TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Kentucky Trivia ● Kentucky Tweets

May 19, 1840, John Adair, Kentucky’s 8th governor (1820-24), died.  Kentucky historian Lowell H. Harrison opined that creating the Bank of the Commonwealth in 1820 was the most important measure implemented during his administration.  The bank made generous loans and liberally issued paper money.  The legislature revoked its license in 1823.

On May 19, 1865, Canadians arrested the future governor of Kentucky, 48-year-old Luke Pryor Blackburn, for conspiracy to kill President Lincoln by Yellow Fever.  Blackburn retreated to Montreal at the time to lessen the heat of the Yellow Fever plot.  Allegedly, Blackburn sent contaminated clothing to Lincoln.  Blackburn became Kentucky’s 28th governor in 1879 at age 63.

Wednesday, May 19, 1875, the 1st Kentucky Oaks ran at the Louisville Jockey Club, later known as Churchill Downs.  Vinaigrette won the 1 ½ mile race in 2:39¾, winning $1,175.  The Oaks and the Derby are the oldest continuously contested sporting events in American history and the only horse races held at their original site since their conception.

Thursday, May 19, 1894, the 19th Preakness made its return at a new track and a new distance.  The Brooklyn Jockey Club’s Gravesend Course hosted the 1 1/16 mile test.  Assignee went in 1:49 1/4 at odds of 4-1.  The colt by Spendthrift earned $1,830 for the Keene family.

May 19, 1919, Augustus O. Stanley, the 38th Kentucky governor, resigned and James D. Black, Kentucky’s 39th governor, took office.  Stanley left to become Kentucky’s 26th Class II Senator.  Governor Black served for seven months and devoted his term to education.  He had served as superintendent of the Knox County public schools for two years and was instrumental in the founding of Union College in Barbourville.

May 19, 1923, Zev won the 49th Kentucky Derby for Harry Sinclair’s Rancocas Farm and trainer David J. Leary.  Jockey Earl Sande won his 1st of three Derbies in 2:05.2/5, and earned $53,000.  John E. Madden bred the Kentucky colt.  Harry Sinclair named Zev after his lawyer; however, Colonel J.W. Zevely could not keep Harry, one of the wealthiest men in America, out of jail over the infamous Teapot Dome scandal that erupted during the Derby.

May 19, 1928, Reigh Count won the 54th Kentucky Derby for Fannie Hertz.  Her husband founded the Yellow Cab Company in Chicago in 1915 and later the Hertz Corporation.  Trainer Bert S. Michell and jockey Chick Lang brought the colt home in 2:06 to win $55,375 for the connections.

Kentucky Trivia:  John E. Madden named his Lexington breeding farm Hamburg Place in honor of the horse that funded the acquisition.  John bought Hamburg for $1,200, won $38,595 and sold him for $40,001.  Mr. Madden used these winnings and profits and bought 235 acres from the family of Lucretia Hart, who married Henry Clay, Sr., that farm was called Overton Farm.  Hamburg would grow to 2,000 acres.

May 19, 1937, Henderson raised the first electrical pole for the first rural electric cooperative in Kentucky.  Kentucky Governor A. B. “Happy” Chandler, a Henderson native, was essential in securing rural electric power for the Bluegrass State during his time in office.

May 19, 1951, Army SGT Virgil Bach from Breathitt County, Army PFC James A. Bailey from Campbell County, and Army PFC Harold D. Branham from Pike County, died in the Korean War.

May 19, 1953, Trooper Lee Trebu Huffman, Kentucky State Police, died after being struck by a vehicle.  He had just exited his police vehicle to help accident victims when struck by a car.

May 19, 1956, watch the 81st Preakness Stakes.

On May 19, 1962, Muhammad Ali (14-0) fought Billy Daniels (16-0) in St. Nicholas Arena, New York.  Rated 10th in the world, Daniels had decent punching power and came into the fight undefeated.  Ring Magazine featured the two young unbeaten contenders on the front cover.  Unfortunately, the cut Daniels received in the second round caused the fight to be stopped in the seventh.

On May 19, 1962, Kentucky established the 338-acre Lake Malone State Park near Dunmor, in Muhlenberg County, extending into parts of Logan County and Todd County.

May 19, 1966, Air Force 1LT James N. Spangler from Mayking in Letcher County and Air Force CAPT Charles T. Hafendorfer from Louisville, died in the Vietnam War.

May 19, 1967, Army SP4 Guy E. McNay, Jr. from Erlanger died in the Vietnam War.

May 19, 1968, Army SGT Richard C. Coleman from Henderson died in the Vietnam War.

May 19, 1969, Marine Corps LCPL William E. Whaley III from Louisville died in the Vietnam War.

May 19, 1970, Army SGT Billy R. Lucas from Maysville and SP4 Billy Ray Parker from Owenton in Owen County, both died in the Vietnam War.

May 19, 1975, President Ford vetoed a bill to protect the environment against coal strip-mining, saying it would boost unemployment and consumer fuel bills.  President Ford claimed that 36,000 people would lose their jobs.  Meanwhile, in Catlettsburg, the owners of a Hyden coal mine, where 36 miners died in a 1970 explosion, pled no contest to violating federal mine safety laws.

May 19, 1989, the NCAA placed Kentucky’s basketball team on three years’ probation, stopping short of issuing the death penalty.  They imposed a two-year ban on the postseason and a one-year ban on live television.  The resignation of Eddie Sutton and Cliff Hagan lighten the penalties.  Coach Pitino and C.M. Newton took control.

May 19, 1990, watch the 115th Preakness Stakes.  Triple Crown Productions provided a $1 million bonus for the horse who performed the best in all three Triple Crown races and a $5 million bonus for a TC winner.

May 19, 1994, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis died in New York from lymph cancer.

May 19, 2003, Conservation Officer Douglas Wayne Bryant, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, died when a man he was pursuing in Fort Mitchell intentionally struck his patrol truck.

May 19, 2004, Keeneland began construction on converting the main race track from Polytrack to a dirt surface again.  They completed the project on August 15.  The track reopened for training on September 1.

May 19, 2015, Matt Bevin beat James Comer by 83 votes in the Republican primary.  Analysts thought Northern Kentucky decided the close race where Bevin beat Comer, Hal Weiner, and Will Scott.

May 19, 2018, watch the 143rd Preakness Stakes.

May 19, 2020, Kentucky recorded the highest number of deaths for one day from coronavirus, 20, just as businesses planned to reopen.  Kentucky’s death count stood at 366.

May 19, 2021, high school seniors graduated indoors with masks, possibly better than last years ceremonies held outdoors.  Café and restaurant terraces reopened after a six-month shutdown in Paris, France.