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The Time Gov. Happy Chandler Sang at the Adair Co. Courthouse

CM COMMENT: This is a must read today, for enlightenment and entertainment, and as a simple test to know if one is really a Kentuckian or not. If you read this story and/or listen to the embedded rendition of "My Old Kentucky Home" and don't get goosebumps, think of yourself as one who doesn't belong here. If tears are in your eyes, count yourself in a state of eternal grace as a Child of the Commonwealth. The visit to Columbia was sandwiched in between Happy's stops in Sulphur Well and Cane Valley and Coburg. Thank you, thank you. Mr. Mike Watson, for making our day. - EW
Click on headline for complete story with video of Happy Chandler singing "My Old Kentucky Home."

By Mike Watson
Adair County Historian

Perhaps every Kentuckian can remember hearing former Governor A.B. "Happy" Chandler sing "My Old Kentucky Home." If not, you should. A brief search of YouTube will bring a just-short-of three minute rendition.

The summer of 1938 was a big year for then Governor Chandler. He declared for the U.S. Senate seat of Senator Alben Barkley. Beginning in early summer, "Happy" made stops in nearly every county of the State, stumping for the Democratic nomination.

He came to Adair County in mid-June 1938 to speak, shake hands, rub elbows, and renew old acquaintances. On the designated day, Friday, June 17th, the courthouse in Columbia was packed with supporters and gawkers. The Adair County News reported the Governor was "exactly an hour late." That did not seem to matter to the throng as they were attentive for the entire forty-five minute speech. Introduced by Ray Montgomery, "Happy" announced for the first time, in Columbia that day, his intention to meet with President Roosevelt when he came to Kentucky later in the summer for good-will tour, and to join the tour.

Chandler spoke of the accomplishments of his administration, including the decrease of the State's debt from twenty-eight million to a mere seven million dollars; improvements in prisons and mental hospitals; the rural highway program; repeal of the sales tax; and new taxes on liquor and cigarettes.

At the conclusion of his prepared statements, he asked the crowd if they would like to hear him sing "Gold Mine in the Sky", a popular song at the time, and without waiting long for a reply, swung into the popular song, and received a huge round of applause upon the finish.

The Governor arrived in Columbia after a visit at Sulphur Well, where he had spent Thursday night as a guest of King Crenshaw, who formerly operated the hotel there. He and his party took dinner at the New Adair Hotel with local supporters, then left town bound for Campbellsville, stopping briefly at both Cane Valley and Coburg for handshaking events.

Mike Watson, 2017

This story was posted on 2017-05-21 08:47:44
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