This Week in History, Week of September 28-October 4, 2015


This Week In History

by Dianne Hermann


“Educate and inform the whole mass of the people.

They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.”

– Thomas Jefferson


Week of September 28-October 4, 2015


September 28

1701 – Divorce is legalized in Maryland.

1850 – The U.S. Navy abolishes flogging as punishment for sailors.

1904 – A woman is arrested for smoking a cigarette in a car on 5th Avenue in New York City.

1928 – The first music recording session in Nashville is by Warmack’s Gully Jumpers. Hear the recording at:

1944 – “The Boys from Boise” airs as the first TV musical comedy.

1949 – “My Friend Irma” is the first of twelve movies starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.

1967 – President LBJ appoints Walter Washington as the first commissioner of Washington, DC. Washington is elected mayor in 1975-1979.

1968 – Singer Janis Joplin announces she is leaving “Big Brother and the Holding Company.” Janis dies form a heroin overdose on October 4, 1970, at the age of 27.

1974 – First Lady Betty Ford undergoes a radical mastectomy. The former first lady is the co-founder of the Betty Ford Center in California. Ford died in 2011 at age 93.

1997 – Newscaster David Brinkley, 74, retires after 54 years in broadcasting. He hosted the Huntley-Brinkley report with Chet Huntley until 1970. Huntley died in 1974 at age 62. Brinkley died in 2003 at age 82. Goodnight David. Goodnight Chet.


2008 – SpaceX launches the first-ever private spacecraft, the Falcon 1 into orbit.


September 29

1890 – In the first professional baseball game, the New York Metropolitans beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 in 5 innings at the Polo Grounds in New York City.

1904 – The first monument honoring Spanish-American War veterans is erected in Monroeville, Ohio.

1907 – Construction begins on the National Cathedral in Washington, DC. (See this day 1990)


1916 – John D. Rockefeller becomes the first billionaire.

1950 – The telephone answering machine is created by Bell Laboratories.

1963 – The Rolling Stones start their first U.S. tour. They are the opening act for Bo Diddley and The Everly Brothers.

1982 – Mary Kellerman, a 12-year-old girl from a suburb of Chicago, dies after being given one extra-strength Tylenol capsule that, unbeknownst to her mother, is laced with the highly poisonous potassium cyanide. The drug-tampering case remains unsolved. James William Lewis is convicted of extortion for sending a letter taking credit for the deaths and demanding $1 million to stop them.

1989 – Zsa Zsa Gabor is convicted of slapping a police officer during a traffic stop in Beverly Hills, California.

1990 – The Washington National Cathedral is completed after 83 years of construction.

1994 – The first phase of the OJ Simpson murder trial (jury selection) ends when 304 potential jurors are chosen. He is found not guilt on October 3, 1995. Simpson is 68 years old and in prison following a conviction on unrelated charges.

1997 – Jury selection begins in the Terry Nichols trial for the Oklahoma City bombing. He is convicted of 161 charges of murder, including 1 unborn child. Nichols is now 60 years old.

2004 – The Burt Rutan Ansari X Prize entry “SpaceShipOne” performs the first of two successful spaceflights needed to win the $10 million prize. (See Oct. 4, 2004)


2005 – The Chicago White Sox clinch their first division title since 2000 and become only the 10th team in the history of baseball to be in first place on every day of the season.

2008 – Following the bankruptcies of Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closes down 777.68 points or nearly 7 percent, the largest single-day point loss in its history.


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, thirteen 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.

1927 – Babe Ruth hits his record setting 60th homerun off pitcher Tom Zachary.

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.


1953 – President Dwight Eisenhower nominates Earl Warren as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Warren receives Senate confirmation on March 1, 1954, and serves until 1969. Chief Justice Warren died in 1974 at age 83.

1956 – Chicago White Sox pitcher Jim Derrington, 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 – The “Flintstones” premieres on TV as the first prime time animated show. It airs until April of 1966.

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

1968 – The first Boeing 747 rolls out.

1997 – Microsoft Corp releases Internet Explorer 4.0.



October 1

1888 – National Geographic magazine is published for the first time.

1890 – Yosemite National Park forms during the Benjamin Harrison administration. In June 1864, President Abraham Lincoln signs 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 wins the series 5-3.

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 are eventually acquitted but they are all kicked out of baseball anyway.

1945 – Heavyweight boxing champ Joe Louis is discharged from the Army.

1952 – Mad Magazine debuts with an October-November issue. Its mascot is Alfred E. Neuman.


1962 – Johnny Carson hosts his first Tonight Show. Rudy Vallée, Joan Crawford, Tony Bennett, and Mel Brooks are his first guests. The final Tonight Show airs on May 22, 1992, and Johnny has no guests. Carson died in 2005 at age 79. Watch a rare video of his first show:

1971 – Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, opens to the public.

1975 – Muhammad Ali TKOs Joe Frazier in 15 rounds for the heavyweight boxing called the “The Thrilla in Manila.”

1977 – The Department of Energy is established.

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


1984 – Peter Ueberroth replaces Bowie Kuhn as the 6th commissioner of baseball. Rob Manfred is the current commissioner.

1992 – The Cartoon Cable Network premieres on TV.

2004 – Seattle Mariners outfielder Ichiro Suzuki gets his 258th hit of the season, breaking George Sisler’s 84-year-old single-season baseball record.

2011 – President Obama appoints General Martin Dempsey as the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. Dempsey just retired on September 25th. President Obama nominated General Joseph F. Dunford, Jr. to replace Dempsey.

2012 – California becomes the first state to ban gay conversion therapy for minors.

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


October 2

1871 – The Mormon leader Brigham Young is arrested for bigamy.

1889 – The first Pan American conference in held in Washington, DC.

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


1919 – President Woodrow Wilson has a stroke, leaving him partially paralyzed.

1942 – The first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction is demonstrated in Chicago.

1950 – The first comic strips of Charlie Brown and Li’l Folks (later “Peanuts”) appear in nine U.S. newspapers.

1956 – The first atomic power clock is exhibited in New York City.

1967 – Thurgood Marshall is sworn in as the first black Supreme Court Justice.

1980 – Larry Holmes TKOs 38-year-old Muhammad Ali in 11 rounds for the heavyweight boxing title.

1990 – The U.S. Senate votes 90-9 to confirm David Souter to the Supreme Court.

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 are arrested. In 2003 Malvo is sentenced to six consecutive life terms without possibility of parole and Muhammed is sentenced to death. Muhammed is executed in 2009. Malvo is now 30 years old.


2005 – The National Football League plays its first regular season game outside United States. The Arizona Cardinals defeat the San Francisco 49ers 31-14 in Mexico City, Mexico.

2006 – Five girls are murdered by Charles Carl Roberts in a shooting at an Amish school in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, before Roberts committed suicide.


October 3

1789 – George Washington proclaims the first national Thanksgiving Day 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.


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.

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 76 and Roy Horn is 70 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.


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.

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.

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.