Historic Events

            "Lexington's Ashland, the Henry Clay estate, is most well known as the home of the four-time presidential candidate who won national and even international fame as a leader with particularly effective skills as a creator of compromise on major issues impacting the young United States. There is more than a little irony in a story a group of Civil War students are committed to adding to the Ashland...

Around 1800, “Court Day” was established on the second Monday of each month.  This coincided with the schedule for the regular session of the County Court.  Court days were held on the public square, adjacent to the courthouse.

While the court was in session, a number of farm-folks came to town for shopping and trading.  On the square, a thriving market developed for horses, mules, jacks, cows and sheep. ...

In June 1783, John McKinney, schoolmaster for the one room schoolhouse in pioneer Lexington, was attacked by a wildcat in his classroom.  Having gone to school early to copy out the articles of peace signed by the United States and Britain, he left the door to the schoolhouse open.  He was disturbed by noise in the classroom, and looked up to see a wildcat, in the building.  Making his presence known to the...

Monk Estill

We do not know much about the early life of Monk Estill.  The names of his parent and the time and place of his birth will likely remain a mystery.  We do know that he came to Kentucky in the 1770s with his master Captain James Estill.  He is credited with the planting of an apple orchard at Boonesboro that the settlers hailed as “a great benefit to the country.” He and his wife, whose name and...

Prohibition – once called the GREAT EXPERIMENT – intended to free society of the evils of drinking.  However, it became quickly evident that society was uninterested and after a little over a decade, the experiment failed.  Later, Hollywood created a glamorous image of the Roaring Twenties, with speakeasies, bathtub gin, flappers and gangsters.

However, Prohibition in Lexington was much tamer than the...

Whiskey Bandits:

With Prohibition, a new breed of thieves – the whiskey bandits – began targeting caches of whiskey.  Over the Christmas holiday in 1919, the Versailles Road farm of H. J. Schlesinger was raided of twenty cases of whiskey from its cellar.  He was the son in law of R. S. Strader, a whiskey broker in Lexington.  The next month, Castleton Farm was also raided by bandits who...

During Prohibition, every city with any reputation had a legendary bootlegger.  Chicago had Al Capone, New York had Dutch Schultz and Cincinnati had George Remus.  Lexington had Ike Miller.

Between 1920 and 1924, when Ike Miller was finally sent to Atlanta Penitentiary, he was Lexington’s most prominent bootlegger.  Miller was the supplier of much of the illegal booze in Lexington and Central Kentucky...

In recent years, this writer has been uncomfortable seeing our community firmly divided over the ownership of the water company. Having long‑time friends with serious differences is worrisome, and I've learned to avoid the issue just as I learned long ago to eschew debating religion. So I found both amusement and solace when I recently reread a local monograph, Rainfall Harvest, and found today's split is child's...

Simon Kenton

(1755- 1836)

Simon was born on April 3, 1755 in Fauquier County Virginia.  He was the seventh of nine children, who preferred helping his father on the family farm to school.  When he was 15 years old he fell in love with Ellen...

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