Famous Kentuckians

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Kentucky is a commonwealth comprised of four states; Kentucky, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. Kentucky was the 15th state to join Union in 1792. It borders seven states.  The climate of Kentucky is subtropical with highest recorded temperatures being 46 centigrade and the lowest recorded temperature being -38 centigrade. Kentucky is also known as the ‘Blue Grass State’ on account of the abundant growth of Poa pretensis. Poa pretensis is the blue grass which is a common meadow-grass. As the name implies (Poa-food), is a rich nutritious fodder for mammals. Kentucky is also known for thoroughbred horse farms and horse racing, the nations most productive coal fields, car manufacturing and tobacco cultivation. It has highest per capita number of turkey and deer, and has the largest elk herd. Located to the east of the Mississippi river, Kentucky has the greatest man made lake, and the world’s longest cave system called Mammoth Cave National Park. Kentucky is 37 th largest and 26 th most populous state of the 50 United States in America. Kentucky is a fertile land, rich in bio-diversity and natural resources. Many Kentuckians have earned world fame.

1. Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln was born to Thomas Lincoln and Nancy Lincoln in Hodgenville, Kentucky, US on February 12, 1809 and died in Peterson House, Washington, D.C., U.S. on April 15, 1865 at the age of 56. One of the most identified figures on the planet,  Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of The United States of America. He remained in office from March 1861 until his assassination in 1865. Belonging to a poor family, he taught himself to emerge as the head of State. Abraham Lincoln is best known for leading his country through its greatest internal crisis; the American Civil War, and protecting the very being of the Union. At the time of his birth, Abraham Lincoln’s father owned 600 acres land and was one of the richest people in the area, however he lost all his property on charges of faulty titles. In his memorable Gettysburg Speech, delivered on November 19, 1863 Lincoln asserted that nation was born in 1776 when it was, ‘conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal’.

2. Isaak Burns Murphy

Isaak Burns Murphy
Isaak Burns Murphy

Isaak Burns Murphy was born in Frankfort, Kentucky on April 16, 1861 and died of pneumonia in Lexington, Kentucky in 1896.He is considered one of the greatest in the history of American thoroughbred horse racing history. He was the first jockey who was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1955. Out of 1,412 starts, he won 628 which are equal to 44 % wins; an achievement about which the Hall of Fame jockey; Eddie Arcaro commented, ‘There is no chance that his record of winning will ever be surpassed’.

3. Merle Travis

Merle Travis
Merle Travis

Merle Robert Travis was born in Rosewood, Kentucky, US on November 29, 1917 and died in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, US on October 20, 1983 at the age of 65. He was American Country western singer, songwriter, and musician.  He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame in 1970 and was also elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1977.His genres were ‘Country, Western Swing, Blues, Gospel and Americana’. Merle developed his guitar playing style out of native finger-picking in Western Kentucky.

4. Rosemary Clooney

Rosemary Clooney
Rosemary Clooney

Rosemary Clooney was born in Maysville, Kentucky, US on May 23, 1928 and died in Beverly Hills, California, US on June 29, 2002 at the age of 74. She was popular singer and actress of her time specializing in traditional pop and vocal jazz. She became famous after performing ‘Come On-a My House’ written by William Saroyan. She starred along with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye and Vera Allen in the movie White Christmas in 1954. She received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.

5. Harland Sanders

Harland Sanders
Harland Sanders

Harland ‘ colonel’ Sanders was born in Henryville,Indiana,US on September 9,1890 and died in Louisville, Kentucky,U.S on December 16, 1980 at the age of 90. Credit of introducing the name’ Kentucky’ throughout the world goes to none other than Colonel Harland Sander’s fast food chain of ‘KFC’, better known as Kentucky Fried Chicken. His father expired when was only six and he helped his mother by cooking for family. He was dropped out in seventh grade and left home for fear of his step father. He did different jobs in early years and at the age of 40; he used to cook chicken at his service station at Corbin, Kentucky. He moved to a restaurant and developed his secret recipe for cooking chicken in pressure fryer. Sanders were awarded an honorary title of ‘Colonel’ by Governor Ruby Laffoon in 1935. Harland Sander’s image is iconic to KFC promotions the world over and starting from a meager start, KFC today spends more than a million dollars in charity and scholarships each year. In 2000, Sanders was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Hall of Fame.

6. Louis Marshal Jones

Louis Marshal Jones
Louis Marshal Jones

Louis Marshal Jones, popularly known as Grandpa Jones, was born in Niagara, Henderson County, Kentucky on October 20, 1913 and died after suffering from a stroke in Nashville, Tennessee. Songwriter Bradley Kincaid gave him the nickname ‘grandpa’ which he liked and became his popular name. He was a famous American banjo player, old time, country and music singer. Mostly, he played guitar and sang old-time ballads. Louis Marshal Jones was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1978.

7. Zachary Taylor

 Zachary Taylor
Zachary Taylor

Zachary Taylor was born in Barboursville, Virginia, US on November 24, 1784 and died in Washington D.C. US on July 9, 1850 at the age of 65. He was the 12th President of the United States and remained in office from March 4, 1849 to July 9, 1850. It was the third shortest term for any US President. He was known as ‘Old Rough and Ready’ and became famous after winning the Battle of Palo Alto and the Battle of Monterrey during the Mexican-American War.

8. Robert Grubbs

Robert Grubbs
Robert Grubbs

Robert Grubbs was born in Possum Trot, Kentucky, US on February 27, 1942. He received his early education at Public School at McKinley Elementary., Franklin Junior High and Paducah Tilghman High School in Paducah, Kentucky. He studied at California Institute of Technology, University of Florida and Columbia University. In 2005 Grubbs was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, along with Richard, R. Schrock and Yves Chauvin for his work in the field of ‘Olefin metasynthesis’ an organic reaction.

9. Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali, popularly and variously known as ‘the greatest, the people’s champion and the Louisville Lip’ was born in Louisville, Kentucky on January 17, 1942. Ali was the first and only three times lineal World Heavy Weight Champion and he is perhaps the most beloved sportsperson in the world. Formerly known as Cassius Clay, He changed his name to Muhammad Ali after embracing Islam. In 1965 he was publicly vilified for reusing to join US Military  on account of his religious belief and opposition to the Vietnam war declaring, ‘ I ain’t go no quarrel with them Viet Cong’¦ No Viet Cong ever called me nigger’.

10. Bill Monroe

Bill Monroe
Bill Monroe

William Smith Moroe, better known as Bill Monroe was born in Rosine, Kentucky, US on September 13, 1911 and suffering from complications of an earlier stroke, he died on September 9, 1996 just four days before his 85th birthday at the age of 84. He was the creator of the famous style of music known as ‘Bluegrass’ after the name of his band, the ‘Blue Grass Boys’. He is at times referred to as ‘Father of Bluegrass’ on this account. As a singer, instrumentalist, composer and band leader he performed for about 60 years. Bill Monroe was made an honorary’ Kentucky Colonel’ in 1966.  In 1970 he was conducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame , 1971 he was inducted into Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and 1n 1997 into the ‘Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’.

Conclusion:

Famous Kentuckians are the milestones in the historic timeline of Kentucky. Fertile lands, rich in all sorts of resources, had at times become barren for want of those who could exploit their potentials while conversely barren lands had been very often turned into the most prosperous localities if the residents were capable enough to utilize their resources. Kentucky has been doubly gifted in that it had rich natural resources and capable Kentuckians to make the fullest use of them.

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