I can’t say I was ever lost, but I was bewildered once for three days. Daniel Boone
August 14, 1920, Natlee, Owen County, native Willis Augustus Lee wrapped up his meet by winning seven medals in the 1920 London Olympics shooting events, including five gold medals. He tied with teammate Lloyd Spooner for the most medals in an Olympic meet. Their record stood for 60 years.
Kentucky Trivia: Lee remains the Kentuckian with the most Olympic medals. Trailing him, according to the Kentucky Almanac, are track and field star Ralph Waldo Rose of Louisville, who captured six medals in the 1904, 1908, and 1912 Olympics and Louisville swimmer Mary T. Meagher, who won three Olympic gold medals and a silver and bronze in two Olympics.
August 14, 1936, 5:20 a.m., Rainey Bethea, 22, became the last person publicly executed in the U.S. Bethea confessed to the rape and murder of a 70-year-old Lischia Edwards. The court ordered a public hanging. A mistake during the execution and the media circus contributed to the end of public executions in the U.S. Governor Chandler approved the death. Over 15,000 people attended, and newspapers described vendors selling hot dogs, popcorn, and drinks. “Locals packed every bar down the main street, tipsy merrymakers rollicked all night, and many homes held parties.” Time Magazine, August. Kentucky became the last state to change the law in 1938.
August 14, 1949, Patrolman John Harold Tennyson, Louisville Police Department, died from a gunshot in a running gun battle with the notorious gangster, Earl David Bircham, when he interrupted a robbery at 9:15 pm.
August 14, 1964, former Kentucky Governor Bert Combs and then-Governor Edward Breathitt dedicated, in grand opening ceremonies, the new lodges at Buckhorn Lake State Park at Gays Creek, in Perry County.
August 14, 1974, Benton, Marshall County native Joe Creason died. His popular column, “Joe Creason’s Kentucky,” began in 1963 and documented the lives of everyday Kentuckians. Creason traveled through every Kentucky county searching for material for local stories, and he often printed material sent to him by readers. His quirky and simple style, featured colorful and amusing characters.
On August 14, 1976, Eastern Kentucky University chose one of its V.P.s. as its 9th President but not without controversy. The Board of Regents, by a vote of 8-2, approved Harrodsburg native Dr. Julius C. Powell, 50, for the position that paid $45,000 annually. Many students felt he was not the best fit for the job out of the 250 applicants. Powell stayed till 1984.
On August 14, 1985, three men died, and another was seriously injured when toxic gas filled a small Whitley County coal mine. The Kentucky State Police searched for the driver of a pick-up truck that dropped off the three bodies at the Kentucky Baptist Hospital in Corbin. The miners hit a pocket of carbon dioxide.
August 14, 1990, Boyd County teachers, in a dispute over their pay raises, voted to become the 1st Kentucky teachers since 1976 to go on strike. The teachers wanted a 14% raise, the board gave them 9%.
August 14, 1996, the 11-day Kentucky State Fair opened at 7:00 a.m., the exhibit building opened at 9:00 a.m., and the midway at 11:00 a.m. Adults paid $6.00 and children and senior citizens shelled out $2.00 to enter the festivities.
August 14, 2004, Kitten’s Joy stepped up to the Grade I level in the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park. The 4-5 favorite won by over three lengths. His 1:59.65 time for the 1 1⁄4-mile race was 2⁄5 of a second faster than older horses that ran in the Arlington Million earlier that day.
August 14, 2014, Knob Creek native Anthony Young, a self-described hillbilly oilman, received 33 months in prison for defrauding investors. In one 12-month period, Young’s company took in $7.4 million from investors, and he spent $3.9 million on boats, cars, casino gambling, and $75,000 a month on a Lear jet.
On August 14, 2019, Kentucky public schools started a new school year with a new law. Kentucky legislators wanted In God, We Trust prominently displayed in each school. A minister representing Hodgenville created the bill. Fayette County schools detested the law and therefore exhibited an enlarged copy of a $1 bill to comply. The representatives envisioned children from each school getting creative to display the national motto.
On August 14, 2020, the governor signed an executive order to let Kentuckians vote through the mail. His daily briefing then focused on the number of kids infected, 77 under 18 for this day, which he called a “pretty significant” stat. To date, Kentucky reported one death under 29 years old, whose underlying health conditions were unavailable. Meanwhile, Washington debated herd immunity either by vaccine or natural infection. Dr. Fauci warned natural infections could result in a deadlier public health crisis.
As August 14, 2021, rolled around, public school students and their parents voiced their preference on the mask debate across the state. Meanwhile, reports showed most rural counties in eastern and western parts of the state lost residents between 2010 and 2020 to Kentucky urban areas. Pike County saw an 8.9% decline in its population from 2010 to 2020.
August 14, 2022, as the governor continued to alarm his constituents over coronavirus, more U.S. lawmakers traveled to Taiwan to inflame tensions and encourage war with China. The governor reported 80 counties at high virus levels, prompting a request to wear masks indoors and outside for those county residents.