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July 4, 1777, Fort Boonesborough endured its 3rd and most serious attack.  With a force of 200 warriors, British Chief Black Fish surrounded the fort.  Encouraged by British agents and still smarting from his failure to destroy Fort Boonesborough by his previous attempts, Chief Black Fish had laid careful plans to destroy or capture the settlement.  The attack continued for two days and nights; however, Daniel Boone and his garrison forewarned the settlement well in advance.  On the morning of July 6, discouraged by their failure, they withdrew before daylight, burned the crops, and took their seven dead and several wounded warriors.  The garrison had two injuries and lost one man.

July 4, 1788, in Thomas Young’s tavern, Lexington men remembered the revolution that had named their city in the “1st regular and formal celebration” of independence; they drank 14 toasts at dinner.

July 4, 1794, Col. William Price, a Revolutionary War veteran, held one of the 1st known Independence Day celebrations west of the Alleghenies.  A historical marker in Jessamine County commemorates the event where 40 veterans dined to celebrate the “glorious birthday of our freedom.”

July 4, 1819, Woodford County native Robert Crittenden became the 1st acting governor of the Arkansas Territory, while President Monroe attended Dunlap’s Fourth of July festival in Lexington.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Stephen Collins Foster, born in 1826, in Pennsylvania, another Commonwealth.

On July 4, 1834, Governor J. Morehead hosted Kentucky’s 1st National Republican/Whig Party convention in Frankfort.  Kentuckians flocked to the “new” party en masse, and the legislative elections of August 1834 saw the party garner majorities in both houses of the state legislature.

After attending the Washington Monument dedication on July 4, 1850, President Z. Taylor returned to the White House hungry for a snack.  He ate some raw vegetables, fruit — probably cherries — and drank some iced milk and water.  Soon after, he complained of severe stomach cramps.  Over the next four days, he became violently ill with a high fever, chest pains, diarrhea, vomiting, and dehydration.  Taylor died on July 9 despite — or because of — ingesting prescribed doses of opium, quinine and calomel, a mercury compound. 

On July 4, 1857, locals solemnly laid the cornerstone of The Great Compromiser’s monument.  The cemetery only allowed the Clay family carriage to meander through the enormous crowd.  Four years and $58,000 later, the Henry Clay Monument Association completed the arrangements.

July 4, 1862, Confederate Colonel John Hunt Morgan, with 876 men, left Knoxville to begin his raids in Kentucky-held Union lands.

July 4, 1863, Morgan’s Raiders again met up with Union troops in Tebb’s Bend near the Green River in Taylor’s County.  It did not go well for the Raiders.

July 4, 1895, Patrolman Edward Byrnes, Louisville Police Department, died arresting a man near a tavern at the 400 block of Roselane Street.  He and several other officers attempted to clear a corner of loitering men when one opened fire.

July 4, 1896, Town Marshal Hence H. Harmon, Adairville Police Department, died from a gunshot while attempting to arrest a man who had been drinking.

July 4, 1907, Deputy Sheriff Andy Downs, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, died as he attempted to arrest a man suspected of running an illegal drinking establishment.  The suspect opened fire on him with a handgun, fatally wounding him.  Deputy Downs succumbed to his injury on the scene.

July 3, 1917, the U.S. Navy acquired the Sachem shortly after the nation entered World War I and placed it into service as a coastal patrol yacht.  The Navy later loaned it to Thomas Edison, who conducted government-funded anti-submarine Warfare 3 and ocean communication experiments on it in the Caribbean.

July 4, 1921, Patrolman Doc Lefler, Ashland Police Department, died as he and other officers attempted to arrest a man for assaulting his wife.  As Officer Lefler led the suspect away from the house, he stopped to wait for the other officers, releasing his hold on the suspect.  The suspect pulled a gun from his pocket and shot Officer Lefler multiple times at close range.  The two officers fired back but he suspect escaped.

July 4, 1939, flash floods in Eastern Kentucky killed 79 people, including 52 in Breathitt, 25 in Rowan, and two in Lewis.

July 4, 1951, Marine Corps SSGT James B. Sutton, Jr. from Proctor in Lee County died in the Korean War.

July 4, 1952, Army PFC Harold L. Watson from Jefferson County died in the Korean War.

July 4, 1954, two-year-old Ribot won his 1st race, the Premio Tramuschio. He concluded his career in 1956 with 16 wins in as many starts.

July 4, 1961, the Zachary Taylor House in Louisville was made a National Historic Landmark.

Bedford at English Wikipedia

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Louisville native Lee Reherman, born in 1966.  Lee acted in television, film, and hosted television reality shows.

July 4, 1969, Army SP4 Raymond L. Pirrman from Louisville and Army SP4 Floyd Watts from Watss in Breathitt County, died in the Vietnam War.

July 4, 1970, Army SGT William C. Ray from De Mossville in Pendleton County died in the Vietnam War.

On Sunday, July 4 1971, in a CDC interview, locals learned the U.S. Venereal Disease (VD) was the worst in two decades and approaching the highest level in history.  Kentucky reported the highest increase in VD cases in 25-years: gonorrhea (5,825) and syphilis (298).  In 2022, Kentucky reported gonorrhea (6,820) and syphilis (670).

July 4, 1972, two-year-old Secretariat, ridden by Paul Feliciano, ran 4th to Herbull in his racing debut.  He got blocked badly throughout the race on the Aqueduct oval, finishing his worst ever.

July 4, 1974, during Miles Park’s last full year of racing and also known as Smiles Park by its loyal patrons, stewards posted the wrong horse’s number as the winner in a photo finish.  After a stewards’ hearing the next morning, the track fined the three men $100 and suspended them the final week of the meet.  One Judge appealed his sanction to the Kentucky State Racing Commission and went to his grave, insisting that he posted the right horse.

July 4, 1976, Charlie Whittingham swept the top three spots in the American Handicap at Hollywood Park with King Pellinore, Riot in Paris, and Caucasus.  Twenty-two days later, he did it again, in the Sunset Handicap, with the same three horses but in a different order.

July 4, 1977, Lexington’s 1st Fourth of July 10,000-meter race, later known as the Bluegrass 10,000, ran.  Swag Hartel of Louisville won in 31 minutes, 36 seconds.  Despite the 83 degrees, all 465 runners finished the race.

July 4, 1978, trainer D. Wayne Lukas won his 1st $100,000 stakes race over the turf in the American Handicap with Effervescing, ridden by Laffit Pincay Jr., at Hollywood Park.

On July 4, 1996, Vic Scoggin completed a 696-mile swim in 65 days.  He possibly became the 1st person to swim the entire Cumberland River.  He protested and raised awareness about the river’s pollution.  His trip took him from Harlan to Smithland.

July 4, 2000, Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze scored his 7,000th career victory aboard This Is the Moment at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, CA.  Baze became the 6th jockey to join the 7,000-win club.

July 4, 2004, Louisville native Chris Burke made his MLB debut with the Houston Astros.

On July 4, 2016, Julian Assange released over 1,200 Hillary Clinton emails from her private servers with news reports or information written or received promoting the Iraq War as the top diplomat in the U.S. State Department.  Many say this data release caused Clinton lose the primary race to Obama, who bombed more countries than any other president.

July 4, 2018, thousands of bourbon barrels toppled to the ground in the collapse of the 2nd half of a Barton 1792 distillery warehouse in Bardstown.  According to the state Energy and Environment Cabinet, two retention ponds constructed after the 1st collapse of the structure captured 120,000 gallons.  The 1st collapse happened on June 22.

On July 4, 2019, President D. Trump rolled out the military hardware during a “Salute To America” parade that included fireworks, tanks, a fly-over, Air Force One, and a presidential speech.  Code Pink erected a 20-foot-tall “Trump Baby” that hoovered over, to mock the moronic festivities.  Meanwhile, the Woodford County Jim Beam warehouse still burned from when it started four days earlier.

July 4, 2020, the Lexington Herald-Leader (corporate-owned) ran a front-page story to scare the locals, “More young Kentuckians are catching coronavirus.  The economy had opened in May, and “spikes” caused concern among the nervous.  The paper reminded its readers that the young were not dying or getting hospitalized, but they carried the virus and needed to be careful. 

July 4, 2021, Leslie County leaders announced that Frontier Nursing University had donated 253 acres and several buildings at Wendover to a community development organization.  The donation included the “Big House” that Mary Breckinridge — who founded what became Frontier Nursing — had built on a steep hill overlooking the Middle Fork of the Kentucky River in 1925.  Unfortunately, the school relocated to Woodford County.

On July 4, 2022, Wilmore’s Lawnmower Brigade appeared at the city’s Fourth of July parade.  “We tell people you need to have a sense of humor, a mower, and a little bit of coordination,” said Daryl Diddle, co-captain of the brigade.  “But all you really need is a sense of humor.”  This year, the youngest member was 13 years old, while the oldest were in their 70s, with every age in between.  Some members have been with the brigade for almost three decades.

July 4, 2023, candidate AG D. Cameron drew ire from Thomas Massie for committing to a Northern Kentucky rally hosted by Eric Deters.  Massie told the press, “Whoever is advising Daniel Cameron to attend is guilty of political malpractice.”  Freedom Fest touted Big Cam as the special guest and D. Trump as the main attraction, but the rally never materialized.  After listening to Massie, Cameron backed out days later, and then Trump canceled.