This Week in History
by Dianne Hermann
“Whoever wishes to foresee the future must consult the past,
for human events ever resemble those of preceding times.”
Week of Oct. 2-8, 2017
1871 – The Mormon leader Brigham Young is arrested for “lewd and lascivious cohabitation” with his 16 wives. President Lincoln signed the Anti-Bigamy Law in 1862. Young is reported to have had 55 wives.
1889 – The first Pan American conference in held in Washington, DC. It lasted until April 1890. It took nearly 10 years to be arranged by Secretary of State James G, Blaine.
1916 – Dr. Harry Wegeforth establishes the San Diego Zoo as a result of the abandonment of exotic animals following the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.
1936 – The first alcohol power plant forms in Atchison, Kansas. It produced a corn-based biofuel called Agrol.
1967 – Thurgood Marshall is sworn in as the first black Supreme Court Justice. Justice Marshall serves on the Supreme Court until 1991. He died in 1993 as age 84.
1980 – Larry Holmes TKOs 38-year-old Muhammad Ali in 11 rounds for the heavyweight boxing title. This fight is said to have contributed to Ali’s Parkinson’s Syndrome. Ali fought only one more time in December 1981 in the Bahamas. Ali died in 2016 at age 74.
2002 – The Beltway Sniper attacks begin in the Washington, DC area, extending over three weeks. Ten people are killed and three others wounded before John Allen Muhammad and 17-year-old Lee Boyd Malvo are arrested. In 2003, Malvo is sentenced to six consecutive life terms without possibility of parole and Muhammed is sentenced to death. Muhammed is executed in 2009. Malvo, who is now 32 years old, had his sentence overturned in May 2017 after the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that life sentences for juveniles was unconstitutional. Watch a report about Malvo on the 10-year anniversary of the attacks:
2005 – The National Football League plays its first regular season game outside United States. The Arizona Cardinals defeat the San Francisco 49ers 31-14 in Mexico City, Mexico. Its predecessor, the American Football League, played the first ever game outside the U.S. in November 1926 in Toronto, Canada, when the New York Yankees defeated the Los Angeles Wildcats 28-0.
2006 – Five girls are murdered by Charles Carl Roberts in a shooting at an Amish school in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, before Roberts committed suicide.
1789 – George Washington proclaims the first national Thanksgiving Day will be on November 26th. In 1863, President Lincoln changes Thanksgiving to the last Thursday in November.
1849 – American author Edgar Allan Poe is found delirious in a gutter in Baltimore, Maryland, under mysterious circumstances. It is the last time he is seen in public before his death on October 7th at age 40.
1904 – Educator and activist Mary McLeod Bethune opens the Daytona Normal & Industrial School in Florida, which later becomes Bethune-Cookman College. She is also the founder of the National Council of Negro Women in 1935 and served as an advisor to FDR. Mary died in 1955 at age 79.
1922 – The first facsimile (fax) photo is send over city telephone lines in Washington, DC.
1945 – Elvis Presley makes his first public appearance at age 10 in a
singing contest at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show. He sings
1955 – “Captain Kangaroo” premieres on TV and airs until 1992. Bob Keeshan (a.k.a. Captain Kangaroo) was also the original Clarabell on the Howdy Doody Show. Bob served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves during World War II. The Captain died in 2004 at age 76.
1955 – The “Mickey Mouse Club” premieres on TV with 39 kids and 3 adults in the cast. The show airs until 1959 but is revived in the 1970 and again in the 1990s. Among the original cast are actress Annette Funicello and future Lawrence Welk dancer Bobby Burgess. Watch part of the first episode:
1971 – Tennis player Billie Jean King becomes the first female athlete to earn $100,000 in a year. By comparison, tennis player Serena Williams earned almost $7 million in 2016.
1984 – The government shuts down (again) due to lack of Congressional agreement over passage of bills. The bills are passed the following day. The U.S. government has shut down a total of 17 times since 1976 due to budgetary or funding issues.
1993 – Eighteen U.S. Soldiers and about 1,000 Somalis are killed in heavy fighting in an attempt to capture officials of warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid’s organization in Mogadishu, Somalia.
1995 – OJ Simpson is found not guilty in the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in Los Angeles, California. On this day in 2008, OJ Simpson was found guilty of charges of kidnapping and armed robbery. He was just paroled after serving 9 years in prison. Watch the not guilty verdict being read and OJ’s reaction:
2003 – Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy is attacked by one of the show’s tigers. His severe injuries lead to the permanent cancelation of their Las Vegas show. The tiger died of an illness in 2014 at age 17. Siegfried Fischbacher is 78 and Roy Horn is 73 years old.
2008 – President George W. Bush signs the $700 billion bailout bill for the U.S. financial system.
2014 – Some 83 million accounts are compromised after a cyber-attack on JP Morgan Chase and nine other financial institutions.
1648 – Peter Stuyvesant, governor of New Amsterdam (later New York), establishes America’s first volunteer firemen when he appoints four men to act as fire wardens.
1924 – The New York Giants become first baseball team to appear in four consecutive World Series. The New York Yankees won five consecutive World Series from 1949-1953. Casey Stengel was the manager for all five series. (See Oct. 5, 1953)
1965 – Pope Paul VI becomes the first Pope to visit the Western Hemisphere when he addresses the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York City.
1976 – The Supreme Court lifts a 1972 ban on the death penalty for convicted murderers.
1997 – The second largest cash robbery in U.S. history occurs at the Charlotte, North Carolina, office of Loomis, Fargo, and Company. An FBI investigation eventually results in 24 convictions and the recovery of approximately 95% of the $17.3 million in cash that had been stolen.
2004 – SpaceShipOne, designed by Burt Rutan, wins the $10 million Ansari X Prize. This prize is awarded to a privately built spacecraft that could safely carry a pilot and the equivalent weight of two passengers to the edge of space and then repeat the feat within two weeks. SpaceShipOne cost over $20 million to design and build. Watch a video of the flights:
2011 – The State Department lists ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist with a $10 million reward for information leading to his capture. He is still in hiding.
1877 – Chief Joseph surrenders to the U.S. Army, ending the Nez Perce War.
1892 – The Dalton Gang’s daylight 2-bank holdup in Coffeville, Kansas, ends in a shoot-out when townspeople recognize the gang and organize the town to confront them. All the gang members except Emmett Dalton are killed. Emmett is tried, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison but is paroled after 14 years. He uses his notoriety to become a Hollywood screenwriter. He died in 1937 at age 66.
1921 – The first radio broadcast of the World Series airs. The Yankees beat the Giants 3-0. The Giants go on to defeat the Yankees 5 games to 3.
1923 – Astronomer Edwin Hubble identifies Cepheid as a variable star. His measurements place “M31” one million light-years away, far outside the Milky Way, making it a galaxy containing millions of stars. The Hubble Space Telescope is named for the Rhodes Scholar Edwin Hubble. He died in 1953 at the age of 63.
1931 – The first nonstop trans-pacific flight lands in Wenatchee, Washington, having left Misawa, Japan, some 41-hours earlier. Pilots Hugh Herndon and Clyde Pangborn perform a controlled crash landing and emerge unhurt.
1945 – “Meet the Press” premieres on the radio. It begins airing on TV in November of 1947, making it the longest running news TV show in U.S. history. Hosts include Lawrence Spivek, Tim Russert, Sr., and David Gregory.
1947 – Harry Truman delivers the first televised presidential address from the White House.
1953 – The New York Yankees win their record 5th consecutive World Series. The record still stands. Watch footage with commentary from the series against the Dodgers:
1998 – The U.S. pays $60 million for Russia’s research time on the International Space Station to keep the cash-strapped Russian space agency afloat.
2001 – Robert Stevens becomes the first of five victims in the 2001 anthrax attacks.
2006 – Walmart rolls out its $4 generic drug program to the entire state of Florida after a successful test in the Tampa area.
2015 – The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is announced by trade ministers of 12 countries in Atlanta, Georgia.
1781 – American and French troops begin the siege of Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia, the last battle of Revolutionary War.
1866 – John and Simeon Reno stage the first train robbery in U. S. when they stop a moving train. The brothers steal $13,000 from an Ohio and Mississippi train in Indiana. The Reno Brothers gang goes on to rob several other trains. Vigilantes at the New Albany jail hang the brothers on December 12, 1868.
1882 – The first World Series baseball game is played. The Cincinnati Red Stockings (American Association) beat the Chicago White Stockings (National League) 4-0. The American Association lasts only ten years. The Cincinnati Red Stockings become the Cincinnati Reds.
1911 – Cy Young makes his farewell appearance in a major league baseball game at age 44. He loses to Brooklyn 13-3 in a Brave’s uniform in his 906th game. The award that bears his name is given annually to the best pitcher in each league.
1927 – “Jazz Singer,” the first movie with a sound track, premieres in New York City. The movie is based on the life of singer Al Jolson. Watch Jolson at his best:
1949 – President Truman signs the Mutual Defense Assistance Act passed by Congress. It is the first U.S. military foreign aid legislation of the Cold War era.
1961 – President Kennedy advises American families to build or buy bomb shelters to protect them in the event of a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union.
1966 – LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is first declared illegal in state of California. Other states follow suit.
1979 – President Carter welcomes Pope John Paul II, the first Pope to visit the White House.
1991 – Elizabeth Taylor gets married for the 8th (and last) time to Larry Fortensky at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. They get divorced in 1996. Liz Taylor died in 2011 at age 79. Larry Fortensky is now 65 years old.
2010 – Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger launch Instagram as a free mobile app.
1765 – Nine American colonies send a total of 28 delegates to New York City for the Stamp Act Congress. The delegates adopt the “Declaration of Rights and Grievances.”
1816 – The first double-decker, paddle-wheel steamboat, the Washington, arrives in New Orleans. Shipbuilder Henry Shreve launches the steamboat earlier that year from the Monongahela River near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
1826 – The Granite Railway, the first chartered railway in the U.S., begins operations.
1913 – Ford Motor Company institutes the world’s first moving assembly line for production of the Model T Ford.
1916 – Georgia Tech defeats Cumberland College 222-0 in the most lopsided college football game in history.
1940 – The McCollum memo proposes bringing the U.S. into the war in Europe by preparing for a possible attack by the Japanese. Lt. Commander Arthur McCollum sent an “Eight Action Memo” to President FDR.
1944 – Australian-born opera singer Marjorie Lawrence sings at the White House at the request of President FDR. Lawrence was stricken by polio and paralyzed from the waist down at the height of her career. She recovers but encounters obstacles when she returns to singing. FDR encourages her to “carry on.” Watch a 1947 performance:
1952 – The first “Bandstand” show is broadcast on TV from Philadelphia. Dick Clark becomes the host of “American Bandstand” in 1956 and serves until the show ends in 1989. Clark died in April 2012 at age 82.
1963 – President JFK signs the ratified Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
1965 – Robert Mitera, age 21, aces the 447-yard 10th hole at Miracle Hills Golf Course in Omaha, Nebraska, to score world’s longest straight hole-in-one.
1968 – The Motion Picture Association of America adopts the film-rating letter system to rate a film’s thematic and content suitability for certain audiences.
1985 – Lynette Woodard, 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist in basketball, is chosen as the first woman basketball player for the Harlem Globetrotters. She plays with the Globetrotters until 1987 when she joins an Italian pro basketball team. Woodard is now 58 years old. Watch a Globetrotters report:
1991 – Law Professor Anita Hill accuses Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of making sexually inappropriate comments to her. Thomas is confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice, where he continues to serve. Justice Thomas is now 69 years old.
2001 – The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan starts with an air assault and covert operations on the ground.
2003 – Gray Davis is recalled as governor of California, three years before the official end of his office term. Movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger is elected governor.
1871 – The Great Chicago Fire kills 200 people, destroys over 4 square miles of buildings, and burns the original Emancipation Proclamation.
1918 – During World War I, Sgt. Alvin York single-handedly kills 25 Germans and captures 132 others. Sergeant York is awarded his nation’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions. The film “Sergeant York” starring Gary Cooper becomes one of the top grossing Warner Brothers films of the entire war era and earns Cooper the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1942. Watch a report on Sgt. York including an interview with his son:
1935 – Ozzie Nelson marries Harriet Hilliard (Ozzie & Harriet). The “Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet” debut on the radio in 1944 and airs until 1954.
1952 – Amy Vanderbilt’s “Complete Book of Etiquette” is published for the first time.
1956 – Donald James Larsen (New York Yankees) pitches the first perfect game in the history of the World Series. Watch a report, including actual footage and an interview with Larsen:
1969 – The opening 3-day riots of the “Days of Rage” occurs in Chicago, Illinois. The largely unsuccessful events are organized by the Weather Underground faction of Students for a Democratic Society. There are 34 injuries and over 250 arrests. One of the main organizers was Tom Hayden, who was once married to Jane Fonda.
1993 – The U.S. government issues a report absolving the FBI of any wrongdoing in its final assault in Waco, Texas, on the Branch Davidian compound. The fire that ended the siege killed as many as 85 people.
2001 – President George W. Bush announces the establishment of the Office of Homeland Security. Former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge is sworn in as its director.