December 16, 1802, the 1st organized form of banking in Kentucky incorporated its 1st bank, the Kentucky Insurance Company. The bank failed in the general depression of 1818. The Squire’s Sketches of Lexington by J. Winston Coleman, Jr.; pg: 24
On December 16, 1811, at about 2:15 a.m., far Western Kentucky experienced the initial New Madrid earthquake, followed by quakes and aftershocks that continued through February 7, 1812. From Sam Terry’s blog, “Combined with the appearance of Halley’s Comet earlier in 1811 and the horrific Battle of Tippecanoe, the event was enough to cause many Kentuckians to believe the world was about to be devoured in a flame of fire and Judgement Day was soon to come.”
Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Stoney Point native, John Fox, born in 1862 in Bourbon County. As an author, John had many honors in his lifetime, including membership in the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1899 and a medal for his literary contributions from the Emperor of Japan. His dedication and lobbying led to the passing of the Federal Copyright Act.
December 16, 1897, Madison County native Lewis Garrard Clarke died a free man in Louisville. Clarke published the story of his life as an enslaved person in 1845 after he had escaped from Kentucky to become a well-regarded abolitionist lecturer throughout the North. His book was the 1st work by an enslaved person to be acquired by the Library of Congress and copyrighted; Narratives of the Sufferings of Lewis and Milton Clarke, Sons of a Soldier of the Revolution, During a Captivity of More than Twenty Years Among the Slaveholders of Kentucky, One of the So-Called Christian States of North America/Dictated by Themselves. His body lay in state at the Kentucky State Capitol on the order of Governor Bradley; and later buried in Westwood Cemetery in Oberlin, Ohio. The author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin based the character George Harris on Mr. Clarke.
Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Paris native William Stephen “Bill” Arnsparger, born in 1926. Bill created two of the most distinctive defenses in NFL history: the famed “No-Name” and “Killer B’s” defenses for the Miami Dolphins. The 1st unit powered the only unbeaten season in NFL history in 1972. The latter took the Dolphins to the Super Bowl following the strike-shortened 1982 season.
December 16, 1929, Deputy Sheriff Thomas C. Tackett, Pike County Sheriff’s Office, died when he and another man investigated a car that was stopped in the middle of a roadway. As the two approached the car, Deputy Tackett’s friend observed one of the men inside the vehicle hiding a gun behind his back.
December 16, 1950, Kentucky played a much-anticipated game versus Kansas, the 1st time the two schools competed in basketball. Bill Spivey matched up against Jayhawks center Clyde Lovellette. The Wildcats won by 29 points as Spivey outplayed Lovellette in what he later called the best performance of his college career. After one steal, he drove to the Kansas basket for a slam dunk, a rare feat for Kentucky basketball, as Rupp instructed players not to dunk during games.
December 16, 1970, in the ongoing legal turf battle over the 1968 Kentucky Derby disqualification, the Kentucky State Racing Commission announced they would appeal a court decision that gave the winner’s purse to Dancer’s Image.
Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Grayson native Jason Smith, born in 1977. Jason is a self-taught professional chef and reality TV star best known for winning the Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship.
December 16, 1980, Harland David Sanders, aka Colonel Sanders, died at Jewish Hospital in Louisville of pneumonia at 90. Sanders had remained active until the month before his death, appearing in his white suit to adoring crowds. His body lay in state in the Kentucky State Capitol’s rotunda after a funeral service at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Chapel, attended by more than 1,000 people. By the time of Sanders’ death, there were an estimated 6,000 KFC outlets in 48 countries worldwide.
December 16, 1981, Kentucky dedicated the Bat Cave and Cascade Caverns State Nature Preserves in Carter County. The preserve consists of two tracts totaling 146 acres that house and protect the federally endangered Indiana Bat, with wintering numbers estimated at 28,000.
December 16, 1983, Miss Sweet Evening Breeze died in a nursing home at the age of ninety-one and is buried in the Lexington Cemetery, the headstone bearing her birth name, James Herndon, born near Georgetown. Her house still stands on Prall Street by the train tracks, and the generations of people that knew her still speak of her fondly.
December 16, 1985, hitmen shot and killed Paul Castellano, head of the Gambino Family, the nation’s most powerful mafia family, in midtown Manhattan. Paul was about to walk into a restaurant when the three men pulled guns from their trench coats and opened fire.
On December 16, 2003, Jenkins native Gary Ronnie Stewart passed away. The musician and songwriter is known for his distinctive vibrato voice and his outlaw country sound influenced by Southern rock. At the height of his popularity in the mid-1970s, Time Magazine described him as the “King of Honkytonk.” He had a series of country chart hits from the mid-to-late 1970s; the biggest was She’s Actin’ Single I’m Drinkin’ Doubles, which topped the U.S. country singles chart in 1975.
Saturday, December 16, 2006, Tubby Smith’s Cats defeated Pitino’s Cards 61-49 in Freedom Hall; both teams were unranked. Jodie Meeks scored 18, and David Padgett had 16 for Louisville. Kentucky now won three Dream Game wins in a row.
December 16, 2009, Steven Troxell, 21, died in Sloans Valley Cave in Tatesville in Pulaski County. Steven died of blunt force trauma, and crews worked for hours to recover the body. According to Pulaski officials, the cave system is one of the longest in the world and is one of the most treacherous caves to explore.
December 16, 2019, Chief Deputy Bobby Wayne Jacobs, Knott County Sheriff’s Office, suffered a fatal heart attack several hours after responding to a barricaded subject who had threatened to kill law enforcement officers.
December 16, 2019, Governor A. Beshear allowed former House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins and at least one other former lawmaker to inflate their legislative pensions as they accepted higher-paying jobs in his administration. Beshear rescinded an executive order made by Governor M. Bevin in his last days of office, aimed at preventing pension spiking.
December 16, 2019, a three-week online auction that offered more than 80 pieces of glass art blown by protégés and friends of Stephen Rolfe Powell ended. All proceeds from the auction benefited the Stephen Rolfe Powell Memorial Fund to ensure that the hot glass program he developed at the Centre College would continue at a high level. The auction featured distinctive pieces inspired by the iconic Maker’s Mark bourbon bottle design.
On a December 16, 2020, phone call between the Center for Disease and Control (CDC) and Rep. Thomas Massie, CDC’s Captain Amanda Cohn agreed with Rep. Massie that people who’ve had coronavirus shouldn’t rush to get vaccinated during a shortage of doses. Massie then alerted Captain Cohn of the CDC’s false claim that vaccines were proven to work for people who’ve had coronavirus. Dr. Cohn, aka Captain, “I think we read that thing so many times that when, you know, we just skipped right over it. We know we can’t be perfect, we know we’re gonna miss things. You will forever after be known in our office as Eagle-Eyed Man.”