This Week in History, January 5-11 2014


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 January 5-11, 2015


January 5

1781 – A British naval expedition led by former American General and traitor Benedict Arnold burns Richmond, Virginia.

1836 – Davy Crockett arrives in Texas. Crocket serves in the U.S. House of Representatives 1827-1934. After being defeated for reelection in 1834, he tells people, “I told the people of my district that I would serve them as faithfully as I had done; but if not, they might go to hell, and I would go to Texas.” He is killed defending the Alamo on March 6th at age 49.


1905 – The National Association of Audubon Society incorporates in New York. William Dutcher serves as its first president.

1914 – James Cox of Ford Motor Company announces wages will jump from $2.40/9-hour day to $5.00/8-hour day.

1925 – Nellie Taylor Ross becomes the governor of Wyoming, the first woman governor in U.S.

1959 – The “Bozo the Clown” live children’s show premieres on TV. The show survives in several forms, including “Bozo’s Big Top,” until 2001. One of the actors who portrayed Bozo is Willard Scott, who went on to be the first Ronald McDonald.


1961 – The U.S. breaks diplomatic relations with Cuba.

Small changes in Cuba:

1971 – The Harlem Globetrotters lose 100-99 to the New Jersey Reds, ending their 2,495-game win streak.

1971 – The body of U.S. heavyweight boxer “Sonny” Liston is found in his Las Vegas home. It is estimated that he has been dead a week. He is approximately 38 years old since his actual date of birth is unknown. His death is ruled a heroin overdose but the cause of death is inconclusive.

1976 – The “MacNeil-Lehrer Report” premieres on PBS. Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer originally team up to cover the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaigns, formed to investigate Watergate.

1987 – The surrogate Baby M case begins in Hackensack, New Jersey. William and Elizabeth Stern enter into a surrogacy agreement with Mary Beth Whitehead. Whitehead changes her mind and takes Baby M away from the Sterns. A New Jersey court awards custody to the Sterns and Whitehead is given visitation rights. Baby M (Melissa Stern) is now 28 years old.

1993 – The state of Washington executes Westley Allan Dodd by hanging (at his request) for multiple child murders. It is the first legal hanging in America since 1965.


January 6

1759 – George Washington marries Martha Dandridge Custis. Martha is a widow who has 2 children. George died in 1799 at age 67 and Martha died in 1802 at age 70.

1893 – The Washington National Cathedral is chartered by Congress and signed by President Benjamin Harrison. Construction takes 83 years, from 1907 to 1990, at a cost of $65 million in private donations.


1931 – Thomas Edison submits the last of his 1,093 patent applications. Edison died in October of 1931 at age 84.

1941 – FDR makes his “4 Freedoms” speech (speech, worship, from want and from fear). Listen to his speech and read the text at: Click Here

1942 – Pan American Airlines becomes the first commercial airline to schedule a flight around the world.

1963 – “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” hosted by Marlin Perkins premiers on NBC-TV. It airs until 1985. Perkins died in 1986 at age 81.

1967 – The final ” Milton Berle Show” airs on TV. Berle’s comeback show lasts only one season. The original Texaco Star Theater airs from 1948-1956. Berle died in 2002 at age 93.

1973 – “Schoolhouse Rock” premieres on ABC-TV with Multiplication Rock. It airs until 2009. Watch one of the original shows at:

1975 – The original daytime version of “Wheel Of Fortune” debuts on NBC-TV. It lasts until 1889, when it moves to CBS for two years before moving back to NBC. The original host is Chuck Woolery. Pat Sajak (age 68) has been the host since 1981. Vanna White (age 57) has been the hostess since 1982.

1994 – Tonya Harding’s ex-husband and her bodyguard hire Shane Stant to break the leg of ice skater Nancy Kerrigan the day before the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Kerrigan withdraws from the competition with a bruised leg. Both skaters are named to the Olympic team, where Kerrigan wins the Silver Medal and Harding finishes eighth. Harding pleads guilty to hindering the prosecution and receives three years probation, 500 hours of community service, a $160,000 fine, and a lifetime ban from figure skating.


January 7

1608 – Fire destroys the colony at Jamestown, Virginia.

1782 – The first U.S. commercial bank, Bank of North America, opens in Philadelphia.

1830 – The first U.S. Railroad Station opens in Baltimore, Maryland.

1896 – Fanny Farmer publishes her first cookbook. She is partially paralyzed after a stroke when she is 16. She enrolls in the Boston Cooking School at age 30 and attends until 1989. Farmer died in 1915 at age 57.

1927 – The Harlem Globetrotters basketball team play their first game in Hinckley, Illinois. They start as the “Savoy Big Five” in 1926 with 24-year-old coach Abe Saperstein. “Sweet Georgia Brown” becomes their theme song in 1952. They play basketball against the Washington Generals. In 1982 the Harlem Globetrotters become the only sports team with a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.

1929 – “Tarzan,” one of the first adventure comic strips and “Buck Rogers,” the first sci-fi comic strip, first appear in print.

1934 – The “Flash Gordon” comic strip by Alex Raymond debuts.

1949 – Daniel Pease and Richard Baker take the first photo of genes using an electron microscope at University of Southern California.


1955 – Marian Anderson becomes the first black singer to perform at the Metropolitan in New York City.

This is beautiful:

1969 – The U.S. Congress doubles the president’s salary to $200,000. In 1999, President Clinton doubles his salary to $400,000. In 1789, George Washington got paid $25,000 a year.

1970 – Farmers sue Max Yasgur for $35,000 in damages caused by the “Woodstock” concert.

Joe Cocker, who recently died, in 1969:

1972 – William H. Rehnquist and Lewis F. Powell Jr. are sworn in as Supreme Court Justices.

1994 – Tonya Harding wins the U.S. female Figure Skating Championship. Nancy Kerrigan drops out after Harding orchestrates an attack on Kerrigan the day before.

1998 – Former White House intern Monica Lewinsky signs an affidavit denying she had an affair with President Bill Clinton.

1999 – President Bill Clinton begins his impeachment trial in the Senate for perjury and obstruction of justice after saying he did not have sex with that woman. Although Clinton is convicted in the House, both charges fail in the Senate on February 12th. Watch Clinton give his definition of the word “is” at:


January 8

1790 – President George Washington delivers the first State of the Union Address.

1833 – The Boston Academy of Music, the first U.S. music school, is established.

1835 – The U.S. national debt is $0 for the first and only time. The current national debt is over $17 trillion.

1867 – Legislation gives voting rights to blacks in Washington, DC, despite President Andrew Johnson’s veto.

1877 – Crazy Horse and his warriors fight their last battle with the U. S. Cavalry at Wolf Mountain in the Montana Territory. Crazy Horse surrenders in May with his band to protect them, and goes to Fort Robinson in Nebraska. Crazy Horse died that September.


1918 – Mississippi becomes the first state to ratify 18th amendment (prohibition).

1954 – Elvis Presley pays $4 to a Memphis studio and records his first two songs, “Casual Love” and “I’ll Never Stand in Your Way.” 

1956 – Elvis Presley’s “Don’t Be Cruel/Hound Dog” single goes to #1 and stays #1 for a record 11 weeks.

1962 – Golfer Jack Nicklaus, age 21, makes his first pro appearance and comes in 50th. Nicholas goes on to beat Arnold Palmer in the 1962 U.S. Open.

1963 – The “Mona Lisa” painting by Leonardo de Vinci, on loan from the Louvre Museum in Paris, is unveiled in America’s National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

1964 – President Lyndon B. Johnson declares the “War on Poverty.”

1965 – The Star of India, a 563 carat blue star sapphire, is returned to the American Museum of Natural History. Jack Roland Murphy, Alan Kuhn, and Roger Clark steal this and other gems on October 29, 1964, and are arrested two days later. Each receives three-year sentences.


1968 – Jacques Cousteau’s first undersea special airs on U.S. network TV.

1973 – The trial of Watergate burglars begins in Washington, DC. James W. McCord and G. Gordon Liddy are convicted on charges conspiracy, burglary, and wiretapping. Five others plead guilty earlier. McCord’s sentence is reduced to four months and Liddy serves four years of his 20-year sentence.

1993 – NBC offers “The Tonight Show” to David Letterman. Jimmy Fallon is now the host. Steve Allen is the first.

1996 – For the first time in 25 years no one is elected to Baseball Hall of Fame.

2008 – New Jersey officially apologizes for slavery, becoming the first Northern state to do so.

2011 – The attempted assassination of Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords at a Safeway grocery store in Tuscon, Arizona, kills 6 and wounds 13, including Giffords. She resigns from Congress a year later. Jared Lee Loughner is convicted of the shooting and sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.



January 9

1793 – The first hot-air balloon flight in the U.S. lifts off in Philadelphia, piloted by Jean Pierre Blanchard. He flies to an altitude of over a mile and travels more than 15 miles.

1858 – Anson Jones, the last President of the Republic of Texas, commits suicide. He is bitterly disappointed at not being appointed to the U.S. Senate, suffers a crippling arm injury, and then fails to win a single vote in the state legislature. He shoots himself in the head.

1861 – The Union merchant vessel Star of the West is fired on at Ft. Sumter in South Carolina in the first hostile act of Civil War.

1942 – The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff positions are created. The first members are Admiral William D. Leahy, President Roosevelt’s special military adviser, Chief of Staff to the Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy; General George C. Marshall, Chief of Staff of the Army; Admiral Ernest J. King, Chief of Naval Operations and Commander in Chief of the U.S. Fleet; and General Henry H. Arnold, Deputy Army Chief of Staff for Air and Chief of the Army Air Corps.


1945 – U.S. soldiers led by General Douglas MacArthur invade the Philippines.

1956 – Abigail Van Buren’s “Dear Abby” column first appears in newspapers. Her real name is Pauline Phillips. Dear Abby died in January 2013 at age 94. Her twin sister is columnist “Ann Landers,” who died in 2002 at age 83.


1959 – “Rawhide” with Clint Eastwood as Rowdy Yates premieres on CBS-TV. It airs until 1965.

1979 – The Supreme Court strikes down (6-3) a Pennsylvania law requiring doctors performing an abortion to try to preserve lives of potentially viable fetuses.

1991 – Baseball officially bans Pete Rose from being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. “Charlie Hustle” is banned for betting on baseball games while he is a player and manager. Rose is now 73 years old.

1997 – Frank Sinatra has a heart attack and is sent to the hospital for the second time that week. Sinatra died in 1998 at age 82.

2002 – Michael Jackson receives the Artist of the Century award at the American music awards. Jackson died in 2009 at age 50. Watch the award ceremony:


January 10

1776 – Thomas Paine publishes “Common Sense.” Originally published anonymously, “Common Sense” advocated independence from Britain for the American colonies.

1789 – The first national presidential election in the U.S. ends. The election process begins on December 15, 1788. George Washington is unanimously elected to the first of two 4-year terms.

1870 – John D. Rockefeller incorporates Standard Oil.

1901 – Oil is discovered at the Spindletop claim near Beaumont, Texas.

1912 – The Curtiss hydro-aeroplane, the world’s first flying boat, makes its maiden flight. The aircraft is designed by aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss.


1932 – “Mickey Mouse” comics is syndicated.

1943 – President FDR leaves for Casablanca, Morocco, becoming the first U.S. president to visit a foreign country in wartime.

1957 – Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick rules that Bing Crosby can keep token stock in the Detroit Tigers, even though he owns part of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

1967 – PBS, the National Educational TV station, begins as a 70-station network.

1984 – The U.S. establishes full diplomatic relations with Vatican after 117 years. In 1983 Congress lifts a prohibition on diplomatic relations enacted in 1867 during widespread anti-Roman Catholic sentiment and concern about the struggle for Italian unification.

1984 – Clara Peller first asks, “Where’s the Beef?” in a Wendy’s commercial. Peller died in 1987 at age 85.Watch the original commercial at:

1994 – The trial of Lorena Bobbitt begins. She cuts off her husband John’s penis in 1993 after what she claims is years of abuse. His member is reattached during a nine-hour surgery. Lorena is acquitted of malicious wounding.


January 11

1794 – Robert Forsyth, a 40-year-old U.S. Marshal, is killed in Augusta, Georgia, when trying to serve court papers. Forsyth is the first U.S. marshal to die in the line of duty.

1803 – James Monroe and Robert Livingston sail for Paris to buy New Orleans. They end up purchasing Louisiana. Monroe serves as president from 1817 to 1825. Livingston helps draft the Declaration of Independence and administers the presidential oath of office to George Washington in 1789.

1849 – Elizabeth Blackwell becomes the first woman in the U.S. to earn a medical degree. She opens an infirmary in 1857 and trains nurses during the Civil War. Blackwell died in 1910 at age 89.

1873 – The Drover’s Journal, the first livestock market newspaper, is published in Chicago.

1935 – Amelia Earhart flies non-stop from Honolulu, Hawaii, to Oakland, California.

1953 – J. Edgar Hoover declines 6-figure offer to become president of the International Boxing Club.

1964 – The first government report is issued by U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry warning that smoking may be hazardous to one’s health.

1976 – Dorothy Hamill wins her third consecutive national figure skating championship. She also wins a gold medal at the Montreal Winter Olympics.

1984 – The Supreme Court reinstates $10 million award to Karen Silkwood’s family. Silkwood worked at the Kerr-McGee Cimarron Fuel Fabrication Site plant near Crescent, Oklahoma and became a safety activist. She died in a suspicious car accident in 1974 at age 28.


1991 – Congress empowers President Bush to use force against Iraq.

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