This Week in History: Sept 7-13, 2020

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This Week in History
by Dianne Hermann

“That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history
is the most important of all the lessons of history.” Aldous Huxley

Sept 7-13, 2020




September 7

1813 – “Uncle Sam” is first used to refer to the United States. The nickname is attributed to meatpacker Samuel Wilson of Troy, New York, who supplies barrels of meat to American troops during the War of 1812. The barrels are stamped with “U.S.” and the meat is soon referred to as Uncle Sam’s.

1876 – An attempted robbery by the James/ Younger gang of the First National Bank of Northfield, Minnesota, fails and a resident is killed as the gang escapes. Frank and Jesse James get away, but Cole, Bob, and Jim Younger are arrested weeks later, tried, convicted of murder, and sentenced to 25 years in prison. Bob dies in prison in 1889. Jim is pardoned in 1901 but commits suicide the next year. Cole is also pardoned in 1901 and dies in 1916. Jesse James is murdered in 1882 and Frank James dies in 1915 at the age of 72.

1888 – Edith Eleanor McLean is the first baby placed in an incubator, called a “hatching cradle.” She is born premature at State Emigrant Hospital on Ward’s Island, New York, weighing only 2 pounds 7 ounces.

1956 – Air Force Capt. Iven Kincheloe, Jr., sets an unofficial manned aircraft altitude record when he flies his Bell X-2 more than 126,000 feet above the earth. The U.S. Air Force and Department of Defense refused to confirm the record and have never changed their decision.

1979 – The Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) makes its television debut.

1981 – Judge Wapner and the People’s Court premiers on TV and aired until 1993. The judges for the second version were former NYC Mayor Ed Koch (1997-1999), Jerry Sheindlin, husband of Judge Judy (1999-2001), and currently Marilyn Milian. Judge Joseph Wapner died in 2017 at age 97. Watch the Judge Wapner discuss his most memorable case.



2008 – The U.S. Government takes control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two largest mortgage / financing companies in the U.S.


September 8

1565 – St. Augustine, Florida, the oldest city in the U.S., is established.

1892 – The “Pledge of Allegiance” first appears in print in The Youth’s Companion. Baptist minister Francis Bellamy is the author.

1900 – Over 8,000 people are killed when a hurricane and tidal wave destroy Galveston, Texas. It is the deadliest hurricane in U.S. history.

1916 – President Woodrow Wilson signs the Emergency Revenue Act, doubling the rate of income tax and adding inheritance and munitions profits tax.

1921 – The first Miss America, 16-year-old Margaret Gorman of Washington, D.C, is crowned in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Fall Frolic, held a year earlier as a way to keep tourists in Atlantic City, is the precursor to the pageant. The longest serving Miss America Pageant host was Bert Parks (1955-1979).

1951 – Japan signs a treaty of peace with 48 countries in San Francisco following the end of World War I.

1974 – President Gerald Ford pardons former President Richard Nixon of all federal crimes related to the Watergate scandal.

1994 – The MTV awards feature newlyweds Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie Presley. They were secretly married four months earlier and filed for divorce in 1996. Watch the pair open the awards ceremonies.



2005 – Two EMERCOM Il-76 aircraft land at a disaster aid staging area at Little Rock Air Force Base, making it the first time Russia had flown such a mission to North America.


September 9

1675 – The New England colonies declare war on the Wampanoag Indians, who live in what is now Massachusetts and Rhode Island. It is believed that Thanksgiving is based on the interaction between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians years earlier.

1776 – The Continental Congress renames the “United Colonies” the “United States.”

1830 – Charles Durant, the first U.S. aeronaut, flies a hot air balloon from Castle Garden in New York City to Perth Amboy, New Jersey. An estimated 20,000 people paid to watch the flight.

1861 – Sally Tompkins becomes the only female Confederate Army commissioned officer during the Civil War. Captain Tompkins, called “The Angel of the Confederacy,” founded and directed Robertson Hospital in Richmond, Virginia.

1945 – Grace Hopper discovers the first “bug” in a computer while working with her associates at Harvard. A moth was removed from a relay with tweezers.

1955 – Elvis Presley makes his first of three appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. Actor Charles Laughton hosts for Ed, who is recovering from a serious car accident. Watch Elvis in a 1956 performance.



1963 – Gov. George Wallace (D-AL) is served with a federal injunction to stop his orders that state police bar black students from enrolling in white schools in Alabama.

2008 – The iTunes Music Store reaches 100 million applications downloaded.

2009 – The iTunes Music Store reaches 1.8 billion applications downloaded.

2014 – Apple unveils the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport, and Apple Watch Edition.


September 10

1608 – John Smith is elected president of the Colony Council in Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent British colony in North American.

1858 – John Holden hits the first recorded home run during a baseball game between the Brooklyn Eckfords and the New York Mutuals.

1913 – The Lincoln Highway opens as the first paved coast-to-coast highway. It measures 3,389 miles from Times Square in New York City to Lincoln Park in San Francisco, California. Over the years the Lincoln Highway was replaced with numbered highways.

1924 – Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb are found guilty of murdering Bobby Franks, a 14-year-old acquaintance. Their lawyer was Clarence Darrow. (The following year Darrow represented a teacher in the Scopes Monkey Trial.) Leopold and Loeb, teenagers at the time of the murder, were sentenced to life in prison. Loeb was killed in prison in 1936. In 1958, after thirty-four years of confinement, Leopold was released from prison. He moved to Puerto Rico, where he died in 1971 at the age of 65.

1948 – Mildred “Axis Sally” Gillars is indicted for treason in Washington, DC. She was convicted and spent 12 years in prison. Gillars was a Nazi radio propagandist during World War II.

1953 – Swanson sells its first “TV dinner.” It was a turkey dinner. Watch a 1955 commercial.



1979 – President Carter grants clemency to four Puerto Rican nationalists who had been imprisoned for an attack on the House of Representatives in 1954 and an attempted assassination of President Truman in 1950.

1984 – Alex Trebek hosts his first episode of daily syndicated version of the game show Jeopardy! Art Fleming was the first Jeopardy! host. Trebek, now 80, has been diagnosed with cancer.

1992 – Lucy Van Pelt in the Peanuts comics raises her Psychiatric Help from 5 cents to 47 cents.

2012 – Teachers in Chicago go on strike, affecting 350,000 students. The strike by 29,000 teachers ended on September 18th.


September 11 (National Day of Service and Remembrance)

1941 – Construction begins on the Pentagon and it is completed on January 15, 1943. The Pentagon is actually located in Northern Virginia just across the Potomac River from Washington, DC.

2001 – Two passenger planes hijacked by terrorists crash into New York City’s World Trade Center Towers, causing the collapse of both buildings and killing of 2,752 people. Terrorists hijacked another passenger plane and crashed it into the Pentagon, killing of 125 people. A fourth hijacked airplane crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after passengers and crew attempted to regain control of the aircraft. All 64 people on board were killed. Let’s roll!

2002 – The Pentagon is rededicated after repairs are completed, exactly one year after the terrorist attack on the building.

2011 – The Memorial Plaza at the National September 11th Memorial in New York City opens for the first time during a ceremony at the World Trade Center site.


September 12

1776 – Nathan Hale, recruited by George Washington, slips behind enemy lines on Long Island, New York, on his first spy mission. Hale was arrested by the British on September 21st and hanged the following day. He was 21 years old. Hale is credited with saying, “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”

1910 – Alice Stebbins Wells is appointed the world’s first female police officer by the Los Angeles Police Department.

1935 – Millionaire Howard Hughes sets a speed record of 352.46 mph in the H-1 Racer, an airplane of his own design. He went on to design and build the largest aircraft ever flown, the Spruce Goose, in 1947.

1954 – “Lassie” makes its television debut on TV. The last show aired in 1974. A total of nine collies played Lassie, all males, and all descendants of the original Lassie, named Pal, who died in 1958. Watch the preview of the first show.



1983 – Security guard Victor Gerena robs a Wells Fargo armored car facility of $7 million. He was placed on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list in 1984 but was never captured. Gerena holds the distinction of being on the Most Wanted List for the longest period of time, although he was removed from the list in 2016. There is still a $1 million reward for info leading to his capture.

1994 – Frank Eugene Corder steals a Cessna airplane and crashes it into White House lawn. Corder, age 38, was killed in the crash.

2001 – Article V of the NATO agreement is invoked for the first and only time in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks against the U.S. Article V states that an attack against one NATO member country is an attack against them all and allows for the use of armed force.


September 13

1788 – New York City becomes the capital of the United States. Washington, DC, becomes our nation’s capital in 1790.

1842 – Tom McCoy becomes the first recorded U.S. boxing fatality. His opponent, Christopher Lilly fled to England to avoid prosecution, but 18 others were arrested and convicted of fourth-degree manslaughter. Lilly returned to the U.S., escaped to Honduras, and was executed in 1857.

1934 – Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, baseball’s first commissioner, sells the rights to the World Series broadcast rights (for the first time) to the Ford Motor Company for $100,000.

1939 – Igor Sikorsky makes the first (tethered) flight of the Vought-Sikorsky VS-300, one of the first viable U.S. helicopters. Watch a newsreel of the helicopter being flown to the Henry Ford Museum in 1943.



1948 – Margaret Chase Smith (R-ME) is elected as a senator, making her the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress.

1977 – The first TV “viewer discretion” warning is issued before the airing of “Soap,” a sitcom featuring Billy Crystal as a gay ventriloquist.

2001 – Civilian aircraft flights resume after the 9-11 attacks.

2017 – The International Olympic Committee announces that Los Angeles will host the 2028 Summer Olympics. The last two Summer Olympics held in the U.S were in Atlanta in 1996 and Los Angeles in 1984. The last Winter Olympics held in the U.S. was in Salt Lake City in 2002.


Image from: lamag.com

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