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March 26, 1866, with the formal duel well into decline and strict Kentucky laws forbidding the practice, Joseph Desha (32) and Alexander Kimbrough (27) meet at the familiar dueling grounds on the Fayette/Scott border a little before 6:00 a.m., to settle their differences.  Both men were childhood classmates in Harrison County who never cared for each other.  Both came from respected families; both men were wounded Civil War Veterans, Desha, a Confederate, and Kimbrough, a Union man.  The Desha – Kimbrough Duel by Coleman, Jr., J. Winston.

One of the pistols used once belonged to Henry Clay.  In the 1st round, both men missed.  In the 2nd round, Kimbrough fell to the ground, bleeding from the hip; Desha narrowly missed a bullet as it went through his coat.  This was the last important affair of honor fought in Kentucky under the strict code of the duello.  Desha and his second traveled to Canada for several years until granted a pardon by an ex-Confederate, then-current Kentucky Governor James B. McCreary.  Kimbrough recovered at his parents’ Harrison County farm and eventually moved west.  He walked with a severe limp his entire life.  Famous Kentucky Duels by J. Winston Coleman, Jr.; pg: 123.

March 26, 1879, Hopkinsville Judge Thomas Buford assassinated Judge John Milton Elliott as they left the Kentucky State House.  Enraged by Elliott’s failure to rule in favor of his late sister in a property dispute, Buford shot Elliott with a double-barreled twelve-gauge shotgun filled with buckshot.  The killing shocked the nation and attracted unwanted attention in the Commonwealth.  

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Bowling Green native Duncan Hines, born in 1880.

March 26, 1918, the Kentucky Legislature passed an act authorizing and creating an official state flag and the state seal 126 years after statehood.  Lawmakers directed the flag to be of navy blue silk or bunting, with the seal of the Commonwealth of Kentucky encircled by a wreath of goldenrod.

By Commonwealth of Kentucky

On March 26, 1923, U.S. Prohibition Officers raided the home of Mrs. Mary Dowling, a wealthy Lawrenceburg distiller, and charged Mary and her four children with Prohibition violations.  During the trial, she said her dead husband owned two distilleries, and they had 50 barrels in their home and always served drinks.  The family had 22,000 barrels in production and 1,600 in warehouses.  After prohibition started in January 1920, the 1,600 barrels went to the family home.

March 26, 1936, from a letter to the Regional Forester to the Forest Supervisor in Washington about changing Kentucky’s national park name: The question of changing the unit’s name is delicate and cannot properly be up for public discussion.  This is particularly true right now when there is consideration of a long war here in Kentucky as to whether Mr. Boone or Mr. Henderson was the most important in the development of the state.

March 26, 1937, Patrolman James Duncan Stevens, Kentucky Highway Patrol, died from an accidental shooting while removing a shotgun from the backseat of his vehicle on Main Street in Earlington.

In Seattle, on March 26, 1949, Coach Rupp won his 2nd NCAA title, in his 2nd finals.  The Wildcats defeated Oklahoma A&M 46-36.  Paced by Alex Groza’s 25 points and a defense that limited the Aggies to nine field goals, the Cats won the Champions for the 2nd straight year.  A unanimous selection as the “Player of the Tournament,” Groza scored more than twice as many points as any other player.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Fairfield native Virgil Chester Livers Jr., born in 1952.  The Chicago Bears drafted Virgil in the 4th round of the 1975 NFL Draft.  He played college football at Western Kentucky, where he is a member of the school’s Hall of Fame.

March 26, 1953, Marine Corps PFC Quinton V. Hall from Olive Hill in Carter County, Marine Corps PFC Benab Hyatt from Yancey in Harlan County, Marine Corps CPL Jimmie Robinson from Manchester, Marine Corps PFC Carlton C. Stephens from Louisville and Army PFC Gordon R. Coffey from Barren County died in the Korean War.

March 26, 1968, Marine Corps PFC Earl W. Frye from Franklin in Simpson County and Army CPT Robert E. Cundiff from Owensboro in Daviess County died in the Vietnam War.

March 26, 1969, Air Force TSGT Jesse C. Bowman from Lexington, Marine Corps PFC Steve R. Whitaker from Central City in Muhlenberg County and Army SP4 James L. Stewart frim Inez in Martin County, died in the Vietnam War.

March 26, 1971, Army PFC Robert D. Coffey from Sturgis in Union County died in the Vietnam War.

On March 26, 1974, the Louisville Zoo Commission fired the zoo director and gave him 24 hours to leave his office and “reasonable time” to leave the zoo’s home.  The director, named before the zoo physically existed, left unwillingly and blamed the elder commissioners for his ouster.   

March 26, 1982, Laurel County defeated North Hardin 53-51 in Rupp Arena for the Boys’ Sweet 16 Basketball Championship.  Call it “The Shot Heard’ Round Kentucky,” or just “The Shot,” but Paul Andrews’s half-court shot at the final buzzer is one of the most famous points in Commonwealth basketball history.

March 26, 1994, the Battle of the Bulldogs took place in Louisville for the KHSAA Sweet 16 Boys’ State Basketball Championship.  Louisville’s Fairdale defeated Lexington’s Dunbar 59-54. 

Alice Speed Stoll died on March 26, 1996.  She left $50,000,000 to the J.B. Speed Art Museum, named for her grandfather.

March 26, 2006, Joshua Scott from Louisville caught a state record Creek Chub Carp in Hardin County’s Otter Creek weight .59 lbs.

Semotilus atromaculatus

March 26, 2010, eleven people died in Kentucky’s worst highway crash since 1988 when 27 children died in a church bus crash caused by a drunken driver.  Ten of the 11 victims were Mennonites from Kentucky.  The American Trucking Association stated the trucking company had such a bad record, “they should have never been on the road.”

March 26, 2013, the General Assembly overturned Governor S. Beshear’s veto of a controversial bill named “religious freedom.”  The House overrode it 79-15 and the Senate 32-6.  The human rights advocates and big cities fought against the bill that started when the Amish refused to display orange reflective triangles on their buggies.

March 26, 2014, Maker’s Mark in Loretto raised the bourbon tourism bar and unveiled world-class artwork nestled among barrels of aging spiritsThe Spirit of the Maker, 36 feet of hand-blown glass, consisted of 1,300 pieces by artist Dale Chihuly.  The Marion County Distillery celebrated its 60th anniversary.

March 26, 2016, the GII $200,000 Santa Ana Stakes is won by a neck.

March 26, 2018, Mitch told America he wanted to bring hemp production back to the mainstream by removing it from the controlled substance list that its cousin marijuana was on.  Hemp stayed on the list from 1970 to 2018.  Meanwhile, the Fayette County School Board, 5-0, approved random metal detector searches for students entering school grounds.

March 26, 2019, Rep. Andy Barr invited New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to “go underground” to meet coal miners.  The invitation came during a House Committee on Financial Services as Barr defended coal and Alexandria the Green New Deal.  It was comical to watch two corporate tools, a “tow-the-line” lawyer, and “progressive fraud,” pretend to care for the working class.  Barr would rescind the invite in April.

March 26, 2021, coronavirus vaccine testing turned to children 12 and under.  Testing for teenagers was well underway.  Officials said that for the pandemic to stop, children must get vaccinated.

March 26, 2022, a Kentucky bred won Santa Anita’s GIII $200,000 Santa Ana Stakes on the turf for fillies and mares four-year-olds and upward.  The winner, by Empire Maker, raced eight more times, winning twice.