This Week in History, October 13-19, 2014


This Week In History
by Dianne Hermann

“The farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.”
– Winston Churchill

Week of October 13-19, 2014

October 13

1775 – The Continental Congress creates the U.S. Navy. The U.S. Army is created on June 14, 1775.

1792 – Robert B. Thomas publishes “The Farmer’s Almanac.” The word “Old” is added to the title after 39 years. It is the oldest continuously published periodical in America.

1792 – George Washington lays the cornerstone of the Executive Mansion. President Teddy Roosevelt renames it the White House on October 12, 1901.

1860 – The first aerial photo in U.S. is taken from a balloon in Boston, Massachusetts.


1914 – Garrett Morgan invents and patents gas mask.

1947 – “Kukla, Fran & Ollie” premieres and airs until 1947. Kukla (a clown) and Ollie (a dragon) are puppets and Fran Allison is the hostess. Burr Tillstrom is the show’s creator and puppeteer. Burr died in 1985 at age 68 and Fran died in 1989 at age 81.


1982 – The International Olympic Committee Executive Committee approves the reinstatement of Jim Thorpe’s gold medals from the 1912 Olympics. Thorpe is stripped of his medals after his amateur status is nullified. Thorpe died in 1953 at age 64.

1987 – The U.S. Navy first uses trained dolphins for military purposes in the Persian Gulf. The dolphins detect and mark underwater mines. The Navy uses over 100 dolphins as part of the program.

1999 – The U.S. Senate rejects ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).


October 14

1773 – The United Kingdom’s East India Company ship’s cargo of tea on The Peggy Stewart’s is burned at Annapolis, Maryland.

1834 – Henry Blair is the first black person to obtain a US patent. He invents a corn planter.

1912 – Presidential candidate Teddy Roosevelt is shot while campaigning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The bullet struck Roosevelt’s metal eyeglasses case before entering his chest. He delivers his 90-minute speech before going to the hospital. The would-be assassin John Schrank was deemed insane and confined for life to an asylum. Woodrow Wilson wins the 1912 election.

1926 – Alan Alexander Milne’s book “Winnie-the-Pooh” is released.

1947 – Chuck Yeager, in a Bell XS-1, makes the first supersonic flight at Mach 1.015.

1960 – Senator John F. Kennedy first suggests creating the Peace Corps while at the University of Michigan. Newly elected President Kennedy signs Executive Order 10924 establishing the Peace Corps in March of 1961.

1962 – U.S. U-2 espionage planes locate Soviet-supplied missile launchers in Cuba. The Cuban Missile Crisis starts when Cuban anti-aircraft gunners open fire on the U.S. reconnaissance planes on October 27th. Khrushchev in Russia blinks first.


1964 – Martin Luther King Jr. wins the Nobel Peace Prize. He is assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968.

1968 – The first live telecast is made from the manned U.S. spacecraft Apollo 7 to Earth.


1978 – “Rescue from Gilligan’s Island” becomes the first TV movie made from a TV series.

1996 – Dow Jones closes over 6,000 for first time (6,010).


October 15

1878 – The Edison Electric Light Company is incorporated.

1881 – The first American fishing magazine, American Angler, is published.

1883 – The Supreme Court declares unconstitutional the Civil Rights Act of 1875, which guarantees equal treatment in public accommodations and transportation.

1924 – President Calvin Coolidge declares the Statue of Liberty as a national monument.

1928 – The German dirigible “Graf Zeppelin” lands in Lakehurst, New Jersey. The “Hindenburg” crashes at Lakehurst in 1937.


1949 – Billy Graham begins his ministry with a Los Angeles, California crusade. Graham will be 95 years old on November 7th.

1951 – “I Love Lucy” debuts on TV and airs until 1957.

1966 – Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale create the Black Panther Party. Seale is one of the Chicago 7 who protested the 1968 Democrat National Convention. (See Sept. 24, 1969)


1966 – President LBJ signs a bill creating the Department of Transportation.

1989 – Wayne Gretzky passes Gordie Howe as the National Hockey League’s all-time top scorer with 1,851 goals.

1991 – Clarence Thomas is confirmed as Supreme Court Justice by a Senate vote of 52-48.

1997 – Former U.S. Representative Dan Rostenkowski is released from prison after serving 15 months of a 17-month sentence for mail fraud. The fraud case is led by future U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Rostenkowski died in 2010 at age 82.


October 16

1846 – Dentist William T. Morton of Massachusetts demonstrates the effectiveness of ether as an anesthesia.

1859 – Abolitionist John Brown leads 21 men in an unsuccessful raid on a federal arsenal in Harper’s Ferry, Virginia. He is captured, put on trial for treason, and sentenced to death. Brown is hanged on December 2nd.

1916 – Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, opens a birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York. She publishes many articles in the 1920s supporting eugenics, the science of improving the human population by controlled breeding to increase desirable heritable characteristics. Hitler uses eugenics during WWII. Sanger died in 1966 at age 86.

1923 – Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio is founded by Walt Disney. Disney died in 1966 at age 65.

1940 – The lottery for the first U.S. World War II draftees is held. Number 158 is the first number drawn.

1956 – William J. Brennan Jr. becomes a Supreme Court Justice and serves until 1990. Brennan died in 1997 at age 91.

1962 – Byron R. White becomes a Supreme Court Justice and serves until 1993. White died in 2002 at age 84.

1982 – Mt. Palomar Observatory is the first to detect Halley’s comet on 13th return to Earth. It appears to the naked eye in 1986. Haley’s Comet will pass by Earth again in 2061 during its next 76-year return.


1984 – A baboon heart is transplanted into 15-day-old baby Fae in a California hospital. She dies 20 days later.

1986 – The U.S. government closes down again due to budget problems. (See Oct. 4, 1984)

1987 – Jessica McClure, age 18 months, is rescued 58 hours after falling into a 22-feet deep well shaft. Jessica is now 28 years old.


1995 – The Million-Man March, led by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, is held in Washington, DC. An estimated 800,000 mostly black men attend.

2013 – The U.S. ends its 16-day government shut down and avoids default after a bi-partisan deal in the Senate.


October 17

1871 – President Grant suspends the writ of habeas corpus in South Carolina where the Ku Klux Klan is active.

1885 – Baseball sets all players salaries at $1,000-$2,000 for 1885 season.

1919 – Radio Corporation of America (RCA) is created.

1931 – Al Capone is convicted of tax evasion and sentenced to 11 years in prison. He died January 25, 1947, after a stroke at the age of 48, having suffered from syphilis for many years.

1933 – Albert Einstein arrives in the U.S. as a refugee from Nazi Germany.

1955 – Former Miss America Lee Meriwether joins the Today Show panel. Meriwether is also Catwoman in the original 1966 “Batman” movie. Meriwether is now 79 years old.


1961 – The New York Museum of Modern Art hangs Henri Matisse’s “Le Bateau” upside-down. It isn’t corrected until December 3.


1967 – The controversial musical “Hair” premieres off Broadway at the Joseph Papp’s Public Theater. Hair opens on Broadway in April 1968 for 1,750 performances.

1978 – President Jimmy Carter signs a bill restoring citizenship to former Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

1979 – President Jimmy Carter signs legislation creating the Department of Education.

1986 – The U.S. Senate approves an immigration bill prohibiting the hiring of illegal aliens and offers amnesty to illegal aliens who entered prior to 1982.

1989 – An earthquake in San Francisco (6.9 on the Richter scale) kills 67 people and leads to the cancellation of game 3 of the World Series.


2006 – The U.S. population reaches 300 million. The current population is 318 million.


October 18

1648 – Boston shoe makers form the first U.S. labor organization.

1767 – Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon complete surveying and draw a line between Maryland and Pennsylvania to resolve a dispute between the British colonies and Colonial America. The Mason-Dixon boundary is agreed upon.

1867 – The U.S. takes formal possession of Alaska after purchasing it from Russia for $7.2 million on March 30th.

1892 – The first commercial long-distance phone line opens from Chicago to New York.

1944 – General Eisenhower confers with Generals Omar Bradley and Bernard Montgomery in Brussels.

1954 – Texas Instruments announces the first transistor radio.

1955 – Track & Field magazine names Jesse Owens the best all-time track athlete.

1962 – Dr. Watson (U.S.) and Drs. Crick and Wilkins (Britain) win the Nobel Prize for Medicine for work in determining structure of DNA. Wilkins’s colleague Rosalind Franklin died of cancer in 1958 at the age of 37 and could not be honored. Crick and Wilkins both died in 2004. Watson is now 86 years old.


1969 – The Federal government bans the use of cyclamates in artificial sweeteners such as Sweet ‘N Low.

1977 – Reggie Jackson (Mr. October) hits 3 consecutive home runs, tying Babe Ruth’s World Series record. The Yankees beat the Dodgers 4 games to 2. Jackson is named MVP for the Series. He is now 68 years old.


1978 – First daughter Susan Ford announces her engagement to Charles F. Vance. They marry in 1979 and divorce in 1988. Ford is now 57 years old.

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


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 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 by British Airways in 1983. The fleet of jets is retired in 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 drops a record 508.32 points (22%) 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.


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