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Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Richmond native and Kentucky’s 27th and 37th governor, James B. McCreary, born in 1838.

July 8, 1863, Morgan’s Raiders felt threatened from Indianapolis and dashed across the Ohio River toward Wheeling.  They got captured ten days later.  Kentucky In Retrospect 1792-1967, by Lila Jones Kingston, pg: 33.

July 8, 1896, Sallie Ward, Kentucky’s most vivacious belle of the 19th century, died in her apartment in Louisville’s fashionable Galt House hotel.  Born into one of Kentucky’s most aristocratic families, her father Robert Johnson Ward was Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives, her grandmother was a sister of Vice President Richardson Mentor Johnson, and her uncle, Junius Richard Ward, built and resided in Ward Hall, the grandest Greek Revival mansion in the Commonwealth.

July 8, 1899, Deputy Sheriff James Stubblefield, Clay County Sheriff’s Office, succumbed to a gunshot wound sustained two days earlier while attempting to arrest a man on an outstanding warrant.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Simstown native John Simms “Shipwreck” Kelly, born in 1910.  A legendary football player, he gained his nickname from Alvin “Shipwreck” Kelly, famous for pole-sitting in the 1920s.

Shortly after midnight, on July 8, 1911, James Buckner, an 18-year young black man, became the 1st person to die by a Kentucky sanctioned electrocution.  The electrocutionist, a prison doctor, nearly died as he examined Buckner before the electricity got turned off.  Buckner stabbed to death Police Officer Robey at Lebanon in Marion County.  Robey had investigated a disturbance and arrested Buckner and another lad, Jesse Smith.  The two boys turned on Robey and stabbed him 16 times.  They were quickly re-arrested, taken to jail in Louisville, and kept from a spontaneous lynching.

July 8, 1938, President F. D. Roosevelt visited Covington’s Latonia Race Track during the U.S. Senate primary race.  It was part of the cross-country speaking tour.  He specifically came to throw his support behind Senator Alben W. Barkley, who battled Governor Happy Chandler.  The governor showed up at the airport to greet the President and somehow managed to arrive at the track with the President and Barkley.  Happy lost.  Still, he appointed himself Senator the following year.

July 8, 1946, the state Capitol building started to install new elevators.  Chicago’s Otis Elevator Company received the $20,930 contract to replace the ancient, creaky, old ones.  The new elevator doors had Kentucky’s Great Seal and motto.

July 8, 1950, Army COL Robert R. Martin from Jefferson County died in the Korean War.

July 8, 1951, Army PVT Patrick H. Ford Jr. from Jefferson County died in the Korean War.

July 8, 1953 Army PFC James R. Winston from Christian County died in the Korean War.

July 8, 1956, Happy Chandler, on Meet The Press, told the country that he would support the Democratic nominee for Kentucky governor, even if it were Wetherby.

On July 8, 1960, Governor B. Combs told the press he would launch the much-anticipated program to clean up and beautify Kentucky.  He said it would operate statewide, but the emphasis would be in Eastern Kentucky, where the problem is the largest.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Anchorage native Joan Osborne, born in 1962.

July 8, 1967, Army SSG James L. Cotton Jr. from Oak Grove died in the Vietnam War.

July 8, 1968, Army SGT William R. Hopkins from Pikeville died in the Vietnam War.

July 8, 1969, Army PFC Bobby L. Gentry from Winchester died in the Vietnam War.

July 8, 1970, the U.S. Census Bureau said Kentucky picked up 122,156 residents during the past decade to bring its population to 3,160,312, 4% increase.

July 8, 1976, one of the classic historic attractions in Kentucky, the Pennyroyal Area Museum opened in Hopkinsville.

July 8, 1982, describing it as “probably the most difficult and unexpected decision” of his political career, U.S. Senator Wendell Ford announced he would not seek the Democratic nominee for Governor in 1983.

July 8, 1983, Tommy Thompson from Bardwell caught a state record Chain Pickerel that weighed 5 lbs. and 6 ozs. in Forked Lake in Carlisle County.

July 8, 1986, the SEC charged Ashland Oil Inc. and its former chairman with bribing a foreign official to secure crude oil.  The federal government agreed to drop the charges if Ashland promised not to make any more bribes.  Ashland made the promise.

July 8, 1988, Governor W. Wilkinson declared what may have been the state’s 1st state water emergency due to a drought.

On July 8, 1991, the 42-count federal trial against Breathitt County Sheriff Dean Spencer began in London.  This case had more twists and turns than the average bad cop story.  Spencer’s trial included killer FBI agents, bribery, undercover detectives, pay-offs, and of course drugs.

July 8, 1994, a Frankfort woman, convicted of killing a 13-month-old, walked free aftershock probation.  In 1990, 487 Kentucky inmates were shocked; in 1993, the number swelled to 750 (excluding county/jail).  Shock probation has been a law for 20 years, and many feared it got out of hand.  Kentucky allowed 1,933 in 2022.

On July 8, 1996, the NCAA released final attendance records for the basketball season.  UK not only beat Syracuse for the national championship, but they also dethroned the Orangemen in Division I attendance for the 1st time in 12 years.  Kentucky averaged 23,895 per home game.

July 8, 1997, Estill County locals lined the streets and protested dump trucks loaded with radioactive material from Ashland Oil, Inc.  The trucks were headed for the Blueridge landfill on Hwy Ky 89.  Residents prepared for a real fight if the state allowed all 90,000 tons to be discarded across the street from the middle and high schools.

July 8, 2000, General Express set a world record when he went five furlongs on the turf in :54.60 in the Decathlon Stakes, Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J. hosted.  He eclipsed the mark of :54.97 set by Klassy Briefcase in a Monmouth allowance race on June 8, 1991.

July 8, 2002, William Shatner drove Revival to victory in the Fine Harness Amateur, Gentleman to Drive Class on opening night of the 66th annual Lexington Junior League Horse Show at the Red Mile in Lexington.

July 8, 2008, Army CPL William L. McMillan III, 22, of Lexington, died in Iraq fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

July 8, 2015, the American Veterans Traveling Tribute Vietnam Wall, a 300-foot-long replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., opened at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Sunday, July 8, 2018, Frank Ramsey, 81, the sparkplug of the unbeaten UK team, and the original 6th man of the Celtics, died.  Ramsey teamed with C. Hagan to win 89 of 91 UK games in the early 1950s.

July 8, 2020, Kentucky recorded its 2nd highest daily total for the coronavirus at 371.  As a result, the Courier-Journal printed a front-page editorial urging the governor to mandate masks and he did the next day.

July 8, 2021, President Biden told the world that U.S. Troop withdrawal from Afghanistan “is moving ahead of schedule.”  America’s longest war ended in complete embarrassment for the nation and the Military-Industrial Complex (MIC) on August 26.  Meanwhile, Kentucky’s public health commissioner announced an increase of positive coronavirus cases after two months of declining numbers.  The governor stated the vaccinated need not wear mask indoors but urged the unvaccinated to do so.

July 8, 2022, Knox County Schools banned backpacks for Middle and High School students.  Eric Kennedy, Director of Advocacy for the Kentucky School Boards, said his group was unaware of any other county passing a similar ban.  Knox County said it addressed several safety concerns for them.

Saturday, July 8, 2023, the Alberta O. Jones Park in Louisville held an opening ceremony.  The attorney and civil rights icon became one of the 1st African-American women to pass the Kentucky bar and the 1st woman appointed city attorney in Jefferson County.  Alberta’s life was tragically cut short at 34 years old in 1965.  “This is not just symbolic of a person who fought back then.  This is a reminder that you have to continue that fight today,” Jecorey Arthur, Councilmember District 4.