Notable Events In Kentucky History


January 3, 1817

    Thomas Elliott Bramlette was born in Cumberland County.  He was a member of state legislature, 1841; candidate for U.S. Representative from Kentucky's 4th District, 1853; state court judge in Kentucky, 1856; colonel in the Union Army during the Civil War; U.S. District Attorney for Kentucky, 1863; Governor of Kentucky, 1863-67; received 3 electoral votes for Vice-President, 1872. Thomas died in Louisville, January 12, 1875. His interment was at Cave Hill Cemetery.


January 3, 1927

    Abdallah Park Grandstand in Cynthiana in Harrison County burns.  The park started out as a horse track and was operated by W.H. Wilson in the 19th century.  Today, the site is an industrial park.


January 6, 1920

    Kentucky ratifies the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving women the power of the vote.  "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."


January 18, 1820

    Confederate Brigadier General Abraham Buford is born in Woodford County.  He died in Lexington on June 9, 1884 and is buried in Lexington Cemetery.


January 22, 1843

    Albert Shelby Willis was born in Shelbyville. He was a Democrat and was U.S. Representative from Kentucky's 5th District, 1877-87. He was U.S. Minister to Hawaiian Islands from 1893 to 1897.  Willis died in office January 6, 1897 in Honolulu, Island of Oahu, Honolulu County, Hawaii.  He was interred at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville.


January 28, 1963

    Kentucky Record minus 34 degrees.


February 3, 1900

    William Goebel dies of a gunshot wound received four days earlier.  In a contested gubernatorial election, Goebel was declared the winner - after being shot.


February 11, 1979

    Kentucky State Trooper Clinton Eugene Cunningham is ambushed and killed while on duty in Franklin County.


February 12, 1809

    The accepted date of Abraham Lincoln's birthday.


February 20, 1933

    Congress repeals the 21st Amendment prohibiting the manufacture and use of alcohol.  Kentucky distilleries kick into over-drive to make up for lost time.


February 23, 1847

    The US Army under Zachary Taylor wins the Battle of Buena Vista, trumping Gen. Santa Anna.  Kentuckians both fought and died bravely by all accounts.  Kentuckian Jefferson Davis, leading Mississippi and Tennessee troops is badly wounded when a ball nicks one of his spurs and enters his heel.  Despite this wound, he stays in the saddle for the duration of the battle.


March 1, 1830

    Twenty-one year old Abe Lincoln, with family, starts out from Indiana to settle in Illinois.


March 1, 1997

    Massive flooding visits Kentucky leaving thousands homeless and killing 50 people.


March 5, 1860

    Gov. Beriah Magoffin signs the bill in to law establishing the Kentucky State Guard.  Simon B. Buckner was appointed inspector general with the rank of Major General.


March 24, 1898

    The USS Kentucky is launched at Newport News, Virginia.


March 27, 1890

    Tornados rip through Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky.  In Louisville alone, 76 people were killed, 44 of those were in one building.


April 3-6, 1974


    The worst round of tornados in recent memory tears through the Commonwealth, causing millions of dollars in damage and killing dozens.  The town of Brandenburg is nearly wiped out.  The webmaster, still being only a few days from birth, was nearly a casualty; in Stanford (Lincoln County), a twister, headed towards the car his family was in, "jumped" over the car and kept on going.


April 2, 1849

The New York Herald reported on April 2, 1849 that the The Louisville Courier listed a number of Kentuckians leaving for California via the overland route.  Most were heading to dig their fortune from the gold fields.  Those leaving in this group were:

Bardin, C.P.                        Chin, M.A.                    Fox, Jacob S.                                Johnston, M.B.            Mayhall, W.D.
Baxter, J.H.                         Conroy, Henry              Goach, J.S.                                    Kaye, F.A., Jr.            McCleary, J.
Bland, Theo.                        Cory, Samuel                Graf, Abraham                               Kaye, John                  McCracken, M.
Brown, M.                           Crawford, Ed.              Graf, Ferdinand                              Ludwig, L.W.              McDuffy, B.
Brown,, S.                           Dulaney, C.F.               Griffin, Morris                                 Marshall, H.                McFarland., W.
Bryant, Edwin                      Dunn, Justus                  Harris, Matthew                             Marshall, J.H.              McMillen, S. 
Bryson, Ed. A.                     Fogerty, Ed.                  Haynes, H.                                     Martin, D.D.               Miller, Dr. B. 
Buck, E. (?)                         Fox, Henry                    Hule (Huie ?), Dr., and lady            Martin, Dr.                 Miner,J.H

Byers, Henry (?)                  Fox, Jacob                     Hule (Huie ?), J.B.                         Martin, H.D.               Moore, Geo. G.


Moore, John T.                    Pope, Wallace                Shaefer, F.H.                                T_ford (Tilford ?) F.
Moore, R.W.                       Prather, J.S.                    Sheddell, Bernard                         Thomas, L.K.      
Morgan, _.C.                       Rankin, A.                      Smiley, C.                                     Thompson, I.D.     
Murray, O.J.                        Raphael, S.                     Smith, J.T.                                    Thompson, Lieut., U.S. Navy         
Musselman, A.                     Reader, S.P.                   Smith, John                                   Todd, John           
Neblett, Ed.                         Redd, R.H.                     Stewart, James L                          Wakeman, W.B.             
Parker, Z.D.                        Richardson, W.P.            Stewart, W.G.                              Weems, Dr.                
Percival, W.                         Ross, George                  Stone, D.C.                                  Wingate, R.A.        
Pope, Robert                       S_ager, (Seager ?), J.      Stout, B.    


April 11, 1944

  While ferrying a B-29H "Liberator", serial number  42-95064, through Brazil, on their way to Africa, the crew lost contact over the Amazon jungle.  Aboard was Williamsburg native Sgt. Herman Smith.  The bomber had gone down in the jungle sometime after 9:05am.  The craft was not found in the dense jungle growth, and the crew was presumed dead.  Finally, in 1995, a team from the Army Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii (CILHI), going on a report from the Brazilian army, found the wreckage near Macapa, on the Amazon river.  The remains of the 10 crew members, including Sgt. Smith, were recovered and brought back to the US.  They were re-interred on February 20, 1998 in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.


April 12, 1861


    Kentuckian Robert Anderson, commanding the Federal garrison at Fort Sumter in Charleston harbour, S.C., is fired upon by Confederates under his former West Point artillery student, Pierre G.T. Beauregard.  Being cut off from supplies and seeing the futility of further resistance, Anderson surrendered the garrison on the 14th.  The only casualty was a horse - a bloodless beginning to a bloody Civil War.


May 1, 1810

    Butler County was formed from Logan and Ohio Counties.


May 17, 1817

    Isaac Callahan, Thomas Begley, Jr., and Archelous Gibson are hanged for the murder of David Newberry.  While the murder was in Clay County, Kentucky there was a change of venue to Knox County, Kentucky where the hangings occurred.


May 17, 1875

    The very first Kentucky Derby is run at Churchill Downs in Louisville.  After returning from a trip to England to in 1872, Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr., grandson of the explorer William Clark, concocted the idea of a jockey club for fellow sportsmen to race and as a showcase for fine Kentucky horses.  Clark built the track and named it for his mother, Abigail Prather Churchill.  The first horse to win the first Kentucky Derby was Aristides, ridden by jockey Oliver Lewis.


May 17, 1875   

    After a long illness, former US Vice President and Confederate General John C. Breckinridge died at his home on 2nd St. in Lexington, a few minutes before 6pm.  He was 54 years old.


June 1849

    Cholera again visits central Kentucky.  While not quite as bad as the 1833 episode, Lexington lost 345.


June 1, 1792

    Kentucky becomes a state!  Vermont just beating us to the punch, we became the 15th state in the Union.  The legislature convened on the second floor of the Market House in Lexington to inaugurate Isaac Shelby as governor on June 4th.  Frankfort was made the permanent capital the next year.


June 3, 1833

    The Asiatic Cholera appears in Lexington.  As those who could fled, they took the disease to other towns, causing an unprecedented epidemic.  Death rates in Lexington were at times 50-60 people a day.  The total body count by the end of July when the epidemic subsided was 502.  One of those who did not leave, William "King" Solomon, the town drunk, dug many of the graves and buried the victims of the outbreak.


June 6, 1944

    D-Day, the invasion of Normandy by Allied forces.  Kentuckians stormed the beaches in the first wave and help to dislodge Hitler's forces from northern France.  Tom Hudson, a soldier from Lexington, jumped into a German machine gun nest, alone, and killed the hatchlings before they could take flight.


June 18, 1945

    While observing the forward action on Okinawa, Munfordville native Lt. General Simon Bolivar Buckner, Jr., son of the famed Confederate General, was killed when a Japanese shell burst near his position.  The blast sent a chunk of coral  through the General's head.  Buckner, therefore, has the dubious distinction of being the highest ranking US officer to be killed in WWII.


July 1857

    James B. Clay finished his Italianate mansion on the outskirts of Lexington.  His father, Henry Clay, had built Ashland in 1805-1806 and by the mid 1850s, the house had declined to a state of near ruin.  James razed Henry's house and built his own house on the same foundation, using much of the original materials.


July 1863

    Martial law is declared in order to help protect the L&N RR (Louisville and Nashville Railroad).  Confederates operating within Kentucky had targeted the L&N repeatedly, commandeering locomotives, cars, and supplies.  Losses to the company amounted to over $250,000 during the war (about five million dollars at today's prices)


July 3, 1865

    Nathaniel Wolfe, once a state senator from Jefferson County and Louisville lawyer, died in that city at the age of 54.  Wolfe County was named in his honor in 1860.


July 4, 1802

    John Larue Helm was born in Hardin County.  Helm served as county attorney for Hardin county for sixteen years.  Serving several terms in the Ky legislature, he was elected Lt. Governor in 1848 under John J. Crittenden.  Upon Crittenden's acceptance of US Attorney General under President Fillmore, Helm became Governor in 1850.  Helm took over the reins of the fledgling L&N RR in 1854 and left it a thriving business.  He again became Governor and took the oath of office in his home on September 3, 1867, but served only five days before he died on September 8.


July 30, 1948

    Sophonisba Preston Breckinridge, educator, suffragette, and champion of the down-trodden, died after a life of service to her fellow man.  The daughter of Col. W.C.P. Breckinridge, she was laid to rest in Lexington Cemetery next to him.


August 5, 1828

    Samuel Woodson Price was born near Nicholasville.  In 1849, Price painted the famous portrait of William "King" Solomon.  Price served as a Union General during the Civil War and was wounded at the battle of Kennesaw Mountain.  He died January 22, 1918 in St. Louis, Mo., and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


August 5, 1961

The Oleika Temple was dedicated at 326 Southland Drive in Lexington.  The building had cost about $123,000.


August 29, 1862

    Hardened Confederate forces under Gen. Patrick Cleburne and Union forces, mostly raw recruits, under Gen. Mahlon Manson form lines of battle on the morning of the 29th near the small village of Kingston in Madison County.  What ensued over the course of the day resulted in the Federals losing about 80% in killed and captured soldiers, including all of their artillery.  The engagement ended in the city cemetery, about 7 miles north of where it began.  Known as the Battle of Richmond, it was the most one sided victory of the war.


September 1, 1954

For the weekend ending on this day, the song "Blue Moon of Kentucky" recorded by Elvis Presley was #1 on the music charts in Memphis, TN.


September 7-17, 1778

    The siege of Boonesborough.  Over 400 Indians and Frenchmen loyal to the British surrounded the fort on the Kentucky river in present day Madison County.  After an unsuccessful meeting of the leaders on both sides, the Indians tried to rush the fort gate, but were driven back by gunfire.  The Indians began to dig a tunnel to undermine the fort walls, but heavy rains caused the tunnel to collapse before it was finished.  After a final attack on the 17th, the Indian force, which had suffered heavy casualties in the siege, left, breaking into various raiding parties to go off and reap havoc on less defended settlements.


September 11, 1915

The USS Kentucky (BB-6) sailed out of the port of Philadelphia for Vera Cruz to guard over American interests during the upheaval of the Mexican Revolution.


September 26, 1820

Daniel Boone, hero of the Kentucky frontier, dies at his daughter's home in Missouri.  Boone was 86 years of age.  The only known portrait of Boone from life was painted shortly before his death by Chester Harding.


October 8, 1862

In a severe drought, Union and Confederate armies near Danville sent out scouts to find water.  They didn't find much water, but they did find each other on Doctor's Fork of the Chaplin River near the small burg of Perryville.  What ensued was the bloodiest battle to ever occur in Kentucky soil.  Tactically, the Confederates won the battle at the end of the struggle, but retreated during the night in the face of overwhelming numbers that would have met them the next day.  The thousands of dead were buried on the battlefield.  The Union dead were eventually moved to Camp Nelson National Cemetery in Garrard County.  The Confederate dead were buried by Squire Bottoms, on whose land much of the fighting happened.  They are still there today in three mass graves.


November 1814

General Duncan McAuthur led an expedition of primarily Kentucky Militia over 200 miles into British held territory. The Kentuckians captured hundreds of British regulars and Canadian Militia, destroying munitions, bridges, and gristmills. The raid forced the British at Fort Erie to withdraw to Canada.


November 9, 1968

Henderson suffered from an earthquake whose epicenter was in southern Illinois.  The City Building sustained masonry damage.


November 12, 1881

The very first game of college football was played between A&M College and Kentucky University.  A&M (the future University of Kentucky) defeated KU with a score of 7 and 1/4 to 1.  Yes, that's 7.25 points to 1 point.  Go figure.


November 20, 1834

Houses were shaken and plaster cracked in northern Kentucky as an earthquake hit.  It was reported the something that sounded like thunder was heard.


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