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June 19, 1865, Union soldiers landed in Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War had ended and then enforced the Emancipation Proclamation.  Juneteenth is the national commemoration of the end of slavery in the U.S.

Thursday, June 19, 1867, the Belmont Stakes debuted at Jerome Park Racetrack in Fordham, NY.  In a four-horse field, the only filly, Ruthless, won the inaugural event by a head over 2ndplace DeCourcey.  She covered the 1 5/8 miles race in 3.05.00 for Francis Morris and earned $1,850 and an English riding saddle.  Tanya (1905) and Rags to Riches (2007) also won the 4th oldest stakes race in North America, following Keeneland’s Phoenix Stakes (1831), the Queen’s Plate in Canada (1860), and Saratoga’s Travers (1864).

Saturday, June 19, 1880, the Sheepshead Bay Race Track opened for its 1st day of racing.  President Leonard Jerome and William K. Vanderbilt built the racetrack in the New York City area after they created the Coney Island Jockey Club in 1879.  Sheepshead Bay was probably the most prominent of the Brooklyn tracks and originated the Futurity and the Suburban.  It also was unique in that it had the 1st turf course.  When turf racing ended at Sheepshead Bay, it virtually stopped in America until Hialeah built one in the 1930s.

Tuesday, June 19, 1894, Henry of Navarre beat two others to win the 28th Belmont Stakes.  Willie Simms guided the winner home in 1:56 1/2 for the 1 1/8 miles.  Owner B. McClelland won $6,680.

June 19, 1902, Constable Doctor “Dock” Ferguson, Morgan County Constable’s Office, died from a gunshot by a man who was disarming him near the East Fork of Paint Creek.

June 19, 1908, Patrolman Frank Duncan, Latonia Police Department, died from a gunshot while questioning a bartender at 741 Main Street.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Paducah native, Robert Karnes, born in 1917.  Robert had roles in in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), Miracle on 34th Street (1947), Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950), and From Here to Eternity (1953).

June 19, 1919, Louisville held the 1st International Optimist Convention.  Eleven independent Optimist Clubs across the U.S. met at the former Tyler Hotel.  That afternoon, the 69 delegates in attendance adopted a constitution, and Optimist International, known as “The Friend of Youth,” was officially born.

On June 19, 1922, Governor E. Morrow decided to spare the life of a man sentenced to death.  The brutal murder occurred one year earlier.  Meanwhile, Catlettsburg’s Clayhole Case continued with the question, “Who fired the first shot in the fight that killed four men, 17 wounded, and a score of children left fatherless. 

June 19, 1950, Sergeant Ezra Sutherland, Jefferson County Police Department, died when his patrol car struck a vehicle traveling the wrong direction.  They charged the driver with manslaughter and failure to stop and render aid.

June 19, 1951, Marine Corps PFC Forest D. Sykes from Elk Horn in Taylor County died in the Korean War.

June 19, 1965, Army SP5 Harold A. Atcher from Radcliff died in the Vietnam War.

June 19, 1967, Army PFC Bobby W. Price from Mt. Vernon died in the Vietnam War. 

June 19, 1969, Army 1SG Luther M. Chappel from Bedford in Trimble County, Army SP4 David B. Collins from Bardstown, Army SP4 Joseph R. McIlvoy from Willisburg in Washington County, and Army SP4 Ronald E. Simpson in Bardstown, died in the Vietnam War.

June 19, 1973, Dillinger debuted in Dallas staring Depoy native, Warren Mercer Oates.  Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune gave it 2.5 stars out of four and wrote that it “repeatedly copies the spirit, and a few scenes, of Bonnie and Clyde.  But it is distinguished by its acting.”  Depoy is a tiny community in Muhlenberg County.

June 19, 1982, Mother Teresa shook the hands of a well-wisher upon her arrival in Jenkins.  She opened the 1st Appalachian mission established by her order; Missionaries of Charity.

June 19, 1986, Murray P. Haydon, a retired autoworker who became the third person to undergo a permanent artificial heart implant, died in Louisville.  He lived for one year, four months, and two days on the mechanical pump.  Haydon, who died nine days before his 60th birthday, was never well enough to leave Humana except for brief outings.

On June 19, 1990, J. John Harris III became UK’s Dean of Education to become the school’s 1st black dean in their 157-year history.

June 19, 2005, Governor E. Fletcher proclaimed June 19 of each year as “Juneteenth National Freedom Day.”  He encouraged all Kentuckians to honor and reflect on the significant contributions African-Americans made in America’s history.

On June 19, 2005, a 2.7 magnitude earthquake hit Blandville in Ballard County; another one had shaken the town two years earlier.

June 19, 2007, Army SGT 1st Class William A. Zapfe 35, of Muldraugh, died in Iraq, fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

June 19, 2008, Marine CAPT Eric D. Terhune, 34, of Lexington, died in Afghanistan fighting in Operation Enduring Freedom.

June 19, 2019, Kelly Craft told lawmakers at her U.N. Ambassador confirmation hearing she would “be an advocate for all countries to do their part in addressing climate change.”  Earlier in the month, President Trump said climate change “goes both ways” and blamed other nations for worsening air and water quality.  In 2017, he pulled the U.S. out of the landmark Paris climate agreement, saying the deal was disadvantageous to U.S. workers.