Localtonians wishes a Happy Birthday to William Logan, born inside Fort Harrodsburg in 1776. He was one of the first white children born in the state. His father was General Ben Logan, one of the earliest settlers to Logan County, the namesake. In 1818, William was elected to the U.S. Senate, defeating Richard M. Johnson by 67 to 55. He served one year and then resigned to make a bid for governor. He ran second to John Adair in a four-way race, 20,493 to 19,947. His death at 45 was viewed, too many, as a significant loss to the state.
December 8, 1903, Governor Beckham takes the oath for 2nd time after he wins the November general election. Beckham was the youngest Lt. gov. and governor, who stayed in office for seven years, 10 months and seven days.
Localtonians wishes a Happy Birthday to Viper native Jean Ruth Ritchie, born in 1922 in Perry County. Ms. Ritchie was an American folk singer, songwriter, and Appalachian dulcimer player, called by some the “Mother of Folk.” She is ultimately responsible for reviving the Appalachian dulcimer, the traditional instrument of her community, which she popularized by playing the instrument on her albums and writing tutorial books. She inspired many musicians, including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Shirley Collins, Joni Mitchell, Emmylou Harris, and Judy Collins.
December 8, 1931, Ruby Laffoon became the 43rd governor. Laffoon set new records for the number of pardons granted and the number of Kentucky Colonels commissioned. Laffoon’s effort to get a sales tax split the Democratic Party. Leading the opposition was Lt. Gov. Happy Chandler and Ben Johnson, whom Laffoon had made highway commissioner. Party factionalism and a sick economy left Laffoon with a poor record as governor and the Louisville Courier-Journal called the 1932 legislative session “about the worst legislative session in Kentucky’s history.”
December 8, 1934, the Kentucky State Thorobreds football team beat Wiley College in Marshall, Texas to end the season 8-0. Kentucky State won the Midwest Athletic Association championship, shut out seven of eight opponents, and outscored all opponents by a total of 193 to 2. The team was recognized as the Black College National Champion. The team played its home games at Alumni Field in Frankfort.
December 8, 1959, Governor Bert Combs was sworn in as the 50th governor. Combs rose from poverty in his native Clay County to earn a law degree from UK and become one of America’s most progressive governors.
December 8, 1968, Army SP5 Harry E. Bates from Beattyville in Lee County, Marine Corps PFC Charles W. Caldwell from Rush in Boyd County, Marine Corps CPL Connard D. Mallory from Leesburg in Logan County, Marine Corps PFC Jack D. Schaffner from Louisville and Army SGT Philip A. Terry from Lexington all died fighting in the Vietnam War.
December 8, 1971, George D. Widener died. Mr. Widener breed over 100 stakes winners, most of them Kentucky foals. He was a horse racing giant who served on numerous boards and associations and helped establish Elmendorf Farm in Lexington with his uncle. He later sold his part of the farm to Leslie Combs.
December 8, 1971, Dry Ridge native Skeeter Davis, perhaps at the height of her career, got a little too political before performing at the Grand Ole Opry and was banned for criticizing local police. Earlier in the week, crowds of Bill Lowrey’s Christ Is The Answer Crusade descended upon Nashville to street preach. Police arrested 11 of the 200 members when customers at the nearby mall complained of harassment.
Localtonians wishes a Happy Birthday to Lexington native Damaris Phillips, born in 1980. Damaris is a celebrity chef best known as the season nine champion of Food Network Star. As the winner, she earned her own show on the Food Network called Southern at Heart. She earned a degree in Culinary Arts from Jefferson Community and Technical College.
December 8, 1984, Brian Taylor, while racing at the Sha Tin Racecourse in Hong Kong was thrown from his saddle while crossing the finish line. His mount, Silver Star (銀星一號), stumbled. Taylor would succumb two days later in hospital from the serious neck and head injuries he had received. His friend Bill Burnett wanted him to find someone else to replace him for that race due to his shingles. Wally Hood offered to take the ride but at the last minute, Brian decided to race, which turned out to be his last.
December 8, 1987, Frankfort held an inauguration Governor Wallace Wilkinson. Former Governor A.B. “Happy” Chandler was the grand marshal. Chandler’s endorsement of Wilkinson during the campaign was considered crucial to his victory.
December 8, 1991, House Majority Leader Greg Stumbo was charged with a DUI after his truck ran off the road. He had been a leading proponent of tougher drunken-driving measures in the General Assembly.
December 8, 1992, the city of Frankfort changed their minds and voted to allow the MTV channel to continue to air in their city. Pat Layton a Frankfort resident for 32 years stated that she had never seen an issue divide the city like the MTV debate.
December 8, 2001, Kentucky beats North Carolina for the Cats’ 1,800th victory, the first college basketball team to reach that milestone. Tayshaun Prince electrified the home crowd by making five consecutive 3-pointers in the first three minutes and 46 seconds. The senior finished with 31 points in Kentucky’s 79-59 win.
December 8, 2016, Bernheim Forest acquired 162 acres of ecologically rich bottom lands along Wilson Creek in Bullitt County for conservation purposes. The forest now has 14,673 acres or about 23 square miles. With more than three million trees and the headwaters of 13 streams, Bernheim provides clean air and clean water for the 1.6 million people who call North Central Kentucky home.
December 8, 2020, Governor A. Beshear, in his first full year on the job, informed Kentuckians that there were 3,114 new cases (205,668) of coronavirus and 20 new deaths (2,102). He went on to say that the growth in the virus “appears to be slowing in Kentucky.”