This Week in History: Sept. 30-Oct. 6, 2019


This Week in History
by Dianne Hermann

“No problem of human making is too great to be overcome by
human ingenuity, human energy, and the untiring hope of the human spirit.”
President George H. W. Bush

Week of Sept. 30-Oct. 6, 2019


September 30

1777 – Congress flees to York, Pennsylvania, as British forces advance during the Revolutionary War.

1864 – Following the Battle of New Market Heights in Virginia, 13 black soldiers earn the Medal of Honor for their valor in leading the charge against Confederate fortifications after many of their officers are killed or wounded.

1939 – The first televised college football game is broadcast when the Fordham Rams play the Waynesburg Yellow Jackets at Triborough Stadium in New York City. Fordham wins the game 34–7.

1956 – Chicago White Sox pitcher Jim Derrington, age 16, becomes youngest player to start in a baseball game. He never pitched in another major league game after he turned 17 due to a serious arm injury.

1960 – On Howdy Doody’s last TV show Clarabell the Clown finally speaks saying, “Goodbye Kids.” Hear it for yourself:

2004 – The AIM-54 Phoenix, the primary missile for the F-14 Tomcat, is retired from service. Two years later the Tomcat, introduced in 1974, retires.

October 1

1880 – John Philip Sousa, known as the March King, becomes the new director of the U.S. Marine Corps Band. Sousa died in 1932 at age 77.

1890 – Yosemite National Park forms during the Benjamin Harrison administration. In June 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill ceding the Yosemite Valley area to the state of California with the requirement that it be held as a national public trust “for all time.”

1903 – The first baseball World Series is played between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Boston Pilgrims (now the Red Sox). Boston won the series 5-3.

1908 – Henry Ford introduces the Model T car. It cost $825.

1919 – The Chicago White Sox are accused of intentionally losing the World Series to satisfy gamblers in what is called the Black Sox Scandal. Eight players were eventually acquitted, but they were all kicked out of baseball anyway.

1932 – In the 5th inning of Game 3 of the World Series, Babe Ruth famously points to the outfield and hits a 2-strike pitch into center field bleachers for a home run. Watch the Babe call the shot”:

1957 – “In God We Trust” first appears on U.S. paper currency.

1958 – The U.S. space agency NASA begins operations after incorporating the National Advisory Council on Aeronautics and other agencies.

1964 – The “Free Speech Movement” is launched at University of California at Berkley. Students demanded that the university administration lift the ban of on-campus political activities and acknowledge the students’ right to free speech and academic freedom.

1977 – The Department of Energy is established.

1982 – EPCOT Center (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) in Orlando, Florida, opens to the public. Watch a preview video of EPCOT:

2004 – Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki gets his 258th hit of the season, breaking George Sisler’s 84-year-old single-season baseball record. He ended the season with 262 hits, a record that still stands.

2013 – Another partial U.S. federal government shutdown occurs as a result of political deadlock over operational spending.

October 2

1871 – The Mormon leader Brigham Young is arrested for “lewd and lascivious cohabitation” with his 16 wives. President Lincoln signed the Anti-Bigamy Law in 1862. Young was reported to have had 55 wives.

1889 – The first International Conference of American States (Pan-American) is held in Washington, DC. It lasted until April 1890. It took nearly 10 years to be arranged by Secretary of State James G. Blaine.

1916 – Dr. Harry Wegeforth establishes the San Diego Zoo as a result of the abandonment of exotic animals following the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.

1936 – The first alcohol power plant forms in Atchison, Kansas. It produced a corn-based biofuel called Agrol.

1980 – Larry Holmes TKOs 38-year-old Muhammad Ali in 11 rounds for the heavyweight boxing title. This fight was said to have contributed to Ali’s Parkinson’s Syndrome. Ali fought only one more time in December 1981 in the Bahamas. Ali died in 2016 at age 74.

2002 – The Beltway Sniper attacks begin in the Washington, DC area, extending over three weeks. Ten people are killed and three others wounded before John Allen Muhammad and 17-year-old Lee Boyd Malvo were arrested. In 2003, Malvo was sentenced to six consecutive life terms without possibility of parole and Muhammed was sentenced to death. Muhammed was executed in 2009. Malvo, who is now 34 years old, had his sentence overturned in May 2017 after the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that life sentences for juveniles was unconstitutional. Watch a report about Malvo on the 10-year anniversary of the attacks:

2005 – The National Football League plays its first regular season game outside United States. The Arizona Cardinals defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-14 in Mexico City, Mexico. Its predecessor, the American Football League, played the first ever game outside the U.S. in November 1926 in Toronto, Canada, when the New York Yankees defeated the Los Angeles Wildcats 28-0.

October 3

1789 – George Washington proclaims the first national Thanksgiving Day will be on November 26th. In 1863, President Lincoln changed Thanksgiving to the last Thursday in November.

1849 – American author Edgar Allan Poe is found delirious in a gutter in Baltimore, Maryland, under mysterious circumstances. It was the last time he was seen in public before his death on October 7th at age 40.

1904 – Educator and activist Mary McLeod Bethune opens the Daytona Normal & Industrial School in Florida, which later becomes Bethune-Cookman College. She was also the founder of the National Council of Negro Women in 1935 and served as an advisor to FDR. Mary died in 1955 at age 79.

1922 – The first facsimile (fax) photo is sent over city telephone lines in Washington, DC.

1945 – Elvis Presley makes his first public appearance at age 10 in a
singing contest at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show. He sang
“Old Shep.”

1955 – “Captain Kangaroo” premieres on TV and airs until 1992. Bob Keeshan (a.k.a. Captain Kangaroo) was also the original Clarabell on the Howdy Doody Show. Bob served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves during World War II. The Captain died in 2004 at age 76.

1955 – The “Mickey Mouse Club” premieres on TV with 39 kids and 3 adults in the cast. The show aired until 1959, but was revived in the 1970, and again in the 1990s. Among the original cast were actress Annette Funicello and future Lawrence Welk dancer Bobby Burgess. Watch part of the first episode:

1967 – Air Force pilot William Knight set the highest speed ever recorded by a manned, powered aircraft when he flew the X-15 at 4,520 miles per hour (Mach 6.72). The record still stands.

1971 – Tennis player Billie Jean King becomes the first female athlete to earn $100,000 in a year. By comparison, tennis player Serena Williams earned almost $7 million in 2016.

1984 – The government shuts down (again) due to lack of Congressional agreement over the passage of bills. The bills were passed the following day. The U.S. government has shut down a total of 17 times since 1976 due to budgetary or funding issues.

1995 – OJ Simpson is found not guilty in the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in Los Angeles, California. On this day in 2008, OJ Simpson was found guilty of charges of kidnapping and armed robbery. He was just paroled after serving 9 years in prison. Watch the not guilty verdict being read and OJ’s reaction:

2003 – Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy is attacked by one of the show’s tigers. His severe injuries led to the permanent cancelation of their Las Vegas show. The tiger died of an illness in 2014 at age 17. Siegfried Fischbacher is 80 and Roy Horn is 75 years old. The team reunited for one show in 1999.

2008 – President George W. Bush signs the $700 billion bailout bill for the U.S. financial system.

October 4

1648 – Peter Stuyvesant, governor of New Amsterdam (later New York), establishes America’s first volunteer firemen when he appoints four men to act as fire wardens.

1924 – The New York Giants become first baseball team to appear in four consecutive World Series.

1965 – Pope Paul VI becomes the first Pope to visit the Western Hemisphere when he addresses the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York City.

1976 – The Supreme Court lifts a 1972 ban on the death penalty for convicted murderers.

2004 – SpaceShipOne, designed by Burt Rutan, wins the $10 million Ansari X Prize. This prize was awarded to a privately built spacecraft that could safely carry a pilot and the equivalent weight of two passengers to the edge of space and then repeat the feat within two weeks. SpaceShipOne cost over $20 million to design and build. Watch a video of the flights:

2011 – The State Department lists ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist with a $10 million reward for information leading to his capture. He is still in hiding. The reward was increased to $25 million in 2016.

October 5

1877 – Chief Joseph surrenders to the U.S. Army, ending the 4-month Nez Perce War.

1892 – The Dalton Gang’s daylight 2-bank holdup in Coffeville, Kansas, ends in a shoot-out when townspeople recognize the gang and organize the town to confront them. All the gang members except Emmett Dalton were killed. Emmett was tried, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison but was paroled after 14 years. He used his notoriety to become a Hollywood screenwriter. He died in 1937 at age 66.

1923 – Astronomer Edwin Hubble identifies Cepheid as a variable star. His measurements placed “M31” one million light-years away, far outside the Milky Way, making it a galaxy containing millions of stars. The Hubble Space Telescope was named for the Rhodes Scholar Edwin Hubble. He died in 1953 at age 63.

1931 – The first nonstop trans-pacific flight lands in Wenatchee, Washington, having left Misawa, Japan, some 41-hours earlier. Pilots Hugh Herndon and Clyde Pangborn performed a controlled crash landing and emerged unhurt.

1945 – “Meet the Press” premieres on the radio. It began airing on TV in November of 1947, making it the longest running news TV show in U.S. history. Hosts included Lawrence Spivek, Tim Russert, Sr., and David Gregory.

1953 – The New York Yankees win their record 5th consecutive World Series. The record still stands. They also have the most World Series appearances. Watch footage with commentary from the series against the Dodgers:

1998 – The U.S. pays $60 million for Russia’s research time on the International Space Station to keep the cash-strapped Russian space agency afloat.

2015 – The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is announced by trade ministers of 12 countries in Atlanta, Georgia. The agreement was never ratified and never took effect.

October 6

1781 – American and French troops begin the siege of Cornwallis at Yorktown, Virginia, the last battle of Revolutionary War.

1866 – John and Simeon Reno stage the first train robbery in the U. S. when they stop a moving train. The brothers stole $13,000 from an Ohio and Mississippi train in Indiana. The Reno Brothers gang went on to rob several other trains. Vigilantes at the New Albany jail hanged the brothers on December 12, 1868.

1927 – “The Jazz Singer,” the first movie with a sound track, premieres in New York City. The movie was based on the life of singer Al Jolson. Watch Jolson at his best:

1949 – President Truman signs the Mutual Defense Assistance Act which was passed by Congress. It was the first U.S. military foreign aid legislation of the Cold War era.

1961 – President Kennedy advises American families to build or buy bomb shelters to protect them in the event of a nuclear exchange with the Soviet Union.

1979 – President Carter welcomes Pope John Paul II, the first Pope to visit the White House.

1991 – Elizabeth Taylor gets married for the 8th (and last) time to Larry Fortensky at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. They got divorced in 1996. Liz Taylor died in 2011 at age 79. Fortensky died in 2016 at age 64.

2010 – Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger launch Instagram as a free mobile app. Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion.


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