Kentucky Trivia ● Kentucky Tweets
April 28, 1816, the 1st commercial steamboat to ply the Kentucky River set sail from the mouth of Hickman Creek in Jessamine County. Bosworth & West built the small steamboat using a model created in 1793 by Lexington inventor and silversmith Edward West. Only four and a half years earlier, the 1st steamboat in the West had set sail.
April 28, 1879, Carter Henry Harrison Sr., born on a plantation near Lexington, began his 1st term as Chicago’s mayor. Harrison served four consecutive two-year terms (in 1879, 1881, 1883, and 1885). After he campaigned in 1879 with a pet eagle, he became affectionately nicknamed “The Eagle.” A disgruntled office-seeker assassinated him a few months into his 5th term.
April 28, 1892, William H. Cheppu, a well-known bookmaker in debt, sold his land in Lexington. Colonel James E. Pepper, the owner of the Pepper Distillery, bought it, refurbished the large home in 1892 and added a new front gate with “Meadowthorpe” inscribed on it. It would see one more owner before becoming Lexington’s 1st major airfield in 1927.
Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Louisville native John Jacob Niles, born in 1892. The Dean of American Balladeers, John composed, sang, and collected traditional ballads. He influenced the American folk music revival and the likes of Odetta, Joan Baez, Burl Ives, Peter, Paul and Mary, and Bob Dylan.
On April 28, 1923, the Kentucky Association Course ran the $20,000 added Ashland Oaks for three-year-old-fillies on opening day. Anna M. Humphrey, the favorite, won going away by four and paid $4.30. The fans packed the facility for another fun day.
April 28, 1930, Kentucky’s Director of State Parks, Mrs. Emma Cromwell, visited Harrodsburg to appoint Mrs. B.F. Norfleet as Hostess at Old Fort Harrod in Pioneer Memorial Park. The state cut the position’s salary substantially, but still, 150 applicants applied for the job; the two previous hostesses quit within weeks.
April 28, 1940, Breathitt County Deputy Jailer Benton Sizemore died while responding to the scene of a shooting involving the county jailer. The county jailer and his wife were visiting relatives when a truck full of assailants pulled up and opened fire on them.
April 28, 1953, actress Judy Garland, second from right, arrived at Lexington’s Union Station to perform at Memorial Coliseum as part of Blue Grass Festival pre-Derby attractions. While in Lexington, Garland, described by Fred Astaire as “the greatest entertainer who ever lived,” visited children at Shriners Hospital.
On April 28, 1960, someone dumped a mysterious detergent into Beargrass Creek, causing foam to rise 6 feet, killing fish by the hundreds. The substance apparently emptied into the Ohio River without affecting the local drinking water.
April 28, 1967, Cassius Marcellus Clay did not step forward when the Army called his name, thus refusing initiation into the U.S. military. Clay, in a statement distributed a few minutes after the announcement of his refusal, said, “I have searched my conscience and I find I cannot be true to my belief in my religion by accepting such a call.” He has maintained throughout recent unsuccessful civil litigation that he was entitled to draft exemption as an appointed minister of the Lost-Found Nation of Islam, the so-called Black Muslin sect.
April 28, 1968, Army SP4 Fredrick E. Bauerle III from Dayton in Campbell County, Army SP5 Jordan Belcher from Dorton in Pike County and Army CPL Roger Nester from Mt. Sterling in Montgomery County, died in the Vietnam War.
April 28, 1973, the 1st Great Kentucky Derby Festival Balloon Race created a magnificent picture in the sky as 11 balloons drifted southeast over the Louisville sky, starting at Iroquois Park. Although one balloon touched a 12,000-volt wire, the only fatality was a calf who got frightened when a balloon landed in his field.
April 28, 1976, the Kentucky Colonels professional basketball team played their final game, losing to the Denver Nuggets in Game 7 of the ABA Semi-Finals Championship. The ABA merged with the NBA the same year. The Colonels, like the ABA as a whole, had an overall winning record against the NBA throughout their existence.
April 28, 1982, John R. Gaines showed off his Gainesway Farm shortly after he promoted his “Parade of Champions,” a concept in which the world’s best thoroughbreds would compete in a day of racing. The 1st Breeders’ Cup took place in 1984.
Kentucky Trivia: John R. Gaines took over a Standardbred operation begun by his grandfather, Thomas P. Gaines, in 1925 and started a Thoroughbred division of Gainesway Farm in 1962. John’s father, Clarence Francis Gaines, introduced a complete dog meal product that revolutionized the dog food industry.
April 28, 1990, Officer Donald Lee Ferguson, Albany Police Department died when a drunk driver evaded a sobriety check point and struck him at a high rate of speed. Police apprehended him and locals sentenced him to ten years in prison but officials released him after three years.
April 28, 1998, the annual Kentucky Derby Trainers Dinner took place at $100 a seat. Two things for years have always happened; people told jokes, and many at the expense of D. Wayne Lukas. Without a horse in the field, the legendary trainer did not attend.
April 28, 2001, James Still passed away. The Appalachian poet, novelist, and folklorist lived most of his life in a log house along the Dead Mare Branch of Little Carr Creek in Knott County. He was best known for the novel River of Earth, which depicted the struggles of coal mining in Eastern Kentucky.
April 28, 2002, an early morning tornado hit Providence in Webster County that destroyed 50 homes and left another 160 inhabitable. No deaths occurred; however, 25 people sought medical attention in nearby Madisonville.
April 28, 2003, Dr. David Proctor from Ashland pleaded guilty to three felony charges of prescribing controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose. He made an average of $4,000 to $5,000 a day pushing drugs but also took sex as payment.
April 28, 2010, Pennsylvania-based Energy Company PPL Corp. announced they bought LG&E and sister company Kentucky Utilities from the Germany owned Eon AG for $7.6 billion. The new owners had around 900,000 Kentucky customers.
On April 28, 2019, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Mitch McConnell worked together, this time in front of the curtain, to avoid a government shutdown. This dynamic duo may be the most powerful force inside the Beltway, having raised billions of dollars for their political parties.
April 28, 2020, Governor A. Beshear announced 230 new positive cases (4,375) and 12 deaths (224). Meanwhile, Kentucky Attorney General D. Cameron joined a lawsuit filed by a Campbell County woman in federal court claiming the governor’s coronavirus travel ban was unconstitutional.
April 28, 2021, Governor A. Beshear extended the enforcement of the federal “Real ID Act” deadline from October 2022 to October 2023. Meanwhile, Churchill Downs canceled the Derby Day red carpet for the 2nd consecutive year. Also, The Barnstable Brown, Unbridled Eve and Trifecta galas canceled their good times for a 2nd year in a row also.
On April 28, 2022, the government proposed banning menthol cigarettes but not plastic waste. Meanwhile inflation made Treasury Secretary Yellen defend President Biden’s 2021 $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which she championed. Hard to believe that giving out three different trillion dollar coronavirus relief packages in two years could cause inflation.