TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Kentucky Trivia ● Kentucky Tweets

April 1, 1775, Daniel Boone and his axmen arrived in the area near present-day Fort Boonesborough.  They made a preliminary campsite at Sycamore Hollow, near the Kentucky River shore.  When Richard Henderson arrived several weeks later, the early settlers decided to move to higher ground due to Native American concerns.

April 1, 1803, the first piano was brought to Kentucky by Maj. Val Peers.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Munfordville native Simon Bolivar Buckner, born in 1823.  Simon was our 30th governor who fought in the Mexican-American War and Civil War as a Confederate.  He spent much of his term trying to curb violence in the Eastern Kentucky. 

April 1, 1854, the “Great State Post Stakes” ran at the famous Metairie Course.  The race would pit representatives of the states against each other.  Designated parties would select one horse to fly their state’s flag for a pricey $5,000 entry fee in four-mile heats.  This presented a twist on the North-South match-ups that had become a feature of the racing landscape.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Lexington native Sophonisba Preston Breckinridge, born in1866.  She was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in political science and economics and then a J.D. at the University of Chicago.  She was also the first woman to pass the Kentucky bar.  In 1933, President F. D. Roosevelt sent her as a delegate to the 7th Pan-American Conference in Uruguay, making her the first woman to represent the U.S. government at an international conference.

April 1, 1872, the Newport Southbank Bridge – popularly known as “The Purple People Bridge” opened seven years after the end of the Civil War.  It was the first railroad bridge spanning the Ohio River between Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

March 31 bridge
By Charles Waldack before its 1897 Reconstruction
March 31 px Purplepeople
By Greg Hume in 2006

Tuesday, April 1, 1890, around 2,000 people attended opening day at Benning Racetrack, Washington, D.C.  John Madden, “the Wizard of the Turf,” loved the track, and brought as many as 36 horses at a time.  Congressmen were said to frequent the track often.  However, a Tennessee congressman carried a bill through Congress to prohibit racetrack gambling in the nation’s capital.  A Kentucky congressman lectured Sims on moral reforms, “Your innocent little amendment to a road bill destroyed the Benning.”  The anti-racing sentiment started in N.Y. and spread across the U.S.  Other tracks reopened once the laws lightened, but Benning never did.  The last race was April 12, 1908.  The grandstand burned down in 1915.

April 1 benning real
National Photo Company Collection at the Library of Congress

Monday, April 1, 1901, Corporal Fred J. Richterkessing, Louisville Police Department, was killed by one of his subordinate police officers whom he had written up several times for not being at his post.  The officer was sentenced to life in prison.

April 1, 1907, Spring Station native Joseph Clay Stiles Blackburn was appointed Military Governor of the Panama Zone Canal by President Theodore Roosevelt.  Blackburn had served as a U.S. Senator for Kentucky.  Spring Station is located in Woodford County. 

April 1, 1908, Cumberland County native Edwin Lee Norris became the 5th governor of Montana.  

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Munfordville native Thelma Loyace Stovall, Kentucky’s first female Lt. Governor born in 1919.

Kentucky Trivia:  There have been four women serve as Kentucky Lt. Governor:  Stovall, Collins, Hampton and Coleman.  Stovall and Collins served back to back as did Hampton and Coleman.  

April 1, 1924, Patrolman Ralph L. Croxton, Louisville Police Department, died when a man he arrested previously killed him.  The suspect confronted Patrolman Croxton near a soft drink stand, a heated argument ensued and the suspect pulled a pistol and killed Patrolman Croxton.

April 1, 1924, Chief of Police James V. Gross, Lynch Police Department, died while investigating the sounds of gunshots at a coal camp in Lynch.

April 1, 1936, Town Marshal Wallace Van Fleet, Lebanon Junction Police Department, was killed by a man when he responded to a disturbance call.  The suspect was executed in the electric chair in 1937.

April 1, 1939, a newly completed 32-stall barn increased Keeneland’s capacity to approximately 530 stalls.

April 1, 1965, Governor Simeon Slavens Willis died.  Kentucky’s 46th governor wanted to eliminate the state income tax, which helped sweep him into power.

April 1, 1968, Army SP4 Ronnie Mills from Flat Lick in Knox County died in the Vietnam War.

April 1, 1972, Muhammad Ali (35-1) fought Mac Foster (28-1) in Nippon Budokan, Tokyo.  This was the first major prizefight held in Asia.  Foster was a former Ali sparring partner.  Ali weighed in at 226, one pound under his heaviest to date.  Ali won the 15-rounder but in disappointing fashion.  Many doubted he would find the form needed to regain the title.

April 1, 1985, Lexington’s Rupp Arena hosted the NCAA Championship game, becoming the smallest city to do so since its inception in 1939.  Villanova wins in a major upset over Georgetown College.

April 1, 1996, Tony Delk tied a championship game record seven 3-pointers as UK won their 6th NCAA National Title before a Meadowlands capacity crowd of 19,229.  Delk, received the Final Four MVP and Antoine Walker helped led “The Untouchables,” a name given by Coach Pitino.  Kentucky strung together 25 consecutive wins, including a 16-0 mark in SEC play, to give Rick Pitino his only title.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Kentucky bred Zenyatta, born in 2004.

April 1, 2007, Army SPC William G. Bowling, 24, of Beattyville, died in Baghdad fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

April 1, 2008, Constable Joe E. Howard, Sr., Harlan County Constable’s Office, suffered a fatal heart attack shortly after restraining and arresting a suspect wanted on an outstanding warrant.

April 1, 2009, John Calipari is named Kentucky’s new head basketball coach.

On April 1, 2010, Shelbyville native Brandon Ashur started his YouTube channel Bashurverse.  He garnered 1.58 million followers before he died of the coronavirus at age 36 in 2021.

April 1, 2017, Gulfstream Park’s GI $1,000,000 Florida Derby is won by a Keeneland graduate.

On April 1, 2020, Governor A. Beshear reported 93 new cases and two deaths from coronavirus for totals of 687 and 20, respectively.  As Kentucky small businesses shut down, workers begin to struggle to pay bills.  The California governor goes live to say there is no need to wear masks, so do not take them from first responders.  But, two days later, it would all change when the Surgeon General issued mask guidelines.

On April 1, 2021, the General Assembly decided how to spend the remainder of their $2.4 billion from the federal government’s stimulus check; they had only allocated $1.3 billion to date.  The day before, President Biden declared 44 counties emergency disaster areas from landslides, mudslides, and ice storms that swept across the Commonwealth in mid-February.