TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Kentucky Trivia ● Kentucky Tweets

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to William Owsley, born in 1782, the 16th governor.  Education made progress during Owsley’s tenure as a Whig, largely due to his appointment of Robert J. Breckinridge as public school superintendent in 1847.  Breckinridge is credited as the architect of Kentucky’s antebellum educational system.

On March 24, 1898, the U.S.  Navy launched the USS Kentucky (BB-6).  Twenty-five years later on the same day she was sold for scrap.

Uss kentucky bb 6
By Bain News Service

March 24, 1908, the landmark education law, titled Government and Regulation of the State’s Common Schools, was enacted.  It mandated an almost complete reform of the Kentucky public school system.  It is commonly known as the Sullivan Law in honor of its sponsor, Sen. Jere A. Sullivan of Madison County.  The Sullivan Law’s blueprint for restructuring the school system marked a distinct end to the one-room district school era, burdened by the infamous three-trustee system.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Kentucky bred Count Fleet, born on Stoner Creek Stud Farm in Paris in 1940.  He became the 6th Triple Crown winner when he won the Belmont Stakes by a then-record margin of twenty-five lengths.

March 24, 1942, local farmers were given a lesson on growing hemp, which required a federal permit.  The county’s quota was 2,500 acres, and by May 10, that quota had been exceeded by 10 acres.

March 24, 1947, before a Madison Square Garden record crowd of 18,493, Wat Misaka held Ralph Beard to two points and Utah ended the Wildcats’ bid for back-to-back NIT Championships.

March 24, 1949, Deputy Sheriff Grover Dewey Kennedy, McCreary County Sheriff’s Office, was shot and killed from ambush while on patrol.  An occupant in a vehicle driving past his location opened fire on him, fatally wounding him.  The suspects were never apprehended.

March 24, 1951, Kentucky played their last game in the old Madison Square Garden on 50th Street and 8th Avenue, New York, NY.  It was also known as Madison Square Garden III.  Kentucky was 24-10 in the famed facility.

March 24 1183px Madison Square Garden 1941 Postcard
By Frank E. Cooper – eBay listing

March 24, 1956, Louisville defeated the favorite Dayton 93-80 to win the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) in Madison Square Garden.  This was Louisville’s biggest basketball prize and the team point total set an NIT finals record.

March 24, 1968, Army SP4 John B. Weill from Owensboro died in the Vietnam War.

March 24, 1975, Muhammad Ali (46-2) fought Chuck Wepner (30-9-2) in Richfield (Ohio) Coliseum.  Wepner was known as “The Bayonne Bleeder,” and the New Jersey native’s full-time job was liquor salesman.  After Wepner stepped on Ali’s foot and knocked him down with a blow to the chest in the ninth round, Ali came back and opened cuts over Wepner’s eyes and broke his nose.  With 19 seconds left in the fight, Ali knocked down Wepner for the first time in his career, and the fight was stopped.  Actor Sylvester Stallone, watching on closed-circuit TV, was inspired to write the script for Rocky, based on Wepner’s challenge.

Kentucky Trivia:  Ali’s great-grandfather Abe Grady was an Irishman who emigrated to the U.S. and settled in Kentucky in the 1860s.  There he married a freed slave, and one of their grandchildren was Ali’s mother, Odessa Lee Grady Clay.  In 2009, Ali visited his great-grandfather’s ancestral hometown of Ennis, Ireland, and met fellow members of the O’Grady clan.

March 24, 1980, the Louisville Cardinals won their first NCAA National Championship with a 59–54 victory over UCLA at the Market Square Arena in Indianapolis.  Denny Crum’s team, led by Darrell Griffith, aka “Dr. Dunkenstein,” was most outstanding player.  Structurally speaking, this was the first tournament of the modern era.  For the first time: 1) an unlimited number of at-large teams could come from any conference.  2) the bracket was seeded to make each region as evenly competitive as possible.  Previously, geographic considerations had trumped this.  3) All teams were seeded solely based on the subjective judgment of the committee.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Bowling Green native Jon Corey Hart, born in 1982.

March 24, 1989, less than a week after Discovery landed, the first space-flown egg hatched.  The 1.5 ounces (41.8 g) male chick named “Kentucky” broke through its shell at KFC’s headquarters (“Colonel Sanders Technical Center”) in Louisville.

March 24, 1990, Fairdale defeated Holmes 77-73, in Louisville, for the KHSAA Boys’ State Basketball Sweet 16 State Championship.

March 24, 1993, Jeffrey Stephen Wigand was fired by Brown & Williamson.  He said that he was fired as a whistleblower because he knew that high-ranking corporate executives knowingly approved additives to their cigarettes that were known to be carcinogenic and/or addictive, such as coumarin.  The 1999 film The Insider portrayed him and the story.

March 24, 2007, the Scott County Cardinals defeated Louisville’s Ballard to win the KHSAA Boys’ State Basketball Sweet 16 Tournament in Rupp with 18,377 spectators. 

Sweet 16 Trivia:  2007-Jamaizz Baker of Christian County vs. George Rogers Clark.  After George Rogers Clark’s Robert Hatton hit two free throws to give the Cardinals a three-point lead, Baker connected on a three-pointer with 8 seconds left that sent the game to overtime tied at 68.  George Rogers Clark survived the scare, 77-71.

March 24, 2012, Rick Pitino’s Cardinals advance to the Final Four with a victory over Florida in Phoenix 72-68.

March 24, 2018, the GI $1,000,000 Louisiana Derby is a Keeneland graduate trifecta.

March 24, 2020, a frustrated Governor Beshear called out a “coronavirus party” that he said resulted in at least one person catching the virus.  He told all “non-life sustaining businesses to close in-person traffic and officials confirmed 39 new cases for a total of 163.  Meanwhile, India announced a 21-day lockdown.

March 24, 2021, Senator R. Paul and Dr. A. Fauci engaged in a heated exchange on the Senate floor over masks.  Kentucky continued its accelerated rollout of the vaccine while reporting more people died of covid-19 than previously thought; they added 25 to the death toll.