TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Kentucky Trivia ● Kentucky Tweets

On May 22, 1830, in one of the most controversial acts of its time, the Maysville Road Act passed, which authorized the purchase of 50,000 worth of stock in the Maysville, Washington, Paris, and Lexington Turnpike Company.  The four-mile macadamized road connected Maysville and Washington and was a significant advancement in road construction technology.  Motorists passed in virtually any weather conditions; it also significantly reduced freight costs by allowing for heavier loads.

May 22, 1863, Covington native Charles W. Rundle and Newport native William Steinmetz, while fighting in the Battle of Vicksburg, earned the Medal of Honor for taking part in the “volunteer storming party.”  Around 150 unmarried volunteers charged a heavily fortified Confederate position; Rundle and Steinmetz answered the call.

Tuesday, May 22, 1877, Baden-Baden won the 3rd Kentucky Derby against ten others.  William “Billy” Walker, an African American jockey born a slave, guided home the winner in 2:38 for the 1 ½ mile test.  African American Edward D. Brown conditioned the colt.  Mr. Brown started as a jockey, then trained and eventually owned numerous thoroughbreds.  Owner Dan Swigert, who started and named Elmendorf Farm before Mr. Haggin bought it, collected $3,300.

Kentucky Trivia:  Decades after Abraham Lincoln emancipated slaves across the country; African American jockeys dominated the sport.  Jimmy Winkfield was one of the last black jockeys to ride in the Derby, winning on Alan-a-Dale in 1901 and His Eminence in 1902.  By 1904, Churchill Downs and other tracks had banned African American jockeys.  From 1921 to 2000, not one black man had a mount.

Friday, May 22, 1885, Tecumseh won the 13th Preakness Stakes going 1 1/2 miles in 2:49 on a heavy track over three others and earned $2,160.  Jockey Jim McLaughlin won his only Preakness.

May 22, 1897, Health Officer John J. Sullivan, Lexington Police Department, accidentally died when another officer nearby stood from his chair, knocking his gun to the floor, making it discharge, and striking Officer Sullivan.

Thursday, May 22, 1902, Belmont’s 4th race on the card was the Belmont Stakes run at 1 3/8 miles.  August Belmont’s Masterman beat W.C. Whitney’s King Hanover and four others by two lengths.

May 22, 1902, the Wireless Telephone Company of America is incorporated to capitalize on Nathan Stubblefield’s invention of the radio transmitter-receiver, aka “the wireless telephone.”  Stubblefield refused large sums of money for the design opting for stocks instead.  He then went on tour to promote and demonstrate the new invention to potential investors.  The tour was not as successful as he had hoped.  He came home and became an eccentric hermit, moving from shack to shack, and subsisting on donations from friends and family.  He died in 1928 of starvation in his hometown of Murray.

May 22, 1905, Deputy Sheriff William C. Brown, Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, died by a gunshot by a suspect who had shot and wounded the Lewisport town marshal and several other men the previous day.

Tuesday, May 22, 1906, Whimsical won the 31st Preakness Stakes going one mile and seventy yards in 1:45 to win $2,355.

May 22, 1909, Patrolman H. Clarence Conner, Jefferson County Police Department, died after responding to a fight at a tavern.  During an arrest the suspect was able to gain control of Patrolman Conner’s service weapon and shot him in the head.

May 22, 1917, Policeman Shade H. Hunley, Hazard Police Department, died from a gunshot while attempting to arrest several men along the spur line near the Louisville & Nashville Railroad Depot.

May 22, 1954, Hasty Road won the 54th Preakness Stakes going one mile and three-sixteenths in 1:57 2/5 to win $91,600.

May 22, 1965, Army SSG Murrel D. Thomas from Glasgow in Barren County died in the Vietnam War.

May 22, 1967, astronaut John H. Glenn Jr. visited Lexington as William T. Young’s house guest.  Lucy Young and Rex Potter are also shown in the photograph.

May 22, 1968, Marine Corps CAPT Robert E. Harris from Russell in Greenup County, Army PFC Anthony D. Hatcher from Cave City in Barren County, Army PFC Sammy L. Scott from Peytonsburg from Cumberland County, and Marine Corps SSGT William B. Hughes from Vanceburg in Lewis County, died in the Vietnam War.

May 22, 1969, Army PFC Charles A. Hilbert from Parksville in Boyle County died in the Vietnam War.

May 22, 1971, Army SP4 Gary A. Dore from Mt. Sterling in Montgomery County died in the Vietnam War.

May 22, 1974, Ruffian ran her first race in a 5.5F maiden special at Belmont Park; Jacinto Vasquez received the mount.  Frank Y. Whiteley, Jr., kept her talent a secret, and she went off at 9-2.  She quickly went to the front, easily extended her lead to 15 lengths, and tied the track record of 1:03, something no other two-year-old had ever done while breaking their maiden race!  Ruffian’s impressive debut was later called the “greatest race ever run by a first-time starter.”

May 22, 1975, the Kentucky Colonels won the American Basketball Association (ABA) championship, bringing the Commonwealth’s first and only major pro sports title.

May 22, 1986, H.M. Queen Elizabeth II landed in Lexington to begin a private, five-day visit to Kentucky.  She came to inspect thoroughbred farms and several mares she kept in the area.  H.M.’s 1st visit occurred in October 1984; this was her second.

May 22, 1991, Louisville-based National Guard’s 23rd Military Police Company returned to Kentucky from Iraq and greeted family and friends after serving in Operation Desert Storm.

May 22, 2000, Kentucky’s birthrate among teenagers dropped substantially in the last few years, although it remained above the national average, according to the State Cabinet of Human Resources.

On May 22, 2011, Louisville area volunteers planted the American Chestnut Tree.  The tree is an integral part of Kentucky’s history, culture, and heritage.  There is no other tree that could replace its niche.

May 22, 2015, Gilbert “Toby” Curtsinger, the alleged ringleader of a bourbon theft and steroid trafficking ring, requested to have his trail moved out of Frankfort.  Curtsinger, along with five others allegedly used their jobs at Buffalo Trace Distillery to sell Pappy Van Winkle and Wild Turkey.  

May 22, 2020, V.P. Kamala Harris, a U.S. Senator and Rep. Lucy McBath of Georgia asked the U.S. Department of Justice to immediately investigate the shooting of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, which happened on March 13.  

On May 22, 2021, for the 1st time in 11 months, the daily average of new coronavirus infections in the U.S. fell below 30,000, confirming that the pandemic has lessened and reached the endemic stage.  Meanwhile, President Biden told corporations to pay people more money if they wanted to find employees.