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
October 20, 1900, Kentucky State College (UK) lost to the Kentucky All-Stars 0-5 on the gridiron.
October 20, 1910, Town Marshal John T. Skaggs, Clarkson Police Department, died in Henderson, while returning a horse thief to the Henderson County Jail.
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.
October 20, 1950, Army CPL Marshall E. Crowe of Boyle County died fighting in the Korean War.
October 20, 1951, Army PFC, Kelly Justice from Pike County died fighting in the Korean War.
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, 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, 1969, Army SGT James E. Conkright from Daviess County and Army SP4 Dennis G. Hall from Oldham County, died fighting in the Vietnam War.
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. Ali, looking ahead to a rematch with Frazier, easily dispatched the Dutchman in 12 rounds. A crowd of 35,000 watched the bout, 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 a heavy rain at the Mount 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.
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.
October 20, 1995, prosecutors dropped former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Dan Jack Combs‘s drug charges if he promised to stop smoking marijuana and insulting the State Police. Asked if he would indeed quit smoking, Combs answered, “I refuse to answer that on the grounds that it may incriminate me.”
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 cost for treatment and surgery. The verdict sent shockwaves through the managed care industry.
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, 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 second in South Korea in three years with a final-round, 5-under 67 and a two-stroke victory over South Korean-born New Zealander Danny Lee.