Cameo103 masth102
December in Kentucky History

1 December –

1795 – Louisville, KY. George Rudy buys home at 726 Waterford Road, plus 175 acres, from Colonel Richard Taylor.

1812 – Bardstown, KY. Catherine Spalding founds the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. [EL, p. 165]

1814 – Pittsburg, PA. Henry Shreve leaves aboard the Enterprise, which is loaded with ammunition for Andrew Jackson at New Orleans. Robert Fulton and Robert Livingston have the boat seized for violating their Ohio River trade monopoly. [p. 79]

1843 – Lexington, KY. The Campbell-Rice Debate ends. See 15 November 1843 entry. [KE, p. 155-6]

1875 – Washington, DC. Joseph Holt staunch Unionist, friend of Lincoln, head of new Bureau of Military Justice, resigns amid allegations that he manipulates courts-martials and withholds evidence, especially in trying the accused assassins of the president. (See 6 January 1807; 1 August 1894.) [KE, p. 438]

1926 – Louisville, KY. The Louisville Vocational School is dedicated as the Theodore Ahrens Trade School. [KE, p. 923-4]

1932 – Louisville, KY. The Louisville and Interurban Railroad Company abandons Jeffersontown line. [EL, p. 418-20]

Births –

1879 – Lawrence County, OH. Simeon Willis born. He will be governor of Kentucky 1943-47. (See 2 April 1965.) [KE, p. 958]

Deaths –

1928 – Louisville, KY. Lucie N. Duvalle dies. She is buried in Eastern Cemetery. (See 16 August 1868 entry.) [EL, p. 260]

2 December –

1806 – Kentucky. Lewis County formed from a piece of Mason County. It is named in honor of Merriweather Lewis. County seat is Vanceburg. [KE, p. 548-9]

1822 – Frankfort, KY. The Barry Report is submitted to the legislature. Headed by Lt. Gov. William T. Barry, the report outlines a system for free public education in Kentucky. [KE, p. 56]

1926 – Louisville, KY. The American Vocational Association (AVA) convenes its first national convention. It will last two days. [KE, p. 923-4]

3 December –

1917 – Louisville, KY. Louisville branch, St. Louis Reserve Bank, opens. It is one of the first in the country. [EL, p. 60]

1976 – Louisville, KY. The Louisville Clock, created by Barney Bright, dedicated. [EL, p. 540-1]

4 December –

1794 – Greensburg, KY. Town established on the site of Glover’s Station, built 1780 by John Glover. The second Green County courthouse, built 1802-4 and used until 1931, is the oldest surviving courthouse in Kentucky and may be the oldest west of the Alleghenies. [KE, p. 388-9]

1857 – Louisville, KY. All of the defendants accused in the Paschal D. Craddock death are acquitted. [EL, p. 229]

1868 – near Warsaw, KY. The steamboat Americacrashes bow-first almost into the bow of the steamboat United States. Some petroleum on the United Statesignites. Out of about 300 passengers on the two boats, 50-60 die. Among the dead is prominent Louisville businessman William Garvin. His body will not be found for two weeks, but he is in his cabin, probably dead from suffocation. When he is buried in Cave Hill Cemetery, the funeral procession stretches more than a mile long. [EL, p. 331]

1949 – Louisville, KY. The first Toy Bowl played at Male High School’s Maxwell Field on South Brook Street. [EL, p. 591]

Deaths –

1794 – TN, then North Carolina. Evan Shelby, Jr., dies, age 74.

1922 – Louisville, KY. Tip Saunders dies. She is buried in Cave Hill Cemetery. (See 1 January 1838.) [EL, p. 788-9]

1945 – Pasadena, CA. Thomas Hunt Morgan dies. He is buried in Pasadena. (See 25 September 1866.) [KE, p. 651-2]

1991 – near Stanton, KY. Former governor Bert T. Combs dies in a flash flood. He is buried in Beech Creek Cemetery, Lancaster, KY. [KE, p. 217-8]

5 December –

1792 – Kentucky. Commissioners recommend Frankfort as capitol of the commonwealth. It had pledged the most toward construction of a statehouse. The legislature approves the recommendation three days later. [KE, p. 352-4]

1861 – near Bonnieville, KY. John Hunt Morgan’s Raiders burn L&N bridge over Bacon Creek. During next year’s Christmas raid, they will destroy the new bridge. [KE, p. 416]

1884 – Louisville, KY. Kosair Temple, Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, opens under dispensation from the Imperial Council A.A.O.N.M.S. [EL, p. 489]

1887 – Louisville, KY. Charles “Charley” Dickens, son of the famous novelist, arrives. He reads several chapters from his father’s works at the Masonic Temple Theatre at Fourth and Jefferson Streets. [EL, p. 173-4]

1962 – Kentucky. The United States Army disposes of Camp Breckinridge, established in 1942 to train troops for World War II. [KE, p. 157]

Births –

1792 – near Bardstown, KY. James Guthrie born. He will be an attorney, serve in state and federal government and become president of the L&N Railroad. He will seek compromise to avoid the Civil War, and believe the Confederates were fomenting revolution. (See 13 March 1869.) [KE, p. 396]

Deaths –

1957 – Louisville, KY. Henry Irvin Fox dies. He is buried in Cave Hill Cemetery. (See 19 May 1882; 1 January 1926; 31 December 1933.) [EL, p. 318]

1981 – Lexington, KY. Henry Lawrence Faulkner dies in an automobile accident. (See 9 January 1924 entry.) [KE, p. 309-10] 

1992 – Fort Myers FL. W. Armin Willig dies. He is buried in Cave Hill Cemetery. (See 19 October 1912.) [EL, p. 944]

6 December –

1907 – Louisville, KY. The Board of Agriculture having decided to make the city the permanent home of the Kentucky State Fair, 150 acres of land is purchased in the southwestern corner. The 1908 fair featured the newly constructed livestock pavilion, the largest in the state. [EL, p. 479-80]

1935 – Louisville, KY. Mildred and Patty Hill copyright the song “Happy Birthday to You.” [EL, p. 368]

Births –

1830 – Frankfort, KY. George Graham Vest born. He will be a newspaper editor and a United States senator, best known for his editorial “Tribute to a dog.” (See 9 August 1904.) [KE, p. 919]

Deaths –

1889 – New Orleans, LA. Jefferson Davis dies. [KE, p. 256]

7 December –

1793 – Springfield, KY. Town established on 50 acres donated by General Matthew Walton. [KE, p. 844]

1794 – Frankfort, KY. Franklin County is created out of portions of Mercer, Shelby and Woodford counties. Frankfort is the county seat. [KE, p. 354-6]

1822 – Bullitt County, KY. Mount Vernon, KY, chartered. A post office will be established in 1830 and postmaster Jacob Fox will apply for city’s name. Another Mount Vernon already exists; name changed to Mount Washington. [EL, p. 634]

1831 – Warsaw, KY. Town incorporated as Fredericksburg, but changed when it was discovered that a Washington County town already possessed the name. Warsaw was suggested by John B. Summons and Benjamin F. Beall, both enamoured of Jane Porter’s Thaddeus of Warsaw(1803). [KE, p. 934]

1883 – Louisville, KY. Anton Busath attends premiere American presentation of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House(retitled Thorafor America), starring Helena Modjeska. The next day he calls upon her with some of his Caramel Biscuits. She likes the confection and he asks if he may call it in her honor; thus – the Modjeska, a heavenly bite of marshmallow enrobed in caramel. [EL, p. 624-5]

1907 – Hopkinsville, KY. “Night Riders” capture police and sheriff posts; cut off town from outside; then terrorize those officials and business people not associated with the Dark Tobacco District Planters’ Protection Association. Three warehouses are burned. [KE, p. 440-1]

1941 – Pearl Harbor, HA. Husband Edward Kimmel in command. He has been working to upgrade the base since taking command nine months previous. (See 26 February 1882; 17 December 1941; 14 May 1968.) [KE, p. 517] The U.S.S. Louisville, the “Lady Lou,” escapes the carnage as she is heading toward the port. (See 1 September 1930; 15 January 1931; 25 October 1944; 17 June 1946; 14 September 1959; 8 November 1986.) [KE, p. 578]

1980 – Covington, KY. Turfway Park initiates Sunday racing. [KE, p. 903-4]

Births –

1754 – Albemarle County, VA. John Jouett born. In June 1781, he will ride from his home six miles east of Louisa, VA, to Charlottesville, VA to warn Governor Thomas Jefferson and the legislators of the imminent arrival of Banastre Tarleton. In 1782, he will emigrate to Mercer County, KY, where he will continue a prosperous farmer and politician. (See 1 March 1822.) [KE, p. 480-1]

1872 – Dixon, KY. Cale Young Rice born. He will become a well-known writer and poet and husband of Alice Caldwell Hegan (Rice). [KE, p. 268]

1918 – Tip Top, KY. Randy Atcher born. He will be a well-known personality on local radio and television. [EL, p. 377]

1936 – Shelby County, KY. Martha Layne Collins born. She will be governor 1983-7. [KE, p. 214-5]

8 December –

1792 – Kentucky. Frankfort chosen capitol of Kentucky, by act of the General Assembly. [KE, p. 160] 

1941 – The Philippines. Japanese forces attack, forcing Allied forces to withdraw to Bataan. Company D. 192d Tank Battalion is part of the rear guard. They will be part of the sieges of Bataan and that of Corregidor. They will be forced into the Bataan death March. Sixty-six men left Harrodsburg; thirty-seven returned. (See 24 June 1932 20 November 1940; 27 October 1941.) [KE, p. 415]

Births –

1922 – Viper, KY. Jean Ruth Ritchie born into a musical family. She will become world famous for preserving and popularizing Appalachian ballads and other songs. [KE, p. 773-4]

1927 – Lebanon, KY. James Hope Thornton born. Thornton Oil Corporation, founded in 1971, has been a business leader ever since. [EL, p. 882]

Deaths –

1914 – Louisville, KY. Madison Cawein dies. He is buried in Cave Hill Cemetery. (See 23 March 1865 entry.) [KE, p. 176]

1972 – Frankfort, KY. Alan M. Trout dies. He is buried in Frankfort Cemetery. (See 8 August 1903; 15 February 1929.) [KE, p. 901]

9 December –

1825 – Frankfort, KY. Legislature moves to create Sharp County from Muhlenberg County to honor the but lately murdered Solomon P. Sharp. The proposal is not carried through. (See 22 August 1787; 7 November 1825.) [KE, p. 814]

Births –

1768 – Monroe County, PA. Joseph Desha born. He will be governor of Kentucky. (See also 24 December 1824 and 12 October 1842 entries.) [KE, p.264]

1787 – Louisville, KY. Thomas Joyes born, oldest son of Patrick Joyes and his wife who live on the northeast corner of Main and Sixth Streets. His younger brother John will be the city’s second mayor. Thomas will be a militia man and a state legislator. (See 8 January 1799; 31 May 1877; 4 May 1866.) [EL, p. 454]

Deaths –

1862 – Danville, KY. Former governor William Owsley dies. He is buried in Danville’s Belleview Cemetery. (See 24 March 1782.) [EK. P. 702-3]

1875 – Oakland, CA. John Ross Browne dies. (See 11 February 1821 entry.) [EL, p. 134-5]

10 December –

1793 – Cynthiana, KY. Town established as seat of Harrison County. The land was donated by Robert Harrison; the town named for his daughters, Cynthia and Anna. [KE, p. 249-50]

1798 – Kentucky. Governor James Garrard (1796-1804) signs the legislation creating Pulaski County. It is named in honor of Revolutionary War patriot Casimir Pulaski. [KE, p. 747-8]

1861 – Kentucky admitted to the Confederate States of America. It will be the only state to have a star in both the flag of the Confederate States and of the United States. [KE, p. 222]

1941 – Gethsemani, KY. Thomas Merton joins Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Trappists) and enters the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani. (See 31 January 1915; 26 May 1949; 10 December 1968.) [KE, p. 629]

Births –

1753 – East Fallowfield, Chester County, PA. John Filson born. [KE, p. 317]

1900 – Savannah, GA. Willie Snow Ethridge born. She will be a well-known and prolific author, while her husband will be general manager of the Courier-Journaland Louisville Times. [KE, p. 300] 

Deaths –

1968 – Bangkok, Thailand. Thomas Merton dies, apparently touching a fan with faulty wiring while still wet from bathing. He is buried at Gethsemani, KY. (See 31 January 1915; 10 December 1941; 26 May 1949.) [KE, p. 629]

1977 – Lexington, KY. Adolph Rupp dies. He is buried in Lexington Cemetery. (See 2 September 1901; 31 May 1930.) [KE, p. 787]

11 December –

1787 – Mason County (then Bourbon County), KY. Maysville established. [KE, p. 621-2]

1793 – present-day Bullitt County, KY. Shepherdsville established. It is named in honor of Adam Shepherd, who set aside the land. [KE, p. 817-8]

1822 – Louisa, KY. Town becomes seat of Lawrence County. [KE, p. 574]

1947 – Louisville, KY. Kentucky Council of Churches established. It succeeds the Kentucky Sunday School Union, dating from October 1865. [KE, p. 494]

Births –

1750 – Hagerstown, MD. Isaac Shelby born. He will fight for the United States in three wars, and be the first governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. (See 18 July 1826.) [KE, p. 815-6]

1863 – Louisville, KY. Thomas Coleman Du Pont born. He will learn in the family’s Kentucky business interests, then make his way to Delaware, eventually managing the gunpowder business. When commercial developers eye Cumberland Falls in 1928, Du Pont will donate $230,000 to buy 2,200 acres to establish a state park. [KE, p. 275]

Deaths –

1802 – Kentucky. Benjamin Logan dies. He was a soldier, farmer and political leader of the frontier. [KE, p. 566-7]

2006 – Winchester, KY. Homer Ledford dies. (See 26 September 1927.) 

12 December –

1794 – Pisgah, Woodford County, KY. Kentucky Academy chartered by General Assembly. Presbyterians found the school in opposition to religious tenets of Transylvania Seminary, Lexington. (See 1 January 1799.) [KE, p. 489-90]

1825 – Frankfort, KY. Fired destroys building being occupied by the House. This building was hosting the House, because the capitol building had burned 4 November 1824. [KE, p. 160-2]

1861 – Adair County, KY. Battle of Gradyville, a minor skirmish, fought. [KE, p. 2]

1899 – Frankfort, KY. William Sylvester Taylor inaugurated governor of Kentucky. (See 4 January 1856; 30 January 1900; 3 February 1900.) [KE, p. 377-8]

1900 – Ashland, KY. The first issue to bear the name Daily Independentis published. [KE, p. 251]

1930 – Louisville, KY. James Buckner Brown declares bankruptcy. (See also 28 November 1872; 17 November 1930; 27 February 1931; and 24 October 1940 entries.) [EL, p. 131-2]

Births –

1767 – Culpepper County, VA. Gabriel Slaughter born. He will be Kentucky governor 1816-20. His administration will be so stormy that he will be snidely referred to as the “acting governor.” (See 19 September 1830.) [KE, p. 825-6]

1826 – Lexington, KY. John George Baxter Jr. is born. He will have two separate terms as mayor of Louisville. The Italianate city hall building was begun in his administration, as well as a new city hospital and almshouse. Baxter Avenue is named in his honor. [EL, p. 76]

1862 – Boyle County, KY. James Parker Gregory born. He will be Jefferson County judge 1 January 1898 – 31 December 1905. (See 9 May 1940.) [EL, p. 359]

1941 – Casey County, KY. Wallace Glenn Wilkinson born. He will be governor 1987-91. (See 5 July 2002.) [KE, p. 956]

13 December –

1796 – Frankfort, KY. Bullitt County created from parts of Jefferson and Nelson counties. [EL, p. 142]

1793 – Kentucky. Livingston County is created from part of Christian County. It is named in honor of Robert R. Livingston, who helped to draft the Declaration of Independence, then served as minister to France, where he assisted in Louisiana Purchase. Smithland is the county seat. [KE, p. 564]

1798 – Kentucky. Pendleton County formed from parts of Campbell and Bracken counties. It is named in honor of Edmund Pendleton (1721-1803), longtime Virginia legislator. 

1799 – Frankfort, KY. General Assembly creates Floyd County from Fleming, Montgomery and Mason counties. It will not be effective until 1 June 1800. It is named in honor of John Floyd. [KE, p. 330-1]

1935 – Louisville, KY. First official cremation in the state of Kentucky, Louisville Crematorium, located in Eastern Cemetery. [EL, p. 169-71]

1976 – Louisville, KY. John Conti opens his first gourmet coffee shoppe, Oxmoor Center. [EL, p. 450]

Births –

1818 – Lexington, KY. Mary Todd born. [KE, p. 556-7]

Deaths –

1816 – Louisville, KY. Katherine Frederick dies, 3 months after her son’s murder. [Renau, p. 109]

14 December –

1796 – Kentucky. Montgomery County formed. Several newer counties will be formed from it. It is named in honor of Revolutionary War General Richard Montgomery, killed at the Battle of Quebec. County seat is Mt. Sterling. [KE, p. 644]

1798 – Kentucky. Cumberland County formed from a portion of Green County. [KE, p. 245]

1798 – Kentucky. Gallatin County formed from sections of Franklin and Shelby counties. It is named in honor of Albert Gallatin, a Swiss native who was a United States representative and was secretary of the treasury under Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. County seat is Warsaw. [KE, p. 362-3]

1798 – near Crab Orchard, KY. The body of Stephen Langford is found hidden behind a log. He was last seen in the company of Big and Little Harpe. (See 14 December 1798; 4 January 1799; 5 January 1799; 20 January 1799; 13 February 1799; 27 February 1799; 16 March 1799; 15 April 1799; 22 April 1799; 20 August 1799; 4 September 1799; 13 January 1804; 4 February 1804 [8 February 1804?].) [McQueen; More offbeat…; p. 20-8]

1825 – Kentucky. Russell County formed from parts of Adair, Wayne and Cumberland counties. It is named in honor of Revolutionary War Colonel William Russell, who fought at Battle of Kings Mountain. Seat is Jamestown. [KE, p. 789]

1925 – Louisville, KY. The original Macauley’s Theatre demolished. (See 1 July 1873; 13 October 1873; 29 August 1925; 5 October 1972.) [KE, p. 589-90]

Births –

1811 – (what is now) Morgantown, KY. Daniel Morgan Smith born. He is the first white child born in this part of Butler County. Morgantown may be named in his honor. [KE, p. 653]

Deaths –

1982 – Key West, FA. Willie Snow Ethridge dies. (See 10 December 1900 entry.) [KE, p. 300]

1997 – Louisville, KY. “Cactus” Brooks dies. He is buried in Resthaven Cemetery. (See 4 Mary 1910 entry.) [EL, p. 131]

15 December –

1785 – Kentucky. Madison County created. It is named for James Madison, presently a Virginia statesman, subsequently United States president. [KE, p. 602-3]

1785 – Kentucky. Mercer County formed from part of Lincoln County. It is named in honor of General Hugh Mercer, a Scotsman killed at the Battle of Princeton in the Revolutionary War. County seat is Harrodsburg. [KE, p. 627]

1823 – Kentucky. Oldham County formed from parts of Henry, Jefferson and Shelby counties. It is named in honor of Revolutionary War Captain William Oldham, killed in St. Clair’s Defeat. County seat is La Grange. [KE, p. 694]

1893 – Falls of the Ohio. A gust of wind dislodges the construction crane atop one span of the unfinished Big Four Bridge. The crane falls into the river, taking twenty-one men to their deaths, another twenty to injury, and narrowly missing a Louisville-Jeffersonville ferry. Later in the day, an adjacent, completed span also collapsed into the river after another violent gust of wind. [EL, p. 89]

Deaths –

1975 – Bloomington, IN. Hiram Milo Frakes dies. He was the founder of Henderson Settlement School, Bell County, KY. [KE, p. 352]

16 December –

1773 – John Connolly receives a 2,000-acre grant in payment for services as a surgeon’s mate during the French and Indian War. [KE, p 224] This grant includes the present city of Louisville, KY. 

1773 – Boston, Massachusetts. Boston Tea Party.

1783 – Louisville, KY. Actual survey done for Evan Shelby.

1811 – New Madrid, MO. Two earthquakes; the first of the New Madrid earthquakes. Shocks and aftershocks will continue for at least a year. These quakes will form Reelfoot Lake. (See 23 January 1812; 7 February 1812.) [KE, p. 679] [KE, p. 761]

1811 – Livingston, KY. Isham and Lilburne Lewis, nephews of Thomas Jefferson, assemble their slaves in a meat house and proceed to murder a 16-year-old boy named George. They are drunk and begin to dismember the body. In the midst of the frenzy, the ground begins to shake, causing the chimney of the meat house to collapse. The New Madrid Earthquakes have begun. Lilburne will shoot himself to death before his trial. Isham will escape from jail and die at the Battle of New Orleans (1815). [KE, p. 547-8]

1888 – Louisville, KY. The 111 charter members of the Methodist Episcopal church, South, worship together. They will become Fourth Avenue United Methodist Church, 318 West St. Catherine Street (at the corner of Fourth). [EL, p. 316]

1924 – Estill Springs, KY. The main hotel of this resort burns. The popularity has been waning a number of years, and the eighty-year-old spa does not re-open. [KE, p. 299]

Births –

1862 – Stony Point, Bourbon County, KY. John Fox, Jr. born. His 1903 novel, The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come, was perhaps the first million copy seller in the United States. [KE, p. 351-2]

Deaths –

1910 – Thoune, Switzerland. Mary Elizabeth Breckinridge Caldwell dies. She and her sister, Mary Guendaline Byrd Caldwell, were philanthropists and property owners in Louisville, and elsewhere. Both married European nobles. They will be buried together in Cave Hill Cemetery; their monument being one of the most notable in a cemetery filled with notable monuments. (See also 26 December 1865; 21 October 1863; and 5 October 1909 entries.) [EL, p. 155-6]

1980 – Louisville, KY. Colonel Harland Sanders dies. He is buried in Cave Hill Cemetery. (See 2 September 1890.) [KE, p. 796]

17 December –

1794 – Kentucky. Campbell County is formed from portions of Harrison, Mason and Scott counties. It is named in honor of Revolutionary War Colonel John Campbell. [KE, p. 155]

1796 – Kentucky. Garrard County created. Lancaster, established by the first county court in 1797 and the only incorporated town, is the county seat. [KE, p. 364-5]

1798 – Kentucky. Ohio County formed from part of Hardin County. It is named for the Ohio River, which formed its northern boundary until Daviess (1815) and Hancock (1829) counties are carved away from it. [KE, p. 689-90]

1823 – Kentucky. Meade County formed, named in honor of Captain James Meade, Woodford County, KY, killed at the Battle of the Raisin, 1813. County seat is Brandenburg. [KE, p. 622-3]

1864 – Madisonville, KY. General Hylan B. Lyon and his Confederates burn the Hopkins County courthouse. [KE, p. 439-40]

1878 – Louisville, KY. The Courier-Journalquotes famed painter Carl Christian Brenner: “The beech trees preach sermons, and your artist in the woods is a true worshipper.” [EL, p. 116]

1904 – Louisville, KY. Louisville and Interurban Railroad Company establishes service to Prospect, KY. [EL, p. 418-20]

1941 – Pearl Harbor, HA. Husband Edward Kimmel relieved of command; replaced by Chester Nimitz. Kimmel bitterly believes that he is the scapegoat for negligence beginning with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. (See 26 February 1882; 7 December 1941; 14 May 1968.) [KE, p. 517]

1968 – Washington, DC. Marlow Cook takes his United States Senate seat, becoming the first Roman Catholic to win a major statewide office in Kentucky. He fills the unexpired term of Thruston B. Morton, who retired early. [EL, p. 219]

Births –

1802 – Franklin County, GA. Henry Adams born to free parents. He became a Baptist at eighteen, was ordained a minister at twenty-three, and moved to Louisville in 1829. He will found the Kentucky Normal and Theological Institute. (See 25 November 1879 entry.) [KE, p. 2]

1857 – Louisville, KY. Walter Pierce Lincoln born. He will be Jefferson County judge 30 June 1907 – 14 November 1907. (See 30 June 1907; 1 February 1939.) [EL, p. 517]

18 December –

1822 – Frankfort, KY. The General Assembly creates a literary fund for education and appoints a committee to study other states’ systems for free public education and make a recommendation for a Kentucky system. [KE, p. 56]

1860 – Washington, DC. Senator John J. Crittenden of Kentucky introduces the “Crittenden Compromise,” which he hopes will avert civil war. [KE, p. 241]

Births –

1802 – near Pachaug, CT. George Dennison Prentice born. He will be one of Kentucky’s best known and most powerful journalists. (See 22 January 1870.) [KE, p. 736]

1840 – Louisville, KY. John Colgan born. In 1879, he will develop a sweetened chewing gum, Colgan’s Taffy Tolu. His son, William, will introduce it at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. [KE, p. 213-4]

Deaths –

1937 – Baltimore, MD. Robert Worth Bingham dies. [EL, p. 91]

19 December –

1796 – Kentucky. Warren County formed from part of Logan County. It is named in honor of General Joseph Warren who sent William Dawes and Paul Revere on the midnight ride. Seat is Bowling Green. [KE, p. 932-3]

1798 – Kentucky. Jessamine County formed from a portion of Fayette County. [KE, p. 469]

1799 – Kentucky. Knox County created from Lincoln County. It is named in honor of General Henry Knox, first United States Secretary of War. [KE, p. 524-5]

1821 – Kentucky. Pike County formed. The land has been part of Fayette, Bourbon, Mason and Floyd counties. It is named in honor of General Zebulon Pike, the white discoverer of Pike’s Peak. [KE, p. 721-2]

Deaths –

1840 – Nashville, TN. Felix Grundy dies. (See 11 September 1777.) [KE, p. 394]

20 December –

1792 – Shelbyville, KY. William Shannon donates land for a courthouse, thus ending the debate of Shelbyville or Squire Boone’s Station as seat of Shelby County. [KE, p. 816-7]

1798 – Kentucky. The General Assembly creates Barren County from parts of Warren and Green counties. [KE, p. 54]

1798 – Kentucky. Green County formed from portions of Lincoln and Nelson counties. It is named in honor of General Nathaniel Green, Revolutionary War hero. Greensburg is the county seat. 

1864 – Hartford, KY. Confederate under General Hylan B. Lyon destroys brick courthouse built 1813-15. Interestingly, Ohio County had a log courthouse built in 1808, which collapsed in 1813. Later in the year, the remains are deliberately burned as part of a celebration of Commodore Oliver H. Perry’s victory on Lake Erie. [KE, p. 416-7]

1917 – Shepherdsville, KY. One of the worst Louisville & Nashville Railroad disasters occurs. The Cincinnati-New Orleans Flyer, No. 7 is 23 minutes late leaving Louisville. The engineer is ordered to make up the time between Louisville and Bowling Green. The Bardstown Accommodation, No. 41, a local carrying Christmas shoppers has left Louisville only 20 minutes earlier, making many stops. The No. 41 engineer leaving Shepherdsville pulls past the siding intending to back onto it to allow the No. 7 to pass. Before he can do so, No. 7 crashes into No. 41, accordianing the wooden coaches, killing 51 people and injuring 48. [KE, p. 417-8]

Deaths –

1915 – Louisville, KY. James Morrison Heady, the “Blind Bard of Kentucky” dies. He is buried in Elk Creek Cemetery, Spencer County, KY. (See 19 July 1829.) [EL, p. 379]

1935 – Dallas TX. Eliza Caroline Calvert Obenchain dies. (See 11 February 1856.) [KE, p. 688]

2001 – Encino, CA. Foster Brooks dies. His body is cremated. 

21 December –

1793 – Frankfort, KY. The legislative session convened 4 November, in the former home of James Wilkinson, closes. [KE, p. 160]

1825 – Kentucky. Laurel County created from parts of Rockcastle, Clay, Knox and Whitley counties. [KE, p. 536-7]

1848 – Nelson County, KY. Forty-four Trappist monks, from the Melleray monastery in western France, found the abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani. [KE, p. 896]

Births –

1849 – near Lexington, KY. James Lane Allen born. He will became a nationally famous author with his books immersing readers in Victorian Kentucky bluegrass. [KE, p. 14]

1898 – Louisville, KY. Irene Maria Dunne born. She will have a successful career in motion pictures, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower will appoint her a delegate to the 12 General Assembly of the United Nations. (See 4 September 1990.) [KE, p. 274]

Deaths –

1868 – Greenville, MS. Former Kentucky governor Charles Slaughter Morehead dies. He is buried in Frankfort (Kentucky) Cemetery. (See 7 July 1802.) [KE, p. 648]

1940 – Hollywood, CA. F. Scott Fitzgerald dies. (See 24 September 1896.) [EL, p. 294] He is originally buried in Rockville Union Cemetery, Rockville, MD; later moved to St. Mary’s Cemetery, Rockville, MD. 

22 December –

1798 – Shelbyville, KY. Shelbyville Academy chartered. Reorganized and rechartered as Shelbyville College in 1836, it will come to the Protestant Episcopal Church in 1841. It will survive until 1868. [KE, p. 816]

1929 – Louisville, KY. Chevrolet Motor Company opens a plant at 16thand Hill Streets. They want an open area. [Potter]

Births –

1895 – Morehead, KY. Herndon Julian Evans born. As a journalist, he will champion the cause and reclamation of eastern Kentucky. [KE, p. 300-1]

1945 – Glasgow, KY. Diane Sawyer born. [KE, p. 798]

Deaths –

1921 – Jacksonville, FL. Henry Watterson dies. He is buried in Louisville, KY’s Cave Hill Cemetery. (See 16 February 1840.) [KE, p. 936-7]

23 December –

1827 – Jamestown, KY. Town incorporated. Originally called Jacksonville, in honor of Andrew Jackson, the name was changed in 1826 when non-fans came to power. [KE, p. 463]

1881 – Ashland, KY. Teenagers Robert and Fannie Gibbons and Emma Carico, alone in the Gibbons home, are beaten to death. The killers set the house on fire to hide the crime, but instead causes Emma’s mother, next door, to raise an alarm. George Ellis soon confessed and implicated William Neal and Ellis Craft, all bricklayers. The crime becomes known as the Ashland Tragedy. (See also 16 January 1882; 30 May 1882; 1 November 1882; 12 October 1883; and 27 March 1885 entries.) [KE, p. 38]

Births –

1763 – Augusta (later Rockbridge) County, VA. Jane (Todd) Crawford born. She will allow Ephraim McDowell to remove a huge ovarian cyst in the first successful such surgery in history. [KE, p. 239]

1793 – Charles County, MD. Catherine Spalding born. She will found the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. [KE, p. 837]

1905 – Trenton, KY. Edward Franklin Camp Jr. born. He will be University of Louisville’s winningest football coach (118 wins, 95 losses, 2 ties). [EL, p. 157]

1935 – Louisville, KY. Paul Hornung born. He will win the Heisman Trophy (1957), and be elected to the Professional Football Hall of Fame (1986). [KE, p. 442]

24 December –

1823 – Pike County, KY. The location of Pikeville is decided. The town is laid out the following spring, but not officially chartered until 1893. Like the county, Pikeville honors Zebulon Pike. [KE, p. 722-3]

1824 – Frankfort, KY. Unable to unseat justices opposed to debt relief, at least as proposed by Governor Joseph Desha, the legislature abolishes the court of appeals and establish a new one. Old justices, however, do not depart. For almost two years, the commonwealth will have two courts of appeals, the Old Court and the New Court. (See also 9 December 1768 and 12 October 1842 entries.) [KE, p.264]

1860 – Louisville, KY. Calvary Episcopal Church founded. [EL, p. 157]

1930 – Clay’s Ferry Bridge, KY. State government removes toll gate on bridge. [KE, p. 2025-6]

1935 – Louisville, KY. Louisville Crematorium, built by J.L. Obier and located at Eastern Cemetery, Kentucky’s first official crematorium opens as a nonprofit organization. [EL, p. 169-71]

Births –

1809 – Million, KY. Christopher “Kit” Carson born. [KE, p. 166]

1904 – Richmond, VA. Mary Clifford Caperton (Mrs. Barry Bingham) born. [EL, p. 91]

Deaths –

1841 – Louisville, KY. George Keats, wealthy businessman, philanthropist, and brother of poet John Keats, dies unexpectedly. He is buried in Western Cemetery; then moved to Cave Hill Cemetery, 9 April 1879. (See 28 February 1797.) [KE, p. 483] 

1965 – Amarillo, TX. William Marrion Branham dies of injuries from an automobile collision with a drunk driver on 18 December. His body is returned to Jeffersonville, IN, for burial in Eastern Cemetery. So strong is his spiritual legacy that followers continue to gather at his grave on Easter morning, hoping that he will arise, like his Saviour. [EL, p. 114]

25 December –

1809 – Danville, KY. Dr. Ephaim McDowell removes a 20 pound tumor from Mrs. Jane Todd Crawford, who had been thought to be pregnant with twins. This is the first successful ovariotomy anywhere in the world. Mrs. Crawford had no anesthesia (it was not yet known) and recited psalms to divert her mind. (See 11 November 1771; 29 December 1802; 25 June 1830.) [KE, p. 595-6]

1839 – Louisville, KY. People gather to watch lighting of the first residential gaslight in the city. It is on Jefferson Street, between 4th& 5thStreets, at the home of L.L. Shreve, president of the Louisville Gas and Water Company. This same year, the waterfront becomes much safer, thanks to gaslight. Louisville is the first city west of the Alleghenies and the fifth city in the United States to have gaslight. [EL, p. 513-16]

1861 – Jamestown, KY. A skirmish fought. [KE, p. 463]

1864 – Campbellsville, KY. After permitting women to remove the county records, troops of General Hylan B. Lyons burn the Taylor County courthouse. [KE, p. 156]

1881 – Louisville, KY. The city’s first commercial electric arc lamp is switched on in Denunzio’s Fruit Market, Jefferson Street. The brilliant arc light requires a large area. Residential electric light will wait for Thomas Edison’s incandescent light bulb. [EL, p. 513-6]

1975 – Fulton County, KY. A tornado rips through, causing heavy property damage. [KE, p. 360-1]

Deaths –

1898 – Louisville, KY. Charles Donald Jacob dies. He is buried in Cave Hill Cemetery. (See 1 June 1838; 1 July 1898.) [EL, p. 429-30]

2000 – Lexington, KY. Clay Lancaster dies. His ashes are scattered near his home, Warwick, on the Kentucky River. (See 30 March 1917.) 

26 December –

1781 – now Lexington, KY. The plan for the city is adopted. Levi Todd is one of the original property holders. [KE, p. 888]

1860 – Charleston, SC. Major Robert Anderson moves his seventy-man unit out of Fort Moultrie to the more-defensible Fort Sumter. [EL, p. 37]

1865 – Kentucky. The Freedman’s Bureau established in the commonwealth. [KE, p. 356-7]

1933 – Louisville, KY. The Louisville and Interurban Railroad Company ends service to Fern Creek, KY. [EL, p. 418-20]

Births –

1865 – Cincinnati, OH. Mary Elizabeth Breckinridge Caldwell born. She and her sister, Mary Guendaline Byrd Caldwell, will be philanthropists and property owners in Louisville, and elsewhere. Both will marry European nobles. They will be buried together in Cave Hill Cemetery; their monument being one of the most notable in a cemetery filled with notable monuments. (See also 16 December 1910; 21 October 1863; and 5 October 1909 entries.) [EL, p. 155-6]

Deaths –

1965 – Louisville, KY. Mary Alice Hadley, famed artist and founder of Hadley Pottery, dies. The body is cremated. [KE, p. 397]

27 December –

1784 – Danville, KY. The first of nine statehood conventions begins. [KE, p. 848-9]

1786 – Danville, KY. Judge Samuel McDowell, Harry Innes, John Brown, Thomas Todd, Robert Craddock, Christopher Greenup and John Belli, meeting at Judge McDowell’s home, form the Danville Political Club. This small group of the most influential Kentucky leaders met weekly to debate a pre-determined topic; thereby clarifying their thoughts on issues which would form the commonwealth. [KE, p. 252-3]

1851 – Mt. Olivet, KY. Town, founded around 1820 and the seat of Robertson County, incorporated. [KE, p. 657]

1862 – Elizabethtown, KY. John Hunt Morgan and his Raiders bombard the town. Lieutenant Colonel Harry S. Smith and the 91stIllinois Volunteer Infantry forced to surrender. [KE, p. 290]

1864 – La Grange, KY. Federal troops shoot a Confederate guerilla. [KE, p. 530]

1941 – Fort Knox, KY. The Gold Bullion Depository receives several historic documents for safekeeping. All will be returned to the Library of Congress in September 1944. [KE, p. 910-11]

Births –

1860 – Murray, KY. Nathan Beverly Stubblefield born. (See 1 January 1902; 20 March 1902; 22 May 1902; 28 March 1928.) [KE, p. 859]

Deaths –

1872 – Bullitt County, KY. Thomas W. Riley dies. He was Louisville mayor 13 May 1858 – 2 April 1858. [EL, p. 763]

1901 – Louisville, KY. Henry Fitzbutler dies. Born into slavery, he became a physician and was an outspoken civil rights leader. He and Sarah McCurdy married in 1866. She became the first African American woman in Kentucky to earn a medical degree. He is buried in Greenwood Cemetery. A memorial to Dr. & Dr. Fitzbutler is in Louisville’s Church of Our Merciful Saviour, 473 South Eleventh Street. [EL, p. 293-4]

1985 – Virunga Mountains, Rwanda, Africa. Dian Heanne Fossey is murdered. (See 16 January 1932.) [EL, p. 312]

28 December –

1763 – Granville County, NC (?) Richard Henderson and Elizabeth Keeling marry. (See 20 April 1735; 27 August 1774; 6 January 1775; 10 February 1775; 17 March 1775; 21 March 1775; 23 March 1775; 25 September 1775; 4 November 1775; 30 January 1785.) [KE, p. 422-3]

1862 – near Elizabethtown, KY. John Hunt Morgan destroys the trestleworks of the Louisville & Nashville Railroad at Muldraugh Hill. [KE, p. 290]

1864 – Hardinsburg, KY. About twenty guerrillas seize a cache of weapons in the town. A force of Confederates arrives and restores order. Townsfolk agree to Confederate protection and are allowed to keep their weapons. [KE, p. 405]

1865 – Louisville, KY. Former mayor Philip Tomppert impeached. (See 21 June 1808; 2 January 1866; 14 February 1867; 29 October 1873.) [EL, p. 887]

1974 – Frankfort, KY. Wendell Ford resigns as governor of the commonwealth. He has defeated incumbent United States Senator Marlow Cook. In 1990, he will be elected majority whip of the Senate. [KE, p. 342]

Deaths –

1825 – James Wilkinson dies. He is buried in Mexico City. [KE, p. 955-6]

1854 – Covington, KY. James Turner Morehead dies. (See 24 May 1797.) [KE, p. 648]

29 December –

1776 – present Georgetown, KY. Following an Indian attack, McCelland’s Fort is abandoned. [KE, p. 371]

1802 – Ephraim McDowell and Sarah Hart Shelby, daughter of Isaac Shelby, marry. (See 11 November 1771; 25 December 1809; 25 June 1830.) [KE, p. 595-6]

1829 – Kentucky. Legislature grants charter to the Loretto Literary and Benevolent Institution; Loretto Academy having begun in 1812 as a small school on Hardins Creek. It will continue educating young people until 1918. [KE, p. 571-2] Legislature charters the Nazareth Literary and Benevolent Institution. This is the community of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. [KE, p. 824]

1847 – Louisville, KY. First telegraph message over wire into city. [EL, p. 870-1]

1862 – Bardstown, KY. After destroying railroad trestles at Muldraugh Hill, John Hunt Morgan and his troops camp in the city. [KE, p. 51]

1862 – Muldraugh Hill, KY. Basil W. Duke wounded during the so-called Christmas Raid of John Hunt Morgan. [KE, p. 273]

1862 – Chickasaw Bayou, MS. Colonel James A. Williamson, of Columbia, KY, earns the Congressional Medal of Honor. [KE, p. 222-224]

1968 – Dinh Tuong Province, Vietnam. Private David P. Nash, of Whitesville, KY, earns the Congressional Medal of Honor. [KE, p. 222-224]

Deaths –

1983 – Sebastian, FL. Skeets Miller dies. He is interred in the Melbourne Crematorium, Melbourne, FL. He left the Courier-Journalafter the Floyd Collins story. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for reporting and subsequently went to work for the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), where Arthur Krock, former Louisville Timeseditor-in-chief, invited him to join his staff. (See 20 June 1904; 31 January 1925; 2 February 1925; 4 February 1925; 16 February 1925.) [EL, p. 622]

30 December –

1819 – Kentucky. Todd County created from parts of Logan and Christian counties. It is named in honor of Colonel John Todd, killed at the Battle of Blue Licks 19 August 1782. [KE, p. 888-9]

1951 – Louisville, KY. First Church of Christ Scientist dedicated. It is a rule in Christian Science that a church building cannot be dedicated until it is free from debt. [EL, p. 179-80]

Births –

1771 – Rockbridge County, VA. John Allen born. (See 5 June 1812 and 22 January 1813 entries.) [KE, p. 15]

1931 – Dry Ridge, KY. Mary Frances Penick born. She will be better known as Skeeter Davis. [KE, p. 257]

31 December –

1776 – Virginia. Fincastle County ceases to exist as Montgomery, Washington and Kentucky counties come into being. (See 8 October 1776.) [KE, p. 495]

1929 – Louisville, KY; Jeffersonville, IN. Jeffersonville ferries make their last runs.

1933 – Jefferson County, KY. Henry Irvin Fox completes term as county judge. Elected in 1929, this time no fraud was charged. (See 19 May 1882; 1 January 1926; 5 December 1957.) [EL, p. 318]

Births –

1860 – Newport, KY. John Taliaferro Thompson born. After a distinguished army career, attaining the rank of brigadier general, in 1920, his private company will develop the submachine gun. His birthplace is ironic as it will be taken over by mobsters and organized crime – armed with Thompson submachine guns. (See 21 June 1940.) [KE, p. 881] 

Deaths –

1960 – Louisville, KY. Arthur Peter Sr. dies. He is buried in Cave Hill Cemetery. (See 27 January 1872.) [EL, p. 697]


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