August 24, 1799, angry men sawed off Micajah Big Harpe’s head and stuck it on a pole in Henderson after a posse finally tracked down him and his brother. Over ten individuals had died when Big and Little Harpe’s killing spree came to Kentucky. They shot Big Harpe off his horse while Little Harpe fled. The Harp brothers killed Moses Stegall’s family in Kentucky, however, the family got revenge – by slowly sawing off Big Harpe’s head. Before dying, Harpe confessed to at least 20 murders. As a warning, locals stuck Big Harpe’s head on a pole at an intersection in Henderson, later called Harpe’s Head. The brothers’ brutal deeds permanently stained the American frontier as America’s 1st serial killers.
August 24, 1812, Governor Isaac Shelby retook the oath of office to become Kentucky’s 5th governor. Because the U.S. declared war on Great Britain in June of 1812, Shelby decided to enter the race less than a month before the election. They mocked Shelby because of his age (he was almost 62), calling him “Old Daddy Shelby,” however he won by more than 17,000 votes.
On August 24, 1862, Cassius M. Clay just arrived from Washington, D.C., and persuaded General Lew Wallace, Union Commander in Central Kentucky, to give him two remaining regiments and artillery to fortify the palisades of the Kentucky River between Richmond and Lexington. The battle of Richmond occurred five days later. Wallace later wrote Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1880), called “the most influential Christian book of the 19th century.” Old Kentucky Almanac, #4 1997; pg 45
August 24, 1916, Deputy Constable Joel Martin Wright, Letcher County Constable’s Office, succumbed to a gunshot wound sustained 20 days earlier from a gunshot by a young girl while arresting the girl’s father on a warrant.
August 24, 1918, Irvin S. Cobb published his article “Young Black Joe,“ in The Saturday Evening Post. The article highlighted the discipline and courage displayed by African American soldiers fighting in World War I. It reached a national audience of more than two million readers, and was widely reprinted in the black press along with his book The Glory of the Coming.
Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Lexington native, Chris Offutt, born in 1958. He is known for his short stories and novels, but has also published three memoirs and multiple nonfiction articles.
Sunday, August 24, 1970, at least five major discount chains, Almart, Arlans, CSC, Tops, and Zayre, opened despite a temporary injunction ordering them not to sell most items. The chain stores challenged Kentucky’s 169-year-old law that allowed stores only to sell “items of necessity” on Sunday.
August 24, 1982, teacher Meredith Slone surveyed his 18 pupils at Daniels Creek School in the Floyd County community of Banner. Daniels Creek School, which began its 59th school year the day before, was one of only three one-room schools in Kentucky.
August 24, 1996, Kentucky bred Will’s Way, who did not run in any of the Triple Crown races, won the 127th Travers Stakes by less than a length over the Derby winner (Louis Quatorze), Belmont winner (Grindstone) and Skip Away. The Keeneland graduate paid $2 exacta paid $53.00.
On August 24, 2000, Woody Harrelson celebrated his not-guilty verdict with supporters outside the Lee County District Court in Beattyville. Harrelson faced a marijuana possession charge after he symbolically planted four hemp seeds in 1996 in a rural field. Louie Nunn, one of his four lawyers, celebrated with him.
August 24, 2002, a Kentucky bred and the favorite won the 133rd Travers Stakes for a $600,000 purse. Tom Durkin provided the call in which another Keeneland graduate exacta came in, this time it paid $12.60.
On August 24, 2012, after functioning in its new location for about two months, the Derby Clock, or Louisville Clock, moved to Theater Square on 4th Street, a block or more south of where Louisville had placed it initially 36 years ago.
Kentucky Trivia: Designed and built by local sculptor Barney Bright in 1976, the 40-foot tall mechanical clock sat on 4th Street in Louisville. Every day at noon, a crowd would gather to watch the mechanical figures of George Rogers Clark, Daniel Boone, the Belle of Louisville, King Louis XVI, and Thomas Jefferson race on horses around the track. After 30 years, the clock’s workings rusted out, relocated to Kentucky Kingdom and then ended up in storage.
August 24, 2013, a Kentucky bred and Keeneland graduate won Saratoga’s GI $1,000,000 Travers Stakes. D. Wayne Lukas won for a 3rd time. The HOF trainer called an audible during the week and chose the 21-year-old Luis Saez over Junior Alvarado. “I took a chance on an up-and-coming rider. You look terrible if it doesn’t work, but it’s sweet if it does.”
August 24, 2016, Humana and Aetna got mad at federal regulators and vented through their media partners. Both greedy healthcare corporations wanted to merge to make money from their sick customers. The government said the union would stifle competition and raise drug prices.
August 24, 2017, Louisville officials said they would spend thousands of dollars to remove paint from the John. B. Castleman statue in Cherokee Circle. Louisville and Lexington prepped for flash demonstrations on both sides of the issues near other historical monuments. Conquer and divide works every time.
August 24, 2020, Governor A. Beshear announced 373 new positive coronavirus cases and four new deaths. The governor also created a $15 million fund to help renters and decided not to overturn the Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s decision to allow high school sports to move forward. Later that night, Kentucky’s AG Daniel Cameron spoke at the 2020 Republican National Convention.
On August 24, 2021, Dr. Anthony Fauci stated, “In order for the U.S. to reach herd immunity against coronavirus, those who are unvaccinated will need to get inoculated. We can get herd immunity really easily if we get everybody vaccinated.” The captured doctor continued to push for big pharma profits until eight months later, when he finally admitted the U.S. would never reach it. By then, Pfizer had already made over $40 billion in 2020.