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July 1, 1774, Thomas Hanson captured the essence of Bluegrass Country in his journal entry describing Elkhorn Creek: “All the land we passed over today is like a Paradise it is so good & beautiful.

On July 1, 1819, President James Monroe, accompanied by General Andrew Jackson, visited Scott County and stayed with Richard M. Johnson, a prominent local figure.  He became the 1st sitting chief executive to visit Central Kentucky.  The entourage, touring the states, visited Lexington next.

July 1, 1846, the murder trial of Isaac Lafayette Shelby opened in Lexington.  Henry Clay, 69, defended the grandson of Kentucky’s 1st governor.  Locals indicted the young Shelby for shooting dead Henry M. Horine in front of the Phoenix Hotel, both were drunk.  As a criminal defense attorney, Clay won every criminal case he tried for more than 30 years.

July 1, 1869, Police Officer John O’Connell, Louisville Police Department, died accidentally by a gunshot by other officers who mistook him for a burglary suspect.

On July 1, 1881, after learning the ropes of her trade from Jennie for over a year and a half, Belle Breezing set the wheels in motion to strike out on her own.  Madame Belle Brezing by Buddy Thompson pg: 43

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Rockcastle native and Renfro Valley founder, John Lair, born in 1894.

July 1, 1901, Delmar Thoroughbred Race Track opened outside St. Louis, MO.

July 1, 1921, Jack Dempsey defeated Georges Carpentier in the “Fight of the Century” in at Boyle’s Thirty Acres in Jersey City, NJ.

July 1, 1938, the massive job of building the Kentucky Dam began.  It took six years from ground breaking until the reservoir started filling on August 30, 1944.  At the peak of construction, TVA had nearly 5,000 men at work.

July 1, 1939, Clay Puett, standing above Lansdowne Park’s muddy track in Vancouver, took a deep breath.  He then pressed a button that sprang open 12 steel doors simultaneously and thereby changed horse racing forever.  This marked the 1st time Thoroughbred racing used an electric starting gate.

On July 1, 1945, Bert Combs traveled to the Philippine Islands as chief of the War Crimes Investigating Department (WCID).  Under General Douglas MacArthur, he conducted tribunals for the Japanese War.  Eleven years later, he became Kentucky’s 50th governor.

July 1, 1948, the Kentucky State Police began.  It arose from the Kentucky Highway Patrol, which in 1936 had been organized as a division of the Department of Highways.  The Kentucky Encyclopedia edited by John E. Kleber; pg: 513

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Ashland native Terrence Mann, born in 1951.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Ashland native Jackie Keith Whitley, born in 1954.  The musician grew up 46 miles away in Sandy Hook and attended the high school.  Whitley formed his 1st band at age 13, playing nothing but straight bluegrass.  A few years later, he formed the Lonesome Mountain Boys with high school friend Ricky Skaggs.

Kentucky’s version of the Uniform Commission Code took effect on July 1, 1959.  The law passed in 1958 without a dissenting vote, a rare occurrence in Frankfort.  Kentucky became the third state to adopt the uniform rules that aid interstate commerce; the code is still in use today.

July 1, 1960, Eastern Kentucky University hired its 1st alum as President.  Robert R. Martin led his alma mater into a period of unparalleled growth using state and federal funds.  The Kentucky Encyclopedia edited by John E. Kleber; pg: 279

July 1, 1962, Hugh G. Randall, 28, from Louisville, died when his car wheel caught a rut, vaulted end over end, and landed upside-down.  Earlier in the day, he arrived at Langhorne Speedway in Pennsylvania, attempting to make his Championship debut.  His #46 entry failed to qualify, but he stayed around for the race, trying to serve as a substitute or relief driver.  The #63 Vargo Special started the day with Bob Mathouser, who pulled in after 60 laps due to poor handling.  Elmer George then got in the car and drove seventeen laps but was also dissatisfied with the car’s handling.  That led Randall to attempt to take over the reins.  The wreck took place on his 3rd lap.  The Vargo Special car that Randall died in was also where Dick Linder and Van Johnson had been killed in racing crashes.  Randall rests in Resthaven Memorial Cemetery in Louisville.

July 1, 1966, jockey Laffit Pincay Jr., won his 1st mount in the U.S., at Arlington Park, aboard two-year-old filly Teachers Art, owned and bred by Fred W. Hooper.

July 1, 1968, Army PFC August F. Bolt from Louisville and Army SSG Edgar Godbey from Liberty in Casey County died in the Vietnam War.

July 1, 1972, Riva Ridge turned back the best three-year-olds the West Coast could offer in the $109,000 Hollywood Derby by a neck.  The Virginia bred earned $59,000 for total earnings of $862,150, making him the wealthiest active thoroughbred at the time.

July 1, 1980, the Kentucky Marijuana Association (KMA), a local group that favors the plant’s legalization, won Operation Lex-Clean, a countywide anti-litter contest sponsored by seven local businesses.  KMA earned $1,000 for picking up the most trash, 434 bags.

July 1, 1990, Fayette County mandated drivers to wear seat belts.

On July 1, 1997, Kentucky executed its 1st inmate in thirty-five years.  A 44-year-old murdered Rebecca O’ Hearn in 1981, a convenience store clerk, during a robbery that netted him $1,500.  The convict died by electrocution at 12:07 a.m.  Over one hundred death penalty opponents and twenty-five supporters of capital punishment protested outside the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville on Lake Cumberland.

July 1, 2003, Lexington, the heart of burley tobacco country, became the 1st Kentucky city to approve a smoking ban for nearly all public places.

July 1, 2010, Appalachian News-Express editor Jerry Boggs turned the other cheek and decided not to press charges against Pikeville Mayor Frank Justice II for punching him in the face.  The mayor, who didn’t like an article, apologized.  The two men worked it out like men.  Meanwhile, Lexington unveiled its new $3.7 million recycling machine.

On July 1, 2013, the federal government fined UofL Hospital $2.8 million for illegally billing Medicare, while Jefferson County schools began strictly enforcing “no tobacco” on all its properties.  Lastly, Secretary of State Alison Grimes announced her run for McConnell’s Senate seat.  Her father received a prison sentence for his campaign activities.

On July 1, 2014, a federal judge knocked down Governor S. Beshear’s case against gay marriage.  The following day, Steve doubled down and claimed same-sex marriages threatened the state’s birthrate and economic development.  The governor’s critics ridiculed his point as “absurd” and “irrational.”

July 1, 2018, Kentucky’s 6% sales tax began.  It marked the 1st time non-profits services paid Uncle Sam; the Y.M.C.A. had to pony up.

On July 1, 2020, as a brown bear wandered around UK’s campus, Kentucky reported deaths of 54, 63, 86, 88, 89, 94, and 97-year-olds, a total of 527 deaths from coronavirus.  Governor A. Beshear, “We got to keep these case numbers under control.  We can’t let our guard down when the invisible enemy is out there.”  Lexington Mayor Gorton said at a news conference, “People are not masking.  Wear a mask.”  They never found the bear.

On July 1, 2023, Koffi Akakpo began his role as Kentucky University’s President.  Akakpo was the current president and CEO at Bluegrass Community and Technical College in Lexington.  He previously held positions at North Central State College and Central State University, a historically Black university in Ohio.