This Week in History – October 21 to October 27


by Dianne Hermann

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

Week of October 21-27, 2013

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 typing championships, including three consecutive titles from 1915-1917.


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.

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.

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



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.


1975 – The World Football League disbands after the 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.

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


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.


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 $14 trillion.

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



October 24

1901 – Anna 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. (See October 27, 1938)

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

1989 – Televangelist Rev. Jim Bakker is sentenced to 45 years for fraud but serves only 4 years. He is now 73 years old. His wife, Tammy Faye Bakker, dies in 2007 at age 65.


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.



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.

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

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


1971 – Roy Disney dedicates Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Walt Disney died in 1966.

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).TIS_25_Gaylord_Perry

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!)


October 26

1776 – Benjamin Franklin departs from America for France on a mission to seek French support for the American Revolution.


1787 – The “Federalist Papers” are published calling for ratification of the Constitution. Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay write the series of 85 articles and essays.

1881 – Wyatt, Virgil, and Morgan Earp with Doc Holliday are involved in a gunfight near the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, against Billy and Ike Clanton with Tom and Frank McLaury. Billy Clanton and both McLaury brothers are killed. Virgin and Morgan are wounded.

1949 – President Harry Truman increases the minimum wage from 40 cents to 75 cents an hour.

1954 – Walt Disney’s first television program, “Disneyland,” premieres on ABC.

1958 – PanAm flies the first transatlantic jet trip from New York to Paris.

1984 – “Baby Fae” gets a baboon heart transplant and lives for 21 days.



October 27

1795 – The Treaty of San Lorenzo provides for the free navigation of Mississippi.

1838 – Missouri governor Lilburn Boggs issues the Executive Order 44, which orders all Mormons to leave the state or be exterminated. It is signed in the aftermath of the Battle of Crooked River, a clash between Mormons and a unit of the Missouri State Guard in northern Ray County, Missouri.


1904 – On the first day of operation of the New York City subway, 350,000 people ride the 9.1-mile track.

1916 – The first published reference to “jazz” appears in Variety Magazine as a reference to the new style of American music.

1938 – DuPont announces its new synthetic fiber will be called “nylon.” It was patented in 1935. Wallace Carothers, its inventor, died in 1937.



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