100 YEARS AGO
On the anniversary of the birth of the Father of this country, Feb. 22, 53 years ago, Danville was visited by a fire which almost completely destroyed the place and rendered most of its inhabitants homeless and shelterless. At that time there were no facilities other than a bucket brigade to fight a fire, and most of the buildings were constructed of wood. This furnished fuel for the flames, which started in the south-west section of Danville at the residence of Prof. J.M. Matthews, which is now occupied by Joe Farris. From there, the burning brands were hurled by a terrific gale, which prevailed at the time, to the cupola of the Christian Church, on the south-west corner of Fourth and Walnut streets, and from thence across the town in a north-easterly direction. The flames burnt up business houses and dwellings in their path until there was absolutely nothing to feed upon.
A sensational pistol duel occurred in Burgin when Policeman Henry Burdette and his son, Thomas, and John and Hugh Elkin, sons of Taylor Elkin, were the combatants. The fight occurred in front of the Commercial Hotel on Main Street in the heart of Burgin. It is estimated that 20 shots were fired. Many people were on the streets and the greatest of excitement prevailed. Policeman Burdette was hit on the head with a club and was painfully wounded. His son was shot in the leg. John Elkin received two wounds in the leg, one of which severed a large artery causing his death in about two hours.
All shots appear to have been fired at the feet of all the subjects involved, so it seems that neither side really meant to kill their assailants. No arrests have yet been made.
Walter Sevier, who is running George Burke’s place on Hustonville Pike while he is in Florida, says that the old bay buggy horse has almost human intelligence. Three days a week, buttermilk is brought to the institution for the deaf. If the milk can is in the buggy, there is no way to drive the horse past the gait. But when the can is left out, he goes by without trouble. Without guiding, he then comes up to Third Street and stops at the telephone pole where Mr. Burke has been hitching him for years.
75 YEARS AGO
Rural Electrification Administration has approved an additional $46,812 for the Inter-County Rural Electric Cooperative Corp. to advance more electrical lines in Garrard, Boyle, Mercer, Lincoln, Washington and Marion counties. This makes more than $83,000 total for new lines in this area. About 180 customers in these six counties will benefit. A total of 48.2 miles of poles have been set, out of the total of 275 miles needed to service all 760 customers. About 40 men are now employed and will increase to 80 men employed within the next 30 days. About 75 percent of the workers are from Danville. Stringing lines will begin March 15 and the first current will be started on April 15.
Miss Ann Peel, a student in the sixth grade at Maple Avenue Graded School, and daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Fred Peel, won the annual Boyle County Spelling Bee Saturday morning at the courthouse. Marie Middleton, of Parksville, was runner up. Miss Peel is the second member of her family to win honors in the scholastic field, as her brother, Welch Peel, a DHS graduate, won a scholarship to Harvard University.
The Rev. Leo F. McGreal S.J. (Society of Jesus), president of Gonzaga College, Shanghai, China, has been named a member of the advisory committee of the American Red Cross to aid in handling relief funds for war torn China now being raised in the United States. Father McGreal is a brother of Gerald McGreal, of McGorty Avenue and superintendent of the Goodall Company in Danville. Gerald McGreal and his family moved to Danville in September from Chicago, and have been immensely popular here.
50 YEARS AGO
The Boyle County Health Department, as far as it can tell, has found that at this point, local physicians are treating a total of 1,267 persons for influenza or "flu-like" virus cases. The number represents about five-percent of the population of Boyle County. About 300 students were absent on Wednesday from the Boyle County School system because of the illness. And, 510 students were out of classes in the Danville city schools. That is nearly 20 percent of the enrollment.
In other news from the health department, it was noted that anyone who has not taken the Type 1 and Type II doses of Sabin oral polio vaccines may obtain them at the health department on any Tuesday or Friday. For those who are able to pay, a contribution of 25 cents is asked. Those who are unable to make this small donation will receive the doses for free.
All plans are complete for the annual Heart Sunday canvass to be conducted from noon until 4 p.m. in Danville, Junction City, Shelby City and Perryville on behalf of the 1963 Heart Fund campaign. The public is urged to give as generously as possible. More than 1,750,000 Heart Fund volunteers will call on neighbors in the United States today to receive their gifts for use in the fight against heart diseases. Remember: More will live the more you give to the Heart Fund.
25 YEARS AGO
"He shook my hand!" exclaimed Stephanie Elliott and Harold Clayborn. Shawna Doolin said he shook both her hands. They had just met Vice President George Bush following a Bush for President rally at the campus of Sue Bennett College. Before the vice president's speech, Elliott, Clayborn, Doolin, and 37 other members of the Garrard County Golden Lions Marching Band had performed "The Star Spangled Banner" and several 1960's hits to pep up the crowd of 2,000 packed in the gym. Bush said, "If winning the presidency means shoving Ronald Reagan down, then I'm willing to pay the price and lose."
The Danville City Commission approved new cemetery rates that charge non-city residents $150 to $180 more for a grave than is charged city residents. The price difference is designed to reflect the fact that city residents subsidize the operation of the cemeteries through city taxes, said City Engineer Luther Galloway. The rates were last increased in 1985. All non-city residents will pay $400 for a grave in Bellevue or Hilldale cemeteries while city residents will pay $250.