TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Kentucky Trivia ● Kentucky Tweets

On May 14, 1857, a Louisville jury, backed by the judge, found four black men innocent of murder.  A mob ensued immediately, dragged the four men out of jail, shot one of the defendants, and hanged the other three as the crowd cheered insanely.

Thursday, May 14, 1885, Joe Cotton won the 11th Kentucky Derby for owner J.T. Williams, trainer Abraham Perry, and jockey Erskine “Babe” Henderson.  The mile and half ran in 2:37 ¼ over a good track to win $4,630.  Midway native Abraham Perry became the first African-American trainer of a classic race winner mentioned in post-race reports.

Friday, May 14, 1886, Ben Ali won the 12th Kentucky Derby in a record-setting performance in a controversial Derby.  Owner James Ben Ali Haggin could not place a large bet on his winning stallion.  In 1886, C. M. White purchased the pooling privileges (wagering rights) for $30,600 and demanded that all the Derby bookmakers pay him a $100 fee to operate at the track.  The bookmakers refused to pay, so no bookies took high-dollar bets.  News traveled fast on the east coast and other horse racing circuits of Haggin’s ill-treatment in Louisville, causing many horsemen to boycott the Kentucky Derby during the 1890s and early 20th century.  Bookmakers returned for the 1887 Derby, but the damage was done.  The field quality dropped profits reduced dramatically and Churchill Downs faced closure until the track sold to a syndicate led by Matt Winn in 1903.

Monday, May 14, 1888, the gelding Macbeth II won the 14th Kentucky Derby for Chicago Stable, trainer John S. Campbell, and jockey George Covington.  The mile and half went in 2:38 ¼ over a fast track and earned $4,740, in a seven horse field.  Macbeth II was the 3rd of nine geldings to win the roses.

Wednesday, May 14, 1890, Riley won the 16th Kentucky Derby, in a field of six, going a mile and a half in 2:45 over a muddy track.  Fayette County native jockey Isaac Murphy won his 2nd of three Derbies and trainer Edward C. Corrigan won his only one.  The winning connections received $5,460. 

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Pebworth native Earle Bryan Combs, born in 1899 in Owsley County.  Nicknamed the Kentucky Colonel, he played his entire career with the New York Yankees.  

On May 14, 1914, ex-Governor William Bradley announced his intent to retire from politics upon completing his U.S. Senate term due to his general health decline.  Hurrying to board a streetcar following his announcement, Bradley suffered a severe fall, sustaining two broken fingers, head trauma, and internal injuries.  He died nine days later.

May 14, 1919, Patrolman John T. Collopy, Lexington Police Department, died after being struck by a vehicle on Walnut Street as he and another officer attempted to stop it for driving without headlights.

May 14, 1919, the 44th Preakness hosted the Derby winner for the first time.  The Derby ran four days earlier.  The $25,000 Preakness purse paid better than the Derby.  Sir Barton won easily in a full field and then won the Belmont on June 11 over two others, winning the Triple Crown before the term existed.

May 14, 1924, the Kentucky Horse Show opened in Louisville, the Democratic State Convention adjourned in Lexington, and women met in Crab Orchard to discuss the Commonwealth politics in their annual meeting.

May 14, 1927, Whiskery won the 53rd Kentucky Derby by a nose in 2:06 over a slow track, in a field of 15.  Harry Payne Whitney won the Derby with his first starter, Regret, in 1915, and 12 years later with his last, Whiskery.  Unfortunately, he left Churchill Downs with a bad cold and did not see the race.  Winning trainer Fred Hopkins also won the Preakness, ran five days earlier with Bostonian.  Hall of Fame jockey Linus “Pony” McAtee won his first of two Derbies.  The winning connections split $51,000.

May 14, 1931, striking miners reached 5,800 following the Battle of Evarts, leaving barely 900 working miners in the region.  The violence in Evarts continued to motivate the miners to fight for better working conditions.  

May 14, 1947, Jessamine County Sheriff Harvey Partin, left, and Nicholasville Police Chief Carl Bruner examined parts of a confiscated 50-gallon moonshine still.

May 14, 1951, a Covington jury warned city officials to make sure slot machines did not return to the city, or there would be consequences.

May 14, 1952, V.P. A. Barkley, orating at a steelworkers convention in Philadelphia, received a cup of water from a union leader.  The V.P. paused, pushed the cup of water to the podium’s edge, turned to the man, and said, Thank you, my friend, that’s very kind and thoughtful of you, but I am from Kentucky.”

May 14, 1968, Army SP4 Michael Lynch from Louisville died in the Vietnam War.

May 14, 1969, Army SP4 Joe E. Bragg from Lawrenceburg from Anderson County, Marine Corps LCPL Floyd J. Parks from Owensboro, and Marine Corps James B. Smith from Louisville, all died in the Vietnam War.

May 14, 1970, Army 1LT William J. Brewer from Erlanger in Kenton County and Army CPL James Portwood, Jr. from Lexington, died in the Vietnam War.  

May 14, 1971, Army CPL Phillip S. Glass from Mt. Eden in Spencer County died in the Vietnam War.

On May 14, 1988, the Carrollton bus collision occurred on I-71 in Carroll County.  Going the wrong way, an impaired driver collided head-on with a church youth group bus.  It was the deadliest drunk driving incident in U.S. history.  Of the 67 people on the bus, 27 died.  This is the same number of deaths as the 1958 Prestonsburg bus disaster.  In the aftermath of the disaster, several family members became active leaders of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).  One mother, Karolyn Nunnallee, later became the national president of the organization.

May 14, 2004, Army SGT James W. Harlan, 44, of Owensboro, died in Iraq, when a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb next to his vehicle fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

May 14, 2013, Detective Bobby W. Branham, Louisville Metro Police Department, succumbed to complications of a gunshot wounds sustained 41 years earlier in the 300 block of East Oak Street.

May 14, 2014, Police Officer Charles David Howley, Oldham County Police Department, died one day after being exposed to refrigerant while searching a daycare center following reports of smoke in the building.

On May 14, 2016, 90-year-old Dale Faughn cemented his status as the oldest regular blood donor.  Mr. Faughn, from Madisonville, has donated 254 units of whole blood, according to Guinness World Records.

May 14, 2016, Louisville native Dean Kiekhefer broke into the big leagues for the St. Louis Cardinals.

May 14, 2019, Amazon broke ground in Hebron for a new Air Hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.  

Kentucky Trivia:  Amazon first set roots in Kentucky in 1999 when it opened two fulfillment centers.  Today, Kentucky is home to 14 Amazon fulfillment and sortation centers, one customer service center and two Whole Foods Market stores.  Amazon has invested more than $8 billion in the state and created more than 12,500 full-time jobs.

May 14, 2020, former Kentucky First Lady, Phyllis George Brown died.

May 14, 2021, Governor A. Beshear announced Kentucky would return to total capacity everywhere and fully on June 11, 2021.  It would have been sooner, but the governor wanted to wait till more adolescents received vaccinations.