In a note that demonstrates the validity of the historical fiction series Outlander, in 1771 there really was a battle of Alamance between the civilian British colonial militia and a rebel group called the Regulators in present-day Alamance County North Carolina. And in an event that had repercussions far beyond the feel-good incomplete historical record, the first wagon train of “pioneers” headed west on the Oregon Trail from Elm Grove, Missouri in 1842 with 100 settlers.
The US Congress passed a couple of laws on this date, one a historical footnote and the other a tragic redo. In 1866 the nickel was authorized as currency. And in 1918 the mistake of a hundred years prior was repeated. The Sedition Act of 1918, in the wake of the Bolshevik Revolution, was passed to make criticizing the government of the US an imprisonable offense. Fortunately this expression of the first Red Scare, and obviously unconstitutional sct, was repealed less than two years later.
In the air travel arena, two events occurred. Albert Cushing Read completed the first transatlantic flight, from Newfoundland to Lisbon, via the Azores Islands, in 1919. And in 1951 El Al Israel Airlines established the first transatlantic passenger flights between New York and London. Also, the Venera 5 Soviet space probe descended to the surface of Venus in 1969 – lasting less than a minute for transmitting data.
We had a US VP Levi Morton (under Benjamin Harrison) who was born (1824) and died (1820) on the same date. We also welcomed in the man who in his official capacity as US Secretary of State purchased Alaska, William Seward (1801) , though for years it was known as “Seward’s folly”. The American educator who brought the concept of kindergarten over from Germany and made it part of every child’s experience – Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, was born on this date in 1804. And the inventor of the microphone – where would we be without it?- David Edward Hughes made his first sound in 1831.
A couple of discoverers – non-geographical – passed away on this date. Joseph Fourier (1830) was a French mathematician and physicist who is credited with discovering the greenhouse effect. And the English biochemist and academic Frederick Gowland Hopkins (1947) who was awarded the Nobel Prize for his part in the discovery of vitamins.
We also lost the creative genius of Andy Kaufman (1984) Taxi, Margaret Hamilton (1985 ) Oz’s Wicked Witch of the West), Sammy Davis Jr (1990)Rat- Packer extraordinaire, and Muppet master Jim Henson (1990).
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