TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Kentucky Trivia ● Kentucky Tweets

May 23, 1775, the 1st Transylvania Convention opened at Fort Boonesborough with Harrodsburg, Boiling Springs, St. Asaph, and Boonesborough representatives.  In only four days, the legislatures passed nine laws: addressing a court system, regulating a militia, prohibition of swearing/sabbath-breaking, rules for debts, clerk’s and sheriff’s fees, improvement of horse breeding, and game preservation.  These laws reflected the settlers’ dependence on game for food, sound horses, and an ever-ready militia for defense against Native Americans.  The governments of VA and NC immediately denounced the Transylvania Company as land pirates.  The Transylvania government, with Harrodsburg as its capitol, lasted for a short time.

On May 23, 1776, Native Americans attacked Fort Boonesborough for one of the 1st times, killing two white boys; one white man survived the attack.

On May 23, 1790, Native Americans attacked a group of settlers headed home from Brashier’s Creek. One white man died, and one white woman was taken captive. A group of settlers gathered and pursued the Natives. However, the Natives killed the captive and dispersed when the settlers got too close.

May 23, 1853, Darley, aka Lexington, ran his first race as a three-year-old in the Association Stakes at the Kentucky Association Race Track in Lexington.  Trainer Henry Brown leased the colt from Dr. Warfield, who was retiring from racing.  Despite running over two miles before the official break, Darley led from flag fall to finish, leaving a remarkable first impression; he did the same in the 2nd heat.  Richard Ten Broeck later agreed, on behalf of a syndicate, to purchase the colt a few days before the Citizens’ Stakes.  Little did they know he would become the most successful sire of the 2nd half of the nineteenth century.

On Tuesday, May 23, 1873, Pimlico Race Course ran the 2nd race on the card “The Preakness” at a 1 ½ miles.  Maryland Governor (1868-72), Oden Bowie, a sportsman, and racing entrepreneur, created and named the race in honor of Preakness, an impressive colt who had won the Dinner Party Stakes, in 1870, on the occasion of Pimlico’s opening.  Survivor won a purse of just over $2,000.  He won by ten lengths, which remained the largest margin of victory for over 100 years.

Wednesday, May 23, 1883, Leonatus won the 9th Kentucky Derby going 1 ½ miles in 2:43 on a very heavy track.  Owners Jack P. Chinn & George W. Morgan, trainer Raleigh Colston Sr., and jockey William Donohue complete the winning connections and earned $3,760.  Racing officials postponed the Derby by one day due to heavy rains and the track being a “sea of mud.”

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Lexington native, jazz pianist, and bandleader, Edgar Junius Hayes, born in 1902.

May 23, 1910, Patrolman Frank Weber, Louisville Police Department, succumbed to a gunshot wound received the previous day when he and his partner attempted to break up a fight.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Maysville native Rosemary Clooney, born in 1923.

May 23, 1924, pupils of Jefferson County Schools, their relatives and friends to the number of 15,000, jammed Fountain Ferry Park for the schools’ annual picnic.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Betsy Layne native Bette Joan Henritze, born in 1924. 

May 23, 1926, a mountaineer attempted to rescue his friend from a posse of Dry Agents and then died in a shoot-out.  The battle occurred in a crowded restaurant in Marrowbone, 14 miles southeast of Pikeville.  The mountaineer lived at Morgan’s Creek.

May 23, 1933, J.P. Morgan testified before a U.S. Senate committee that he and 19 of his top men paid no income tax for 1931 and 1932.

May 23, 1951, Army PVT Eugene M. Mayes from Franklin in Simpson County died in the Korean War.

May 23, 1953, Native Dancer won the 78th Preakness Stakes by a nose.  The “Gray Ghost of Sagamore” was one of only three gray Preakness winners.  The Derby winner Dark Star finished 5th.

Horse Racing Trivia:  Native Dancers’s owner Alfred G. Vanderbilt declined responsibility of safe keeping the Woodlawn Vase for the year.  Therefore the track began making valuable replicas starting in 1952.  The original is displayed at The Baltimore Museum of Art and is brought to Pimlico Race Course under guard for the annual running of the Preakness.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Lexington native Melissa Suzanne McBride, born in 1965.  She landed her breakout role when she played Carol Peletier on the AMC series The Walking Dead.

May 23, 1968, Army PFC Larry W. Gillispie from Stamping Ground in Scott County died in the Vietnam War.

May 23, 1969, Marine Corps CPL Gary L. Hisle in Covington died in the Vietnam War.

May 23, 1972, Louie B. Nunn and Walter D. Huddleston each won their gubernatorial primaries and would face off in November to be the 52nd governor.

May 23, 1982, Horseman John R. Gaines appeared on the front page of The Lexington Leader to promote the bold idea of a Breeders’ Cup Series, a Super Bowl of Horse Racing.  Mr. Gaines started by saying, “That it was a sure thing.  It isn’t a question of if it will be done but how it will be done.”  The 1st Breeders’ Cup ran in October 1984 at Santa Anita Park.

May 23, 1991, Deputy Sheriff Kenneth Mason McCarty, Bourbon County Sheriff’s Department, died in an automobile accident while he backed-up a state trooper.

May 23, 1991, H.M. Queen Elizabeth II landed in Lexington for a private three-day visit in Versailles at William Farrish’s Lane’s End Farm home.  It marked her 4th visit in eight years to Land’s End.  The Queen recuperated in Kentucky after visiting D.C., Florida, and Texas.

On May 23, 2002, the Louisville Zoo’s $12.3 million Gorilla Exhibit opened, featuring artifacts from Dian Fossey’s work.

May 23, 2015, Kentucky Kingdom opened their doors for the season with eight new attractions including Cyclos, Skycatcher, Enterprise, Up Up and Away, and Wizard of Oz SD. 

On May 23, 2020, Governor A. Beshear reported no new deaths on a Saturday for the second time in a month and a half.  Hence, the death toll remained at 391.  He also noted that Kentucky’s rate of new cases declined.  Nevertheless, the state reported 484 Kentuckians hospitalized due to coronavirus, and 89 were in intensive care.

On May 23, 2021, federal officials told the public that vaccinated people no longer needed to get tested.  The change represented a new phase, after nearly a year, in which testing was the primary weapon against the virus.