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Kentucky Trivia

On October 3, 1786, an entourage of fourteen families known as the McNitt Company paused to camp for the night in present-day Laurel County while traveling from Virginia to Central Kentucky.  Only a man, a woman, and a female child survived the massacre, while 24 others died.  The site became known as Defeated Camp or McNitt’s Defeat and is now within Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park.  A stone wall now surrounds the cemetery, where the victims rest in peace.

Localtonians wish a Happy Anniversary to Governor Gabriel Slaughter who married his 3rd wife, Elizabeth Thompson Rodes, a widow from Scott County in 1813.  The 7th governor served from 1816-20.

October 3, 1849, Midway University originally opened as the Kentucky Female Orphan School.  With one teacher and sixteen female students, the nine-member Board oversaw the school’s endowment, the building and five acres of land.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Elizabethtown native Charles Middleton, born in 1874.  His film career began at 46 and lasted almost 30 years, his most famous role being the villainous emperor Ming the Merciless in Flash Gordon.

On October 3, 1881, King Kalakaua of Sandwich Islands arrived in Lexington for a three-day visit.  Lexington received its 1st foreign sovereign leader, known for his travels around the world.  Today the Sandwich Islands are known as Hawaii Islands.
The Squire’ Sketches of Lexington by J. Winston Coleman, Jr.; pg: 61

October 3, 1887, Morehead Normal School (MNS), the noble forerunner of Morehead State University, began classes in a rented house.  Phebe Button and her son, Frank, directed activities with help from the Christian Church of Kentucky.  MNS was among 25 normal private schools opened in the state between 1870 and 1905.  “The light to the mountains” became a public institution in 1922.

October 3, 1896, Kentucky State College (UK) lost, 10-0, to the Lexington Athletic Club to open the football season.  Kentucky State would post a 3-6 season.  Six of their games were shutouts.  

October 3, 1908, the lynching of the Walker family took place near Hickman in Fulton County at the hands of about fifty masked Night Riders.  David Walker owned a 21 1/2-acre farm where his entire African American family of seven, including four children, died.  National newspapers covered the event, and Governor Augustus E. Willson strongly condemned the murders.  The governor promised a reward for information leading to the prosecution, to no avail.

October 3, 1911, Bell County Sheriff’s Department, Deputy Oland Collins (21) and Deputy Sam Collins (23) were shot and killed in Lee County, Virginia, as they attempted to serve a warrant on a subject wanted as a witness in a murder trial.

October 3, 1923, Kentucky Department of Corrections, Guard V.B. Mattingly, Guard William Gilbert, and Guard Hodge Cunningham died at the hands of inmates attempting to take over the dining room at the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville.  They found the bodies three days later after the officers stormed the dining facility; the prisoners killed Cunningham during the ensuing standoff, and the other two had committed suicide.  Officer Cunningham became the 1st guard at Eddyville to die in the line of duty.

October 3, 1923, early in the morning, Eddyville Penitentiary inmates prepared to leave their cells for breakfast when Chester Walters made a mad dash for freedom along with two other inmates.  A three-day siege ensued called the Battle of Eddyville, ending with all three prisoners and three guards’ deaths.  When it was over, twenty-one-year-old Lillian Walters, Chester’s wife, stood trial for conspiracy and murder, for the life for Officer Hodge Cunningham.

October 3, 1931, Kentucky football season opened with a shutout of Maryville 19-0 in Lexington.  Kentucky and Coach Harry Gamage would go on to tie Tennessee and beat Florida and end the season 5-2-2.

October 3, 1934, the Commonwealth of Kentucky dedicated the John James Audubon State Park.

October 3, 1951, Army PFC Billy J. Salyer from Magoffin County and Army PFC Charles H. Skrobanek from Jefferson County, died fighting in the Korean War.

October 3, 1952, Marine Corps PFC Leonard R. Stevens from Ft. Knox died fighting in the Korean War.

October 3, 1954, Corbin native Barney Frazier caught a state record 36 lbs. 4 oz. sturgeon in Lake Cumberland.

October 3, 1963, Glasgow native and Pulitzer prize winning journalist Arthur Krock quoted a high-ranking government officialThe CIA’s growth was ‘likened to a malignancy’ which the ‘very high official was not even sure the White House could control … any longer.’ ‘If the United States ever experiences [an attempted coup to overthrow the Government] it will come from the CIA and not the Pentagon. The agency ‘represents a tremendous power and total unaccountability to anyone. President Kennedy died two weeks later.

October 3, 1967, Army PFC Michael Lee Miller of Henderson County died fighting in the Vietnam War.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Lexington native and Back Street Boy, Kevin Scott Richardson, born in 1971. 

October 3, 1986, Breathitt County high school students used handmade “sunscopes” and observed a partial solar eclipse of the sun in Jackson.  A group of students from Margaret Gross’s and Hubert Harold’s science classes used a variety of devices to observe the phenomenon.

October 3, 1997, Lyman Tefft Johnson passed away in Louisville.  Lyman was an educator and influential role model for racial desegregation in Kentucky.  He is best known as the plaintiff, whose successful legal challenge opened UK to African-American students in 1949.

October 3, 2015, N.Y. Met Max Scherzer had a no-hitter going with the score 2-0 when Louisville native Dan Uggla homered for the Nationals.  It would be his final visit to the plate in a successful MLB career.

October 3, 2019, Churchill Downs agreed to buy Turfway Park from Jack Ohio LLC and Hard Rock International for $46 million. They tore it down and built a $150 million gambling facility.

On October 3, 2020, while the president faced “a few critical days” with the coronavirus, the state reported 1,275 positive cases, a new one-day record.  Meanwhile, in Frankfort, students met with their teachers outside, with masks, and socially distanced while they picked up paperwork the day before school began.

Positives:  1,275 / 72,001
Deaths:  8 / 1,205 – 1st Death 3/16/20
50&over:  1,173 / 49-30: 28 / 29&under: 2

October 3, 2021, Kentucky defeated #10 Florida 20-13 to go 5-0.  The Wildcats had been 5-0 four times in the past 70 years: 1984, 2007, 2018.  The last time the Cats topped the Gators at home was 1986.