Notes of American History

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January 5, 1781
American traitor & British Brig. Gen. Benedict Arnold enjoys his greatest success as a British commander.

Arnold’s 1,600 largely Loyalist troops sailed up the James River at the beginning of Jan., eventually landing in Westover, VA. Leaving Westover on the afternoon of Jan. 4, Arnold & his men arrived at the virtually undefended capital city of Richmond the next afternoon. Only 200 militiamen responded to Gov. Thomas Jefferson’s call to defend the capital–most Virginians had already served & therefore thought they were under no further obligation to answer such calls. {Editorial comment: Sounds a lot like the current VA gun owners who either voted Democrat or didn't vote & are now upset with the situation.}

Despite this untenable military position, the author of the Declaration of Independence was criticized by some for fleeing Richmond during the crisis. Later, 2 months after Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown, he was cleared of any wrongdoing during his term as governor. Jefferson went on to become the leader of the Democratic-Republican Party, & his presidential victory over the Federalists is remembered as The Revolution of 1800.

After the war, Benedict Arnold attempted & failed to establish businesses in Canada & London. He died a pauper on June 14, 1801, having never received all of the promised funds for betraying the American cause. He was buried in his Continental Army uniform at St. Mary’s Church, Middlesex, London. To this day, his name remains synonymous with the word “traitor” in the US.
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January 5, 1933
Construction begins on the Golden Gate Bridge, as workers began excavating 3.25 million cubic feet of dirt for the structure’s huge anchorages.

Following the Gold Rush boom that began in 1849, speculators realized the land north of San Francisco Bay would increase in value in direct proportion to its accessibility to the city. Soon, a plan was hatched to build a bridge that would span the Golden Gate, a narrow, 400-foot deep strait that serves as the mouth of the San Francisco Bay, connecting the San Francisco Peninsula with the southern end of Marin County.

Although the idea went back as far as 1869, the proposal took root in 1916. A former engineering student, James Wilkins, working as a journalist with the San Francisco Bulletin, called for a suspension bridge with a center span of 3,000 feet, nearly twice the length of any in existence. Wilkins’ idea was estimated to cost an astounding $100 million. So, San Francisco’s city engineer, Michael M. O’Shaughnessy (he’s also credited with coming up with the name Golden Gate Bridge), began asking bridge engineers whether they could do it for less. Engineer & poet Joseph Strauss, Cincinnati-born Chicagoan, said he could.

Eventually, O’Shaughnessy & Strauss concluded they could build a pure suspension bridge within a practical range of $25-30 million with a main span at least 4,000 feet. The construction plan still faced opposition, including litigation, from many sources. By the time most of the obstacles were cleared, the Great Depression of 1929 had begun, limiting financing options, so officials convinced voters to support $35 million in bonded indebtedness, citing the jobs that would be created for the project. However, the bonds couldn’t be sold until 1932, when San-Francisco based Bank of America agreed to buy the entire project in order to help the local economy.

The Golden Gate Bridge officially opened on May 27, 1937, the longest bridge span in the world at the time. The 1st public crossing had taken place the day before, when 200,000 people walked, ran & even roller skated over the new bridge. With its tall towers & famous trademarked "international orange" paint job, the bridge quickly became a famous American landmark, & a symbol of San Francisco.
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Grunk

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January 6, 1798
Jedediah Strong Smith, one of America’s greatest trapper-explorers, is born in Bainbridge, NY.

Smith explored a stunningly large area of the Far West during his short life. He began his western voyages in 1822, when he joined the pioneering fur trader William Ashley on a trip up the Missouri River. Unlike earlier fur traders, who depended on Native Americans to actually trap or hunt the furs, Ashley eliminated the Indians as middlemen & instead sent out independent Anglo trappers like Smith to do the job. To escape dependence on Indians, though, Ashley needed to find his own sources of beaver & otter in the West, & Smith became one of his best explorers. A year after his first trip up the Missouri, Smith set out with a small band of mountain men to explore the Black Hills region of the Dakotas at Ashley’s behest. Despite being mauled by a grizzly bear in the Black Hills, Smith continued westward to the site of modern-day Dubois, WY, where he & his men camped for the winter.

During his long forced halt at Dubois, Smith learned from friendly Crow Indians of an easy pass through the Rocky Mountains. The following spring, Smith & his men followed the route outlined by the Crow & discovered that they could cross the mighty Rockies almost effortlessly. Later named the “South Pass,” Smith’s new route was a high plain that gradually rose like a shallow ramp to provide an easy crossing of the Continental Divide. Smith’s discovery of South Pass was actually a “rediscovery,” since employees of John Jacob Astor’s Pacific Fur Company crossed the pass in 1812 when returning to St. Louis from the Pacific. The Astorian discovery, though, remained unknown, so Smith is credited for alerting the nation to the existence of this easy route across the Rockies.

Smith’s discovery of South Pass was monumentally important. Not only did his fellow fur trappers prefer South Pass to the far more difficult & dangerous Missouri River route blazed by Lewis & Clark in 1804, but the South Pass became an early 19th century “super-highway” for settlers bound for Oregon & California. Ideally suited for heavy wagon traffic, South Pass greatly facilitated the mass emigration of Americans to the Far West.

The blazing of the South Pass route alone would have secured Smith’s claim as one of the great explorers of the American West, but during the following decade, Smith also explored the Great Salt Lake, the Colorado Plateau, & led the 1st expedition to cross the Southwest to California—all before he was 30 years old. Having lived through dozens of narrow escapes on his intrepid journeys, Smith decided to retire from his dangerous trade in 1830 & enter the mercantile business. Ironically, being a trader proved more deadly than exploring: while leading a trading caravan along the Santa Fe Trail in 1831, Smith was killed by Commanche Indians near the Cimarron River. He was 32 years old.
1578360473275.pngDrawing of Jedidiah Smith
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Jedediah Smith's party crossing the burning Mojave Desert during the 1826 trek to California by Frederic Remington



January 6, 1838
Samuel Morse’s telegraph system is demonstrated for the 1st time at the Speedwell Iron Works in Morristown, NJ. The telegraph, a device which used electric impulses to transmit encoded messages over a wire, would eventually revolutionize long-distance communication, reaching the height of its popularity in the 1920s & 1930s.

Samuel Finley Breese Morse was born April 27, 1791, in Charlestown, MA. He attended Yale University, where he was interested in art, as well as electricity, still in its infancy at the time. After college, Morse became a painter. In 1832, while sailing home from Europe, he heard about the newly discovered electromagnet & came up with an idea for an electric telegraph. He had no idea that other inventors were already at work on the concept.

Morse spent the next several years developing a prototype & took on 2 partners, Leonard Gale & Alfred Vail, to help him. In 1838, he demonstrated his invention using Morse code, in which dots & dashes represented letters & numbers. In 1843, Morse finally convinced a skeptical Congress to fund the construction of the 1st telegraph line in the US, from Washington, DC, to Baltimore. In May 1844, Morse sent the 1st official telegram over the line, with the message: “What hath God wrought!”

Over the next few years, private companies, using Morse’s patent, set up telegraph lines around the Northeast. In 1851, the New York & Mississippi Valley Printing Telegraph Company was founded; it would later change its name to Western Union. In 1861, Western Union finished the 1st transcontinental line across the US. 5 years later, the 1st successful permanent line across the Atlantic Ocean was constructed & by the end of the century telegraph systems were in place in Africa, Asia & Australia.

Because telegraph companies typically charged by the word, telegrams became known for their succinct prose–whether they contained happy or sad news. The word “stop,” which was free, was used in place of a period, for which there was a charge. In 1933, Western Union introduced singing telegrams. During World War II, Americans came to dread the sight of Western Union couriers because the military used telegrams to inform families about soldiers’ deaths. Over the course of the 20th century, telegraph messages were largely replaced by cheap long-distance phone service, faxes & email. Western Union delivered its final telegram in Jan, 2006. Samuel Morse died wealthy & famous in New York City on April 2, 1872, at age 80.
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Grunk

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January 7, 1789
Congress sets this day as the date by which states are required to choose electors for the country's 1st-ever presidential election. A month later, on Feb. 4, George Washington was unanimously elected president by state electors & sworn into office on April 30, 1789.

As it did in 1789, the US still uses the Electoral College system, established by the U.S. Constitution, which today gives all American citizens over the age of 18 the right to vote for electors, who in turn vote for the president. The president & vice president are the only elected federal officials chosen by the Electoral College instead of by direct popular vote.

At the time of the Philadelphia convention, no other country in the world directly elected its chief executive, so the delegates were wading into uncharted territory. Further complicating the task was a deep-rooted distrust of executive power. After all, the fledgling nation had just fought its way out from under a tyrannical king & overreaching colonial governors. They didn’t want another despot on their hands. 1 group of delegates felt strongly that Congress shouldn’t have anything to do with picking the president because it would provide too much opportunity for chummy corruption between the executive & legislative branches. Another camp was dead set against letting the people elect the president by a straight popular vote. 1st, they thought 18th-century voters lacked the resources to be fully informed about the candidates, especially in rural outposts. 2nd, they feared a headstrong “democratic mob” steering the country astray. And 3rd, a populist president appealing directly to the people could command dangerous amounts of power.

Out of those drawn-out debates came a compromise based on the idea of electoral intermediaries. These intermediaries wouldn’t be picked by Congress or elected by the people. Instead, the states would each appoint independent “electors” who would cast the actual ballots for the presidency. Critics of the Electoral College argue that the winner-take-all system makes it possible for a candidate to be elected president even if he gets fewer popular votes than his opponent. This happened in the elections of 1824, 1876, 1888, 2000 & 2016. However, supporters correctly contend that if the Electoral College were done away with, heavily populated states such as California & Texas would decide every election & issues important to voters in smaller states would be ignored.

Today political parties usually nominate their slate of electors at their state conventions or by a vote of the party’s central state committee, with party loyalists often being picked for the job. Members of the US Congress, though, can’t be electors. Each state is allowed to choose as many electors as it has senators & representatives in Congress. During a presidential election year, on Election Day (the 1st Tuesday after the 1st Monday in Nov.), the electors from the party that gets the most popular votes are elected in a winner-take-all-system, with the exception of Maine & Nebraska, which allocate electors proportionally. In order to win the presidency, a candidate needs a majority of 270 electoral votes out of a possible 538.

On the 1st Monday after the 2nd Wednesday in Dec. of a presidential election year, each state’s electors meet, usually in their state capitol, & simultaneously cast their ballots nationwide. This is largely ceremonial: Because electors nearly always vote with their party, presidential elections are essentially decided on Election Day. Although electors aren’t constitutionally mandated to vote for the winner of the popular vote in their state, it is demanded by tradition & required by law in 26 states & the District of Columbia (in some states, violating this rule is punishable by $1,000 fine). Historically, over 99 percent of all electors have cast their ballots in line with the voters. On Jan. 6, as a formality, the electoral votes are counted before Congress & on Jan. 20, the commander in chief is sworn into office.
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January 7, 1946
6-year-old Suzanne Degnan is kidnapped from her home in an affluent Chicago neighborhood. Her father found a note on the floor reading:

"GeI $20,000 Reddy & wAITe foR WoRd. do NoT NoTify FBI oR Police. Bills IN 5's & 10's. BuRN This FoR heR SAfTY."

A man repeatedly called the Degnan residence demanding the ransom, but hung up before any meaningful conversation could take place. Although James Degnan went on the radio to plead for his daughter’s safety, the kidnapper never made any contact or further demands.

Chicago Mayor Edward Kelly also received a note:

"This is to tell you how sorry I am not to not get ole Degnan instead of his girl. Roosevelt and the OPA made their own laws. Why shouldn't I and a lot more?"

At the time, there was a nationwide meatpackers strike & the Office of Price Administration OPA was talking of extending rationing to dairy products. Degnan was a senior OPA executive recently transferred to Chicago. Another executive of the OPA had recently assigned armed guards after receiving threats against his children &, in Chicago, a man involved with black market meat had recently been murdered by decapitation. Police considered the possibility the Degnan killer was a meat packer.

Acting on an anonymous tip, police discovered Suzanne's head in a sewer a block from the Degnan residence, her right leg in a catch basin, her torso in another storm drain, & her left leg in another drain. Her arms were found a month later in another sewer. Blood was found in the drains of laundry tubs in the basement laundry room of a nearby apartment building. Police determined she had been strangled to death the night of the kidnapping, then dismembered with a hunting knife.

While checking out local persons of interest to see if they had any connection to the Degnan case, they picked up a local boy named Theodore Campbell. Under questioning, he admitted that another local teenager, named Vincent Costello, had killed Suzanne Degnan. The Chicago Tribune declared the Degnan case solved. Costello lived only a few blocks from the Degnan apartment building & attended a nearby high school before being convicted of armed robbery at age 16 & sent to reform school. According to the story Campbell told the police, Costello told him that he kidnapped & killed the girl & disposed of her body. Costello allegedly told Campbell to make ransom calls to the Degnans. This corroborated the mystery ransom calls made to the Degnans the morning after Suzanne was reported missing. The police arrested Costello on that basis & interrogated him overnight. The story started to fall apart when both Campbell's & Costello's polygraph tests indicated that they had no knowledge of the murder. They later admitted that they heard police officers discussing details of the case & came up with the idea of calling the Degnans about the ransom. This was one of several false confessions the police had to investigate.

On June 26, 1946, 17-year-old William Heirens was arrested on attempted burglary charges when someone saw him breaking into an apartment. Heirens made his way to a nearby building to lie low, but a resident spotted him & called the police. As Heirens attempted to escape down a staircase 2 officers closed in, 1 at each end of the staircase. Trapped, Heirens brandished a revolver. Some reports state that he actually pulled the trigger but the gun misfired.

In the police account, Heirens charged them after his gun misfired twice. In Heirens's version, he turned & attempted to run after bluffing with the gun & the cops charged him. A scuffle resulted that ended only when an off-duty policeman dropped 3 clay flowerpots on Heirens's head, 1 at a time, from the top of the stairs, rendering him unconscious. According to Heirens, he remembered drifting into unconsciousness under questioning. The police had taken him to Bridewell Hospital, which was adjacent to the Cook County Jail. The questioning became more violent. Heirens later said he was interrogated around the clock for 6 consecutive days, being beaten by police & not allowed to eat or drink. He was not allowed to see his parents for 4 days. He was also refused the opportunity to speak to a lawyer for 6 days.

2 psychiatrists, Drs. Haines & Roy Grinker, gave Heirens sodium pentothal without a warrant & without Heirens's or his parents' consent, & interrogated him for 3 hours. Under the influence of the drug, authorities claimed, Heirens spoke of an alternate personality named "George", who had actually committed the murders. Heirens claimed that he recalled little of the drug-induced interrogation and that when police asked for "George's" last name he said he couldn't remember, but that it was "a murmuring name". Police translated this to "Murman" & the media later dramatized it to "Murder Man". What Heirens actually said is in dispute, as the original transcript has disappeared.

William Heirens was aa student at the University of Chicago. When police searched his dorm room they found suitcases full of stolen goods, pictures of Hitler & other Nazis, & a letter to Heirens signed “George M.” seeminly corroborating the story Heirems told while drugged. Authorities soon learned that some of the stolen items had come from the Degnan’s home. Items from the scene of 2 other unsolved homicides were also found. On June 5, 1945, 43-year-old Josephine Ross was found dead in her apartment at 4108 North Kenmore Avenue, Chicago. She had been repeatedly stabbed, & her head was wrapped in a dress. She was presumed to have surprised an intruder, who then killed her. On Dec. 10, 1945, Frances Brown, a divorced woman, was discovered with a knife lodged in her neck & bullet wound to the head in her apartment at 3941 North Pine Grove Avenue, Chicago, after a cleaning woman heard a radio playing loudly & noted Brown's partly open door. Brown had been savagely stabbed, & authorities thought that a burglar had been discovered or interrupted. A message was written in lipstick on the wall of Brown's apartment (leading the press to dub him "the lipstick killer):

"For heavens Sake catch me Before I kill more I cannot control myself"

The items found in his dorm room linked Heirens to the murders; however, police couldn’t track down his apparent partner, George. Heirens was given sodium pentathol & interrogated. During questioning under the truth serum, Heirens claimed that George Murman had killed Suzanne Degnan. However, it quickly became evident that George wasn’t a real person at all, but an alter ego of Heirens himself. Slowly, investigators pieced together the pathology that drove Heirens. Apparently, he could only find sexual gratification through burglaries. He later found that killing during the burglaries added to the thrill. While doubtful that he was a true schizophrenic, prosecutors decided not to risk losing to an insanity defense & agreed not to seek the death penalty against Heirens. He pleaded guilty to 3 counts of murder & was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Heirens died in prison in 2012.

Over the years of Heirens imprisonment, many questioned his confession & guilt due to the nature of the investigation. Heirens recanted his confession almost immediately after being jailed. Several appeals for clemency or a new trial were submitted but denied.
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Grunk

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January 8, 1815
"Old Hickory" & his band of "half-horse, half-alligator" men whip the British in the final act of the War of 1812.

2 weeks after the War of 1812 officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, US Gen. Andrew Jackson achieves the greatest American victory of the war at the Battle of New Orleans.

In Sept. 1814, an impressive American naval victory on Lake Champlain forced invading British forces back into Canada & led to the conclusion of peace negotiations in Ghent, Belgium. Although the peace agreement was signed on Dec. 24, 1814, word did not reach the British forces assailing the Gulf coast in time to halt a major attack.

On Jan. 8, 1815, the British marched against New Orleans, hoping that by capturing the city they could separate Louisiana from the rest of the US. Pirate Jean Lafitte, however, had warned the Americans of the attack, & the arriving British found militiamen under Gen. Andrew Jackson strongly entrenched at the Rodriquez Canal. In 2 separate assaults, the 7,500 British soldiers under Sir Edward Pakenham were unable to penetrate the US defenses, & Jackson’s 4,500 troops, many of them expert marksmen from Kentucky & Tennessee, decimated the British lines. In half an hour, the British had retreated, Gen. Pakenham was dead, & nearly 2,000 of his men were killed, wounded, or missing. US forces suffered only 8 killed & 13 wounded.

With the Americans outnumbered, it seemed that the city of New Orleans was in danger of being captured, so the Ursuline nuns & many people of New Orleans gathered in the Ursuline Convent's chapel before the statue of Our Lady of Prompt Succor. They spent the night before the battle praying & crying before the statue, begging for the Virgin Mary's intercession. Rev. William Dubourg offered Mass at the altar on the morning of Jan. 8, & Mother Ste. Marie Olivier de Vezin, prioress of the abbey, vowed to have a Mass of Thanksgiving sung annually should the American forces win. A courier ran into the chapel during communion to inform them that the British had been defeated. Gen. Jackson went to the convent himself to thank the nuns for their prayers. "By the blessing of heaven, directing the valor of the troops under my command, one of the most brilliant victories in the annals of war was obtained." The vow made by Mother Ste. Marie has been faithfully kept throughout the years.

Although the battle had no bearing on the outcome of the war, Jackson’s overwhelming victory elevated national pride, which had suffered a number of setbacks during the War of 1812. The Battle of New Orleans was also the last armed engagement between the US & Britain.
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January 8, 1877
Oglala Lakota warrior Crazy Horse & his men—outnumbered, low on ammunition & forced to use outdated weapons to defend themselves—fight their final losing battle against the US Cavalry in Montana.

6 months earlier, in the Battle of Little Bighorn, Crazy Horse & his ally, Sitting Bull, led their combined forces of Sioux & Cheyenne to a stunning victory over Lt. Col. George Custer & his men. The Indians were resisting the US government’s efforts to force them back to their reservations. After Custer & over 200 of his soldiers were killed in the conflict, later dubbed “Custer’s Last Stand,” the American public wanted revenge. As a result, the US Army launched a winter campaign in 1876-77, led by Gen. Nelson Miles, against the remaining hostile Indians on the Northern Plains.

Combining military force with diplomatic overtures, Nelson convinced many Indians to surrender & return to their reservations. Much to Nelson’s frustration, though, Sitting Bull refused to give in & fled across the border to Canada, where he & his people remained for 4 years before finally returning to the US to surrender in 1881. Sitting Bull was killed in 1890. Meanwhile, Crazy Horse & his band also refused to surrender, even though they were suffering from illness & starvation.

On Jan. 8, 1877, Gen. Miles found Crazy Horse’s camp along Montana’s Tongue River. US soldiers opened fire with their big wagon-mounted guns, driving the Indians from their warm tents out into a raging blizzard. Crazy Horse & his warriors managed to regroup on a ridge & return fire, but most of their ammunition was gone, & they were reduced to fighting with bows & arrows. They managed to hold off the soldiers long enough for the women & children to escape under cover of the blinding blizzard before they turned to follow them.

Though he had escaped decisive defeat, Crazy Horse realized that Miles & his well-equipped cavalry troops would eventually hunt down & destroy his cold, hungry followers. On May 6, 1877, Crazy Horse led approximately 1,100 Indians to the Red Cloud reservation near Nebraska’s Ft. Robinson & surrendered. 5 months later, a guard fatally stabbed him after he allegedly resisted imprisonment by Indian policemen.

In 1948, American sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski began work on the Crazy Horse Memorial, a massive monument carved into a mountain in South Dakota. Still a work in progress, the monument will stand 641 feet high and 563 feet long when completed.
1578528671470.png 1578528759497.png
Alleged photo of Crazy Horse in 1877 Statue of Crazy Horse with monument being carved on mountain in background

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lesptr

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January 8, 1815
"Old Hickory" & his band of "half-horse, half-alligator" men whip the British in the final act of the War of 1812.

2 weeks after the War of 1812 officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, US Gen. Andrew Jackson achieves the greatest American victory of the war at the Battle of New Orleans.

In Sept. 1814, an impressive American naval victory on Lake Champlain forced invading British forces back into Canada & led to the conclusion of peace negotiations in Ghent, Belgium. Although the peace agreement was signed on Dec. 24, 1814, word did not reach the British forces assailing the Gulf coast in time to halt a major attack.

On Jan. 8, 1815, the British marched against New Orleans, hoping that by capturing the city they could separate Louisiana from the rest of the US. Pirate Jean Lafitte, however, had warned the Americans of the attack, & the arriving British found militiamen under Gen. Andrew Jackson strongly entrenched at the Rodriquez Canal. In 2 separate assaults, the 7,500 British soldiers under Sir Edward Pakenham were unable to penetrate the US defenses, & Jackson’s 4,500 troops, many of them expert marksmen from Kentucky & Tennessee, decimated the British lines. In half an hour, the British had retreated, Gen. Pakenham was dead, & nearly 2,000 of his men were killed, wounded, or missing. US forces suffered only 8 killed & 13 wounded.

With the Americans outnumbered, it seemed that the city of New Orleans was in danger of being captured, so the Ursuline nuns & many people of New Orleans gathered in the Ursuline Convent's chapel before the statue of Our Lady of Prompt Succor. They spent the night before the battle praying & crying before the statue, begging for the Virgin Mary's intercession. Rev. William Dubourg offered Mass at the altar on the morning of Jan. 8, & Mother Ste. Marie Olivier de Vezin, prioress of the abbey, vowed to have a Mass of Thanksgiving sung annually should the American forces win. A courier ran into the chapel during communion to inform them that the British had been defeated. Gen. Jackson went to the convent himself to thank the nuns for their prayers. "By the blessing of heaven, directing the valor of the troops under my command, one of the most brilliant victories in the annals of war was obtained." The vow made by Mother Ste. Marie has been faithfully kept throughout the years.

Although the battle had no bearing on the outcome of the war, Jackson’s overwhelming victory elevated national pride, which had suffered a number of setbacks during the War of 1812. The Battle of New Orleans was also the last armed engagement between the US & Britain.
View attachment 62804



January 8, 1877
Oglala Lakota warrior Crazy Horse & his men—outnumbered, low on ammunition & forced to use outdated weapons to defend themselves—fight their final losing battle against the US Cavalry in Montana.

6 months earlier, in the Battle of Little Bighorn, Crazy Horse & his ally, Sitting Bull, led their combined forces of Sioux & Cheyenne to a stunning victory over Lt. Col. George Custer & his men. The Indians were resisting the US government’s efforts to force them back to their reservations. After Custer & over 200 of his soldiers were killed in the conflict, later dubbed “Custer’s Last Stand,” the American public wanted revenge. As a result, the US Army launched a winter campaign in 1876-77, led by Gen. Nelson Miles, against the remaining hostile Indians on the Northern Plains.

Combining military force with diplomatic overtures, Nelson convinced many Indians to surrender & return to their reservations. Much to Nelson’s frustration, though, Sitting Bull refused to give in & fled across the border to Canada, where he & his people remained for 4 years before finally returning to the US to surrender in 1881. Sitting Bull was killed in 1890. Meanwhile, Crazy Horse & his band also refused to surrender, even though they were suffering from illness & starvation.

On Jan. 8, 1877, Gen. Miles found Crazy Horse’s camp along Montana’s Tongue River. US soldiers opened fire with their big wagon-mounted guns, driving the Indians from their warm tents out into a raging blizzard. Crazy Horse & his warriors managed to regroup on a ridge & return fire, but most of their ammunition was gone, & they were reduced to fighting with bows & arrows. They managed to hold off the soldiers long enough for the women & children to escape under cover of the blinding blizzard before they turned to follow them.

Though he had escaped decisive defeat, Crazy Horse realized that Miles & his well-equipped cavalry troops would eventually hunt down & destroy his cold, hungry followers. On May 6, 1877, Crazy Horse led approximately 1,100 Indians to the Red Cloud reservation near Nebraska’s Ft. Robinson & surrendered. 5 months later, a guard fatally stabbed him after he allegedly resisted imprisonment by Indian policemen.

In 1948, American sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski began work on the Crazy Horse Memorial, a massive monument carved into a mountain in South Dakota. Still a work in progress, the monument will stand 641 feet high and 563 feet long when completed.
View attachment 62805 View attachment 62806
Alleged photo of Crazy Horse in 1877 Statue of Crazy Horse with monument being carved on mountain in background

View attachment 62807
I used to fly helicopter tours around Crazy Horse (and Rushmore). The monument will never be completed. It was discovered that there is a large crack in the rock that is to be his pointing arm. The rock will be unable to support the weight without collapsing.
Also, in one of my yearly meetings with Ruth, the owner of the project, to get permission to fly near the carving, she admitted to me that she makes so much money from donations “to fund the completion”, that she will never finish it.
It certainly won’t be finished in her lifetime as She was old then and that was back in 98-2000.
 
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EugenFJR

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I used to fly helicopter tours around Crazy Horse (and Rushmore). The monument will never be completed. It was discovered that there is a large crack in the rock that is to be his pointing arm. The rock will be unable to support the weight without collapsing.
Also, in one of my yearly meetings with Ruth, the owner of the project, to get permission to fly near the carving, she admitted to me that she makes so much money from donations “to fund the completion”, that she will never finish it.
It certainly won’t be finished in her lifetime as She was old then and that was back in 98-2000.
So there is absolutely no reason "to fund the completion " and give them any money... I was wondering about that when I saw the project was started in the late 1940's, and still isn't finished.
 
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lesptr

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So there is absolutely no reason "to fund the completion " and give them any money... I was wondering about that when I saw the project was started in the late 1940's, and still isn't finished.
I haven’t been back in almost twenty years, so can’t can’t speak knowledgeably about now. But back then it was completely funded through donations. It would not surprise me if she is taking money from the tax payers now though. Hell, I don’t even know if the bitter hag is still alive.
 

lesptr

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I haven’t been back in almost twenty years, so can’t can’t speak knowledgeably about now. But back then it was completely funded through donations. It would not surprise me if she is taking money from the tax payers now though. Hell, I don’t even know if the bitter hag is still alive.
Just did a little research, meaning I googled it.
Ruth passed away in 2014.

This sight gives a little more detail. Still privately funded.


 

Grunk

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Just did a little research, meaning I googled it.
Ruth passed away in 2014.

This sight gives a little more detail. Still privately funded.


Thanks. I've been hearing about this monument my whole life. Always thought it looked really cool. Kinda gave up on keeping on top of any progress because it never seemed to be progressing. Should have researched more before including that.
 
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lesptr

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Thanks. I've been hearing about this monument my whole life. Always thought it looked really cool. Kinda gave up on keeping on top of any progress because it never seemed to be progressing. Should have researched more before including that.
You do 99% of the work. It’s nice to being able to add something now and then.
 

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January 9, 1776
Thomas Paine publishes his pamphlet Common Sense, setting forth his arguments in favor of American independence. Although little used today, pamphlets were an important medium for the spread of ideas in the 16th through 19th centuries.

Originally published anonymously, Common Sense advocated independence for the American colonies from Britain & is considered 1 of the most influential pamphlets in American history. Credited with uniting average citizens & political leaders behind the idea of independence, Common Sense played a remarkable role in transforming a colonial squabble into the American Revolution.

At the time Paine wrote Common Sense, most colonists considered themselves to be aggrieved Britons. Paine fundamentally changed the tenor of colonists’ argument with the crown when he wrote the following: “Europe, & not England, is the parent country of America. This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil & religious liberty from every part of Europe. Hither they have fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster; & it is so far true of England, that the same tyranny which drove the 1st emigrants from home, pursues their descendants still.”

Paine was born in England in 1737 & worked as a corset maker in his teens &, later, as a sailor & schoolteacher before becoming a prominent pamphleteer. In 1774, Paine arrived in Philadelphia & soon came to support American independence. 2 years later, his 47-page pamphlet sold some 500,000 copies, powerfully influencing American opinion. Paine went on to serve in the US Army & to work for the Committee of Foreign Affairs before returning to Europe in 1787. Back in England, he continued writing pamphlets in support of revolution. He released The Rights of Man, supporting the French Revolution in 1791-92, in answer to Edmund Burke’s famous Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790). His sentiments were highly unpopular with the still-monarchal British government, so he fled to France, where he was later arrested for his political opinions. He returned to the US in 1802 & died in New York in 1809.
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January 9, 1861
A Union merchant ship, the Star of the West, is fired upon as it tries to deliver supplies to Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, SC. This incident was the 1st time shots were exchanged between North & South, although it did not trigger the Civil War.

When South Carolinians seceded from the Union on Dec. 20, 1860, they demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Federal garrison at Fort Sumter. President James Buchanan refused to comply with this demand but was also careful not to make any provocative move. Inside the fort, Maj. Robert Anderson & his 80 soldiers needed supplies. The Buchanan administration decided to dispatch a civilian ship, the Star of the West, instead of a military transport, in order to keep tensions from flaring.

The Star of the West left New York on Jan. 5, 1861. After the ship was en route, Secretary of War Joseph Holt received a dispatch from Anderson saying that the garrison was safe & supplies were not needed immediately. Anderson added that the secessionists were building gun emplacements overlooking the main shipping channel into Charleston Harbor. Holt realized that the ship was in great danger & a war might erupt. He tried in vain to recall the Star of the West, & Anderson was not aware that the ship continued on its way.

On the morning of Jan. 9, Star of the West Capt. John McGowan steered the ship into the channel near the fort. 2 cannon shots roared from a SC battery on Morris Island. They came from gunner George E. Haynsworth, a cadet at The Citadel in Charleston. The shots represented the opening salvo of the war. More shots were fired, & the ship suffered a minor hit. Anderson watched from Fort Sumter but did not respond in support of the ship. If he had, the war might have started on that day.

The incident resulted in strong talk on both sides, but stopped short of war. The standoff at Fort Sumter continued until the Confederates attacked in April, triggering the Civil War.
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January 10, 1843
Franklin James, the lesser-known older brother of Jesse, is born in Clay County, MO.

Frank & Jesse James were both legends in their own time, though Jesse is better remembered today because of his more dramatically violent death. The 2 Missouri brothers drifted into a life of crime after serving in Confederate guerilla forces during the Civil War. They began robbing banks in 1866, & their bold & impudent style won them a good measure of popular admiration. Once Jesse stopped to tell a crowd of townspeople gathered for a political speech that he thought something might be wrong at the bank he & Frank had just robbed. On another occasion, they staged an audacious hold-up of a Kansas City fair box office in the middle of a crowd of 10,000 people.

In an era of lingering sectional hatred & increasing public dislike for large railroads & banks, some Americans began to see the James brothers as heroes, modern-day Robin Hoods who stole from the rich & gave to the poor. Newspapers, eager to increase their readership, contributed to this mythic view of the brothers. In reality, the James brothers were brutal criminals who willingly killed innocent victims in their pursuit of money, but misguided public sympathy for the men was so great that the Missouri state legislature at one point nearly approved a measure granting amnesty to the entire James gang.

After the brothers murdered 2 innocent men during an 1881 train robbery, though, the state of Missouri came to its senses & offered a reward of $5,000 each for the capture of Jesse and Frank. Shot down for reward money in 1882 by 1 of his own gang members, Jesse achieved a false but enduring reputation as a martyr in the cause of the common people against powerful interests. One Kansas City newspaper reported his death in a story headlined, “GOODBYE JESSE.”

Had Frank suffered the same fate, no doubt he too would have achieved martyrdom & been the subject of popular songs like the “Ballad of Jesse James.” However, Frank preferred long life to martyrdom, & he turned himself in a few months after his brother was murdered. Prosecutors were unable to convince juries that Frank was a criminal, & he was declared a free man after avoiding conviction at 3 separate trials in Missouri & Alabama.

Entering middle age, Frank James was not so foolish as to tempt fate & the watchful eyes of Missouri law officers by resuming his old ways. For the next 30 years, he lived an honest & peaceful existence, working as a race starter at county fairs, a theater doorman, & a star attraction in traveling theater companies. In 1903, he joined forces with his old criminal partner Cole Younger to form the James-Younger Wild West Show. Frank retired to his family’s old farm in Missouri, where he died at the age of 72 in 1915.
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January 10, 1901
A drilling derrick at Spindletop Hill near Beaumont, TX, produces an enormous gusher of crude oil, coating the landscape for hundreds of feet & signaling the advent of the American oil industry.

The geyser was discovered at a depth of over 1,000 feet, flowed at an initial rate of approximately 100,000 barrels/day & took 9 days to cap. Following the discovery, petroleum, which until that time had been used in the US primarily as a lubricant & in kerosene for lamps, would become the main fuel source for new inventions such as cars & airplanes; coal-powered forms of transportation including ships & trains would also convert to the liquid fuel.

Crude oil, which became the world’s first trillion-dollar industry, is a natural mix of hundreds of different hydrocarbon compounds trapped in underground rock. The hydrocarbons were formed millions of years ago when tiny aquatic plants & animals died & settled on the bottoms of ancient waterways, creating a thick layer of organic material. Sediment later covered this material, putting heat & pressure on it & transforming it into the petroleum that comes out of the ground today.

In the early 1890s, Texas businessman & amateur geologist Patillo Higgins became convinced there was a large pool of oil under a salt-dome formation south of Beaumont. He & several partners established the Gladys City Oil, Gas & Manufacturing Company & made several unsuccessful drilling attempts before Higgins left the company. In 1899, Higgins leased a tract of land at Spindletop to mining engineer Anthony Lucas. The Lucas gusher blew on Jan. 10, 1901, & ushered in the liquid fuel age. Unfortunately for Higgins, he’d lost his ownership stake by that point.

Beaumont became a “black gold” boomtown, its population tripling in 3 months. The town filled up with oil workers, investors, merchants & con men (leading some people to dub it “Swindletop”). Within a year, there were more than 285 actives wells at Spindletop & an estimated 500 oil & land companies operating in the area, including some that became major players & still exist in some merged corporations today: Humble (now Exxon), the Texas Company (Texaco) & Magnolia Petroleum Company (Mobil). Spindletop experienced a 2nd boom starting in the mid-1920s when more oil was discovered at deeper depths. In the 1950s, Spindletop was mined for sulphur. Today, only a few oil wells still operate in the area.
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Oil wells and refining began in western PA in 1849. PA led world oil production until this Texas drilling.
Absolutely correct. I think the reason most historians peg the "advent" of the American oil industry to Spindletop is that oil production in Pennsylvania started declining in the early 1890's coupled with several of the giant American oil corporations having their roots in the Spindletop boom.
 
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January 11, 1775
Francis Salvador, the 1st Jewish person to hold an elected office in the Americas, takes his seat on the South Carolina Provincial Congress.

Born in 1747, Salvador was descended from a line of prominent Sephardic Jews who made their home in London. His great grandfather, Joseph, was the East India Company’s 1st Jewish director. His grandfather was influential in bravely moving a group of 42 Jewish colonists to Savannah, GA, in 1733 despite the colony’s prohibition on Jewish settlers. The Salvadors then purchased land in South Carolina.

After the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 destroyed their Portuguese property & the East India Company collapsed, draining the family’s resources, the American property was all the Salvadors had left. In 1773, Francis Salvador left his wife & children in London to establish himself in South Carolina with the hope of rebuilding his family’s fortune. Within a year of his arrival, Salvador won a seat in the South Carolina General Assembly. In 1774, South Carolinians elected Salvador to the revolutionary Provincial Congress, which began to meet in Jan. 1775, & in which Salvador spoke forcefully for the cause of independence.

Early in 1776 the British had induced Indian allies to attack the South Carolina frontier to create a diversion in favor of British operations on the sea-coast. On July 1, 1776 Salvador earned the nickname “Southern Paul Revere” when he rode 30 miles to warn of a Cherokee attack on backcountry settlements. Exactly 1 month later, while leading a militia group under the general command of Maj. Gen. James Wilkinson, Salvador & his men were ambushed by a group of Cherokees & Loyalists near present-day Seneca, South Carolina. Salvador was shot & scalped by the Cherokees. Although he survived long enough to know that the militia had won the engagement, he never learned that the South Carolina delegation to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia had taken his advice & voted for independence from Britain.

Salvador was the 1st recorded Jewish soldier killed in the American War for Independence. He died at the age of 29, never having managed to bring his wife & children from London to the new country for which he fought so bravely.
1578790143432.png Lithograph depiction of scalping, circa 1850's. The work is called "The Death Cry." By Peter S. Duval.




January 11, 1935
In the 1st flight of its kind, American aviatrix Amelia Earhart departs Wheeler Field in Honolulu, Hawaii, on a solo flight to North America.

Hawaiian commercial interests offered a $10,000 award to whoever accomplished the flight 1st. The next day, after traveling 2,400 miles in 18 hours, she safely landed at Oakland Airport in Oakland, CA. On May 21, 1932, exactly 5 years after American aviator Charles Lindbergh became the 1st person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Earhart became the 1st woman to repeat the feat when she landed her plane in Londonderry, Ireland. However, unlike Lindbergh when he made his historic flight, Earhart was already well known to the public before her solo transatlantic flight. In 1928, as a member of a 3-member crew, she had become the first woman to cross the Atlantic in an aircraft. Although her function during the crossing was to keep the plane’s log, the event won her national fame, & Americans were enamored with the modest & daring young pilot.

For her solo transatlantic crossing in 1932, she was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross by the US Congress. 2 years after her Hawaii to California flight, she attempted with navigator Frederick J. Noonan to fly around the world, but her plane was lost on July 2, 1937, somewhere between New Guinea & Howland Island in the South Pacific. Radio operators picked up a signal that she was low on fuel—the last trace the world would ever know of Amelia Earhart, though searches & speculations continue to this day.
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January 12, 1838
After his Mormon bank fails in the Panic of 1837, Joseph Smith flees Kirtland, OH, to avoid arrest & heads for Missouri to rebuild his religious community.

A sensitive & religious-minded man since his youth, Joseph Smith claimed the angel Moroni visited him in 1823, when he was 18 yrs old, & told him he was destined to become a modern prophet of God. For 4 years, Smith said he made annual visits to a hill in upstate New York where he received instructions preparing him for his new prophetic role. In 1827, he unearthed gold tablets inscribed in a mysterious language. 2 years later, Smith created a local sensation when he revealed his discovery & made known his plans to publish a new volume of scripture based on his translation of the golden plates.

In March 1830, Smith published 5,000 copies of a volume he called The Book of Mormon. More often met with outrage than belief, Smith’s revelations nonetheless took root in the spiritually fertile era of the 1830s. Upstate New York was already a hotbed of religious revivalism, & Smith’s new Mormon religion appealed to Americans searching for spiritual values amidst the bustling economic growth of a rapidly expanding nation. In contrast to the radical individualism of the lone pioneer, Mormonism stressed the power of mutual cooperation & sacrifice for the good of the whole. Nearly decades later, when the Mormons established their new theocratic state in Utah, this cooperation would transform a desert into one of the richest and most productive farming regions in the West. The path to Utah, though, was long & difficult, & Smith would not live to see the promised kingdom.

Gathering his growing band of followers in western New York, Smith made the 1st of a long series of moves in search of a place where his unique vision of a community of Latter-Day Saints could be realized. In the 1830s, the Mormons settled in the town of Kirtland, OH, where Smith founded the first Mormon-controlled bank, putting his economic & spiritual practices to work. Unfortunately, Smith’s Kirtland bank failed during the national financial Panic of 1837, & he fled to avoid potential criminal prosecution by angry & disillusioned current & former believers, who claimed he had mismanaged their investments.

The remaining faithful followed Smith to Missouri, where persecution & rumors (true) that the Saints were practicing polygamy forced them to flee again. In 1839, Smith established the new town of Nauvoo on the sparsely populated Illinois frontier, where he hoped the Saints would finally be left alone. Unfortunately, continued reports of polygamy & Smith’s decision to declare himself a candidate for US president in the spring of 1844 inspired fierce dislike of the Mormons in Illinois as well. In June, 1,500-armed men surrounded Nauvoo, & to prevent bloodshed, Smith & his brother Hiram agreed to be jailed in the nearby town of Carthage. Several days later an angry mob stormed the jail & murdered both men.

Many predicted the religious community would collapse with Smith’s death, but under the leadership of his successor, Brigham Young, the Saints regrouped & once again moved west. This time they did not stop until they reached the shores of the Great Salt Lake of Utah. There they laid the roots for a religious community that continues to thrive to this day.
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January 12, 1888
The so-called “Schoolchildren’s Blizzard” kills 235 people, many of whom were children on their way home from school, across the Northwest Plains region of the United States.The storm came with no warning, & some accounts say that the temperature fell nearly 100 degrees in just 24 hours.

The blizzard was preceded by a snowstorm on January 5th & 6th, which dropped snow on the northern & central plains, & was followed by an outbreak of brutally cold temperatures from Jan. 7th to 10th. The cold broke on Wednesday the 11th & there had been unseasonably warm weather the previous day from Montana east to the Dakotas & south to Texas. The weather prediction for the night of the 11th & the 12th was issued by the Weather Bureau, which at the time was managed by Adolphus Greely; it said: "A cold wave is indicated for Dakota & Nebraska tonight & tomorrow; the snow will drift heavily today & tomorrow in Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota and Wisconsin." Many who were caught unaware misjudged the weather due to a warm spell. Carl Saltee, a teenage Norwegian immigrant in Fortier, MN remembered that, "...on the 12th of Jan. 1888 around noontime it was so warm it melted snow & ice from the window until after 1 pm." Suddenly, within a matter of hours, Arctic air from Canada rapidly pushed south. Temperatures plunged to 40 below zero in much of North Dakota. Along with the cool air, the storm brought high winds & heavy snows. The combination created blinding conditions.

Most victims of the blizzard were children making their way home from school in rural areas & adults working on large farms. Both had difficulty reaching their destinations in the awful conditions. In some places, though, caution prevailed. Schoolteacher Seymour Dopp in Pawnee City, NE, kept his 17 students at school when the storm began at 2 pm. They stayed overnight, burning stockpiled wood to keep warm. The next day, parents made their way over 5-foot snow drifts to rescue their children. In Great Plains, SD, 2 men rescued the children in a schoolhouse by tying a rope from the school to the nearest shelter to lead them to safety. Minnie Freeman, a teacher in Nebraska, successfully led her children to shelter after the storm tore the roof off of her 1-room schoolhouse. In other cases, though, people were less lucky. Teacher Loie Royce tried to lead 3 children to the safety of her home, less than 90 yards from their school in Plainfield, NE. They became lost, & the children died of hypothermia. Royce lost her feet to frostbite.

In total, an estimated 235 people across the plains died on Jan. 12, 1888. The storm is still considered one of the worst blizzards in the history of the area.
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January 13, 1929
Nearly 50 years after the famous gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Wyatt Earp dies quietly in Los Angeles at the age of 80.

The Earp brothers had long been competing with the Clanton-McClaury ranching families for political & economic control of Tombstone, AZ, & the surrounding region. On Oct. 26, 1881, the simmering tensions finally boiled over into violence, & Wyatt, his brothers Virgil & Morgan, & his close friend, Doc Holliday, killed 3 men from the Clanton & McLaury clans in a 30-sec. shoot-out on a Tombstone street near the O.K. Corral. A subsequent hearing found that the Earps & Holliday had been acting in their capacity as law officers & deputies, & they were acquitted of any wrongdoing. However, not everyone was satisfied with the verdict, & the Earps found their popularity among the townspeople was on the wane. Worse, far from bringing an end the long-standing feud between the Earps & Clanton-McLaurys, the shoot-out sparked a series of vengeful attacks & counterattacks.

In late Dec. 1881, the Clantons & McLaurys launched their vendetta with a shotgun ambush of Virgil Earp; he survived, but lost the use of his left arm. 3 months later, Wyatt & Morgan were playing billiards when 2 shots were fired from an unknown source. Morgan was fatally wounded. As a US deputy marshal, Wyatt had a legal right & obligation to bring Morgan’s killers to justice, but some said he proved to be more interested in avenging his brother’s death than in enforcing the law. 3 days after Morgan’s murder, Frank Stillwell, one of the suspects in the murder, was found dead in a Tucson, Arizona, rail yard. Wyatt & his close friend Doc Holliday were accused—accurately, as some later accounts claimed to prove—of murdering Stillwell. Wyatt refused to submit to arrest, & instead fled Arizona with Holliday & several other allies, pausing long enough to stop & kill a Mexican named Florentino Cruz, who he believed also had been involved in Morgan’s death.

In the years to come, Wyatt wandered throughout the West, speculating in gold mines in Idaho, running a saloon in San Francisco, & raising thoroughbred horses in San Diego. At the turn of the century, the footloose gunslinger joined the Alaskan gold rush, & he ran a saloon in Nome until 1901. After participating in the last of the great gold rushes in Nevada, Wyatt finally settled in Los Angeles, where he tried unsuccessfully to find someone to publicize his many western adventures. Wyatt’s famous role in the shootout at the O.K. Corral did attract the admiring attention of the city’s thriving new film industry. For several years, Wyatt became an unpaid technical consultant on Hollywood Westerns, drawing on his colorful past to tell flamboyant matinee idols like William Hart & Tom Mix how it had really been. When Wyatt died in 1929, Mix reportedly wept openly at his funeral.

Ironically, the wider fame that eluded Wyatt in life came soon after he died. A young journalist named Stuart Lake published Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshall, a wildly fanciful biography that portrayed the gunman as a brave & virtuous instrument of frontier justice. Dozens of similarly laudatory books & movies followed, ensuring Wyatt Earp an enduring place in the popular American mythology of the Wild West.
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Wyatt Earp, Los Angeles, 1923



January 13, 1939
Arthur “Doc” Barker is killed while trying to escape from Alcatraz Prison in San Francisco Bay. Barker, of the notorious “Bloody Barkers” gang, was spotted on the rock-strewn shore of the island after climbing over the walls. Despite the fact that guards were ordering him to surrender, Barker continued tying pieces of wood together into a makeshift raft. As he waded into the water, the guards shot & killed him.

Doc Barker, along with his brothers Herman, Lloyd, & Fred, & their mother, the infamous Ma Barker, formed 1 of the more formidable criminal gangs of the 1920s & 1930s. Carrying out a series of bank robberies & kidnappings throughout the Midwest, Ma shrewdly paid off officials in towns all over the region, allowing the gang to avoid the law for long stretches of time.

In 1934, with their pictures in all of the newspapers, Doc & Fred Barker tried to change their appearance through plastic surgery. They enlisted Dr. Joseph Moran to conduct the operations, including removing their fingerprints. But the plan was a disaster, & each ended up with terrible scars, infected fingers, & recognizable faces anyway. Dr. Moran was adopted into the gang as a matter of necessity, but when he started to talk about their activities to a prostitute, the Barkers killed him.

On Jan. 8, 1935, FBI agents, led by Melvin Purvis, captured Doc Barker in Chicago, IL. As he searched Barker, Purvis reportedly asked, “Where’s your gun?” Barker replied, “Home—and ain’t that a place for it?” 8 days later, Fred & Ma Barker were pinned down at their hideout in Florida. A massive gun battle left both of them dead.
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January 14, 1942
President Franklin D. Roosevelt issues Presidential Proclamation No. 2537, requiring aliens from World War II-enemy countries—Italy, Germany & Japan—to register with the US Dept. of Justice. Registered persons were then issued a Certificate of Identification for Aliens of Enemy Nationality. A follow-up to the Alien Registration Act of 1940, Proclamation No. 2537 facilitated the beginning of full-scale internment of Japanese Americans the following month.

While most Americans expected the US to enter the war, presumably in Europe or the Philippines, the nation was shocked to hear of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. In the wake of the bombing, the West Coast appeared particularly vulnerable to another Japanese military offensive. A large population of Japanese Americans inhabited the western states & American military analysts feared some would conduct acts of sabotage on west-coast defense & agricultural industries.

Official relations between the governments of Japan & the US had soured in the 1930s when Japan began its military conquest of Chinese territory. China, weakened by a civil war between nationalists & communists, represented an important strategic relationship for both the US & Japan. Japan desperately needed China’s raw materials in order to continue its program of modernization. The US needed a democratic Chinese government to counter both Japanese military expansion in the Pacific & the spread of communism in Asia. Liberal Japanese resented American anti-Japanese policies, particularly in California, where exclusionary laws were passed to prevent Japanese Americans from competing with US citizens in the agricultural industry. In spite of these tensions, a 1941 federal report requested by Roosevelt indicated that more than 90% of Japanese Americans were considered loyal citizens. Nevertheless, Roosevelt agreed to begin the necessary steps for possible internment of the Japanese-American population.

Ostensibly issued in the interest of national security, Proclamation No. 2537 permitted the arrest, detention & internment of enemy aliens who violated restricted areas, such as ports, water treatment plants or even areas prone to brush fires, for the duration of the war. A month later, Roosevelt signed the War Department’s blanket Executive Order 9066, which authorized the physical removal of all Japanese Americans into internment camps.
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January 14, 1969
An explosion aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise kills 27 people off the coast of Pearl Harbor, HI. A rocket accidentally detonated, destroying 15 planes and injuring more than 300 people.

The Enterprise was the 1st-ever nuclear-powered aircraft carrier when it was launched in 1960. It has 8 nuclear reactors, 6 more than all subsequent nuclear carriers. The massive ship is over 1,100 feet long & carries 4,600 crew members. On Feb. 20, 1962, Enterprise was a tracking & measuring station for the flight of Friendship 7, the Project Mercury space capsule in which Lt. Col. John H. Glenn, Jr. made the 1st American orbital spaceflight. In Aug., the carrier joined the 6th Fleet in the Mediterranean Sea, & then participated in the blockade during the Cuban Missile Crisis returning to Norfolk, VA at the end of Oct. 1962. She made 6 combat deployments to Southeast Asia from 1965 to 1975.

At 8:19 am on Jan. 14, a MK-32 Zuni rocket that was loaded on an F-4 Phantom jet overheated due to the exhaust from a "huffer," an air-start system used to provide the initial rotation to start jet engines. The rocket blew up, setting off a chain reaction of explosions. Fires broke out across the deck of the ship, & when jet fuel flowed into the carrier’s interior, other fires were sparked. Many of the Enterprise’s fire-protection features failed to work properly, but the crew worked heroically & tirelessly to extinguish the fire.

In all, 27 sailors lost their lives & another 314 were seriously injured. Although 15 aircraft (out of the 32 stationed on the Enterprise at the time) were destroyed by the explosions & fire, the Enterprise itself was never threatened.

The USS Enterprise was repaired over several months at Pearl Harbor & returned to action later in the year.
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January 15, 1919
Fiery hot molasses floods the streets of Boston killing 21 people & injuring scores of others. The molasses burst from a huge tank at the United States Industrial Alcohol Company building in the heart of the city.

The United States Industrial Alcohol building was located on Commercial Street near North End Park in Boston. It was close to lunch time on Jan. 15 & Boston was experiencing some unseasonably warm weather as workers were loading freight-train cars within the large building. Next to the workers was a 58-foot-high tank filled with 2.5 million gallons of crude molasses.

Suddenly, the bolts holding the bottom of the tank exploded, shooting out like bullets, & the hot molasses rushed out. An 8-foot-high wave of molasses swept away the freight cars & caved in the building’s doors & windows. The few workers in the building’s cellar had no chance as the liquid poured down & overwhelmed them.

Molasses, which is 1.5 times denser than water, is notoriously slow to pour. But in the flood, molasses—which is a non-Newtonian fluid like ketchup or toothpaste—would have moved as a gravity current, much like a mudslide, avalanche or lava flow. Based on the features of molasses, recent calculations confirmed that the initial wave could have moved as quickly as 35 mph.

The huge quantity of molasses then flowed into the street outside. It literally knocked over the local firehouse & then pushed over the support beams for the elevated train line. The hot & sticky substance then drowned & burned 5 workers at the Public Works Department. In all, 21 people & dozens of horses were killed in the flood. The day’s mild conditions probably aided the spread of molasses, which flowed outward for about 2 blocks. Conditions grew much worse that night as temperatures dropped, causing the liquid to become increasingly viscous. Already pinned down by fallen buildings, some victims then became stuck in molasses. The liquid was a foot deep in some places. At least 1 person died by asphyxiation hours after the accident. Rescue efforts would have likely been easier if the accident had happened in the heat of July & the molasses had been able to spread further out from the tank. It took weeks to clean the molasses from the streets of Boston.

This disaster also produced an epic court battle, as more than 100 lawsuits were filed against the United States Industrial Alcohol Company. After a 6-year-investigation that involved 3,000 witnesses & 45,000 pages of testimony, a special auditor finally determined that the company was at fault because the tank used had not been strong enough to hold the molasses. Nearly $1 million was paid in settlement of the claims.
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January 16, 1919
The 18th Amendment to the US Constitution, prohibiting the “manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes,” is ratified by the requisite number of states.

The movement for the prohibition of alcohol began in the early 19th century, when Americans concerned about the adverse effects of drinking began forming temperance societies. By the late 19th century, these groups had become a powerful political force, campaigning on the state level & calling for total national abstinence. The movement was led by pietistic Protestants & social Progressives. In Dec. 1917, the 18th Amendment, also known as the Prohibition Amendment, was passed by Congress & sent to the states for ratification.

Nine months after Prohibition's ratification, Congress passed the Volstead Act, or National Prohibition Act, over President Woodrow Wilson's veto. The Volstead Act provided for the enforcement of prohibition, including the creation of a special unit of the Treasury Department. One year & a day after its ratification, prohibition went into effect—on Jan. 17, 1920—and the nation became officially dry.
Despite a vigorous effort by law-enforcement agencies, the Volstead Act failed to prevent the large-scale distribution of alcoholic beverages, and organized crime flourished in America. The legal ban led to criminal gangs gaining control of the beer & liquor supply of many cities. By the late 1920s, a new opposition to prohibition mobilized nationwide. Wets attacked the policy as causing crime, lowering local revenues, & imposing "rural" Protestant religious values on "urban" America.

As an experiment, it lost supporters every year & lost tax revenue that governments wanted when the Great Depression began in 1929. In 1933, the 21st Amendment to the Constitution was passed & ratified, repealing prohibition.
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January 16, 1936
The “Moon Maniac” is executed at Sing Sing prison in New York. Albert Fish was one of America’s most notorious & disturbed serial killers, child rapist & cannibal. He was also known as the "Gray Man", the "Werewolf of Wysteria", the "Brooklyn Vampire" & "The Boogey Man". Fish once boasted that he "had children in every state", & at one time stated his number of victims was about 100. However, it is not known whether he was referring to rapes or cannibalization, nor is it known if the statement was truthful. Authorities believe that Fish killed as many as 10 children & then ate their remains. Fish went to the electric chair with great anticipation, telling guards, “It will be the supreme thrill, the only one I haven’t tried.”

Fish was executed for the murder of 10-year-old Grace Budd. In 1928, at his Wisteria Cottage in Westchester County, New York, Fish strangled the girl & then carved up her body with a saw. 6 years later, Fish wrote Budd’s mother a letter in which he described in detail killing the girl & then preparing a stew with her flesh that he ate over the next 9 days. The letter was traced back to the 66-year-old man.

A psychiatrist who examined Fish stated, “There was no known perversion that he did not practice & practice frequently.” Albert Fish was obsessed with sadomasochism. He had his own children hit him with a paint-stirrer & a hairbrush; they also witnessed him hitting himself with a paddle studded with nails. He inserted sewing needles into his body. Nearly 30 needles were found in his groin area after he told a psychiatrist they were there. Fish also ate his own excrement & burned himself with hot irons and pokers.

Most disturbingly, Fish was obsessed with cannibalism. He carried writings about the practice in his pockets. When he was arrested, Fish confessed to the murders of other young children whom he claimed to have eaten. Although nearly everyone agreed that he was insane, including the jury deciding his fate, he was nevertheless sentenced to die. Reportedly, his last statement was a handwritten note filled with filthy obscenities.
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