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TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Kentucky Trivia ● Kentucky Tweets

December 21, 1793, Kentucky created Harrison County from Bourbon and Scott and was named in honor of Benjamin Harrison, co-author of the Kentucky Constitution.  The county seat is Cynthiana.  Other cities and towns include Berry, Boyd, Breckinridge, Broadwell, Buena Vista, Colville, Connersville, Hooktown, Lair, Lees Lick, Leesburg, Kelat, Morningglory, Oddville, Poindexter, Ruddles Mill, Rutland, Shadynook, Shawhan, and Sunrise.  Harrison County, the 17th county created, covers 310 square miles.

KY 1793
640px Map of Kentucky highlighting Harrison County.svg
By David Benbennick

Localtonians wish a Happy Anniversary to Mason County native Alexander W. Doniphan and Elizabeth J. Thornton, who wed in 1837.  Alexander prevented the summary execution of cult leader Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, at the close of the 1838 Mormon War.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Fayette County native James Lane Allen, born in 1849, one of Kentucky’s 1st best-selling novelists.

On December 21, 1861, Kentucky legislators expelled John Milton Elliott from the General Assembly for supporting the Confederate cause.  Milton went on to join the Confederate government in Russellville.  After the war, while serving as a judge in 1876, someone assassinated him, and the murder received national attention.

December 21, 1868, Nelson County native Charles Slaughter Morehead, passed away.  The 20th governor was the only Know-Nothing to hold the office.

December 21, 1869, Graves County lynched James Stone, a black male, for alleged murder and rape.  One source found evidence of 135 Kentucky lynchings from 1882 to 1921.

December 21, 1922, Deputy Sheriff Robert H. Napier, Perry County Sheriff’s Office, was believed to have been shot and killed after confronting a subject near his home at Walker’s Branch.  His mangled body was located on a set of nearby railroad tracks.  A subject was arrested 13 years after his death.

December 21, 1929, Police Officer Jesse B. Dills, Paintsville Police Department, died when a former county constable who held a grudge against him shot him.  On duty, officer Dills went to a local pool hall on Main Street to get a cup of coffee.  The suspect and the county jailer, who had both been drinking, waited for him to exit.

December 21, 1935, Patrolman James Powell Hays and Patrolman Robert Rowland, Kentucky Highway Patrol, died while they questioned two brothers about a stolen automobile at the garage they operated in Franklin.  One of the brothers was sentenced to life and one was sentenced to six years.  The brother who was released after only six years went on to murder two more police officers in Tennessee.

On December 21, 1954, one hundred patients at Eastern State Hospital in Lexington completed a life-size nativity scene, including three large sheds, each 15’x20’.  The scene included the usual suspects, including a live mule, cow, three sheep, and a goat, all provided by the hospital’s farm.

December 21, 1954, the Wildcats barely snuck by Utah in the last minute to advance to the finals of the annual U.K. Invitational Basketball tournament held in Memorial Coliseum.  Kentucky, ranked #1 in the nation, easily defeated La Salle, like they did the previous year, to win the tournament again.

December 21, 1956, U of L contested its 1st basketball game in Freedom Hall, and the Cardinals whipped Notre Dame, 85-75, before 13,756 fans.  In that game, Charlie Tyra, the cover boy on the 1st-ever Street & Smith College Basketball Yearbook, tallied 40, including a perfect 18 for 18 underhanded free throws.

December 21, 1970, the U.S. Supreme Court by a 5 to 4 vote, allowed 18-year-olds to vote for president and congress.  Approximately ten million young voters became eligible to vote.

December 21, 1980, The Courier-Journal spotlighted Kentucky’s 1st trout farm located in Canmer in Hart County.  State agriculture officials believed it was also Kentucky’s 1st fish farm.  The rainbow trout from the Glenbrook Trout Farm served 40 restaurants in Louisville and Lexington.

On December 21, 1990, a Kentucky legislative report stated that Toyota’s presence in Kentucky had meant an investment of nearly $1.7 billion and 5,179 jobs in two years of operation.  Meanwhile, the final group of IBM Lexington workers accepted a recent voluntary separation and left their jobs.

December 21, 1999, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission proposed an $88,000 fine against the operators of the Paducah uranium plant for retaliating against a manger who raised safety concerns about the facility.  The plant enriched uranium for use as nuclear reactor fuel.

December 21, 2008, Marine Lance CPL Thomas Reilly Jr., 19, of London, died in Iraq, fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

December 21, 2009, the UK men’s basketball team became the 1st college program to win 2,000 games during John Calipari’s 1st season in Rupp Arena for the home crowd.  The Cats defeated the Drexel Dragons 88-44.

December 21, 2010, Charlie Strong’s Cardinals, representing the Big East, defeated the Southern Miss Golden Eagles from the C-USA, 31-28.

December 21, 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Kentucky grew by a modest 7.4% during the last decade, putting the population at 4,339,367.  The state’s growth was less than the nation’s 9.7%.

On December 21, 2015, Harlan threw a parade for Jordan Smith for winning The Voice.  Jordan thanked all the locals for his support and sang Hallelujah, his big hit on the show.

December 21, 2015, Coach Jeff Brohm’s Western Kentucky Hilltoppers defeated the South Florida Bulls 45 to 35 in the Miami Beach Bowl.  Played in Marlin’s baseball Park, it was the only college bowl game of the day.

December 21, 2016, the #10 ranked Cardinals defeated the 6th ranked Cats 73-70 in front of 22,783 in KFC Yum! Center.  It would be the last time Pitino and Calipari coached against each other ending the series at 8-2 in Calipari’s favor.

December 21, 2017, the historic James E. Pepper distillery filled and closed its 1st barrel of whiskey 59 years after it closed.  The recipe for the new batch was copied from the same recipe as last produced in 1958.  They released the whiskey in 2019.

December 21, 2020, as Kentucky started vaccinating vulnerable nursing home residents and staff, Congress passed a $2,300,000,000,000 spending bill that consisted of 5,593 pages, by far the largest bill in American history.  Congress members had less than three hours to read The Fleecing of America.  The pandemic relief included $900 billion, and $1.4 trillion was a catch-all omnibus bill, the U.S. annual budget.  The bill quickly passed through both houses, with Senator Rand Paul being one of six senators who voted no and Rep. Thomas Massie one of 53 Houses members who also voted no.

Positives:  1,988 / 244,927
Deaths:  15 / 2,412 – 1st Death 3/16/20
50&over: 2,350 / 49-30: 59 / 29&under: 3