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Kentucky Trivia

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Christian County native Adlai Ewing Stevenson, born in 1835.  The 23rd Vice President, who served under President Cleveland from 1893-1897, attended public school in Blue Water.

Kentucky Trivia:  Stevenson never realized how close he came to being president:  A habitual cigar-smoker, Cleveland developed cancer of the mouth that required immediate surgery in the summer of 1893.  The president insisted that the surgery be kept secret to avoid another panic on Wall Street.  While on a yacht in New York harbor that summer, Cleveland had his entire upper jaw removed and replaced with an artificial device, an operation that left no outward scar.  The cancer surgery remained secret for another quarter-century.

On October 23, 1844, a horrific explosion on the steamboat Lucy Walker occurred eight miles below Louisville, in the middle of the Ohio River.  The boat sank in 15 feet of water, and 50 people drowned or went missing; twenty were seriously wounded.

October 23, 1889, Town Marshal W.T. Williams of the Trenton Police Department died from a gunshot as he served a notice for disorderly conduct.  The suspect fled after murdering Marshal Williams but was eventually apprehended.  On November 23, 1889, an angry mob took the suspect from the county jail and lynched him as he awaited trial.

October 23, 1902, the Kentucky Confederate Home at Pewee Valley opened in the former Villa Ridge Inn.  The Kentucky legislature unanimously approved the building of a veterans’ home specifically for Confederate veterans at the urging of Bennett H. Young, who advocated for a facility to house comrades who could no longer care for themselves.

October 23, 1914, the 1st battle of the Bluegrass took place between Eastern and Western Kentucky Universities.  The Colonels defeated the Hilltoppers 34-6.  The two teams have met 84 times on the football field, with Western Kentucky currently holding a 47–35–3 edge in the all-time series.

October 23, 1915, Deputy Sheriff Edmond Murphy, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, died when a train struck him while collecting county taxes at Kings Mountain.

October 23, 1926, the Kentucky Wildcats defeated the Florida Gators in Jacksonville 18-13.  This would be the last win of a long season.  It would also be Fred Murphy’s last season as head coach.  The Cats would finish 2-6-1.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Southgate native Jim Bunning, born in 1931.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Irvine native Lee Rose, born in 1936.  Rose coached two teams to the Final Four with the Charlotte 49ers in 1977 and the Purdue Boilermakers in 1980.  After leaving the college ranks, Rose was an assistant coach with several teams in the NBA between 1986 and 2001.

October 23, 1951, Air Force CAPT John W. Shewmaker from Mercer County died fighting in the Korean War.

October 23, 1954, Kentucky, a two-touchdown underdog up-ends Georgia Tech 13 to 6 by stopping second-half drives on the road in front of 34,000.  The secret was Kentucky’s ability to stop Tech’s famous “Belly-Play.”  Elsewhere, the Louisville Cardinals mastered the Centre Colonels 27-6 in Louisville’s Parkway Field, and in Morehead, Eastern won 12 to 8 in the annual “Old Hawg Rifle” battle.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Pikeville native Dwight Yoakam, born in 1956.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Louisville native Jonathan Wolff, born in 1958.  Wolff is known for creating the theme and music for Seinfeld.  Wolff also composed tunes for about 75 other TV series, including Will & Grace, Who’s the Boss?, Married… with Children, The Hughleys, Reba, and more.

October 23, 1965, the unranked Wildcats defeated the 10th ranked Bulldogs 28-10 in Lexington.  The Cats would finish 6-4 and go 3-3 in the SEC under Charlie Bradshaw.

October 23, 1970, the Justice Department announced an agreement with Pennwalt Chemical to limit their mercury discharge to 1/2 pound a day.  They also committed to further reductions.  The Western Kentucky company dumped 1.54 pounds of mercury a day into the Tennessee River for years.

October 23, 1971, the four candidates are profiled for November’s election to replace Governor L. Nunn.  They included two-time Governor A.B. Chandler running as an Independent, Tom Emberton the Republican nominee, Lt. Gov. Wendell Ford, the Democratic nominee, and William E. Smith, the American Party candidate.  Mr. Smith announced his withdrawal from public appearances in protest against the amount of money he said his opponents spent in this gubernatorial campaign.  If he only saw what was happening today.  Ford would become Kentucky’s 53rd governor.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Bowling Green native Matt Shultz, born in 1983.

October 23, 1989, acting on Governor W. Wilkinson’s request, the Kentucky Lottery Corporation decided against launching a controversial game based on professional football, hours after the State Supreme Court had cleared the way for the game to begin.  Wilkinson had changed his mind at the last minute, having pushed for the game to be created and implemented.

October 23, 1990, the Kentucky Nature Conservancy bought 1,023 acres in the Bad Branch Gorge to preserve an orchid, a broad-leaf grass, and a lily, all endangered plants near Whitesburg, in Letcher County.  They all flourish along the bluffs of Bad Branch, a tributary to the Cumberland River.   

October 23, 1992, about 1,500 people greeted Air Force One as it arrived at Lexington’s Blue Grass Airport at 11 a.m.  Twenty minutes after landing, President George H.W. Bush boarded the Marine One helicopter for a rally in London.

October 23, 2001, Charlotte Hornets co-owner Roy Wooldridge stated that his franchise had little hope of staying in North Carolina and that he was “very interested” in moving to Louisville if leaders committed to building a downtown arena by January 1, 2002.

On October 23, 2002, federal prosecutors began an investigation into Clay County voter fraud.  Five months earlier, someone fired shots at the County Clerk and his assistant, forcing them to stop absentee vote counting during the primary.

On October 23, 2005, Madisonville became another victim of the opioid epidemic as it saw many of its influential citizens caught up in a suspected drug ring selling painkillers and cocaine.  They included a lawyer who started two banks, his daughter, a plastic surgeon, a pharmacist, and a firefighter.  Others faced charges from identity theft to engaging in organized crime.

On October 23, 2014, the Louisville Zoo announced that their 11-year-old reticulated python, Thelma, had produced six healthy baby snakes in 2012 without any prior interaction with a male.  She is the 1st known individual of her species (the world’s largest species of snake) to have done so in captivity.  It had initially been thought that the offspring were produced from long-stored sperm, until genetic testing showed that the neonates were “half clones” – i.e., she was their only genetic parent.

October 23, 2016, Louisville native Justin Thomas won his 2nd PGA event, the CIMB Classic in Malaysia by playing his last 23 holes in 13 under.  Thomas won the same tournament the year before for his 1st PGA win.

According to a report by USA Today sports, on October 23, 2019, Kentucky’s historic 2018 football season netted Coach Mark Stoops the 3rd highest bonus payment of any coach in the country.  It included incentive bonus payments of $250,000 per win starting at win number seven, netting him $1.05 million for a 10-3 season.  He also earned a $50,000 bonus for the team’s academic progress rate score.  Fresno State and Clemson coaches received more bonuses.  The buyout Kentucky would owe Stoops for firing him without cause sits at $22,703,125 as of December 1, 2019.

On October 23, 2020, Mitch McConnell dismissed questions about his health after he appeared in public with bruises and skin decolorization over his body and face.  Three years later, he froze while answering questions from the press in July and August.  Meanwhile, the Trump administration and Democrats began calling the senator “Rich Mitch” because he blocked the $1,200 stimulus checks for Americans during the pandemic.  They estimated his wealth at $34 million pandemic.