Kentucky Trivia ● Kentucky Tweets
July 1, 1774, Thomas Hanson captured the essence of Bluegrass Country in his journal entry describing the vicinity of Elkhorn Creek: “All the land we passed over today is like a Paradise it is so good & beautiful.”
July 1, 1846, the murder trial of Isaac Lafayette Shelby opened in Lexington. Shelby was the grandson of Kentucky’s 1st governor, Isaac Shelby, and was defended in court by Henry Clay. Lafayette Shelby was indicted for shooting and killing Henry M. Horine in front of the Phoenix Hotel where they had been drinking. At the time, Clay was 69 years old and highly regarded as a criminal defense attorney having won every criminal case he tried for more than 30 years.
July 1, 1898, Dock Burton, a 22-year old Kentuckian from Lincoln County, became the 1st American soldier to reach the crest of San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American War. The African-American insisted throughout his life that he, rather than Col. Theodore Roosevelt and his Rough Riders, was the first but Roosevelt got all the credit.
July 1, 1938, the massive job of building Kentucky Dam began. It took six years from the start of construction until the reservoir began filling on August 30, 1944. At the peak of construction TVA had nearly 5,000 men at work.
July 1, 1939, Clay Puett, standing above Lansdowne Park’s muddy track in Vancouver, took a deep breath. He then pressed a button that sprang open 12 steel doors simultaneously and thereby changed horse racing forever. This marked the first time Thoroughbred racing used an electric starting gate.
On July 1, 1945, Bert Combs traveled to the Philippine Islands as chief for the War Crimes Investigating Department (WCID). Under General Douglas MacArthur, he conducted tribunals for Japanese war criminals. Eleven years later, he became Kentucky’s 50th governor.
July 1, 1948, the Kentucky State Police began. It arose from the Kentucky Highway Patrol, which in 1936 had been organized as a division of the Department of Highways.
The Kentucky Encyclopedia edited by John E. Kleber; pg: 513
Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Ashland native Jackie Keith Whitley, born in 1954. He grew up 46 miles away in Sandy Hook and attended the high school. Whitley formed his first band at age 13, playing nothing but straight bluegrass. A few years later, he formed the Lonesome Mountain Boys with his high school friend, Ricky Skaggs.
July 1, 1960, Eastern Kentucky University hired their first alumni as President. Robert R. Martin led his alma mater into a period of unparalleled growth using state and federal funds.
The Kentucky Encyclopedia edited by John E. Kleber; pg: 279
July 1, 1962, Hugh G. Randall, 28, from Louisville, died when the wheel of his the car caught a rut and vaulted end over end and landed upside-down. Earlier in the day, he arrived at Langhorne Speedway in Pennsylvania attempting to make his Championship debut. His #46 entry failed to qualify but he stayed around for the race attempting to serve as a substitute or relief driver. The #63 Vargo Special started the day by Bob Mathouser who pulled in after 60 laps due to poor handling. Elmer George then got in the car and drove seventeen laps but was also dissatisfied with the car’s handling. That led Randall to attempt to take over the reins. The wreck took place on his 3rd lap. The Vargo Special car that Randall died in was also the car in which Dick Linder and Van Johnson had been killed in racing crashes. Randall rests in Resthaven Memorial Cemetery in Louisville.
July 1, 1972, Riva Ridge turned back the best three-year-olds the West Coast could offer at Hollywood Park, holding off Bicker by less than a length in the $109,000 Hollywood Derby. The winning margin in the photo finish was a neck. Riva Ridge upped his earnings to $862,150, making him the wealthiest active thoroughbred at the time. He picked up $59,000 for 1st place.
July 1, 1980, the Kentucky Marijuana Association (KMA), a local group that favors the plant’s legalization, won Operation Lex-Clean, a countywide anti-litter contest sponsored by seven local businesses. KMA earned $1,000 for picking up the most trash, 434 bags.
On July 1, 1997, Kentucky executed its first inmate in thirty-five years. A 44-year-old murdered Rebecca O’ Hearn in 1981, a convenience store clerk, during a robbery that netted him $1,500. The convict died by electrocution at 12:07 a.m. Over one hundred death penalty opponents and twenty-five supporters of capital punishment protested outside the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Eddyville on Lake Cumberland.
July 1, 2010, Appalachian News-Express editor Jerry Boggs turned the other cheek and decided not to press charges against Pikeville Mayor Frank Justice II for punching him in the face. The mayor, who didn’t like an article, apologized. The two men worked it out like men. Meanwhile, Lexington unveiled its new $3.7 million recycling machine.