TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Kentucky Trivia ● Kentucky Tweets

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Silas Harlan, born in 1753 in West Virginia.  He journeyed to Kentucky with James Harrod in 1774 and served as a scout, hunter, and military leader.  Near Danville, he helped build “Harlan’s Station” with family members.  Harlan served under George Rogers Clark in the Illinois campaign of 1778-79 against the British.

March 17, 1775, the Transylvania Purchase, aka The Treaty of Sycamore Shoals, the largest private or corporate real estate transaction in U.S. history, took place.  The Transylvania Company purchased from the Cherokee over 20 million acres of land.  In return, the Cherokee received 2,000 pounds sterling and goods worth 8,000 pounds.  The sale was never legally recognized.

Twelve hundred Native Americans reputedly spent weeks in counsel at Sycamore Shoals before signing the deed; Chief Dragging Canoe was firmly against deeding land to the whites, but the other chiefs ignored his warnings and signed the deeds amidst lavish ceremony and celebration.

March 17, 1850, the horse Lexington was foaled within Lexington’s current city limits on The Meadows Farm.  Dr. Elisha Warfield bred the great runner and sire.  The doctor was one of the most important early figures in Kentucky racing and a founder of the Kentucky Association Race Track.  The Meadows and the track bordered each other.  Darley was the name Warfield had given to the bay colt, but a new owner changed his name to Lexington.

March 17, 1876, jockey Alonzo “Lonnie” Clayton died.  He was one of, if not the best jockey of his era and in 1892 became the youngest jockey to win the Kentucky Derby at age 15.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Louisville native Ralph Waldo Rose, born in 1884.  Ralph was a six-time U.S. Olympic medalist, in throwing events, in the 1904, 1908, and 1912 games.  An impressive 6′ 5½” and 250 pounds, Rose was the first shot putter to break 50 feet.

Kentucky Trivia:  eleven Kentucky basketball players have won Olympic Gold medals.

March 17, 1890, Governor Simon Bolivar Buckner sent the militia to Harlan County.  He also sent General Sam Hill as a personal favor to show his sincere interest in the county’s problems.  This military aid was in response to the ongoing Howard / Turner feud.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Powell County native Lily May Ledford, born in 1917.

March 17, 1953, Army PVT John E. Nielsen from Jefferson County died in the Korean War.

March 17, 1954, the Kentucky House passed an amendment to the Day Law, when they voted 52 to 32 to let African Americans into private and church-affiliated schools.  It was sponsored by Rev. Felix S. Anderson, the only African American member of the general assembly.

March 17, 1956, in one semi-final game Carr Creek beat Wayland, 68-66; in the other, Henderson won, 78-63.  The 1956 tournament in Memorial Coliseum is regarded as the most memorable High School Boys’ Basketball Tournament thanks to an abundance of last-second heroics.  This tournament had a collection of schools with exceptional basketball pedigrees and the record-setting dominance of Wayland’s “King” Kelly Coleman.

March 17, 1961, the Ashland Tomcats’ bench erupted when the final horn sounded after beating archrival Seneca in the quarterfinals of the boys’ state basketball tournament in Memorial Coliseum.  Ashland went on to win the tournament, defeating Lexington Dunbar, 69-50.

March 17, 1969, Army SGT Delmer V. Ashbrook from Sergent in Letcher County died in the Vietnam War.

March 17, 1971, Army SP4 Harry C. King from Louisville died in the Vietnam War.

March 17, 1971, First Lady Pat Nixon waved to the crowd after she and President Nixon, and Governor Louie B. Nunn arrived at Blue Grass Field.  President Nixon traveled to Lexington to attend the funeral of Whitney Young, Jr., executive director of the National Urban League.  The President delivered the eulogy at graveside services in Greenwood Cemetery in Louisville.

March 17, 1973, Shawnee beat Male 81-68 to win the 56th Kentucky High School Basket Tournament in front of 124,954 in Louisville’s Freedom Hall.  One of the storylines was the lack of support from Shawnee’s administrators.

March 17, 1979, Lafayette, with Dirk Minniefield, defeated Christian County 62-52 in Rupp Arena to claim the state crown.

March 17, 1979, John Y. Brown (45) and Phyllis George (29) were married in the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan.  Norman Vincent Peale performed the ceremony.  Guests included Paul Hornung, Milton Berle, Bert Parks, Walter Cronkite, Eunice Shriver and Andy Williams, who sang “Just the Way You Are.”  Willie Nelson’s gift was a bible.  The wedding was a carefully orchestrated media event.  The night before, the couple wound up their rehearsal dinner at Studio 54.  The honeymoon in St. Martin was interrupted when Brown announced his candidacy for governor.

March 17, 1988, an exuberant crowd of 15,000 to 20,000 education supporters marched on the Capitol, lashing out at Governor Wilkinson and demanding more money for Kentucky schools.  The crowd, which overwhelmed legislators and exceeded everyone’s expectations, was thought to be the largest ever to demonstrate in Frankfort.

March 17, 1990, Attorney General Fred Cowan made a public statement confirming that cock fighting was legal in Kentucky since 1980.  He went on to say the birds were exempt from a state law governing cruelty to animals.  Meanwhile, the Henry Clay Blue Devils win the 29th Girls’ State High School Basketball Tournament before 2,315 in Diddle Arena in Bowling Green.

March 17, 2001, the Lafayette Generals defeated the Male Bulldogs 54-49 to win the Boys’ Sweet 16 Championship at Rupp Arena with 19,288 in attendance.

March 17, 2009, the Wildcats returned to Memorial Coliseum to play in the first round of the N.I.T.  Coach Gillispie led the Cats to victory over UNLV 70-60.  The last time Kentucky played in Memorial was in 1976.  Gillispie’s one game in Memorial put him in the elite company to have coached the Cats in the Coliseum.  It was Gillispie’s last game coached in Kentucky.  The team won one more N.I.T. game and lost in the quarterfinals.

March 17, 2012, Trinity defeated Scott County in the KHSAA Boys’ State Basketball Tournament at Rupp Arena in front of 14,064 spectators.

March 17, 2018, Oaklawn’s GII $900,000 Rebel Stakes for three-year-olds, showcased a Keeneland graduate trifecta.

March 17, 2020, a Nelson County man checked himself out of a hospital and told authorities he would not self-isolate after testing positive for the coronavirus.  He eventually cooperated, but Nelson County Judge-Executive Dean Watts declared a State of Emergency and posted police outside his house.

March 17, 2021, as the clock neared midnight, Kentucky legislators rushed more tax breaks for large corporations and others doing business in the Commonwealth, adding to the already billions of dollars given away.  In the meantime, Governor A. Beashear states. “We are close to the finish line but we can’t give up yet.  Keep masking up, keep social distancing, and get vaccinated when it is your turn.  Let’s see this through till the end of the fight.”