TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Kentucky Trivia ● Kentucky Tweets

To be born in Kentucky is a heritage; to brag about it is a habit; to appreciate it is a virtue.  Irvin S. Cobb

August 17, 1858, Patrolman George Coulter, Louisville Police Department, attempted to make an arrest at the scene of a large bonfire and and died from a gunshot.

August 17, 1894, trainer Hardy Campbell won the first five races at Jerome Park Racetrack.  Hall of Fame jockey Willie Simms rode all five winners.

On August 17, 1920, Beaver Dam native Raymond Johnson Chapman passed away after being hit by a pitch while batting in a Major League Baseball (MLB) game.  He remains the only player to die from an injury received during an MLB game.  During a dark, rainy afternoon, at Yankee’s Polo Grounds, the Cleveland Indians played the Yankees. A loud crack sounded on the first pitch of the fifth inning, and the ball trickled toward the mound.  The Yankee pitcher quickly fielded it and tossed it to first base for what he thought was a routine out.  However, Chapman had sunk to a knee in the batter’s box, his eyes closed and his mouth open.  They carried him off the field, and he died 12 hours later after surgery. Raymond got married before the season to Kathleen Daly, and she was pregnant when he died.  Before the season started, he had hinted this would be his last season.  The Indians won the game and the World Series later that year.

August 17, 1921, Deputy Sheriff Lawrence Conley, Knott County Sheriff’s Office, died in an ambush at Yellow Mountain.  Deputy Conley, who also was the area’s school teacher, was walking home from school for lunch with his nephews when he was shot from the bushes.

August 17, 1946, a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony opened the bridge connecting Fayette and Madison Counties.  The elevated two-lane bridge carrying US 25 over the Kentucky River was the highest highway bridge east of the Mississippi at 250 feet.  The bridge is now ten lanes and is better known as Clay’s Ferry Bridge.

August 17, 1950, Army PFC Ellis E. Towery from McLean County died in the Korean War.

August 17, 1955, over 3,000 children and a scattering of adults cheered the performers at the annual Polack Brothers Shrine Circus at their opening performance at the Lexington trotter track.  Costine, the brilliant Chimpanzee, and Greta Fisk, the trapeze star, did not disappoint the guests.

August 17, 1963, over 29,000 fans, the largest crowds at Saratoga, watched George D. Widener’s longshot Crewman win the Travers Stakes.  The Kentucky Derby and Belmont winner, Chateaugay finished 3rd.

August 17, 1966, the great-granddaughter of Henry Clay and granddaughter of Benjamin Gratz, Mrs. Nannie Clay Gibson, died.

August 17, 1967, Navy HN John C. Burden from Madisonville in Hopkins County and Marine Corps PFC Thomas A. Harp from Frankfort died in the Vietnam War.

August 17, 1968, Army PFC Micky R. Highlander from Dayton in Campbell County and Air Force SGT Stephen M. Tully from Fern Creek in Jefferson County died in the Vietnam War.

August 17, 1970, Army SFC Guy W. Patton from Owensboro in Daviess County died in the Vietnam War.

August 17, 1978, the Kentucky State Fair’s Diamond Jubilee, marking 75 years, opened.

On August 17, 1979, a noxious chemical cloud formed in Madison County that apparently originated near the Bluegrass Army Depot.  The cloud sent dozens of people to the hospital.  State officials said it may have resulted from burning canisters of chemicals.

August 17, 1981, Ft. Knox decided to build the 1st plant in Kentucky that burned trash for energy.  The seemingly simple idea also faltered in Lexington and Louisville partly because it isn’t that simple.

August 17, 1991, a Keeneland graduate trifecta took Saratoga’s GI $1,000,000 Travers Stakes.  W.T. Young’s Kentucky bred won $600,000.

August 17, 1995, Corporal Michael Rush Carrithers, Louisville Housing Authority Police Department, died from injuries sustained in an accident in 1980 while on duty.

August 17, 1995, the Kentucky Fair opened.  Kentucky Kingdom, however, decided the kid-friendly midway, which had opened at 7:00 a.m. for decades, wouldn’t open till 3:00 p.m. and noon on weekends.  Fair board members voiced their disappointment and frustration.

August 17, 2000, the 82nd PGA Championship came to Kentucky’s Valhalla Golf Club in Jefferson County along with Tiger Mania.  The 33,000 tickets sold weeks in advanced.

August 17, 2006, 102nd Kentucky State Fair opened.  The fair lasted 10 days at the Kentucky Exposition Center with Six Flags Kentucky as part of the midway.  Gates opened at 7:00 a.m., tickets cost $7 for adults, children, senior citizens $3, and parking $5.

August 17, 2007, Todd Robert, a respected Clay County long-time assistant police chief, admitted to hiring a drug dealer to burn a house and then lie to federal agents.  Todd, the mayor for 28 years, two long-time city council members, and others received indictments for arson, theft, drug conspiracy, and extortion.  Many of the charges extended back to the 1990s.

August 17, 2011, a lawyer for Kentucky’s two largest newspapers told a judge that Kentucky was “thumbing its nose at the law” by withholding records related to the death of neglected children.  The lawyer said the state acted illegally and in a brazen fashion.  The state argued the information, if released, would place certain children in direct harm.

August 17, 2019, a Kentucky bred won Del Mar’s GI $1,000,000 Pacific Classic.  The Keeneland graduate $1 exacta paid $194.40.

August 17, 2019, WLEX-TV claimed they fired Matt Jones from their show “Hey Kentucky” because Matt wrote a book called Mitch Please.  At the time, Matt pondered running for Mitch’s seat.

On August 17, 2020, UK students returned to classes in the middle of the pandemic with Plexiglas and other aides to stop the spread.  Some Kentucky public schools delayed virtual teaching to regroup, and many private schools opened their doors against the governor’s wishes.  Approximately 506 nursing home residents had died; however, this day’s report gave no ages of the five deceased.

Positives:  376 / 39,691
Deaths:  5 / 818 / 1st death March 16, 2020
50&over: 794 / 49-30: 23 / 29&under: 1
Coronavirus deaths are counted if a deceased person tested positive, regardless of the cause.

On August 17, 2021, divided constituents went before Kentucky legislatures to debate the mask mandates.  Also at the state Capitol, the governor pleaded to get vaccinated, “The Delta variant continues to burn through our population here in Kentucky, and we see the most rapid rise in cases that we have seen to date.  We’re at an alarming point, and we’re rapidly approaching critical; we are at a tipping point.”