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Kentucky Trivia

October 20, 1865, the federal government hung Champ Ferguson, a Civil War guerrilla from Spring Creek in Clinton County, for 53 counts of murder.  Sometimes associated with Morgan’s Confederate Raiders, he spent most of his time as an independent insurgent.  As unlikely as it may seem, Champ was one of only two men tried for Civil War crimes.  The Kentucky Encyclopedia edited by John E. Kleber; pg 313

On October 20, 1869, while serving with Company G, 1st Cavalry Regiment, Covington native Thomas Sullivan distinguished himself through gallantry against Native Americans concealed in a ravine in action at Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona Territory.  For this, he received the Medal of Honor.

October 20, 1900, Kentucky State College (UK) lost to the Kentucky All-Stars 0-5.

October 20, 1910, Town Marshal John T. Skaggs, Clarkson Police Department, died from a gunshot in Henderson while returning a prisoner to the Henderson County Jail.  The prisoner faced charges for stealing a horse in Leitchfield.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Niagara native Louis Marshall (“Grandpa”) Jones, born in Henderson County in 1913.  In 1978, he became a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.  Hee Haw made him famous.

On October 20, 1947, members of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAAC) opened their investigation into alleged communist elements within the Hollywood film industry.  The hearings resulted in the imprisonment of 10 screenwriters and directors, and heralded the beginning of an ugly phase in US political history when anti-Russia hysteria superseded human decency.

October 20, 1950, Army CPL Marshall E. Crowe of Boyle County died fighting in the Korean War.

October 20, 1950, the Central Kentucky Homemakers Chorus, 76 women from Clark, Fayette, Franklin, and Scott Counties, traveled to Washington, D.C., to perform the Stephen Foster Program for America’s Sesquicentennial celebration.

October 20, 1951, officials charged UK basketball players Alex Groza, Ralph Beard, and Dale Barnstable with accepting bribes for point-shaving the 1949 NIT final game against Loyola.  The Cats gave 10 points and lost by 11.  All three admitted their guilt.

October 20, 1951, Army PFC, Kelly Justice from Pike County died fighting in the Korean War.

October 20, 1952, Army PFC Francis Maloney from Kenton County, Army PVT Otis E. Pingleton from Madison County and Army Roland D. Thompason from Jefferson County, all died fighting in the Korean War.

October 20, 1965, Army SFC Joseph D. Baily from Christian County died fighting in the Vietnam War.

October 20, 1967, Army SSG Carl A. Ballenger from Valley Station died fighting in the Vietnam War.

On October 20, 1968, two Kentucky County Attorneys opposed legislation that severely restricted firearms use and possession.  Grant County Attorney Lee Lanter and Fayette County Attorney Armand Angelucci came together when the public began to panic after the deaths of JFK, MLK, and RFK.  Neither wanted Washington to put restrictions on law-abiding citizens.

October 20, 1971, Army SFC Billie L. Coleman from Butler County died fighting in the Vietnam War.

October 20, 1973, Muhammad Ali (43-2) fought Rudi Lubbers (12-1) at the Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia. Even though Ali looked ahead to a rematch with Frazier, he easily dispatched the Dutchman in 12 rounds. A crowd of 35,000 watched the fight, and 10,000 showed up at an exhibition Ali gave for his fans.

On October 20, 1983, Rosewood native Merle Robert Travis passed away.  His songs’ lyrics often discussed the lives of coal miners.  His unique guitar style, still called “Travis Picking” by guitarists, is a syncopated guitar finger-picking style rooted in ragtime.  A member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and Country Music Hall of Fame, his ashes are scattered around his memorial near Drakesboro.

October 20, 1985, taking shelter from the rains at the Mt. Sterling Court Days.  From left, Milford Bivens of Flemingsburg, Tony Wainscott of Lawrenceburg, Gene Gregory of Stamping Ground, Shelby Burgin of Richmond, and John Fortune of Mount Sterling.  The annual gathering started in 1794 when the circuit judge came to town to try criminal defendants.  People came from miles around to sell crops, trade horses, mules and other farm animals and swap goods and services.

October 20, 1995, former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Dan Jack Combs had his drug charges dropped as part of a plea agreement in which he promised to stop smoking marijuana and insulting the State Police.  But later in an interview, Combs was unrepentant.  Asked if he would indeed quit smoking, Combs answered, “I refuse to answer that on the grounds that it may incriminate me.”

October 20, 1995, senior quarterback Tim Couch, the front runner for Mr. Football honors, threw for 533 yards and six touchdowns in the Shelby Valley – Hyden County high school football game.  Couch went 20 for 29 and improved his team’s record to 7-2.

On October 20, 1998, Karen Johnson, from Louisville, won a $13.1 million verdict from Humana Healthcare Plan.  The three-year battle with the insurance giant started when she was diagnosed with cancer and Humana refused to cover her treatment and surgery costs.

October 20, 1999, Millersburg native Mae Jones Street Kidd passed away.  “The Champion of Civil Rights” had a distinguished career in public relations, served in the Red Cross during World War II, and represented Louisville’s 41st House District from 1968 to 1984 in Frankfort.

October 20, 2011, America had Muammar Gaddafi killed to prevent the creation of an independent hard currency in Africa that would free the continent from its economic bondage.  Dan Kovalik wrote in the Huffington Post the murder created a human rights disaster, as ‘thousands of detainees [including children] languish in prisons without proper judicial review.  It also created kidnappings and rampant murders in the capital city.  Sec. of State Hillary Clinton on a CBS interview stated, “We came, we saw, he died!”

October 20, 2017, UofL interim president accused former AD Director Tom Jurich of “ineffective management, divisive leadership, and unprofessional conduct.”

October 20, 2018, Glynn Grogan from Arlington caught a state record Blue Catfish in the Ohio River, weighing 106.9 pounds.

October 20, 2019, Justin Thomas won his 11th PGA Tour event and his 2nd in South Korea in three years with a final-round, 5-under 67 for a two-stroke victory over Danny Lee.

October 20, 2020, retiring state Senator Julian Carroll backed fellow Democrat Joe Graviss instead of his son in the race to replace him.  The reason is that his son, Ken Carroll, ran as an Independent.  The ex-governor was known to be a staunch hater of any 3rd party in the Commonwealth.

On October 20, 2020, Governor A. Beshear, quarantined inside his mansion, told Kentuckians the coronavirus was so severe they began “surge preparations” if hospital capacity was exhausted.  He announced 1,312 new positive cases, 776 people in hospitals who tested positive, and 202 patients in intensive care.  Meanwhile, the state asked people to vote early to delay long lines because only a limited number of polls would open.

Positives:  1,312 / 89,544
Deaths:  16 / 1,342 – 1st Death 3/16/20
50&over:  1,305 / 49-30: 35 / 29&under: 2

October 20, 2021, the surveillance state brazenly asked the Kentucky Supreme Court to decide if police could track people by pinging their cell phones without a warrant.  Nine months later, the court barely ruled they could not with a 4-3 vote.

On October 20, 2022, Governor A. Beshear said he would expand Kentucky’s Medicaid coverage for dental, vision, and hearing care, to improve Kentuckians’ lives and boost workforce participation.  Humana and other for-profit health insurance agencies were not happy.