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July 4, 1777, Fort Boonesborough was subjected to the heaviest and most serious attack. With a force of 200 warriors, British Chief Black Fish surrounded the fort and began to attack. Daniel Boone and his garrison had discovered the attack force and had warned the settlement well in advance. Constant firing against the stockade and repeated attempts to set fire to the fort by fire arrows and torches thrown over the stockade kept the citizens at the portholes continually. Women and girls molded bullets, loaded spare rifles, cooked and distributed food, rationed water and attended children and livestock without rest. During this attack, the Native Americans destroyed the remaining crops near the fort. On the morning of July 6, the Native Americans, discouraged by their failure, withdrew before daylight taking with them their seven dead and several wounded warriors. The garrison lost one man and two were injured.
A History of the Daniel Boone National Forest, 1770-1970 by Robert F. Collins, United States. Forest Service
July 4, 1788, in Thomas Young’s tavern, Lexington men remembered the revolution that had named their city in the “first regular and formal celebration” of independence, 14 toasts were drunk at a dinner.
July 4, 1794, Col. William Price, a Revolutionary War veteran, held the first known celebration of Independence Day west of the Alleghenies. A historic marker in Jessamine County commemorates the event where 40 veterans dined to celebrate the “glorious birthday of our freedom.”
On July 4, 1834, Governor Morehead, hosted Kentucky’s first National Republican/Whig Party convention in Frankfort. Kentuckians flocked to the “new” party en masse, and the legislative elections of August 1834 saw the party garner majorities in both houses of the state legislature.
July 4, 1895, Patrolman Edward Byrnes, Louisville Police Department, was shot and killed while attempting to make an arrest at a tavern in the 400 block of Roselane Street. He and several other officers were attempting to clear a corner of loitering men when one of the men in the crowd opened fire.
July 4, 1907, Deputy Sheriff Andy Downs, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department, was shot and killed as he attempted to arrest a man suspected of running an illegal drinking establishment. The suspect opened fire on him with a handgun, fatally wounding him. Deputy Downs succumbed to his injury on the scene.
July 4, 1921, Patrolman Doc Lefler, Ashland Police Department, was shot and killed as he and Officers Hunt and Erwin attempted to arrest a man for assaulting his wife. The officers surrounded the home of suspect and Officer Lefler entered and placed the suspect under arrest. As Officer Lefler led the suspect away from the house he stopped to wait for the other officers, releasing his hold on the suspect. The suspect pulled a gun from his pocket and shot Officer Lefler multiple times at close range, killing him, and then fired on Officers Hunt and Erwin, striking Officer Hunt twice in the leg. The two officers fired back and struck the suspect, however, the suspect escaped.
July 4, 1923, Deputy Sheriff Jim Collins, Bell County Sheriff’s Department, was shot and killed while investigating the sounds of gunfire. He was on duty at a local picnic area during Fourth of July celebrations when he heard the gunfire in the distance. He had driven to the location and as he exited his vehicle two men immediately shot him before he could even draw his gun. One of the subjects was sentenced to only two years in prison.
July 4th, 1923, Federal Hill was renamed My Old Kentucky Home in honor of Stephen Foster’s “My Old Kentucky Home, Good-Night!” and ownership of the estate was transferred to the Commonwealth of Kentucky as an historic shrine, effectively becoming Kentucky’s first state-owned park. The song “My Old Kentucky Home” was made Kentucky’s state song five years later.
July 4, 1924, the only monument in Kentucky that honors the nearly 25,000 African American Kentuckians who served in the United States Colored Troops during the American Civil War was dedicated in Frankfort.
July 4, 1972, two-year-old Secretariat, ridden by Paul Feliciano, ran fourth to winner Herbull in his racing debut. He was blocked badly throughout the race at Aqueduct. It was his poorest placing ever.
July 4, 1974, Miles Park, during what turned out to their last full year of racing and also known as Smiles Park by its loyal patrons, posted the wrong horse’s number as the winner in a photo finish. After a stewards’ hearing the next morning, the three judges were each fined $100 and suspended the final week of the meet. (One Judge appealed his sanction to the Kentucky State Racing Commission and went to his grave, insisting that he posted the right horse.)
July 4, 1976, Charlie Whittingham swept the top three spots in the American Handicap at Hollywood Park with his trainees “King Pellinore,” “Riot in Paris” and “Caucasus.” Twenty-two days later he did it again, in the Sunset Handicap, with the same three horse but in a different order.
July 4, 1977, Lexington’s first Fourth of July 10,000-meter race, which would become known as the Bluegrass 10,000 ran. Swag Hartel of Louisville won the race in 31 minutes, 36 seconds. Despite the 83 degrees, all 465 runners finished the race.
July 4, 2000, Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze scored his 7,000 career victory aboard This Is the Moment at the Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton, CA. Baze became the sixth jockey to join the 7,000-win club.