This Week in History, Week of October 19-25, 2015


This Week In History

by Dianne Hermann


“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people.

They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”

– Thomas Jefferson


Week of October 19-25, 2015



October 19


1781 – The Revolutionary War ends when General Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, Virginia.


1849 – Elizabeth Blackwell becomes the first woman in the U.S. to receive a medical degree.


1870 – The first blacks are elected to the House of Representatives. Four men are elected.


1914 – The U.S. post office first uses an automobile to collect and deliver mail.


1919 – Salvation Army commander Evangeline Booth is the first woman awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by President Woodrow Wilson.


1951 – President Harry Truman formally ends the state of war with Germany.


1960 – Martin Luther King Jr. is arrested at an Atlanta sit-in.


1970 – John Frazier of the “People of the Free Universe” declares World War 3 will begin and then he murders Dr. Ohta and his family in Santa Cruz, California. Frazier’s death sentence is changed to life in prison after California’s death penalty is ruled unconstitutional in 1972. He commits suicide in prison in 2009 at age 62 by hanging himself.


1977 – The ban on the Supersonic Concorde jets landing in the U.S is lifted. The first Concorde lands in New York on November 22nd. Only 20 Concorde jets are built in France and all the Concorde jets are bought buy British Airways in 1983. The fleet of jets is retired in 2003. (See October 24, 2003)


1983 – The Senate establishes the Martin Luther King Jr. federal holiday. The first King holiday was celebrated on January 20, 1986.


1987 – The Dow Jones Index sees the second-largest one-day drop of a record 508.32 points (22 percent) on “Black Monday.”


1988 – The Senate passes a bill curbing ads during children’s TV shows.


2005 – Hurricane Wilma becomes the most intense Atlantic hurricane on record with a lowest pressure reading of 882 mb.


2009 – Quarterback Tom Brady throws five 2nd quarter touchdowns against the Tennessee Titans, setting a National Football League record for touchdown passes in one quarter.


2012 – Google stock trading is suspended after a premature release of its quarterly report indicating a 20 percent drop in profits and a 9 percent fall in its share price.



October 20


1818 – The 49th parallel forms as the border between the United States and Canada.


1864 – President Lincoln formally establishes Thanksgiving as a national holiday.


1873 – P. T. Barnum’s Hippodrome opens in New York City featuring “The Greatest Show on Earth.” It is destroyed in a fire on December 23, 1873.



1902 – Marian Nolan, the California Venus, is shot to death by Edward Marshuts, who then kills himself. Nolan at age 16 won a beauty contest as the most beautiful girl in California and has a statue made of her likeness.


1910 – A baseball with a cork center is used in a World Series game for the first time.


1930 – “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” debutes on NBC radio.


1949 – Eugenie Anderson becomes the first woman U.S. ambassador (to Denmark). She died in 1997 at the age of 87.


1957 – Walter Cronkite begins hosting his weekly documentary “The Twentieth Century.” It airs until 1966.


1967 – Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin film a purported sighting of a Bigfoot. (


1968 – Former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy marries Aristotle Onassis.


1973 – President Nixon proclaims Olympic gold medalist Jim Thorpe the greatest athlete of the first half of the 20th century.


1973 – President Nixon fires Watergate accuser Archibald Cox.


1975 – The Supreme Court rules teachers could spank their pupils after a warning.


1988 – Los Angeles is the first city to have both baseball and basketball championship teams as the LA Dodgers beat the Oakland A’s 4 games to 1 in the World Series. The LA Lakers beat the Detroit Pistons 4 games to 3 in the NBA finals in June.


1993 – The highest scoring World Series game is played. The final score is Blue Jays 15, Phillies 14, in the 4 hour and 14 minute game.


2003 – A 40-year-old man goes over Niagara Falls without safety devices and survives. He is charged with illegally performing a stunt.



October 21


1774 – The first display of the word “Liberty” is on a flag raised by colonists in Taunton, Massachusetts, in defiance of British rule in Colonial America.


1797 – The U.S. Navy frigate Constitution, nicknames Old Ironsides, launches from Boston.


1918 – Margaret Owen sets the world typing speed record at 170 words per minute. She won four world speed typing championships, including three consecutive titles from 1915-1917.


1925 – The U.S. Treasury Department announces that it has fined 29,620 people for prohibition (of alcohol) violations.


1959 – The Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, opens in New York City.


1960 – JFK and Richard Nixon clash in their 4th and final presidential debate.


1971 – President Nixon nominates William H. Rehnquist and Lewis F. Powell to the U.S. Supreme Court following the resignations of Justices Hugo Black and John Harlan.


1979 – Ozzie Newsome (Cleveland Browns) begins his National Football League streak of catching a pass in 150 consecutive games. Jerry Rice (Oakland Raiders) now holds the record at 274 consecutive games with a reception.


1991 – U.S. hostage Jesse Turner is released after almost five years in captivity in Beirut, Lebanon. Nearly 100 people were kidnapped during the 10-year period from 1982-1992. Turner’s daughter is born five months after his kidnapping by Pro-Iranian terrorists.


1998 – The New York Yankees set a major league baseball record of 125 victories for the regular and postseason combined.


2001 – “United We Stand” benefit concert for September 11, 2001, terrorist attack victims is held at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The event is organized and headlined by Michael Jackson and features pop stars Aerosmith, Mariah Carey, and The Backstreet Boys. Watch a star-studded group sing-along:



October 22


1746 – Princeton University in New Jersey receives its charter, making it the fourth oldest university in the U.S. after Harvard, William & Mary, and Yale.


1836 – Sam Houston is inaugurated as the first elected president of the Republic of Texas.


1861 – The first telegraph line linking the West and East coast is completed.


1907 – Ringling Brothers “Greatest Show on Earth” buys Barnum & Bailey circus. They tour separately until the first combined performance in 1919 at Madison Square Garden in New York City.


1938 – The first Xerox copy is made.


1939 The first televised NFL game features the Eagles vs Dodgers.


1962 – President JFK imposes a naval blockade on Cuba, beginning the Cuban Missile Crisis.


1975 – The World Football League disbands after Week 12 of their second season.


1976 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration bans Red Dye No. 4 is after it is discovered that it causes tumors in the bladders of dogs.


1979 – Walt Disney World admits its 100-millionth guest.


1994 – A 70-foot-tall statue of Sam Houston is unveiled in Texas.


2010 – The Internation Space Station sets the record (3641 days) for the longest continuous human occupation of space. It had been continously inhabited since November 2, 2000.



October 23


1813 – The Pacific Fur Company trading post in Astoria, Oregon, (named for John Jacob Astor) is sold to their rival, British North West Company, during the War of 1812. The fur trade in the Pacific Northwest is dominated for the next three decades by the United Kingdom until the beaver population dwindles.


1910 – Blanche Stuart Scott becomes the first woman to fly solo in an airplane at a public event when she flies at an air meet in Fort Wayne, Indiana. In 1912 Scott becomes the first female test pilot.


1930 – J.K. Scott wins the first miniature golf tournament. The event is held in Chattanooga, Tennessee.


1932 – The “Fred Allen Show” premieres on the radio.


1956 – NBC broadcasts the first videotape recording. The tape of comedian Jonathan Winters is seen coast to coast in the U.S.


1973 – President Nixon agrees to turn over his White House tape recordings to Judge Sirica as part of the Watergate investigation.


1981 – The U.S. national debt tops $1 trillion. It now tops $17.8 trillion (more than $3 trillion more than this time last year).


1991 – Clarence Thomas is sworn in as the first black Supreme Court Justice.


2000 – Universal Studios Consumer Products Group (USCPG) and Amblin Entertainment announce an unprecedented and exclusive three-year worldwide merchandising program with Toys “R” Us, Inc. for the rights to exclusive “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” merchandise.


2001 – Apple releases the iPod.



October 24


1861 – The first transcontinental telegram is sent, ending the Pony Express.


1901 – Annie Taylor becomes the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. The 43-year-old Michigan teacher survives the drop. The next attempt isn’t until 10 years later – by a man. Taylor’s barrel is on display as part of the Daredevil Gallery at the Imax Theatre in Niagara Falls.


1911 – Orville Wright remains in the air in his glider for 9 minutes and 45 seconds at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, setting a new world record that stands for 10 years.


1926 – Harry Houdini’s last performance is at the Garrick Theatre in Detroit, Michigan. Houdini dies a few days later on Halloween Day at the age of 52.


1939 – Nylon stockings go on sale for the first time in Wilmington, Delaware.


1940 – The 40-hour-work week goes into effect as part of the Fair Labor Standards of 1938.


1987 – Robert Bork’s Supreme Court nomination is rejected by the U.S. Senate.


1989 – Televangelist Rev. Jim Bakker is sentenced to 45 years for fraud but serves only 4 years. He is now 75 years old. His wife, Tammy Faye Bakker, dies in 2007 at age 65. Watch an interview with the Bakkers:


2002 – Police arrest spree murderers 42-year-old John Allen Muhammad and 17-year-old Lee Boyd Malvo, ending the Beltway sniper attacks in and around Washington, DC, that kills 10 people and wounds 3 others. Muhammad is sentenced to death and is executed by lethal injection in Virginia in 2009. Malvo receives life without parole because of his age.


2003 – Concorde makes its last commercial flight from New York City to London.



October 25


1825 – The Erie Canal opens, linking the Great Lakes and Atlantic Ocean.


1870 – Pimlico Race Course, home of the Preakness Stakes, opens in Baltimore, Maryland. Pimlico, the second jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown, is the second oldest racetrack in the U.S. behind Saratoga.


1903 – The U.S. Senate begins investigating the Teapot Dome scandal during the Harding administration over bribes for oil reserves without competitive bidding in Montana.


1924 – The “Little Orphan Annie” comic strip is first published.


1955 – Tappan sells the first microwave oven. It cost $1,295.


1962 – U.S. Ambassador Adlai Stevenson presents photographic evidence to the United Nations Security Council of Soviet missile bases in Cuba.


1971 – Roy Disney dedicates Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Walt Disney died in 1966. Watch the dedication:


1978 – Gaylord Perry is the first pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues (AL – 1972 with the Cleveland Indians; NL – 1978 with the San Diego Padres).


1983 – The U.S. invades Grenada at President Reagan’s direction, a country 1/2,000 its population, to protect American citizens. (The U.S. wins!)


2000 – AT&T Corp. announces that it will restructure into a family of four separately traded companies (consumer, business, broadband and wireless).