TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Thank You For Visiting

May 22, 1830, in one of the most controversial Acts of its time, the Maysville Road Act authorizing the purchase of 50,000 worth of stock in the Maysville, Washington, Paris, and Lexington Turnpike Company, passed.  The road itself, or what was actually built of it, was a significant advancement in construction technology.  The four-mile stretch constructed between Maysville and Washington was a macadamized road, which was passable in virtually any weather conditions, and significantly reduced freight costs by allowing for heavier loads.

May 22, 1863, Covington native Charles W. Rundle and Newport native William Steinmetz, while fighting in the Battle of Vicksburg, earned the Medal of Honor for taking part in the “volunteer storming party.”  One hundred and fifty unmarried volunteers charged a heavily fortified Confederate position; Rundle and Steinmetz answered the call.

Tuesday, May 22, 1877, Baden-Baden wins the 3rd Kentucky Derby against ten others.  William “Billy” Walker, an African American jockey born a slave, guided home the winner in 2:38 for the 1 ½ mile test.  African American Edward D. Brown conditioned the colt.  Mr. Brown started as a jockey, then trained and eventually owned numerous thoroughbreds.  Owner Dan Swigert, who started and named Elmendorf Farm before Mr. Haggin bought it, collected $3,300.

Kentucky Trivia:  Decades after Abraham Lincoln emancipated slaves across the country; African American jockeys dominated the sport.  Jimmy Winkfield was one of the last black jockeys to ride in the Derby, winning on Alan-a-Dale in 1901 and His Eminence in 1902.  By 1904, Churchill Downs and other tracks had banned African American jockeys.  From 1921 to 2000, none rode in the famed race.

Friday, May 22, 1885, Tecumseh wins the 13th Preakness Stakes going one and a half miles in 2:49 on a heavy track over three others to win $2,160.  Jockey Jim McLaughlin wins his only Preakness.

May 22, 1897, Health Officer John J. Sullivan, Lexington Police Department, was accidentally killed when another officer nearby stood from his chair, knocking his gun to the floor, making it discharge, and striking Officer Sullivan.

Thursday, May 22, 1902, Belmont Stakes was the fourth race on the card to be run at 1 3/8 miles.  August Belmont’s Masterman beat W.C. Whitney’s King Hanover and four others by two lengths.

May 22, 1902, the Wireless Telephone Company of America is incorporated to capitalize on Nathan Stubblefield’s invention of the radio transmitter-receiver, aka “the wireless telephone.”  Stubblefield refused large sums of money for the design opting for stocks instead.  Stubblefield then went on tour to promote and demonstrate the new invention to potential investors.  The tour was not as successful as he had hoped and returns home to become an eccentric hermit, moving from shack to shack, and subsisting on donations from friends and family.  He dies in 1928 of starvation in his hometown of Murray.

May 22, 1905, Deputy Sheriff William C. Brown, Hancock County Sheriff’s Office, was shot and killed by a suspect who had shot and wounded the Lewisport town marshal and several other men the previous day.

Tuesday, May 22, 1906, Whimsical wins the 31st Preakness Stakes going one mile and seventy yards in 1:45 to win $2,355.

May 22, 1909, Patrolman H. Clarence Conner, Jefferson County Police Department, was shot and killed after responding to a fight at a tavern.  During an arrest the suspect was able to gain control of Patrolman Conner’s service weapon and shot him in the head.

May 22, 1917, Policeman Shade H. Hunley, Hazard Police Department, was shot and killed while attempting to arrest several men along the spur line near the Louisville & Nashville Railroad Depot.

May 22, 1954, Hasty Road wins the 54th Preakness Stakes going one mile and three-sixteenths in 1:57 2/5 to win $91,600.

May 22, 1965, Army SSG Murrel D. Thomas from Glasgow in Barren County died in the Vietnam War.

May 22, 1967, astronaut John H. Glenn Jr. was in Lexington as a house guest of William T. Young.  Lucy Young and Rex Potter are also shown in the photograph.

May 22, 1968, Marine Corps CAPT Robert E. Harris from Russell in Greenup County, Army PFC Anthony D. Hatcher from Cave City in Barren County, Army PFC Sammy L. Scott from Peytonsburg from Cumberland County and Marine Corps SSGT William B. Hughes from Vanceburg in Lewis County, died in the Vietnam War.

May 22, 1969, Army PFC Charles A. Hilbert from Parksville in Boyle County died in the Vietnam War.

May 22, 1971, Army SP4 Gary A. Dore from Mt. Sterling in Montgomery County died in the Vietnam War.

May 22, 1974, Ruffian ran her first race in a 5.5F maiden special at Belmont Park; Jacinto Vasquez received the mount.  Frank Y. Whiteley, Jr., kept her talent a secret, and she went off at 9-2.  She quickly went to the front, easily extended her lead to 15 lengths, and tied the track record of 1:03, something no other two-year-old had ever done while breaking their maiden race!  Ruffian’s impressive debut was later called the “greatest race ever run by a first-time starter.”

May 22, 1975, the Kentucky Colonels won the American Basketball Association championship, bringing the Commonwealth’s first and only major pro sports title.

May 22, 1986, H.M. Queen Elizabeth II lands in Lexington to begin a private, five-day visit to Kentucky.  Her goal was to inspect thoroughbred farms and several mares she keeps in the area.  This was her second Kentucky visit; her first trip was October 1984.

May 22, 1991, Louisville-based National Guard’s 23rd Military Police Company returned to Kentucky from Iraq and greeted family and friends after serving in Operation Desert Storm.

May 22, 2000, Kentucky’s birthrate among teenagers dropped substantially in the last few years, although it remained above the national average, according to the State Cabinet of Human Resources.  In 93 counties, the rate dropped but increased in 27 others for ages 15-17.

May 22, 2004, almost two-thirds of Kentuckians want the federal government to make it easier to buy prescription drugs from Canada and other countries, according to the Courier-Journal’s Bluegrass poll.  The odds of it happening are slim to none, corporate America rules.

May 22, 2011, Louisville area volunteers plant the American Chestnut Tree. The goal was to bring back the iconic tree species that was so much a part of our history, culture, and heritage.  No other tree could replace the niche it occupied.

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May 22, 2015, Gilbert “Toby” Curtsinger, the alleged ringleader of a bourbon theft and steroid trafficking ring requested to have his trail moved out of Frankfort.  Curtsinger, along with five others allegedly used their jobs at Buffalo Trace Distillery to sell Pappy Van Winkle and Wild Turkey.

May 22, 2020, V.P. Kamala Harris, a U.S. Senator and Rep. Lucy McBath of Georgia asked the U.S. Department of Justice to immediately investigate the shooting of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor, which happened on March 13.