Little Bits of History

Pyrrhic Victory

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 25, 2015
Pilėnai Castle site

Pilėnai Castle site

February 25, 1336: Pilėnai Castle falls. The castle was located in Lithuania, the last remaining pagan country in Europe. Duke Margiris held his fortress against the Teutonic Knights siege for as long as he could. When it became evident the castle would fall to the much larger force outside, the people within made a momentous decision. Rather than submit to the Knights and allow them the profits of the booty within the walls, they rebelled. They first burned all their possessions and set the castle on fire. Then all the men, women, and children committed mass suicide. Chronicles mention there were 4,000 men defending the castle. The Teutonic Order was left with a pyrrhic victory.

The Teutonic Knights formed at the end of the 1100s in Acre, in the Levant. When Christian forces in the Middle East fell, the Knights moved to Transylvania in 1211 to help with defense of borders. The Kingdom of Hungary was under attack from the Kipchaks. While originally being helpful, by 1225, they were expelled by King Andrew II of Hungary because they attempted to place themselves under Papal sovereignty rather than pledging loyalty to the King. Five years later, with the Golden Bull of Rimini in hand, they began the Prussian Crusade and formed a joint invasion of Prussia with intent to Christianize the Baltic Old Prussians.

The Knights were led by Grand Master Hermann von Salza with the aid of Duke Konrad I of Masovia but the Knights quickly reneged against a Polish prince who helped them. Instead of collaborating, they took control of the Chełmno Land and created an independent Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights. They continued to add lands to their territory and conquered Livonia, too. The Kings of Poland accused the Knights of holding lands rightfully belonging to the secular kings. The Knights did not withdraw. Instead, they simply changed their focus. Rather than trying to Christianize Lithuania, they attacked many Christian neighbors to expand their base of control. With more lands, their wealth increased and they were able to hire more mercenaries and the cycle continued.

Lithuania’s first contact with the Christian religion predated the formation of the Duchy of Lithuania. The first meeting with Lithuania was recorded in 1009 and took place when Roman Catholic missionaries came to the area and baptized several rulers of the Baltic tribe of Yotvingians. The Lithuanians has more contact with the Kievan Rus who had adopted the Eastern Orthodox version of Christianity. Christian influence became evident in the 11th and 12th centuries when Christian names began to appear. Still the majority of the people were pagan. With Christianity knocking on her borders, Lithuania needed to adopt a state religion. While rulers were swayed by the political exigencies of one religion or another, East vs. West, the populace remained pagan. Official Christianization took place in 1387.

There’s something in every atheist, itching to believe, and something in every believer, itching to doubt. – Mignon McLaughlin

It is doubtless true that religion has been the world’s psychiatrist throughout the centuries. – Karl Menninger

All religions are the same: religion is basically guilt, with different holidays. – Cathy Ladman

God made so many different kinds of people. Why would he allow only one way to serve him? – Martin Buber

Also on this day: “Do you feel lucky?” – In 1836, Samuel Colt received a patent for his new revolver.
Gas Tax – In 1919, the first gas tax in the US was instituted.
Cut Off – In 1570, Pope Pius V excommunicated Queen Elizabeth I.
Battle Stations – In 1942, Los Angeles was under fire.
Sea Change - In 1933, the USS Ranger was launched.

Early School Shooting

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 24, 2015
Tyrone Mitchell

Tyrone Mitchell

February 24, 1984: Tyrone Mitchell goes on a shooting spree. Mitchell was born in Montgomery County, Alabama in 1955. The family moved to South Central Los Angeles and the house he grew up in was razed in order to build the 49th Street Elementary School. Mitchell and his family were members of Jim Jones’s Peoples Temple. Most of his family followed Jones to Jonestown in Guyana. In the mass murder-suicide that took place there, Mitchell’s parents, four sisters, and brother died. According to Mitchell’s fiancée, Marylou Hill, he suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of the deaths at Jonestown on November 18, 1978. Mitchell had been in town and not at the compound when the rest of his family drank the Kool-Aid.

Mitchell returned to South Central Los Angeles and rented a white Victorian house at 730 East 50th Street. He and Hill lived just 50 feet away from the school that now stood where his childhood home had once been. The house looked over the entire playground. Mitchell had a reputation in the area as a troubled man who had issues with narcotics, especially PCP. Hill denied he had “a problem” with the drug. On December 5, 1979 Mitchell argued with his landlord and uncle Willie Lee Mitchell, about who would light the pilot light on water heater. Tyrone fired three shots from a .30-caliber rifle into the air. When police arrived, he was arrested. He was fined $200 and put on two years’ probation.

Hill said Mitchell kept a high powered rifle in the house and often fired at passing airliners attempting to land at Los Angeles International Airport located five miles to the west. No one reported the shots out of fear of reprisals. On February 11, one of Mitchell’s uncles claimed Mitchell had pointed a machine gun at him but no arrest were made. On this day, at 2.23 PM, Mitchell fired into about 100 children from the 49th Street Elementary School as they came out onto the playground. He fired 39 rounds from an AR-15 rifle and 18 rounds from two shotguns. He was standing at a bay window just across the street from the school.

After the shooting stopped, police surrounded the house. Hill wanted to speak to Mitchell but police feared she would become a hostage. Just before 6 PM, after firing at least 16 canisters of tear gas into the house, a SWAT team entered and eventually found Mitchell upstairs, dead from a single 12 gauge shotgun wound to the head. Shala Eubanks, 10, died from injuries sustained later on this day. Carlos Lopez, 24, a jogger passing by at the wrong time, died on April 13 from injuries sustained. Anna Gonzales, 8, was seriously injured but survived. Iran Macias, 10, was also admitted to the hospital. Ten others were treated and released for various wounds. Mitchell’s motives remain unclear. Post-mortem toxicology studies found no narcotics in his blood stream. He did have a small amount of alcohol, but less than a third of the legal limit.

We pulled the kids, injured or not, into the ambulance. We just wanted to get them safe. We didn’t know what could happen. – Los Angeles Fire Department paramedic Jack Frye

The teachers were trying to get the kids out of the yard, to get them away from the school. The shooting was going on all the time. It just kept coming: Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! – Dessi McClain, neighbor

The kids were screaming, but they were quickly brought into the school building by adults in the yard. When I first heard shooting I didn’t know what was going on. Then I saw dozens of kids down on the ground, but most of them weren’t hurt, they were just trying to hide. – Bea Ransome, the school’s office manager

I’m scared to go back to school. I don’t want to see the school. I’ll get bad memories. – Iran Marcias, weeks after the event

Also on this day: Smile – In 1938, DuPont created a nylon-bristle toothbrush.
Opera – In 1607, the first opera premiered.
Murder, She Wrote – In 1981, Jean Harris was convicted of murder.
Religious Persecution – In 303, the new sect, Christians, were the subject of a Roman edict.
Just Peachy - In 1868, President Andrew Johnson was impeached.

Boy Wonder

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 23, 2015
Charles M Hall

Charles M Hall

February 23, 1886: Charles M Hall, separates aluminum from its ore. Hall was born in Ohio in 1863 after his missionary parents were forced to return from overseas service due to the US Civil War. His mother taught him to read early and by age six he was using his father’s 1840s college chemistry book as a reader. He began public school at age eight and quickly progressed. He carried out scientific experiments in family’s shed. At the age of 16 he enrolled at Oberlin College. There he met professor Frank Fanning Jewett who was interested in aluminum extraction. Hall’s initial experiments with aluminum were in 1881. He worked on the problem, once again using the family shed as a laboratory.

Hall was forced to fabricate most of his own equipment for his studies. One of his sisters, Julia Brainerd Hall, helped him with his research. They eventually found a process to produce aluminum cheaply by running an electric current through a bath of alumina dissolved in cryolite. Hall filed for his first patent on July 9, 1886. The process was discovered at nearly the same time by Frenchman Paul Héroult and has come to be called the Hall-Héroult process. Hall sought out financial backing in Pittsburgh via metallurgist Alfred E Hunt. They formed the Reduction Company of Pittsburgh and opened the first large-scale aluminum production plant. The company changed names, first to Aluminum Company of America and then to Alcoa.

The Hall-Héroult process was so effective, it reduced the price of aluminum by a factor of 200, making it an affordable alternative for many uses. The apex of the Washington Monument was made of aluminum and at the time of its construction (1884), it was as valuable a metal as silver. In 1900, about 8,000 tons of aluminum were produced. Today, more aluminum is produced than all other non-ferrous metals combined. Aluminum was the first metal to attain widespread use since the prehistoric discovery of iron. Hall is considered to be the originator of the American spelling of aluminium, the British spelling, when he made a misspelling in a handbill. Aluminum makes up about 8% by weight of the Earth’s solid surface. The ability to extract if cheaply from the ore was the problem.

Hall continued to do research and was granted 22 US patents over his lifetime, most of them regarding aluminum production. He served on the Oberlin College Board of Trustees. He was vice-president of Alcoa until his death at age 51. He was unmarried and childless and left most of his money to charity. Today, Alcoa is headquartered in Lever House, Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Klaus Kleinfeld is the chairman and CEO. They not only deal with aluminum but also include products made with titanium and nickel as well. Their operating income from 2014 was $1.2 billion with a revenue of $23 billion. They employ 60,000 people.

Aluminium’s sixty-year reign as the world’s most precious substance was glorious, but soon an American chemist ruined everything. – Sam Kean

Mr. Hall revealed that probably his chief ambition in life was to make some discovery which would be revolutionary with regard to the present conception of the constitution of matter and which would be of immense benefit to mankind. – Arthur V Davis

Consciously and subconsciously, he was still working on the problem of producing cheap aluminum. Hall was at heart . . . a tireless experimenter. – Julius Edwards

Alcoa’s lightweight aluminum helped revolutionize the automotive and aviation industries; aluminum foil eased the lives of housewives everywhere. Demand for Hall’s aluminum led to production soaring from 10,000 pounds in the company’s first year to 15 million by 1907. – Alcoa.com

Also on this day: The Rotary Club – In 1905, the Rotary Club was formed.
Cato Conspiracy – In 1820, the plot to kill British cabinet members was exposed.
Gutenberg Bible – In 1455, the Gutenberg Bible was published.
ISO - In 1947, a new set of standards were adopted.
Tootsie - In 1896, the Tootsie Roll was introduced.

Bubble Boy

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 22, 2015
David, the Bubble Boy in his containment unit

David, the Bubble Boy in his containment unit

February 22, 1984: David dies. David was born in Houston, Texas in 1971. He was diagnosed with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) which is a genetic disorder caused by a number of genetic mutations. People with SCID have curtailed development of T cells and B cells leaving the victim with a defective antibody response and susceptible to pathogens. David’s older brother had also had the disease and died at the age of seven months. His older sister was unaffected. His parents had been told after the death of his brother, that any future male children had a 50% of getting SCID. At the time, the only treatment available was to keep pathogens away from the patient until a successful bone transplant could take place.

David’s early life was spent mostly at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. A special sterilized cocoon bed was prepared and as soon as he was born, he was placed in the germ-free cocoon. He would spend most of his life in this type of environment and was known to the world as David, the Bubble Boy. Sterilized holy water was used to baptize the baby once he had entered the bubble. It was hoped his sister, Katherine, could be a bone marrow donor, but she was not an acceptable match and a bone marrow transplant was put on hold. Water, air, food, diapers, and clothes all had to be sterilized before they were permitted in the sterile chamber.

In order to sterilize all manner of items, they were placed in a chamber filled with heated (⁰F 140) ethylene oxide gas for four hours and then aerated for one to seven days. They were then safe for David to use. After the infant was placed in the bubble, he was touched only through special plastic gloves attached to the walls of the bubble. It was kept inflated by air compressors which made so much noise that communication with the boy was difficult. When he was three, a second bubble was built at his parents’ home and a transport chamber was also built. David was able to spend two to three weeks at a time at home. In an effort to make his life as normal as possible, he was provided a formal education and given access to television. He even had a playroom built in his hospital chamber.

NASA technology allowed for the building of a suit which permitted David to exit his bubble and walk out in the world. David did not like the suit and only used it seven times before he outgrew it and then refused to wear the replacement. Approximately $1.3 million was spent on caring for David during his lifetime. At age 12, David finally was able to receive a bone marrow transplant from his sister. Unfortunately, it contained traces of dormant Epstein-Barr virus which had been undetected in the screenings. David died 15 days after the transplant from Burkitt’s lymphoma. Charges of unethical medical practices were brought against three physicians who denied any wrongdoing. Ten years after his death, David’s full name was finally made public. David Phillip Vetter.

The great scandal of the Bubble Boy was that he was conceived for the bubble. The team that did this didn’t think through this very well. They didn’t consider what would happen if they didn’t find an immediate cure. They operated on the assumption that you could live to be 80 years old in a bubble, and that would be unfortunate but okay. – Raymond Lawrence

In 1978, although he was not quite eight years old, David had realized his life would be lonely, dull and short. His helplessness enraged him. Before he was born, his body had been donated to science. – Steve McVicker

The doctors – John Montgomery, Mary Ann South and Raphael Wilson – told the Vetters that should they choose to have another child, and should that child also have SCIDS, the newborn could be placed in an almost completely sterile isolator that would protect him from disease until a cure was found – which, the doctors thought, was only a matter of time. The project would be financed with federal research grants. – Steve McVicker

At the time, we were encouraged by everything we knew. If people didn’t take chances, none of us would be here. Columbus would have stayed in Spain and would have been selling tortillas, because he was warned he would sail off the edge of the earth. – John Montgomery

Also on this day: Copy Rights – In 1774, perpetual copyrights were banned by House of Lords.
Hello, Dolly – In 1997, the Roslin Institute announced the successful cloning of a sheep.
Grady the Cow – In 1949, a cow got stuck in a silo and made national news.
The White Rose – In 1943, three young adults were executed.
Florida - In 1819, the Adams-Onis Treaty was signed.

Pen vs. Sword

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 21, 2015
Cherokee Phoenix, then and now

Cherokee Phoenix, then and now

February 21, 1828: The Cherokee Phoenix is first published. The initial issue was the first paper published in a Native American language. The newspaper was printed in both English and Cherokee. Published in New Echota, the capital of the Cherokee Nation, it continued printing until 1834. In the early 1800s, the Five Civilized Tribes (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee, and Seminole) were living as autonomous nations in what is today called the American Deep South. The lands they occupied were valuable for farming and hunting and the new US government was being pressured into removing them so that whites could take over the lands.

The Cherokee were being pressured to move from Georgia to lands west of the Mississippi River. The General Council of the Cherokee Nation began the newspaper with the help of missionary Samuel Worcester, who cast the type for Cherokee syllabary (similar to an alphabet). Elias Boudinot was the first editor. He was a member of a prominent Cherokee Nation family born in 1802 as Gallegina Uwati and also known as Buck Watie. He was educated at a missionary school in Connecticut and came to believe in acculturation as a means to assure Cherokee survival. The paper planned to showcase Cherokee achievements as well as build unity within the Nation.

The first issue was four pages, each with five columns. Translation between Cherokee and English was slow, so at first they would only print three columns in Cherokee each week. This first issue contained praise for the creation of the syllabary by Sequoyah as well as an editorial by Boudinot criticizing white settlers coveting Cherokee lands. The idea of Tribal removal gained speed and so the paper arranged a fund-raising publicity tour. New subscribers were attracted from all areas of the US and Europe. Eventually the paper went to a completely English publication in order to attract a wider readership. The paper was renamed in 1829 as the Cherokee Phoenix and Indians’ Advocate.

Boudinot believed removal was inevitable and felt protection by treaty would be beneficial. He was not in the majority of Cherokee citizens. He was removed from his post as editor. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 was passed with the help of Andrew Jackson. The Cherokee were put into forced marches and between 2,000 and 6,000 of the 16,543 displaced Cherokee died of exposure, disease, or starvation while traveling what came to be known as the Trail of Tears. Boudinot had championed the Treaty of New Echota of 1835 but John Ross, Principal Chief would not sign it. Boudinot’s wife died in 1836 and he and his children moved to Indian Territory after her death. He and three other Treaty Party leaders were assassinated in June 1839 by the National Party, followers of Ross.

News is history shot on the wing. – Gene Fowler

The flood of print has turned reading into a process of gulping rather than savoring. – Warren Chappell

In the spider-web of facts, many a truth is strangled. – Paul Eldridge

A newspaper consists of just the same number of words, whether there be any news in it or not. – Henry Fielding

Also on this day: The Washington Monument – In 1885, the Washington Monument was dedicated.
Karl Marx - In 1848, The Communist Manifesto was published.
Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz – In 1931, Miles Laboratories introduced Alka-Seltzer to the world.
Incas - In 1918, the last Carolina Parakeet died.
Candid Camera - In 1947, Edwin Land demonstrated a new type of camera.

Up, Up and Away

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 20, 2015
Friendship 7 launches

Friendship 7 launches – finally

February 20, 1962: Friendship 7 launches. Project Mercury was part of NASA’s program to put the first human into space. On that front, they failed. Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space and the first to orbit the Earth when he made his historic flight on April 12, 1961. The Space Race began in 1957 when the Russians launched Sputnik 1. This energized the American government to catch up with their Cold War enemies. Launches were not always successful and the Race continued with a US response to Gagarin’s feat. On May 5, 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American astronaut with his suborbital flight. Soviet Gherman Titov made a day-long orbital flight in August 1961.

On this date, John Glenn became the first American to orbit the planet. Three times. Friendship 7 launched from Cape Canaveral, site LC-14 at 2.47 PM UTC or 9.47 AM local time. The rocket was an Atlas LV-3B 109-D and the trip lasted for 4 hours, 55 minutes, and 23 seconds before the capsule landed in the sea to be pulled up by USS Noa. John Glenn was 40 years old at the time. The Ohio native had served in the military from 1941-65 with the US Navy and the US Marine Corps. He achieved the rank of Colonel. He was with NASA until his retirement on January 16, 1964. The next day he announced his bid for a US Senate seat from Ohio. Due to an injury, he had to withdraw from the race. He won a Senate seat in 1974 and served through 1999.

The launch was to have taken place on January 16 and then postponed to January 20 due to an issue with the fuel tanks. It was postponed due to weather until January 27. On this day, Glenn was aboard the rocket when the mission was again cancelled at T-29 minutes due to weather conditions. The launch was to be on February 1 but when the technicians began to fuel it, they found a leak. It took two weeks to repair. On February 14, the launch was aborted because of weather and the forecast made it look like February 20th would work. Glenn boarded the spacecraft at 6.03 local time following a 1.5 hour delay to fix a guidance system component. The hatch had 70 bolts and 69 of them worked perfectly, but it caused a 42 minute delay to remove all the bolts, fix the defective bolt, and rebolt the door.

Count to takeoff was resumed  and the gantry rolled back at 8.20 AM local time. At 8.58 AM the count was held for 25 minutes while another repair was made. After 2 hours and 17 minutes of holds and 3 hours and 44 minutes after Glenn first entered Friendship 7, we had liftoff. At launch, Glenn’s heart rate increased to 110 beats per minute. Thirty seconds into the flight, the guidance system locked in to put the vehicle into orbit. As the spacecraft passed through Max Q, Glenn reported, “It’s a little bumpy about here.” Then the flight smoothed out. During the orbits, a problem with Segment 51 became apparent. This could affect re-entry. Glenn managed to splashdown 40 miles from the projected site. Seventeen minutes later, Noa was alongside the capsule and pulled her in. Glenn emerged safely.

The most important thing we can do is inspire young minds and to advance the kind of science, math and technology education that will help youngsters take us to the next phase of space travel.

I don’t know what you could say about a day in which you have seen four beautiful sunsets.

I don’t think you can be up here and look out the window as I did the first day and look out at the Earth from this vantage point. We’re not so high compared to people who went to the moon and back. But to look out at this kind of creation out here and not believe in God is, to me, impossible. It just strengthens my faith.

There is still no cure for the common birthday. – all from John Glenn

Also on this day: Iceberg Ahead – In 1856, the ship John Rutledge struck an iceberg and sunk.
Medal of Honor – In 1942, Butch O’Hare was declared the first US flying ace during World War II.
The Met – In 1872, New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art opened.
Ice Skating – In 1998, Tara Lipinski won the gold medal at the Olympics.
It’s In the Mail - In 1792, the Postal Service Act was signed into law.

Founding Traitor

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 19, 2015
Aaron Burr

Aaron Burr

February 19, 1807: Aaron Burr is arrested. Burr had been Vice President under Thomas Jefferson during his first term (1801-1805). It was the apex of his long political career. He had already been New York State’s Attorney General and their Senator. While serving as VP, he participated in an illegal duel and killed Alexander Hamilton. Although all charges against him were eventually dropped, his political career was ruined. After leaving Washington, D.C., Burr traveled west and sought new opportunities and therein was the problem. His motives and aspirations remain unclear to this day. Jefferson accused him of treason and he was arrested on this date for that charge.

Burr had travelled west of the Allegheny Mountains and down the Ohio River Valley to lands acquired in the Louisiana Purchase.  The Spanish government leased Burr 40,000 acres of land known as the Bastrop Tract. The land was along the Ouachita River in what is today Louisiana. Before leaving the VP office, Burr had met with Anthony Merry, the British Minister to the United States. Burr had suggested to Merry that the British might regain power in the Southwest if they supported him and his endeavors with guns and money. The goal was to detach Louisiana from the Union in exchanged for $500,000 and a British fleet in the Gulf of Mexico.

In November 1805, Burr and Merry met again to discuss the plan. Merry let Burr know of London’s silence to date on the proposed plan. Merry gave Burr $1,500. Their next meeting was the following spring and London still remained silent. Merry returned to England in June. Burr had also hoped to travel to Texas to claim lands in the Territory the Spanish had leased to him. Harman Blennerhassett was helpful in furthering Burr’s plan and gave considerable financial support. By 1806, the Spanish Minister Carlos Martinez de Irujo y Tacon  was told of Burr’s plan. Burr was seeking not just western secession, but the capture of Washington, D.C. Irujo contributed money to venture.

With Burr’s influence, Jefferson made James Wilkinson Governor of the Louisiana Territory in 1805. Wilkinson’s loyalties stayed with Jefferson and when he learned of Burr’s plans, he wrote to the President with concerns. Burr was arrested twice, and the cases were dismissed twice. This was the third arrest and he was taken to Virginia to stand trial. Burr was acquitted due to lack of evidence. The cost of the trial and disappearance of all influential friends left him with nothing in the US. Burr traveled to Europe to seek his fortune. He remained there until 1812 and then returned to New York City where he practiced law. He lived in relative obscurity until his death in 1836 at the age of 80.

Never do today what you can do tomorrow. Something may occur to make you regret your premature action.

The rule of my life is to make business a pleasure, and pleasure my business.

Go West, young man.

Law is whatever is boldly asserted and plausibly maintained. – all from Aaron Burr

Also on this day: Cracker Jack – In 1912, Cracker Jack began to include prizes in every box.
Bollingen Prize – In 1949, the prizes were first given out.
Rockin’ the World – In 1600,  the most powerful volcano in South America erupted.
Soaps - In 1985, the EastEnders was first broadcast.
Mysterious - In 1963, The Feminine Mystique was published.

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The Cow Flew Not Quite Over the Moon

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 18, 2015
International Air Exposition

International Aircraft Exposition

February 18, 1930: Nellie Jay takes a plane ride. The International Aircraft Exposition was held from February 15th through the 23rd in the St. Louis, Missouri Arena. Lieutenant Jimmy Doolittle was part of the Shell gasoline sponsored event. Doolittle was born in 1896 in California and was an American aviation pioneer. During World War I, he stayed in the states as a flight instructor. He was selected by three officers for retention after the War ended. In 1921, he located a plane which had force landed in a canyon during a transcontinental flight. He was able to repair the plane and then flew it out of the Mexican canyon, taking off from a 400-yard airstrip hacked out of the canyon floor.

He was one of the most famous pilots of the era. In 1922, he made the first of many pioneering flights when he flew from Pablo Beach, Jacksonville Beach today, Florida to San Diego, California in 21 hours and 19 minutes making only one stop for fuel. He was assigned to what is today known as the Air Force Institute of Technology in Dayton, Ohio. He was able to help build the planes of the future. Pilots and engineers had not had a good working relationship prior to this and it was a crucial step in making improved planes. He was also able to serve as a test pilot the planes being engineered. He was famous and a big draw for the 1930 Air Exposition.

He was not the focus of today’s event. Instead, Nellie Jay became a star. After her flight, she became known as Sky Queen. She was the first cow to file in an airplane. She flew 72 miles from Bismarck, Missouri to St. Louis in a Ford Trimotor. While aloft, she was milked, making that a first as well. The whole idea was proposed as a way for scientists to observe midair effect on animals. It was also a huge publicity stunt. Also called Elm Farm Ollie (she apparently had several aliases), she was a highly productive Guernsey cow and required three milkings a day. On this flight, she produced 24 quarts of milk.

Elsworth W Bunce was the man on the plane who was given the task of milking the cow and he also made the record books as the first to milk a cow on a plane. He was chosen for this historic event because his father worked for the American Guernsey Cattle Club. The milk was sealed into paper cartons and these were parachuted to spectators on the ground. Legend states that Charles Lindbergh received one of the cartons of milk from the flight. The tale of the Guernsey cow has largely been kept alive in Wisconsin which is more noted as a dairy state even though the cow was a native of Missouri. Some Madison, Wisconsin residents who belonged to the Elm Farm Ollie Fan Club commissioned an opera to be written about the day’s events. It was called Madam Butterfat.

If we should have to fight, we should be prepared to so so from the neck up instead of from the neck down. – Jimmy Doolittle

Elsworth W. Bunce, former Journal carrier and graduate of West Division High School, has the distinction of being the first man to milk a cow in an airplane flight. – Milwaukee, Wisconsin Journal

Her [Nellie Jay] story was picked up out of Wisconsin and they celebrate this every year. What gets me the most, though, is the kind of planes they had back then. You know, for 1930, it had to be a pretty big airplane to pick up a cow of that size. – Mark Hedrick

She [Nellie Jay] was a really gentle cow, but of course she had to be in order to get in that airplane. – William Fields Grider

Also on this day: Michelangelo – In 1564, the great Renaissance man died.
#3 – In 2001, Dale Earnhardt died in a NASCAR crash.
Talking and Talking – In 1841, the first filibuster was used in the US Senate.
Mass Murder – In 1983, the Wah Mee Massacre took place.
Huck - In 1885, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was published.

Keep Out

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 17, 2015
Weenen Massacre by Charles Davidson Bell

Weenen Massacre by Charles Davidson Bell

February 17, 1838: The Weenen Massacre takes place. The Dutch settled in what is today South Africa and built Cape Colony at the southern tip of the continent. The British took over rule of the land in 1795 after they won the Battle of Muizenberg. Control went back and forth between the two European nations until the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1814 when the British successfully took all control. Many of the poor Dutch farmers left to head east and find a new home in which to settle and farm. These pioneers were called Voortrekkers, literally translated as “fore-movers”. The Great Trek was a number of mass movements in the 1830s and 1840s. The land they were moving to was part of the Zulu Kingdom along the Indian Ocean on the east coast of Africa.

Piet Retief led a delegation of about 100 people to meet with Zulu King Dingane in the hopes of reaching agreement between the Afikaans Voortrekkers and the Zulu nation for permanent boundaries for the new settlement. The treaty was signed on February 6, 1838 with both sides recording three witnesses. Dingane then invited Retief’s party to join him for a special performance by his soldiers. The Zulu king captured the entire party and clubbed them death, killing Retief last so he could witness the horrific deaths of his comrades. The bodies were then left in the open for vultures.

Next, Dingane sent his soldiers to kill the rest of the Voortrekkers camped at Doringkop, Bloukrans, Moordspruit, Rensburgspruit, and other sites along the Bushman River. On this day, 41 men, 56 women, and 185 children of the Voortrekkers were killed. Also killed were another 250 people, those Khoikhoi and Basuto who accompanied the trekkers. Most of those in other camps were also murdered. At Groot-Moordspruit, Johanna van der Merwe suffered 21 assegai (Zulu spear) wounds, but survived. She was twelve at the time of the attack. She was permanently crippled by the attack but did eventually marry. She and her husband had seven sons. She died in 1888 at the age of 62.

The survivors of the surprise attacks retreated into protective hills and used their limited ammunition to defend themselves. They were almost out of ammo when Marthinus Oosthuizien arrived on horseback. He was directed where to find more ammunition in the abandoned camps and was able to resupply his friends. He charged the Zulu line from horseback and they retreated. Two months after the attacks, the town of Weenen was established. The name comes from the Dutch “to weep” and it is the second oldest European settlement in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. The town covered about 28 square miles and slightly more than 3,000 call it home today. Most are Black African and speak Zulu with 7% of the population white and English as the second most common language, spoken by 11.6% as a first language.

It is not easy to be a pioneer – but oh, it is fascinating! I would not trade one moment, even the worst moment, for all the riches in the world. – Elizabeth Blackwell

There has to be this pioneer, the individual who has the courage, the ambition to overcome the obstacles that always develop when one tries to do something worthwhile, especially when it is new and different. – Alfred P. Sloan

The way of the pioneer is always rough. – Harvey S. Firestone

In a word I was a pioneer, and therefore had to blaze my own trail. – Major Taylor

Also on this day: H L Hunley – In 1864, the first successful sinking of a ship by a submarine.
Newsweek – In 1933, Newsweek was first published.
Miles Standish – In 1621, Miles Standish was appointed first commander of Plymouth colony.
Butterfly - In 1904, Madame Butterfly opened in Milan.
Giordano Bruno – In 1600, he died.

Blank Screen

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 16, 2015
Toddlers Truce

Toddlers Truce

February 16, 1957: The Toddlers Truce ends. British television began as British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) broadcasts only. The BBC is a UK-based international public service broadcaster. It is the world’s oldest broadcasting organization. It is a statutory corporation with a Royal Charter and is funded principally by an annual television license fee charged to all British households, companies, and organizations using any type of equipment to receive or record live television broadcasts. The fee is set by the British Government. In 1954, the Independent Television Authority was established to created Independent Television (ITV), the first commercial TV network in the United Kingdom. ITV was launched on September 22, 1955 to provide competition to the BBC. Naturally, the BBC was not entirely thrilled with the new company.

BBC began to broadcast once again after the end of World War II and at that time instituted the Toddlers Truce. It was uncontroversial from 1946 until ITV began to broadcast. BBC broadcast children’s programming up to 6 PM. The evening schedule of programming began at 7 PM. From six to seven, there were no broadcasts at all so that parents would be able to get their small children tucked into bed. The BBC found the Toddlers Truce to be compatible with their income stream. Their funding was secured by license fees and with the hour less to fill, it was actually economically advantageous for them. The ITV was paid for from advertising revenue and with one less hour on the air, their chance to run ads and thus gain fees was curtailed. This loss of revenue was critical to the fledgling company.

Supporters of ITV argued that the Truce was just one more way for government interference. They had faced strong political opposition and won, but this Truce was giving the BBC an unfair advantage. The ITA encouraged their ITV companies to seek abolition of the truce. At the time, ITV was formed by Granada, ABC Television, ATV, and Associated-Rediffusion. The companies were unable to effectively cooperated and it was not until July 1956 that action was finally taken. In the UK, the Postmaster General is head of the government branch responsible for television. Earl De La Warr had been in charge during the years of the Truce. He had been replaced by Charles Hill, who disliked the idea.

Even with this support, the BBC was adamant about keeping the Truce and would not even compromise to reducing the time to just 30 minutes. Hill grew tired of bargaining and asked Parliament to simply abolish the policy which they did on October 31, 1956. The BBC and ITA could not agree on a date of termination and so Hill chose this day, a Saturday. The BBC filled the hour with music on the first Saturday, continued to shut down on Sundays, and filled weekdays with Tonight, a news magazine show. In 1961, they finally began Songs of Praise for Sunday broadcasts. In 1992, BBC stopped religious programming and filled the Sunday hour with news. Crossroads is still shown on BBC1 and most ITV regions.

This restriction seemed to me absurd and I said so. It was the responsibility of parents, not the state, to put their children to bed at the right time. – Charles Hill

The most watched programme on the BBC, after the news, is probably ‘Doctor Who.’ What has happened is that science fiction has been subsumed into modern literature. There are grandparents out there who speak Klingon, who are quite capable of holding down a job. No one would think twice now about a parallel universe. – Terry Pratchett

You know, the BBC had not been particularly generous in its deliverance of blues and esoteric kinds of music. – Keith Richards

Before the BBC, I joined the Navy in order to travel. – David Attenborough

Also on this day: King Tut – In 1923, Howard Carter opened the tomb of King Tutankhamen.
Nylon - In 1937. Nylon was patented.
Altmark Incident – In 1940, the German ship, Altmark, was boarded by cutlass wielding soldiers.
What Is Your Emergency? – In 1968, 9-1-1 service began.
Icelandic Football - In 1899, the KR was founded.

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