave portion of Mammoth Cave was surveyed from a small cave under Eudora Ridge, adding approximately three miles to the National Park.  The newly found entrance to the cave, now termed the “Hoover Entrance,” had been discovered in September 2003.

March 19, 2009, William Henton, from Central City, caught a state record Yellow Bass weighing 1 lb., 6.4 ozs.  He landed it at Cumberland River Lake Barkley Tailwaters.

Yellow Bass

March 19, 2011, 12-year-old Emily Keaton from Pikeville won the 18th annual Kentucky Derby Festival Spelling Bee.  She beat 61 others by correctly spelling “ephedrine.”  She also won the 2010 Championship.

March 19, 2016, a Kentucky bred won the GI $500,000 Santa Margarita Stakes for fillies and mares four-year-old and upward.

Sunday, March 19, 2017, Bowling Green (26-2) won the KHSAA Boys Sweet 16 State Basketball Tournament.  The heavily favored Purples played exceptional basketball over the four games and were a force of reckoning.  BG beat Graves County in the first round, Scott County in the quarterfinals, Scott High in the semifinals, and Cooper in the title game to capture its 1st state crown.  The Purples (36-2) finished the season on a 29-game winning streak.

On March 19, 2023, Kentucky lost to Kansas State 75-69 in the NCAA East Regional 2nd Round at Greensboro, NC.  Before the game, Kansas State coach Jerome Tang: “This won’t be my first time playing Kentucky.  We broke their 55-game win streak when I was at Baylor at Rupp, and we won the other two times that we played them at a neutral site.  You know, I understand how the Cats travel, but our Cats travel too.