TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Happy Halloween

October 31, 1869, Springfield native Charles Anderson Wickliffe our 14th governor, passed away.  He became Lieutenant Governor in 1836.  Upon the death of Governor James Clark on October 5, 1839, he became acting governor, serving nine months.  Governor Wickliffe is laid to rest in Bardstown.

October 31, 1882, Scott County native James Fisher Robinson our 22nd governor, passed away in his hometown of Georgetown.  He served one year and two weeks, (1962-23) the remainder of Governor Beriah Magoffin’s term, pushed out due to Civil War politics.

October 31, 1925, Kentucky plays 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, bringing the series record to 7-3 in favor of Western.

October 31, 1942, the Public Service Commission ordered a reduction of 22.3% in Frankfort electric rates, effective December 1.  The reduction would amount in savings of $78,719 a year.  That will probably never happened again.

October 31, 1948, Chief of Police Charles F. Elliott, Louellen Police Department, succumbed to gunshot wounds sustained two days earlier when he was shot while he and a deputy from a local mining company attempted to raid a still in the mountains near Louellen.  The two officers were ambushed near the site of the still and both were struck by a shotgun blast.

Localtonians wishes 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 in 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 wishes a Happy Birthday to Paducah native Russell Earl Cochran, born in 1958.  Earl plays on the PGA Tour Champions, having previously been a member on the PGA Tour and the Nationwide Tour.  He is 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 left-hander on the PGA 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 he was confronted by a group of 15 people.

October 31, 1973, the Kentucky State Racing Commission agreed to have horse racing year round for the first time in 1974 when they approved 274 racing days 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 of Kentuckian artisans.  The “Oh! Kentucky” boutique opened in the exclusive Bloomingdale’s department store in Northern Virginia.  With former Governor Edward T. “Ned” Breathitt’s son, Edward III, playing the harmonica, the crowd sang My Old Kentucky Home.

October 31, 1987, Kentucky’s Department of Parks agreed to hire more blacks after two employees claimed in federal lawsuits that were denied advancement because of their race.  They agreed to raise employment from 2% to 7.4%.

October 31, 1992 the 9th Breeders’ Cup returned to Florida and the horses were greeted with temperatures reaching 90 degrees.  The day began with Thirty Slews, ridden by Eddie Delahoussaye, winning the Sprint for a young former Quarter Horse trainer named Bob Baffert.  Jockey Chris McCarron rode two winners.  The Classic winner became the fifth Classic winner to be voted Horse of the Year.

Classic
Turf
Distaff

October 31, 1992, a group of animal advocates with the Fund for the Animals Inc. protested against cockfighting at the entrance to a Jeffersonville farm where the Kentucky Gamefowl Breeders Association was meeting.  The question of whether cockfighting is legal in Kentucky was in dispute then and still is today.

On October 31, 1996, Kurt Becker, a 27-year-old native of Illinois who had been calling races since he was a teenager, was chosen to be Keeneland’s first announcer.  Becker is the son of a track announcer.

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

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

October 31, 2012, Kentucky Senate President David Williams resigned to become a circuit court judge.  Governor Steve Beshear stated to the press that he appointed Williams, last week, as a circuit judge because he was the most qualified nominee and removed the man he has called the major obstacle to his legislative agenda.  When Beshear was asked if he felt Williams had the temperament to be a good judge, 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 third consecutive year, and a record two-day crowd of 98,319 at the track enjoyed the 13 races.  Four races were held on this day and nine races on Saturday.

Juvenile Turf
Dirt Mile
Distaff

Saturday, October 31, 2015, the second day of the 32nd Breeders’ Cup Classic runs at Keeneland.  American Pharoah races for the final time in the Classic.

Classic
F&M Turf
Sprint

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 as part of the latest project to grow the historic racetrack.

October 31, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to investigate President Trump, only the fourth such process in U.S. history.  At the same time they pass his entire appropriations request including the largest military budget in U.S. history.  In other words they call him unfit to hold office but provide him with all the money he needs to continue the endless wars, go figure.

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 businesses.