This Week in History October 14 – 20


by Dianne Hermann

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

Week of October 14-20, 2013


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.

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.


October 15

1878 – The Edison Electric Light Company is incorporated.

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

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

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 CBS 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)

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




October 16

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

1916 – Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, opens a birth control clinic in Brooklyn, New York. She published 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.


1923 – Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio is founded.

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

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.

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

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.



October 17

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

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.

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.


October 18

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

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.

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.) & Drs. Crick & 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.


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

1977 – Reggie Jackson hits 3 consecutive homers, tying Babe Ruth’s World Series record.



October 19

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

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.


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

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.”


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.

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. (

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.

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.


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