TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

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July 1, 1774, Thomas Hanson succinctly captured the essence of the Bluegrass Country in his journal entry describing the vicinity of Elkhorn Creek: “All the land we passed over today is like a Paradise it is so good & beautiful.

July 1, 1869, Police Officer John O’Connell, Louisville Police Department, was accidentally shot and killed by other officers who mistook him for a burglary suspect.

Localtonians wishes a Happy Birthday to Rockcastle native Renfro Valley founder John Lair, born in 1894.

July 1, 1898, Benleyville native Benjamin F. Hardaway and Louisville native James J. Nash received the Medal of Honor for assisting in the rescue of wounded while under heavy fire from the enemy during the Spanish–American War.

July 1, 1901, Delmar Thoroughbred Race Track opened outside St. Louis opened.

July 1, 1938, the huge job of building Kentucky Dam began.  It took six years from the start of construction until the reservoir began filling on August 30, 1944.  At the peak of construction TVA had nearly 5,000 men at work building the dam and preparing the reservoir area.

July 1, 1939, Clay Puett, standing above Lansdowne Park’s muddy track in Vancouver, took a deep breath.  He then pressed a button that sprang open 12 steel doors simultaneously and thereby changed horse racing forever.  This marked the first time Thoroughbred racing used an electric starting gate.

On July 1, 1945, Bert Combs was sent to the South Pacific.  He served as chief of the War Crimes Investigating Department under General Douglas MacArthur in the Philippine Islands, conducting tribunals for Japanese war criminals.  Upon his discharge in 1946, he was awarded the Bronze Star and the Military Merit Medal of the Philippines.  Ten years later he would become Kentucky’s 50th Governor.

July 1, 1948, the Kentucky State Police became effective.  It was an outgrowth of the Kentucky Highway Patrol, which in 1936 had been organized as a division of the Department of Highways. 
The Kentucky Encyclopedia edited by John E. Kleber; pg: 513

Localtonians wishes a Happy Birthday to Ashland native Jackie Keith Whitley, born in 1954.  He was raised 46 miles away in Sandy Hook and attended Sandy Hook High School.  Whitley formed his first band at the age of 13, playing nothing but straight bluegrass.  A few years later, he formed the Lonesome Mountain Boys with his high school friend, Ricky Skaggs.

July 1, 1960, Eastern Kentucky University hired their first alumni as President.  Robert R. Martin led his alma mater into a period of unparalleled growth using state and federal funds.
The Kentucky Encyclopedia edited by John E. Kleber; pg: 279

July 1, 1962, Hugh G. Randall, 28, from Louisville, died when the wheel of his the car caught a rut and vaulted end over end and landed upside-down.  Earlier in the day, he arrived at Langhorne Speedway in Pennsylvania attempting to make his Championship debut.  His #46 entry failed to qualify but he stayed around for the race attempting to serve as a substitute or relief driver.  The #63 Vargo Special was started by Bob Mathouser who pulled in after 60 laps due to poor handling.  Elmer George got in the car and drove seventeen laps but was also dissatisfied with the car’s handling.  That led Randall to attempt to take over the reins.  The wreck took place on his 3rd lap.  The Vargo Special car that Randall died in was also the car in which Dick Linder and Van Johnson had been killed in racing crashes.  Randall was buried in Resthaven Memorial Cemetery in Louisville.

July 1, 1966, jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. won with his first mount in the United States, at Arlington Park, aboard two-year-old filly Teachers Art, owned and bred by Fred W. Hooper.

July 1, 1968, Army PFC August F. Bolt from Louisville and Army SSG Edgar Godbey from Liberty in Casey County died in the Vietnam War.

July 1, 1972, Riva Ridge turned back the best three-year-olds the west coast could offer at Hollywood Park, holding off Bicker by less than a length in the $109,000 Hollywood Derby.  The winning margin in the photo finish was a neck.  Riva Ridge upped his earnings to $862,150, making him the wealthiest active thoroughbred at the time.  He picked up $59,000 for 1st place.

July 1, 1990, Fayette County drivers were required to wear seat belts.

On July 1, 1997, Kentucky executed its first inmate in thirty five years.  A 44 years old, was convicted in 1981 of murdering Rebecca O’ Hearn, a convenience store clerk, during a robbery that netted him 1,500 dollars.  The convict died by electrocution at 12:07 a.m.  Over one hundred death penalty opponents and twenty five supporters of capital punishment protested outside of the penitentiary.

July 1, 2003, Lexington, the heart of burley tobacco country became the first Kentucky city to approve a smoking ban for nearly all public places.

July 1, 2018, Kentucky’s 6% sales tax began.  It marked the first time services offered by non-profits in Kentucky will be taxed.  The Y.M.C.A. is one of many services that will be affected.

July 1, 2020, Kentucky reported that 15,842 people had tested positive for the coronavirus and 572 had died from the flu strain.

Kentucky Trivia:  As of July 1, 2021, 7,220 Kentuckians died from the coronavirus.