This Week In History, Week of October 3-9, 2016


This Week In History

by Dianne Hermann

“While I take inspiration from the past, like most Americans, I live for the future.”

– Ronald Reagan

Week of October 3-9, 2016


October 3

1789 – George Washington proclaims the first national Thanksgiving Day will be on November 26th. In 1863, President Lincoln changes 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 is the last time he is seen in public before his death on October 7th.

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

1920 – The American Pro Football Association (now the NFL) plays its first games.

1922 – The first facsimile (fax) photo is send 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 sings
“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 airs until 1959 but is revived in the 1970 and again in the 1990s. Among the original cast are actress Annette Funicello and future Lawrence Welk dancer Bobby Burgess. Watch part of the first episode:

1961 – The “Dick Van Dyke Show” and “Mr. Ed” premiere on TV and both air until 1966.

1971 – Billie Jean King becomes the first female athlete to earn $100,000 in a year.

1974 – Frank Robinson (Cleveland Indians) becomes baseball’s first black manager.

1984 – The government shuts down (again) due to lack of Congressional agreement over passage of bills.

1993 – Eighteen U.S. Soldiers and about 1,000 Somalis are killed in heavy fighting in an attempt to capture officials of warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid’s organization in Mogadishu, Somalia,

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. Watch the verdict being read with OJ’s reaction:

2003 – Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy is attacked by one of the show’s tigers. His severe injuries lead to the permanent cancelation of their Las Vegas show. The tiger died of an illness in March at age 17. Siegfried Fischbacher is 77 and Roy Horn is 71 years old.

2008 – OJ Simpson is found guilty of charges of kidnapping and armed robbery.

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

2014 – Some 83 million accounts are compromised after a cyber-attack on JP Morgan Chase and nine other financial institutions.


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.

1777 – General George Washington’s troops attack and are defeated by the British at Germantown, Pennsylvania.

1915 – Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado and Utah is established.

1924 – The New York Giants become first baseball team to appear in four consecutive World Series. The New York Yankees play in five consecutive World Series from 1949-1953. Casey Stengel was the manager for all five series and the Yankees win all five.

1930 – Philadelphia A’s pitcher Jack Quinn, at age 47, is oldest person to ever play in World Series.

1931 – The Dick Tracy comic strip by Chester Gould debuts in newspapers.

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.

1984 – The U.S. government closes down for two days due to budget issues. The U.S. government has shut down a total of 17 times since 1976 due to budgetary problems.

1997 – The second largest cash robbery in U.S. history occurs at the Charlotte, North Carolina, office of Loomis, Fargo, and Company. An FBI investigation eventually results in 24 convictions and the recovery of approximately 95% of the $17.3 million in cash that had been stolen.

2001 – Barry Bonds hits his 70th home run, tying Mark McGwire for the most home runs hit in a single baseball season. Bonds ends the baseball season with 73 homeruns.

2004 – SpaceShipOne wins the $10 million Ansari X Prize. This prize is 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 at large.

October 5

1877 – Chief Joseph surrenders to the U.S. Army, ending the 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 are killed. Emmett is tried, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison but is paroled after 14 years. He uses his notoriety to become a Hollywood screenwriter. He died in 1937 at age 66.

1921 – The first radio broadcast of the World Series airs. The Yankees beat the Giants 3-0. The Giants go on to defeat the Yankees 5 games to 3.

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

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

1947 – Harry Truman delivers the first televised presidential address from the White House.

1953 – Earl Warren is sworn in as 14th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

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

1970 – PBS (Public Broadcasting System) forms as a TV network.

1982 – An unmanned rocket sled reaches 9,851 kph at White Sands, New Mexico.

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.

2001 – Robert Stevens becomes the first of five victims in the 2001 anthrax attacks.

2005 – Vampire novel “Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer is published.

2006 – Walmart rolls out its $4 generic drug program to the entire state of Florida after a successful test in the Tampa area.

2015 – The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement is announced by trade ministers of 12 countries in Atlanta, Georgia.


October 6

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

1857 – The American Chess Association is organized and the first major U.S. chess tournament is played in New York City.

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

1882 – The first World Series baseball game is played. The Cincinnati Red Stockings (American Association) beat the Chicago White Stockings (National League) 4-0. The American Association lasts only ten years. The Cincinnati Red Stockings become the Cincinnati Reds.

1889 – Thomas Edison screens his first motion picture.

1893 – Nabisco Foods invents Cream of Wheat.

1911 – Cy Young makes his farewell appearance in a major league baseball game at age 44. He loses to Brooklyn 13-3 in a Brave’s uniform in his 906th game. The award that bears his name is given annually to the best pitcher in each league.


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


1949 – President Truman signs the Mutual Defense Assistance Act passed by Congress. It is 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.

1966 – LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) is first declared illegal in state of California. Other states follow suit.

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 get divorced in 1996. Liz Taylor died in 2011 at age 79. Larry Fortensky is now 64 years old.

2010 – Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger launch Instagram as a free mobile app.


October 7

1765 – Nine American colonies send a total of 28 delegates to New York City for the Stamp Act Congress. The delegates adopt the “Declaration of Rights and Grievances.”

1816 – The first double-decker, paddle-wheel steamboat, the Washington, arrives in New Orleans. Shipbuilder Henry Shreve launches the steamboat earlier that year from the Monongahela River near Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

1826 – The Granite Railway, the first chartered railway in the U.S., begins operations.

1913 – Ford Motor Company institutes the world’s first moving assembly line for production of the Model T Ford.

1916 – Georgia Tech defeats Cumberland College 222-0 in the most lopsided college football game in history.

1940 – The McCollum memo proposes bringing the U.S. into the war in Europe by provoking the Japanese to attack the U.S.

1944 – Australian-born opera singer Marjorie Lawrence sings at the White House at the request of President FDR. Lawrence was stricken by polio and paralyzed from the waist down at the height of her career. She recovers but encounters obstacles when she returns to singing. FDR encourages her to “carry on.” Watch a 1947 performance:

1950 – U.S. forces invade North Korea by crossing the 38th parallel (Demilitarized Zone).

1952 – The first “Bandstand” show is broadcast on TV from Philadelphia. Dick Clark becomes the host of “American Bandstand” in 1956 and serves until the show ends in 1989. Clark died in April 2012 at age 82.

1958 – Potter Stewart appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Potter serves on the Supreme Court until 1981. Potter died in 1985 at age 70.

1963 – President JFK signs the ratified Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.

1965 – Robert Mitera, age 21, aces the 447-yard 10th hole at Miracle Hills Golf Course in Omaha, Nebraska, to score world’s longest straight hole-in-one.

1968 – The Motion Picture Association of America adopts the film-rating letter system to rate a film’s thematic and content suitability for certain audiences.

1985 – Lynette Woodard, 1984 Olympic Gold Medalist in basketball, is chosen as the first woman basketball player for the Harlem Globetrotters. She plays with the Globetrotters until 1987 when she joins an Italian pro basketball team. Woodard is now 57 years old. Watch a Globetrotters report:

1991 – Law Professor Anita Hill accuses Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of making sexually inappropriate comments to her. Thomas is confirmed as a Supreme Court Justice, where he continues to serve. Justice Thomas is now 68 years old.

2001 – The U.S. invasion of Afghanistan starts with an air assault and covert operations on the ground.

2003 – Gray Davis is recalled as governor of California, three years before the official end of his office term. Film star Arnold Schwarzenegger is elected governor.


October 8

1871 – The Great Chicago Fire kills 200 people, destroys over 4 square miles of buildings, and burns the original Emancipation Proclamation.

1896 – Dow Jones starts reporting an average of selected industrial stocks.

Sgt. Alvin York
Sgt. Alvin York

1918 – During World War I, Sgt. Alvin York single-handedly kills 25 Germans and captures 132 others. Sergeant York is awarded his nation’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions. The film “Sergeant York” starring Gary Cooper becomes one of the top grossing Warner Brothers films of the entire war era and earns Cooper the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1942. Watch a report on Sgt. York including an interview with his son:

1935 – Ozzie Nelson marries Harriet Hilliard (Ozzie & Harriet).

1944 – The “Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet” debut on the radio and airs until 1954.

1951 – Ford C. Frick replaces Happy Chandler as the third commissioner of baseball.

1952 – Amy Vanderbilt’s “Complete Book of Etiquette” is published for the first time.

1956 – Donald James Larsen (New York Yankees) pitches the first perfect game in the history of the World Series. Watch a report, including actual footage and an interview with Larsen:

1957 – The Brooklyn Dodgers announce their plans to move to Los Angeles, California. They move to LA for the 1958 season.

1969 – The opening 3-day rally of the “Days of Rage” occurs in Chicago, Illinois. The largely unsuccessful events are organized by the Weather Underground.

1988 – A fire in Seattle’s Space Needle causes evacuation and $2,000 damage.

1990 – U.S. doctors Joseph E. Murray and E. Donnall Thomas win the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries in organ and cell transplantation.

1993 – The U.S. government issues a report absolving the FBI of any wrongdoing in its final assault in Waco, Texas, on the Branch Davidian compound. The fire that ended the siege killed as many as 85 people.

2001 – President George W. Bush announces the establishment of the Office of Homeland Security. Former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge is sworn in as its director.



October 9


1635 – Dissident Roger Williams is banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony for his religious beliefs. In 1636 he purchases land from the Narragansett Indians and founds the colony of Rhode Island.

1855 – Isaac Singer patents sewing machine motor.

1855 – Joshua Stoddard of Worcester, Massachusetts, patents the first calliope. The musical instrument is used to attract attention for circuses and arriving steamboats.

1872 – Aaron Montgomery starts his mail-order business.

1888 – The Washington Monument opens for public admittance. Construction begins in 1848 but the completion is delayed by the Civil War. It is still the tallest stone structure in the world.

1915 – Woodrow Wilson becomes the first president to attend a World Series game. (World Series #12)

1916 – Babe Ruth (Boston Red Sox) pitches in the longest World Series game ever (14 innings) and beats the Brooklyn Dodgers 2-1.

1930 – Aviator Laura Ingalls lands in Glendale, California, to complete the first solo transcontinental flight across the U.S. by a woman. Amelia Earhart completes the flight non-stop in 1932.

1936 – Hoover Dam begins transmitting electricity to Los Angeles.

1960 – Cowboy quarterback Eddie LeBaron throws the shortest touchdown pass in football history (2 inches). LeBaron died in 2015 at age 85. Watch a brief tribute:

1973 – Elvis and Priscilla Presley divorce after 6 years of marriage. They have one daughter, Lisa Marie, who is now 48 years old.

1974 – Frank Robinson (Cleveland Indians) becomes the first black baseball manager.

1980 – United American Bank in Knoxville, Tennessee, offers the first consumer use of home banking by computer.

1986 – The Senate convicts U.S. District Judge Harry E. Claiborne. In 1984, Claiborne was convicted in a Nevada court of tax evasion. The Senate started impeachment hearings because Claiborne did not resign and continued to receive his salary when he began serving two years in prison in March of 1986.

1989 – Art Shell becomes the first black coach of an NFL game. His Los Angeles Raiders beat the New York Jets 14-7 on Monday Night Football.

2007 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes at an all-time high of 14,164. The stock market crashes on September 29, 2008, closing at 10,365 and wiping out $1.2 trillion in market value.

2009 – President Obama is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize nine months after taking office. Obama is nominated by the Nobel Committee, in part, for calling for “a new start to relations between the Muslim world and the West based on common interests and mutual understanding and respect.” Watch Obama’s short acceptance speech:

2014 – JFK airport in New York begins enhanced screening for the Ebola virus.


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