TODAY IN KENTUCKY HISTORY

Thank You For Visiting

May 23, 1775, the first Transylvania Convention opened at Fort Boonesborough with representatives from Harrodsburg, Boiling Springs, St. Asaph and Boonesborough.  In only four days, the legislatures passed nine laws: addressing a court system, regulating a militia, prohibition of swearing and Sabbath-breaking, rules for the payment of debts, clerk’s and sheriff’s fees, improvement of horse breeding, and game preservation.  These laws reflected the settlers’ dependence on game for food, sound horses, and an ever-ready militia for defense against Native Americans.  The governments of VA and NC immediately denounced the Transylvania Company as land pirates.

On May 23, 1776, Fort Boonesborough was attacked, killing two white boys; one white man survived the attack.

May 23, 1790, a company of people were going home from a meeting on Brashier’s Creek when they were fired on by a party of Native Americans.  One man was killed and one woman was taken captive.  A group was gathered to pursue the Natives, but when they got close the captive was killed and the group dispersed so that they could not be followed.

May 23, 1853, Darley, aka Lexington, ran his first race as a three-year-old in the Association Stakes at the Kentucky Association Race Track in Lexington. The colt was leased to trainer Henry Brown by Dr. Warfield, who was retiring from racing.  Despite running over two miles before the official break, Darley led from flag fall to finish, as he did in the second heat, leaving a remarkable first impression.  Richard Ten Broeck later agreed on behalf of a syndicate to purchase the colt a few days before the Citizens’ Stakes.  Little did they know he would become the most successful sire of the second half of the nineteenth century.

Tuesday, May 23, 1873, Pimlico Race Course ran the second race on the card named “The Preakness” for the first time at a distance of 1 ½ miles.  It was the brainchild of then Maryland Governor, Oden Bowie, a sportsman and an enterprising racing entrepreneur.  His term ended in 1872, but in ’73, his filly, My Maryland, represented him in his world-class stakes race.  Survivor won the first Preakness Stakes with a purse of just over $2,000.  He won by ten lengths, which remained the largest margin of victory for over 100 years.

Wednesday, May 23, 1883, Leonatus wins the 9th Kentucky Derby going one mile and half in 2:43 on a very heavy track.  Owners Jack P. Chinn & George W. Morgan, trainer Raleigh Colston Sr. and jockey William Donohue complete the winning connections to win $3,760.  Racing officials postponed the Derby by one day due to heavy rains and the track being a “sea of mud.”

Kentucky Trivia:  The name “Churchill Downs” is first used to landmark the racetrack for the 1883 Kentucky Derby. In an article from the former Louisville Commercial: “The crowd in the grand stand sent out a volume of voice, and the crowd in the field took it up and carried it from boundary to boundary of Churchill Downs.”  The track’s official name was The Louisville Jockey Club, and in 1937 it was incorporated as Churchill Downs Racetrack.

Localtonians wishes a Happy Birthday to Lexington native, jazz pianist and bandleader, Edgar Junius Hayes, born in 1902.

May 23, 1910, Patrolman Frank Weber, Louisville Police Department, succumbed to a gunshot wound received the previous day when he and his partner attempted to break up a fight.

Localtonians wishes a Happy Birthday to Maysville native Rosemary Clooney born in 1923.

Localtonians wishes a Happy Birthday to Betsy Layne native Bette Joan Henritze, born in 1924. 

May 23, 1951, Army PVT Eugene M. Mayes from Franklin in Simpson County died in the Korean War.

May 23, 1953, Native Dancer wins by a nose in the 78th running of the Preakness Stakes.  Gross value of the 1 3/16 mile race was $113,750.  The Derby winner, Dark Star, finishes fifth.

Localtonians wishes a Happy Birthday to Lexington native Melissa Suzanne McBride, born in 1965.  McBride’s breakout role was Carol Peletier on the AMC series The Walking Dead.

May 23, 1968, Army PFC Larry W. Gillispie from Stamping Ground in Scott County died in the Vietnam War.

May 23, 1969, Marine Corps CPL Gary L. Hisle in Covington died in the Vietnam War.

May 23, 1972, Louie B. Nunn and Walter Huddleston each won their gubernatorial primaries and would face off in November to be the 52nd Governor. 

May 23, 1982, Horseman John R. Gaines appears on the front page of the Lexington Leader to promote the bold idea of a Breeders’ Cup Series, a Super Bowl of Horse Racing.  Mr. Gaines starts by saying, “that it was a sure thing.  It isn’t a question of if it will be done but how it will be done.”  The first Breeders’ Cup ran in October 1984 at Santa Anita Park.

May 23, 1991, Deputy Sheriff Kenneth Mason McCarty, Bourbon County Sheriff’s Department, was killed in an automobile accident while responding to backup a state trooper.

May 23, 1991, H.M. Queen Elizabeth II landed in Lexington for a private three-day visit in Versailles at William Farrish’s Lane’s End Farm home.  This will make the fourth time in eight years visiting Land’s End. The Queen is using the Kentucky stop to recuperate after visiting D.C., Florida and Texas.

May 23, 2002, the Louisville’s Zoo’s $12.3 million Gorilla Exhibit opened which also features artifacts from Dian Fossey’s work.

May 23, 2015, Kentucky Kingdom opened their doors for the season with eight new attractions including Cyclos, Skycatcher, Enterprise, Up Up and Away and Wizard of Oz SD.

May 23, 2020, for the second time in a month and a half, Governor A. Beshear reported no new deaths on a Saturday, so the death toll remained at 391.  He also noted that Kentucky’s rate of new cases is on the decline.  484 Kentuckians were in the hospital due to coronavirus, and 89 of those were in intensive care.