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April 1, 1775, Daniel Boone and his axmen arrived in the area near present-day Fort Boonesborough.  They made a preliminary campsite at Sycamore Hollow, near the Kentucky River shore.  Several weeks later, when Richard Henderson came, the early settlers decided to move to higher ground due to Native American concerns. 

By April 1, 1780, when Josiah Collins returned from Virginia, he noted, “On my return, I found a number of immigrants and a strong fort….there were 15 to 16 families besides a number of single men at Lexington.”  Lexington 1779, Pioneer Kentucky As Described by Early Settlers by Bettye Lee Mastin, pg 21.

April 1, 1803, Maj. Val Peers brought the 1st piano to Kentucky.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Munfordville native Simon Bolivar Buckner, born in 1823.  The 30th governor fought in the Mexican-American War and Civil War as a Confederate.  He spent much of his term trying to curb violence in Eastern Kentucky.

On April 1, 1854, the famous Metairie Course hosted “The Great State Post Stakes.”  The day’s races pitted states against each other; however, it became a rivalry between Louisiana’s Lecomte and Kentucky’s Lexington.  U.S. President Millard Filmore stated, “There is no way I would miss this great sporting event.”  A match race in those days tested speed and endurance in four-mile heats; the winner had the best time in the three runnings.  On this day, on a muddy track, horsemen considered Lexington’s win an anomaly.  Lecomte’s connections demanded a rematch, and America watched it two weeks later.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Mays Lick native Charles Young, born in 1864.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Lexington native Sophonisba Preston Breckinridge, born in 1866.  The lawyer, educator, social scientist, and civil rights activist earned many firsts.  The 1st to receive a Ph.D. in political science and economics.  The 1st woman to pass the Kentucky bar.  In 1933, President F. D. Roosevelt sent her as a delegate to the 7th Pan-American Conference in Uruguay, making her the 1st woman to represent the U.S. government at an international conference.

April 1, 1872, the Newport Southbank Bridge, known as The Purple People Bridge, opened to become the 1st railroad bridge that spanned the Ohio River between Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.  Today, the bridge is a tourist attraction and an instrumental pedestrian link between the two states.

By Waldack, Charles — Photographer
By Sunkorg

Tuesday, April 1, 1890, 2,000 people attended opening day at Benning Racetrack, Washington, D.C.  John Madden, the Wizard of the Turf, loved the track and brought as many as 36 horses at a time.  Congressmen frequented the track often.  However, a Tennessee member carried a bill through Congress to prohibit racetrack gambling in the nation’s capital.  A Kentucky congressman lectured Sims on moral reforms, “Your innocent little amendment to a road bill destroyed the Benning.”  The anti-racing sentiment started in N.Y. and spread across the U.S.  Other tracks reopened once the laws lightened, but Benning never did; they closed in 1908.  The grandstand burned down in 1915.

Library of Congress

Monday, April 1, 1901, Corporal Fred J. Richterkessing, Louisville Police Department, died by a subordinate officer whom he wrote up several times for not being at his post.  The murderer received life in prison.

April 1, 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed Spring Station native Joseph Clay Stiles Blackburn as Military Governor of the Panama Zone Canal.  Blackburn had served as a U.S. Senator for Kentucky.  Spring Station resides in Woodford County.

April 1, 1908, Cumberland County native Edwin Lee Norris became the 5th governor of Montana.  

April 1, 1925, William Henderson assured Bell County locals that he had deeded 40 acres of land for a settlement school near Chenoa.  Henderson declared his desire for the school and would donate the whole farm to make it happen.

April 1, 1929, the state purchased the Clay’s Ferry Bridge, for $200,000, between Fayette and Madison Counties and closed the tolls.  Construction crews built the original bridge in 1869 for the Richmond & Lexington Turnpike.

April 1, 1936, Town Marshal Wallace Van Fleet, Lebanon Junction Police Department, died responding to a disturbance call.  Kentucky executed the prisoner in the electric chair in 1937.

April 1, 1939, a newly completed 32-stall barn increased Keeneland’s capacity to approximately 530 stalls.  In 2024, Keenland provided 1,900.

April 1, 1941, UK elected Dr. Herman Lee Donavon as its president to replace Dr. Thomas Poe Cooper.  Dr. Donavon left as president of Eastern State Teacher College of Richmond after serving 13 years.  He retired from UK in 1956.

The April 1, 1950, edition of the Lexington Leader’s TOP HEADLINE, “Flying Saucer and Crew From Saturn Reported Seen on Fayette County Farm.”  According to the paper, locals reported seeing men and women from Saturn for a brief visit in their flying saucer, which the newspaper had a picture of.

April 1, 1952, edition of the Lexington Leader’s TOP HEADLINE, “Huge Fish Washes Ashore at Boone’s Beach on Kentucky River.”  The 73-foot fish weighed two tons.  The picture of the he catfish dwarfed the humans standing next to it.  Two men from Keene’s Creek in Woodford County discovered the dinosaur.

April 1, 1965, Governor Simeon Slavens Willis died.  The 46th governor wanted to eliminate the state income tax, which helped sweep him into power.

April 1, 1968, Army SP4 Ronnie Mills from Flat Lick in Knox County died in the Vietnam War.

On Monday, April 1, 1985, Rupp Arena hosted a packed house for the NCAA tournament’s final game, becoming the smallest city since its inception in 1939.  Villanova’s historic upset of Georgetown, 66-64, remains one of college basketball’s most memorable and compelling moments.

April 1, 1996, click to see Tony Delk, who tied a championship game record by making seven 3-pointers to help Kentucky win its 6th NCAA Championship.  A Meadowlands capacity crowd of 19,229 witnessed the magic.  Delk received the Final Four MVP as one of The Untouchables, a name given by Coach Pitino.  Kentucky strung together 25 consecutive wins, including a 16-0 mark in SEC play, to give Rick his only title.  The win also gave the Cats their 1st title in 18 years.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Kentucky bred Zenyatta, born in 2004.

April 1, 2007, Army SPC William G. Bowling, 24, of Beattyville, died in Baghdad fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008, Constable Joe E. Howard, Sr., Harlan County Constable’s Office, suffered a fatal heart attack shortly after restraining and arresting a suspect wanted on an outstanding warrant.

April 1, 2009, Kentucky named John Calipari as its new head basketball coach.

On April 1, 2010, Shelbyville native Brandon Ashur started his YouTube channel Bashurverse.  He garnered 1.58 million followers before he died of the coronavirus at age 36 in 2021.

On April 1, 2011, Senate President and gubernatorial candidate David Williams told the press, “I don’t think that makes me a big gambler,” referring to the $36,000 he reported in gambling losses.  While he gambled in out-of-state casinos, he blocked expanded gambling legislation in Kentucky.

April 1, 2017, a Keeneland graduate won Gulfstream Park’s GI $1,000,000 Florida Derby.  He won the Kentucky Derby next but finished 8th in the Preakness and skipped the Belmont.  The Pletcher trained colt then raced four more times.

On April 1, 2020, Governor A. Beshear reported coronavirus + 93 cases (687) and 2 deaths (20) .  As Kentucky small businesses shut down, many began to worry about paying bills.  The California governor went live to say there is no need to wear masks, so do not take them from 1st responders.  But, two days later, it would all change when the Surgeon General issued mask guidelines.

On April 1, 2021, the General Assembly needed to spend $2.4 billion after allocating $1.3 billion weeks earlier.  The law mandated the coronavirus/government money be spent.  The day before, President J. Biden declared 44 counties emergency disaster areas from landslides, mudslides, and ice storms that swept across the Commonwealth in mid-February.  Many citizens are thankful America is not a socialist nation.

April 1, 2022, some Woodford County locals opposed a potential new distillery complex built from the remains of a historic defunct mill.  John Faust, who bought 120 acres to rebuild the distillery, stated it was the 1st time the land transferred outside the original owner’s family since Robert Guyn arrived in the 1780s.

On April 1, 2023, Thomas Massie Tweeted, “On the last day of session in the Kentucky legislature, GOP leaders booted outspoken Republican representatives from their committees… for thinking, speaking, and acting independently of the GOP.” 

This is is @KYHouseGOP BAD leadership who kicked members of their own party off committees:

These are some of the good members who got the boot for acting independently: