TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Kentucky Trivia ● Kentucky Tweets

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to John James Audubon, born in 1785.

aPRIL 26 800px John James Audubon 001

Happy Birthday to Madison County native Fiddlin’ Doc Roberts, born in 1897. 

April 26, 1911, Deputy Jailer Edward O’Banon, Hopkins County Jail, succumbed to a head injury sustained the previous day when an inmate attacked him with a shovel during an escape attempt in Madisonville.

April 26, 1927, Taylor’s Kentucky Boys recorded “Forked Deer.”  Dennis W. Taylor, a farmer and talent scout for the Starr Piano Company in Kentucky, came up with the band’s name.  Taylor also introduced Fiddlin’ Doc Roberts, Welby Toomey, and Red Foley to the record business.

April 26, 1937, Deputy Town Marshal Willie Smith, Manchester Police Department, died while attempting to take a subject into custody for a competency hearing.  He had gone to the man’s home with two Sheriff’s Deputies but was ambushed when the subject stepped from behind a tree and opened fire with a shotgun.

April 26, 1944, Skytracer wins the Blue Grass Stakes held at Churchill Downs.

April 26, 1948, Marie “The Body” McDonald, right, with Mrs. Danny Bordett, arrived at Lexington’s Blue Grass Field.  She was en route to visit relatives in Burgin, her hometown.  McDonald was born Cora Marie Frye.

April 26, 1950, Deputy Sheriff George Puckett, Perry County Sheriff’s Office, died when he went to investigate the shooting of a dog in the Buckhorn area of the county.  Unbeknownst to Deputy Puckett, the man who killed the dog went to a neighbor’s home and told the occupant he was going to shoot Deputy Puckett.

April 26, 1950, Campbell County Chief of Police announced that gambling places everywhere “will be closed from now on.”  The Newport City Manager demanded a complete shutdown of all gambling operations the day before.  The better-known clubs included; Beverly Hills Country Club, Latin Quarter, Club 19, Club Manana, and Club Flamingo.  It was an end to a wild era.

April 26, 1951, for the only time, the Blue Grass Stakes is run in two divisions.  Mameluke wins the first; Ruhe takes the second.

April 26, 1961, the NBA Chicago Packers drafted Vanceburg native Ralph E. Davis Jr.  For the 1961–62 season he posted career-high averages of 10.4 points, 3.2 assists, and 2.1 rebounds per game.

April 26, 1968, Army SP4 Billy R. Foster from Monticello in Wayne County, Army SGT Danny E. Hereau from Louisville, and Army SP5 Michael P. Stiles from Raywick in Marion County, all died in the Vietnam War.

April 26, 1974, the Kentucky State Racing Commission ended speculation that the Kentucky Derby might split into two heats.  Governor Ford confirmed he would approve the decision.  Thirty-one horses were ready to enter, but Churchill would only accommodate twenty-six.  Twenty-three sprang from the gate on May 4.

April 26, 1977, Lieutenant Willis Durwood Martin, Kentucky State Police, died when his department vehicle was struck head on by a 21-year-old driver.

April 26, 1979, Spectacular Bid wins the Blue Grass Stakes and pays $2.10 to win. It is the smallest mutuel payoff for a $2 win ticket in track history.  He wins the Kentucky Derby next.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Campbellsville native John Bradley “J.B.” Holmes, born in 1982.  J.B. has won five PGA Tournaments to date.

April 26, 1984, Brownell Combs II, President of Spendthrift Farm, sent letters to the 17 Directors of Churchill Downs informing them of his firm’s intent to buy a controlling interest in the historic track.  In the letter, he offered $100 per share.

April 26, 1994, the FBI rewarded John W. “Jay” Spurrier III, the man who made their BOBTROT investigation a success.  His sentence included two years probation, six months home dentition, and a $2,000 fine.  His crime: conspiracy to commit extortion, and derive citizens of the honest services of a public official.  He was facing 41 months in jail and a $175,000 fine.

April 26, 1999 Churchill Downs Incorporated purchased Calder Race Course in Miami.

April 26, 2002, Shane Ragland was sentenced to 30 years in prison.  The conviction was later overturned on November 17, 2004.  He then pleaded guilty to manslaughter on August 26, 2007, and sentenced to time served.  He almost got away with murder if he didn’t tell his girlfriend, in the Bluegrass Airport, one day in the year 2000.

April 26, 2003, seven hundred and fifty-seven runners took to the streets for the second running of the Derby Festival Marathon.

April 26, 2004, jockeys riding in the upcoming Derby went to court to overturn a state law; their goal, wear advertising on their pants.  Shane Sellers, Jerry Bailey, and Jose Santos appeared in a Louisville federal court to testify that they had opportunities to make $100,000 on Derby day if the state allowed them the opportunity.  Three days later a federal judge sided with the jocks.

April 26, 2009, Churchill Downs unveiled a bronze statue of Barbaro, the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner; in front of gate one, next to the museum.

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April 26, 2011, for the first time in U.S. history, American women passed men in gaining advanced college degrees and bachelor’s degrees, a trend that defines who goes to work and who stays home to tend with family.

April 26, 2013, Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey broke Calumet Farm’s 1941 record for number of winners during a meet.  The husband and wife team won 25 races during 16 days of racing, shattering Calumet’s 12 wins during 11 days.

April 26, 2015, Santa Anita hosts the GIII $100,250 Wilshire Stakes for fillies and mares three-years-old and upward.  A Keeneland graduate wins a three-way photo finish.

April 26, 2016, the state board, restocked with Governor Bevin’s appointees, quickly approved the long-sought-after tax incentives worth up to $18 million for Noah’s Ark Theme Park.  The attraction opened later that summer.

April 26, 2019, Navy Fireman 3rd Class Willard “William” Irvin Lawson’s body arrived in Kentucky for a final burial near his Milton hometown.  In 2015, the military began exhuming veterans’ bodies for DNA killed aboard the USS Oklahoma during the Pearl Harbor attack.

April 26, 2020, the governor announced 308 people were in the hospital due to the deadly virus and 166 of those in ICU.  Over 4,000 had tested positive and 208 were dead.  Kentuckians stayed away from emergency rooms, off the roads, and isolated.  The global death toll surpassed 200,000.

April 26, 2021, the DOJ started an investigation into the Louisville Police Department concerning a pattern or practice of violations of the Constitution of federal law.  They focused on officers using force on peaceful protestors, search warrants, and traffic stops.  In addition, Governor A. Beshear, told Kentuckians they no longer had to wear masks around others if they were outside at events with fewer than 1,000 persons.

April 26, 2021, Alan Cooper from Morgantown caught a state record Freshwater Drum in Dale Hollow Lake weighing 42 lbs., 13 ozs.

April 26 Freshwaterdrum
Drawing by Dunana Raver