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Kentucky Trivia
Happy Halloween

October 31, 1869, Springfield native Charles Anderson Wickliffe, our 14th governor, passed away.  He became Lt. Governor in 1836.  When Governor J. Clark died on October 5, 1839, he became governor, serving nine months.  His family laid him to rest in Bardstown.

October 31, 1924, locals placed the remains of Prof. Constantine Samuel Rafinesque in a crypt under the steps of Old Morrison Hall on the Transylvania campus, 98 years after he allegedly put a curse on the school.

October 31, 1925, Kentucky played Centre in Danville and wins 16-0.  The glory days for Centre football were over.

October 31, 1931, Western Kentucky University beat the Louisville Cardinals in Bowling Green 20-6, which brought the series record to 7-3 in favor of Western.

October 31, 1942, the Public Service Commission reduced Frankfort’s electric rates by 22.3%.  The reduction saved $78,719 a year.  Unfortunately, that will probably never happen again.

October 31, 1948, Chief of Police Charles F. Elliott, Louellen Police Department, succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained two days earlier from a gunshot shot while he and a deputy from a local mining company attempted to raid a still near Louellen.  The suspects ambushed the two officers with shotgun blasts near the still.

October 31, 1848, Louisville native Mary Nolan, a Hollywood beauty, died in the city of a barbiturate overdose at the age of 45.

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Russellville native Terrence Wade Wilcutt, born in 1949.  Wilcutt graduated from Southern High School in 1967 and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics from Western Kentucky University.  He went on to become an astronaut and a veteran of four Space Shuttle missions.

October 31, 1952, Deputy Sheriff Creed John Johnson, Lewis County Sheriff’s Department, died from a 12-gauge shotgun while he and the sheriff attempted to serve commitment papers on a man.  

Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Paducah native Russell Earl Cochran, born in 1958.  Earl played professional golf and was one of the few natural left-handed players to win a PGA Tour event.  For much of the 1980s through 1992, Russell was the only lefty on tour.

October 31, 1968, Army SSG Eugene Spencer from Bellevue in Campbell County died fighting in the Vietnam War.

October 31, 1970, Sheriff Raymond Warf, Letcher County Sheriff’s Office, suffered a fatal heart attack while investigating a Halloween prank that involved a group of men dismantling a bridge.  When he arrived at the scene, 15 people confronted him.  

October 31, 1973, the Kentucky State Racing Commission agreed to have horse racing year-round for the 1st time when they approved 274 racing days in 1974 for Kentucky’s five tracks: Churchill, Keeneland, Miles Park, Latonia, and Ellis.

October 31, 1982, Kentucky First Lady Phyllis George Brown and a group of Kentuckians inaugurated another shop devoted to the rugs, pottery, and quilts from Kentuckian artisans.  The “Oh! Kentucky” boutique opened in the exclusive Bloomingdale’s department store in Northern Virginia.  Former Governor N. Breathitt’s son, Edward III, played the harmonica while the crowd sang My Old Kentucky Home.

October 31, 1987, Kentucky’s Department of Parks agreed to hire more blacks after two employees filed a federal lawsuit arguing the state denied their professional advancement due to race.  As a result, the state agreed to raise black employment from 2% to 7.4%.

October 31, 1992 the 9th Breeders’ Cup returned to Florida and 90-degree temperatures.  The day began with Thirty Slews Sprint victory for Eddie Delahoussaye and a young former Quarter Horse trainer named Bob Baffert.  Jockey Chris McCarron rode two winners.  The Classic winner became the 5th Classic winner to be voted Horse of the Year.


October 31, 1992, Fund for the Animals Inc. protested against cockfighting at a Kentucky Gamefowl Breeders Association meeting.  Kentucky’s cockfighting laws are still ambiguous.

On October 31, 1996, Keeneland chose their 1st public announcer, Kurt Becker, a 27-year-old Illinois native who had called races since his teens.  His father, also a track announcer, would be proud.

October 31, 2006, Master Police Officer David George Whitson, Bowling Green Police Department, died from friendly fire after he and two other officers responded to a call of a man brandishing a knife on Vine Street.  

October 31, 2007, Julian Assange who President B. Obama prosecuted for PUBLISHING America’s dirty little secrets released detailed diagrams showing how newly captured detainees (labelled cargo) would fly in airplanes.  They would be shackled (cuffed) to leg and wrist irons connected to belly irons, blindfolded at all times, with gloves and ear muffs on at all times.

October 31, 2008, Army Sgt. Daniel W. Wallace, 27, of Dry Ridge died in Afghanistan, fighting in Operation Enduring Freedom.

On October 31, 2012, Senate President David Williams resigned to become a circuit court judge.  Governor S. Beshear publicly stated he appointed Williams because he was the most qualified nominee.  The appointment also removed the governor’s main legislative obstacle.  The press asked Beshear if he felt Williams had the temperament to be a good judge, and the governor replied, “I think he certainly has all the qualities to be a good judge.”

Friday, October 31, 2014, the 31st Breeders’ Cup returned to Santa Anita for the 3rd consecutive year, and a record two-day crowd of 98,319 at the track enjoyed the 13 races.  They held four on Friday and nine on Saturday.

Juvenile Turf
Dirt Mile

Saturday, October 31, 2015, the 2nd day of the 32nd Breeders’ Cup Classic, ran at Keeneland.  American Pharoah raced for the final time.  Keeneland hosted the largest Friday attendance in BC history the day before.

F&M Turf

On October 31, 2019, Churchill Downs announced a $300 million project to invest in a new hotel, a Historical Racing Machine (HRM) facility, a millionaire row renovation, and a new stadium seating.   The future looks bright for the historic racetrack.

On October 31, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to investigate President D. Trump, only the 4th such process in U.S. history.  At the same time, they passed his entire appropriations request, including the largest military budget in U.S. history.  They call him unfit to hold office but provide him unlimited funds to fight endless wars.

October 31, 2020, nursing homes begin to see a shortage of nurses, and restaurants see a decline in business as the mask mandates go into place.  They pin their hopes on outdoor seating to save their livelihood.

On October 31, 2021, Marion Gruber worked her last day as the FDA’s top vaccine reviewer.  She announced her retirement a month earlier, days before the Biden administration began giving the experimental booster vaccinations.  She disagreed with the President’s decision.  For three decades, Gruber headed the vaccine review office.  FDA called Marion’s departure a “huge loss,” citing her “immeasurable contributions.”

On October 31, 2022, the Campari Group, which already owns Wild Turkey, announced they bought the Wilderness Trail Distillery in Danville for $600 million.  Meanwhile, the Kentucky State Police confirmed they would use a video that went viral to investigate the death of a Nicholasville man shot by local police.  A grand jury declined to indict the police officer in August 2023.