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.
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 electrocution in Kentucky. The prison doctor, Dr. R. H. Moss, nearly got electrocuted 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 safe from a spontaneous lynching.
July 8, 1938, President F. D. Roosevelt visited Covington’s Latonia Race Track for the senate primary. It was part of the cross country speaking tour where had spoken in Ohio earlier that day. He specifically came to throw his support behind Senator Alben W. Barkley, who battled Happy Chandler. Chandler showed up at the airport to greet the President and somehow managed to arrive at the track with the President and Barkley. Happy lost but was appointed Senator the next year.
July 8, 1946, installation of new elevators began in the state Capitol building. Chicago’s Otis Elevator Company received the $20,930 contract to replace the ancient, creaky, old ones. The new elevator doors had Kentucky’s seal and motto.
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.
July 8, 1965, Kentucky State Police Trooper Delano G. Powell died when he responded to a complaint of a man shooting a shotgun at his residence in Breathitt County. The suspect, who hid in an outbuilding, shot Trooper Powell twice in the chest as he got out of his car. Minutes later he shot and wounded another trooper as he arrived on the scene.
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, 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.
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.
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 at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J. General Express 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.
On July 8, 2019, federal officials arrested Jeffrey Edward Epstein for the sex trafficking of minors in Florida and New York. Flight records obtained in 2016 show Bill Clinton flew 27 times to at least a dozen international locations on Epstein’s jet. In a 2002 New York magazine article, Donald Trump remarked, “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it – Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”
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.