Localtonians wish a Happy Birthday to Gabriel Slaughter, born in 1767. A farmer by trade, he migrated to Kentucky in 1799/1800 to become our 7th governor and the first to ascend to the office upon the sitting governor’s death. He was never able to shed the title of “acting governor” given to him by his enemies. He was also on the first board of trustees of Georgetown College.
December 12, 1792, Hardin County is created from Nelson County. It was named in honor of John Hardin, pioneer. Elizabethtown is the largest city and county seat. Other localities include: Muldraugh, (partly in Meade County) Radcliff, Sonora, Upton, (partly in LaRue County) Vine Grove, West Point, Cecilia, Fort Knox, Rineyville, Big Spring, Blue Ball, Colesburg, Dever Hollow, Eastview, Glendale, Harcourt, Howell Spring, Hardin Springs, Howe Valley, Kraft, Mill Creek, New Fruit, Nolin, Old Stephensburg, Quaker Valley, Red Mills, St. John, Star Mills, Stephensburg, Summitt, Tip Top, Tunnel Hill, Vertrees, White Mills and Youngers Creek. Hardin County covers 630 square miles today and was the 16th county created.
December 12, 1794, the Kentucky legislature chartered the Kentucky Academy, under the Transylvania Presbytery.
The Squire’ Sketches of Lexington by J. Winston Coleman, Jr.; pg: 22
December 12, 1803, Greenup County was created from Mason County and was named in honor of Christopher Greenup, Kentucky’s 3rd governor. Greenup is one of three county seats in Kentucky to share its name with its county; the other two being Harlan and Henderson. Other localities include: Bellefonte, Flatwoods, Lloyd, Raceland, Russell, South Portsmouth, South Shore, Worthington and Wurtland. Greenup County was the 45th county created and covers 350 square miles.
December 12, 1825, Laurel County was created from Whitley County, Clay County, Knox County and Rockcastle County and was named for the Mountain Laurel trees that are prominent in the area. London is the county seat. Other localities include: East Bernstadt, North Corbin, Keavy and Lake. Laurel County was the 80th county created and covers 434 square miles.
December 12, 1864, General Hylan P. Lyon, with 800 Confederate soldiers, invaded Kentucky and burned the Hopkinsville Courthouse in Christian County. In 23 days, Gen. Lyon burned seven Kentucky courthouses used by Union forces; Hopkinsville was the first one. This invasion forced the Kentucky legislature to draft Confederate draft laws and diverted the Union troops from Nashville.
Roadside History: A Guide to Kentucky Highway Markers edited by Melba Porter Hay, Dianne Wells, Thomas H. Appleton, Jr., Thomas H. Appleton; pg: 29
December 12, 1899, Town Marshal, T. Edward Park, ended his watch in Irvine County. Marshal Park was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a man who was creating a disturbance. Despite being mortally wounded, Marshal Park was able to return fire and wounded the subject. He was Kentucky’s last fallen officer in the 19th Century.
December 12, 1899, William Sylvester Taylor became the 33rd Kentucky governor. He was initially declared the winner of the disputed gubernatorial election of 1899, but the Kentucky General Assembly, dominated by the Democrats, reversed the election results, giving the victory to his Democratic opponent, William Goebel. Thus, Taylor served only 50 days as governor.
December 12, 1907, Officer Charles Hoard, Hopkinsville Police Department, was shot and killed by one of three men he had arrested for drunkenness. The suspect, a popular young attorney who claimed self defense, was charged with murder and released after he posted a $5,000 bond. His first trial ended with a hung jury. His second trial resulted in a acquittal. After the trial the suspect’s health began to fail. On July 15, 1913, in a very bad state of health, he shot and killed himself.
December 12, 1911, James B. McCreary was sworn in as the 37th governor of Kentucky. This was his second term, joining a select group who served two nonconsecutive terms. He was also the 27th governor of Kentucky and the 25th individual to hold the office.
December 12, 1939, Governor Keen Johnson takes the oath of office for the second time when he wins the general election. As Lt. Governor, he took the oath two months earlier when Happy Chandler resigned to become a U.S. Senator.
December 12, 1942, more than twenty thousand people turned out to watch Calumet Farm’s Whirlaway win the inaugural Louisiana Handicap at the Fair Grounds Race Course. The newly formed Thoroughbred Racing Association staged the event as a war-relief effort. It would be the last race of Whirlaway’s brilliant career. In 1942 gave he earned his second straight Horse of the Year title.
December 12, 1950, Army PFC James E. Bryant from Harlan County, Army PFC James D. Gayhard from Perry County, Army PFC Ova L. Haire from Breckinridge County, Army PVT Donald Maddox from Fleming County, Army PFC Chester Rice from Bell County, Army PFC Charles L. Simpson from Bath County, Army PFC Forrest Thomasson from Ohio County and Army SGT Arthur Junior Wooten from Lawrence County all died in the Korean War.
Kentucky Trivia: The largest known Sassafras tree in the world, approximately 300 years old, is located on one of the main streets of Owensboro. The tree measures over 100 feet tall and 21 feet in circumference. A few other sassafras trees are 60 feet or taller, but the average sassafras is 30 to 50 feet tall.
On December 12, 1990, bitter individuals set fifty fires along the edge of Robinson Forest in retaliation against the University of Kentucky opposing a strip-mining project in the forest; they felt UK cost them their jobs. Only 300 to 500 acres burned because rain helped extinguish the flames.
December 12, 2002, Commissioner Ray B. Franklin, Kentucky Office of Charitable Gaming, succumbed to injuries sustained eight days earlier when he was involved in an automobile accident on I-64 in Frankfort, Kentucky. His vehicle went out of control and crashed due to the freezing road surface as a result of a winter storm. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.
December 12, 2017, the UK Board of Trustees approved a plan to demolish the Blanding-Kirwan Towers. The cost was estimated at $15 million compared to the $126 million to renovate. The trees planted in 1969 will remain and by the spring of 2021 the towers will be gone.
December 12, 2019, the last full moon of the decade.