TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Kentucky Trivia ● Kentucky Tweets

May 29, 1775, Richard Henderson’s journal stated that a letter arrived at Boonesboro containing news of a battle near Boston.  The Battles of Lexington and Concord, 20 miles from Boston, fought on April 19, 1775.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Lexington native Thomas Satterwhite Noble, born in 1835.  He is well known for his historical works containing sharp political and social commentary.  TS is unique among artists of his era, a Southern artist who painted critiques of the institution of slavery.  Noble also helped establish the McMicken School of Design in Cincinnati.

May 29, 1882, Louisville native Joshua Fry Speed died.  A close friend of Abraham Lincoln, Speed farmed and invested in Kentucky land.   He did serve one term in the Kentucky House of Representatives starting in 1848.

May 29, 1897, Scottish Chieftain beat five others to win the 31st Belmont Stakes going the 1 3/8 in 2:34 ¼ and earned $3,350.  Stewards fined winning jockey J. Scherrer $50 for disobedience at the post.  The winner passed on the Derby and Preakness.

May 29, 1920, Man o’ War won the one mile Withers Stakes back at his Belmont Park home base.  A crowd of 25,000 turned out to see an American record set at 1:35.80 in a three-horse field, he won by two.

May 29, 1920, the U.S. Navy decommissioned the battleship USS Kentucky (BB-6).

May 29, 1932, Senator A. Barkely announced the government would start accepting bids for a “super structure” referred to as the Lexington Narcotic Farm.  The U.S. Narcotic Farm or NARCO opened in 1935, America’s 1st prison for drug addicts.  Meanwhile, in Frankfort, Acting Governor Chandler increased his aides-de camp by commissioning 23 colonels, two admirals, one general, and one major general.  Governor Laffoon had visited Indiana to address a convention and watch the Indy 500.

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By U.S. Public Health Service

On May 29, 1950, some 12,000 people participated in a solemn ceremony inside UK’s new Memorial Coliseum.  They dedicated the building with impressive rites to the 9,265 Kentuckians who died in WWII.  In addition, UK held its baccalaureate services.  Faculty and graduates lined Euclid Avenue, making a wall of black before they entered.  Families who lost loved ones made sure to find their names on the glass-enclosed plaques that lined the walls.

May 29, 1951, Army SFC Kenneth A. McAllister from Nelson County died in the Korean War.

May 29, 1953, after months of unrest at the Division of Child Welfare in Frankfort, several top supervisors quit after the commissioner hired his wife.

May 29, 1953, Nell Franklin Wilson, from Eastern Kentucky University (EKU), became the 17th Mountain Laurel Festival Queen and the 3rd EKU student to win.  The three-day festival took place in Pine Mountain State Park.  Exactly 17 colleges and universities had representatives.  Governor Wetherby followed tradition and bestowed a kiss on the new Queen.

Kentucky Trivia:  The first Mountain Laurel Festival took place in Clear Creek Springs near Pineville in 1931 and Miss. Betty Baxter from EKU won.  In 1933, EKU had their 2nd winner, Miss. Marian Haran.

May 29, 1957, Dee Mee Dee, became the first thoroughbred to win at Audubon Raceway in Henderson.  

May 29, 1962, President John F. Kennedy celebrated his 45th birthday at Glen Ora, his Virginia estate.  Marilyn Monroe sang Happy Birthday, Mr. President, ten days earlier to him at Madison Square Garden.

May 29, 1966, Army PFC Billy R. Patrick from Hazard died in the Vietnam War.

May 29, 1968, Marine Corps LCPL Johnny P. Fiechter from London and Marine Corps PFC Kenneth N. Blair from Louisville, both died in the Vietnam War.

May 29, 1968, Sir Ivor, a graduate of Keeneland’s 1966 July Yearling Sale, won England’s Epsom Derby, which sparked international interest in Keeneland sales.  Owner Raymond Guest paid $42,000 for the Sir Gaylord colt, consigned by Mill Ridge Farm.

May 29, 1970, Howardstown native Sue Stiles, a 20-year-old beauty, received a kiss from Governor Nunn as he crowned her Kentucky Mountain Laurel Festival Queen. Pine Mountain State Park hosted and Grand Marshal Colonel Harland Sanders offered his congratulations.  It took a three-county search and twenty-five men to find enough late-blooming Laurel flowers to make all the contestants’ bouquets.

May 29, 1976, the climax of the 40th Mountain Laurel Festival took place when Governor Carroll kissed Frankfort native Linda Carol Barnes, 20, and crowned her Queen.  An estimated 10,000 people attended including, the Grand Marshal and UK football coach Fran Curci.

May 29, 1984, eleven incumbents lost their seats in the Kentucky House primary races.  Almost all hailed from Eastern Kentucky, and most were republicans.  There was no comment from Governor Collins.

May 29, 1991, 29% of Republicans and 39% of Democrats showed up at the primary polls to vote for governor.  The small turnout did not meet the low expectations.

May 29, 1999, UK announced only 58 Robinson Scholars, down from 116 the previous year.  The following year the number dropped to 29.  The decline correlated to the weak market for Eastern Kentucky’s high-sulfur coal.  Mining and logging royalties in Robinson Forest generate dollars for the Robinson Scholarships, which help 1st-generation Eastern Kentucky youth attend college.

May 29, 2000, at the same time Kentucky crime declined and the prison population leveled off, prison building increased.  Fourteen county jails were being built or had expanded.  One month earlier the legislatures approved $88 million for a new 900-bed state prison.  The 4,400 new beds cost the tax payer $250 million.

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May 29, 2003, federal regulators offered a plan they said would protect Appalachian waterways below mountaintop coal mines.  Seven environmental groups called it a blueprint for filling more streams with rock and debris supported by the Bush White House.

May 29, 2006, lawyer Melbourne Mills, Jr told the press his $23.6 million fees for the fen-phen case were high, but he had already gone through most of the money and couldn’t pay it back even if ordered to do so.  His lawyer, days earlier, told the court Mills was too drunk to have stolen any money. 

May 29, 2011, Tom Watson, 61, won the PGA Senior Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in the first playoff hole over David Eger.

May 29, 2015, Matt Bevin claimed victory in the Republican primary for governor two hours after Agriculture Commissioner James Comer conceded the race.  The concession came after the recanvas showed Bevin winning by 83 votes.  The following year, Comer now represents the 1st District in Washington.

May 29, 2017, hundreds of people walked among thousands of tombstones at Camp Nelson National Cemetery, remembering lives lost in such wars in Vietnam or Korea.  The Memorial Service included two cannon salutes, music by the West Jessamine High School Band, and a fly over.

On May 29, 2020, Louisville had seven murders in a protest over Breonna Taylor’s death which happened two weeks earlier.  Breonna’s mother pleaded for peaceful demonstrations, and the mayor suspended the use on no-knock warrants.

On May 29, 2021, the state reported that Kentucky restaurants lost $550 million in sales in April 2020 alone.  No other sector suffered more than restaurants.  The bourbon industry numbers plunged from more than 1.7 million visitors in 2019 to 587,307 in 2020.  For the first time in their 21-year history, numbers declined.  Mammoth Cave had 436,460 visitors in 2019 and 158,738 in 2020.  However, people realized that Kentucky campgrounds offered ideal social distancing space, and LakePointe Resort near Lake Cumberland had its biggest year in 2020.