Little Bits of History

February 8

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 8, 2017

1879: The Sydney Riot takes place. Cricket, a bat and ball game peculiar to the British Empire, has two eleven player teams facing each other on a pitch with a wicket set up at one end. The batting teams attempts to score as many runs as possible while the other team is positioned in the field. The British team had been travelling to Australia since 1861. The idea was still rather new although the first Test match had been played in 1877. Teams were make up of the best possible players who could manage to get enough time off work to made the trip half way around the world and then play a series of games against local opponents. While Britain could field teams as early as 1861, it wasn’t until 1878 that Australia could finally get a major team to England.

The Melbourne Cricket Club issued an invitation to Lord Harris, himself a decent amateur cricketer, to gather together a team and come to Australia to play. Harris accepted and while Australia had meant for the entire team to be made up of amateurs, Harris brought over two professional Yorkshire bowlers. The distinction between the two types was mostly social status because the generous expenses paid to amateurs was often in excess of what a professional’s salary would be. But the mostly titled British team were referred to as “Gentlemen” meaning they were still considered amateurs. Australians were seen as less “gentlemanly” and more rowdy and uncultured. The fans were expected to be drunken gamblers.

Cheating was the norm and the rivalry between British and Australian teams was strong. Dave Gregory led a strong team and they were the first to play in England. Soon after his return, Harris came to play the Aussie team. This was the third tour match and the second time Gregory and Harris met on the field. New South Wales teams were antagonistic toward Victorian teams. On this day, Victorian George Coulthard was one of the umpires. He was chosen by Harris as one of the umps, with an Australian recommendation backing the young man’s skill. Coulthard made a questionable call and the locals were outraged by his status as working for the Brits and being a Victorian.

There is debate about what actually caused the riot. Gregory refused to send out the next batter, showing his disdain for the call. Fans streamed onto the playing field. But it is unsure if that was due to the bad call or the fact the British might win the match. Heavy betting against the Gentlemen may have led those with the most to lose to instigate a riot and call the game rather than pay out large sums of money. After the game could finally resume (and cricket games can be played over days’ time) it came down to an English win. They then cancelled their remaining games in Sydney. Bad will between the two countries’ cricket teams took years to heal.

To me, cricket is a simple game. Keep it simple and just go out and play. – Shane Warne

Test cricket is a different sort of cricket altogether. Some players who are good for one-day cricket may be a handicap in a Test match. – Kapil Dev

You can cut the tension with a cricket stump. – Murray Walker

Before you lay a foundation on the cricket field, there should be a solid foundation in your heart and you start building on that. After that as you start playing more and more matches, you learn how to score runs and how to take wickets. – Sachin Tendulkar


József Mindszenty

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 8, 2015
Cardinal József Mindszenty

Cardinal József Mindszenty

February 8, 1949: Roman Catholic Cardinal József Mindszenty is sentenced for treason. Mindszenty was born in 1892 in Csehimindszent, Vas County, Austria-Hungary. He was ordained a priest in June 1915. He published his first book, Motherhood, in 1917. He was first arrested on February 9, 1919 and held until the fall of the Communist Bela Kun government on July 31. On March 25, 1944 he was consecrated bishop of Veszprem. He was again arrested on November 27, 1944 for his opposition to the Arrow Cross government’s plan to house soldiers in parts of his official palace. He was released when that government entity fell in April 1945. He was appointed archbishop on September 15, 1945 and made a cardinal on February 21, 1946. This made him head of the Roman Catholic Church in Hungary.

The ruling Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party were appalled by the new cardinal who continued to use old aristocratic titles even after they were outlawed in 1946. They refused to meet demands for compensation when the State confiscated Church-owned farmlands when they attempted to abolish private farm ownership. The Church used income from these to support many of their outreach programs and the takeover of their lands left the programs unfunded. Cardinal Mindszenty fought against the seizure of parochial schools and their forced teachings of Marxist-Leninism. In 1948, religious orders were banned by the government and the cardinal and his Church were accused of being a reactionary force against Fascism.

On December 26, 1948, Mindszenty was arrested and accused of treason, conspiracy, and other offenses against the new People’s Republic of Hungary, a socialist government under the influence of the Soviet Union. Shortly before his arrest, he wrote that he was innocent of all charges and any confessions to crimes would be under duress. He was subjected to various methods of torture until he did confess to a number of bizarre crimes. His trial began on February 3, 1949 with Mindszenty showing visible signs of the torture he had endured. On this day, he was sentenced to life in prison for treason and espionage. On February 20, 1949 Pope Pius XII announced excommunication of all person involved in the trial and conviction of Mindszenty.

On October 30, 1956 Mindszenty was released from prison. He returned to Budapest and praised insurgents and recent anti-Communist developments. When the Soviets invaded Hungary on November 4, 1956 to restore the Communist government, Mindszenty sought and was granted political asylum at the United States embassy in Budapest. Pope Paul VI declared Mindszenty a “victim of history” instead of communism and the Hungarian government allowed him to leave the country. On October 23, 1971 Mindszenty took up residence in Vienna, Austria. Most bishops retire around age 75 but Mindszenty did not and in December 1973 he was stripped of his title at age 81. However, the cardinal seat was not filled until he died on May 6, 1975 at the age of 83. He remained uncompromising in his stand against fascism and communism until his death.

Do you want a Church that remains silent when She should speak; that diminishes the law of God where she is called to proclaim it loudly, wanting to accommodate it to the will of man?

Do you want a Church that departs from the unshakable foundations upon which Christ founded Her, taking the easy way of adapting Herself to the opinion of the day; a Church that is a prey to current trends; a Church that does not condemn the suppression of conscience and does not stand up for the just liberty of the people; a Church that locks Herself up within the four walls of Her temple in unseemly sycophancy, forgetting the divine mission received from Christ: ‘Go out the crossroads and preach the people’?

Beloved sons and daughters! Spiritual heirs of numberless confessors and martyrs! Is this the Church you venerate and love? Would you recognize in such a Church the features of your Mother? Would you be able to imagine a Successor of St. Peter submitting to such demands? – all from Pope Pius XII’s speech supporting his excommunication decree

The Church asks for no secular protection; it seeks shelter under the protection of God alone. – József Mindszenty

Also on this day: Orangeburg, South Carolina – In 1968, the Orangeburg massacre took place.
Stars and Stripes – In 1918, the US military newspaper resumed publication.
The Devil’s Footprints – In 1855, the Devil’s Footprints appeared.
Time is on Our Side – In 1879, the idea of time zones was presented.
“Off With Her Head,” Said the Queen – In 1857, Mary, Queen of Scots was beheaded.

“Off With Her Head,” Said the Queen

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 8, 2014
Mary, Queen of Scots

Mary, Queen of Scots

February 8, 1587: Familial in-fighting comes to end when Mary, Queen of Scots is executed. She was the only legitimate child of King James V of Scotland and took over the throne when her father died just six days after she was born. She spent most of her childhood in France leaving Scotland to be ruled by regents. She married the Dauphin of France, Francis, in 1558, a year before he became King. He died a year and a half later. Mary returned to Scotland and married Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley. She was widowed again in February 1567. She next married James Hepburn, 4th Earl of Bothwell in April and by July she was forced to abdicate in favor of her one year old son, James VI of Scotland and later James I of England.

Mary tried, unsuccessfully to regain her throne and then fled south to her first cousin once removed, Elizabeth I. The cousins were already in a dispute regarding the throne of England since Mary had claimed it as her own and was supported by many English Catholics (Elizabeth was not Catholic). Elizabeth allowed her cousin to come South, but she was held in several different castles and manor houses. After nearly twenty years, Mary was found guilty of plotting to kill Elizabeth and was sentenced to death.

The Babington Plot came to light in 1586 as Catholics hoped to unseat the Protestant Queen and replace her with a Catholic. Mary was implicated when a letter she had sent after eighteen years of imprisonment. Queen Mary consented indirectly and conditionlly to the murder of Elizabeth. The overarching goal of the plot was an invasion by both Spanish and French forces which would put Mary on the throne and eradicate the Protestant religions from England. The plot was discovered by Walsingham who then used his information to entrap Mary. He used Babington to deliver the letter who was also a pawn used by Jesuit priest, John Ballard.

Babington sent a coded letter to Queen Mary on July 7, 1586 and she responded, also in code on July 17. In that letter, she allowed that people trying to rescue her could kill Elizabeth if that was needed to free Mary. And she wanted desperately to be rescued. Ballard was the first to be arrested on August 4, 1586 and he implicated others. The conspirators were sentenced to death and they were to be hanged, drawn, and quartered. Mary herself was brought to trial in October 1586. Elizabeth signed the death warrant. On this day, in front of 300 witnesses, Mary, Queen of Scots, was beheaded.

My subjects in Scotland do their duty in nothing…nor have they performed their part in one thing that belongeth to them. I am their Queen and so they call me, but they use me not so…they must be taught to know their duties.

Well then, I perceive that my subjects shall obey you, and not me; and shall do what they list and not what I command, and so must I be subject to them and not they to me…but ye are not the Kirk that I will nurse. I will defend the Kirk of Rome, for, I think, it is the true Kirk of God.

Alas! Do not as the serpent that stoppeth his hearing, for I am no enchanter but your sister and natural cousin. If Caesar had not disclaimed to hear or heede the complaint of an advertiser he had not so died…I am not of the nature of the basilisk and less of the chameleon, to turn you to my likeness. (to Elizabeth)

I came into this kingdom under promise of assistance, and aid, against my enemies and not as a subject, as I could prove to you had I my papers; instead of which I have been detained and imprisoned… I do not deny that I have earnestly wished for liberty and done my utmost to procure it for myself. In this I acted from a very natural wish…Can I be responsible for the criminal projects of a few desperate men, which they planned without my knowledge or participation? (at her trial) – all from Mary, Queen of Scots

Also on this day: Orangeburg, South Carolina – In 1968, the Orangeburg massacre took place.
Stars and Stripes – In 1918, the US military newspaper resumed publication.
The Devil’s Footprints – In 1855, the Devil’s Footprints appeared.
Time is on Our Side – In 1879, the idea of time zones was presented.

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Stars and Stripes

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 8, 2013
Stars and Stripes

Stars and Stripes

February 8, 1918: Stars & Stripes, the US military newspaper, resumes publication. On November 9, 1861 the Illinois 11th, 18th, and 29th Regiments routed the Confederate forces from Bloomfield, Missouri. As the Union soldiers took control of the town, they noticed the newspaper offices were empty. They decided to print their own newspaper telling of their activities in the region. They called their one-page newssheet Stars & Stripes. The paper ran for four issues.

Publication began again during the First World War. The newspaper was run by an all-military staff. The weekly edition was produced for the American Expeditionary Forces under General John J. “Black Jack” Pershing. Many of the writers became famous after the war ended. Private Harold Ross became founder and editor of The New Yorker magazine. Lieutenant Grantland Rice became the first nationally renowned sports columnist. At the end of the Great War, Stars & Stripes stopped publication.

Twenty-four years later another great war erupted. On April 18, 1942 the now four-page Stars & Stripes again was hot off the presses from a London print shop. The paper sold for a “tuppence” or two pence, about five cents. The first issue quoted General George C. Marshall quoting Pershing about what a great morale booster the paper had been during the last major war. Soon after the paper hit print, it doubled in size to an 8-page production. During the war, there were up to 32 separate editions of the paper ranging from 8- to 24-page editions. Circulation for the paper reached 1,000,000 during World War II.

After the war ended, the paper remained in print. Today the paper is put out daily in a tabloid format with each issue ranging in length from 40 to 48 pages. In 2006 there were dozens of reporters, printers, and distributers scattered throughout the Middle East. In that year there were 31,510,810 Stars & Stripes papers printed and distributed worldwide with 23,215,511 issues put out in the contingency areas. There were more than 1.5 million PDF downloads of the paper from their website, about 4,000 per day.

“I was banned from Stars and Stripes because I was detrimental to discipline. That got me news stories and got me published all over the world and boosted my circulation like nothing (else).” – Mort Walker

“By the etiquette of war, it is permitted to none below the rank of newspaper correspondent to dictate to the general in the field.” – Mark Twain

“Let me make the newspapers, and I care not what is preached in the pulpit or what is enacted in Congress.” – Wendell Phillips

“If you saw a man drowning and you could either save him or photograph the event… what kind of film would you use?” – unknown

This article first appeared at in 2010. Editor’s update: Bill Mauldin wrote for Stars & Stripes during World War II. His popular cartoons of “Willie and Joe” helped to boost him into the limelight. He continued writing after the war and was a two time Pulitzer Prize winner. Andy Rooney of 60 Minutes’ fame was also a writer during the war. Steve Kroft (songwriter) and Shel Silverstein (author/poet) were accompanied by Tom Sutton, Ralph G. Martin, Paul Fontaine, Tony Zappone, Vernon Grant, Phil Stern, and Louis Rukeyser. All became famous after the war and writing for Stars & Stripes. Today, the paper is busy digitizing old issues stored on microfilm. They have issues from 1948 to 1999 available, restored and searchable.

Also on this day: Orangeburg, South Carolina – In 1968, the Orangeburg massacre took place.
The Devil’s Footprints – In 1855, the Devil’s Footprints appeared.
Time is on Our Side – In 1879, the idea of time zones was presented.

Time is on Our Side

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 8, 2012

Sandford Fleming

February 8, 1879: Sandford Fleming speaks before the Royal Canadian Institute. Sir Sandford was born in Scotland in 1827. In 1845 he and his older brother emigrated to Ontario, Canada. He was an engineer and inventor. He founded the Royal Canadian Institute and was one of the founders of the Royal Society of Canada. He was a surveyor and cartographer. He engineered much of the Intercolonial and Canadian Pacific Railways. He proposed a Canadian postage stamp and is best known for his idea set forth on this day.

Fleming was visiting in Ireland in 1876. The printed train schedule listed the departure at a PM time. The train left in the morning. On this day, Fleming proposed a 24-hour clock for the entire world based at the center of the planet and not on any surface meridian. He suggested time zones could be used locally. His world clock linked to the anti-meridian of Greenwich. The idea did not catch on immediately, but he kept working at it.

The International Meridian Conference was held in October 1884 in Washington, D.C. The objective was to determine the Prime Meridian. The Prime Meridian or 0° of longitude, is directly opposite the 180° line or the International Date Line. The site for the Prime Meridian was placed through Greenwich, London, England. There were 25 nations represented by 41 delegates at the conference. Terms were clarified. Universal day meant solar day and astronomical and nautical days were to be aligned with all days beginning at midnight. The resolutions passed. Universal time was accepted in 1884 but it took until 1929 before it was universally implemented.

Before this standard was adopted, each metropolis had their own official clock. The time was based on solar time or the position of the sun. Before the invention of the steam engine and the building of long-distance railroads, this was close enough. As people traveled east or west, they had to continuously adjust their watches. The instant transmission of telegraphy was also a problem. Fleming suggested 24 time zones, each one covering 15 degrees of longitude. Today, with atomic clocks, we can measure time to the microsecond. But people still miss their trains.

Clocks slay time… time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life. – William Faulkner

You must have been warned against letting the golden hours slip by; but some of them are golden only because we let them slip by. – James Matthew Barrie

Time is a brisk wind, for each hour it brings something new… but who can understand and measure its sharp breath, its mystery and its design? – Paracelsus

Watches are so named as a reminder – if you don’t watch carefully what you do with your time, it will slip away from you. – Drew Sirtors

Also on this day:

Orangeburg, South Carolina – In 1968, the Orangeburg massacre took place.
Stars and Stripes – In 1918, the US military newspaper resumed publication.
The Devil’s Footprints – In 1855, the Devil’s Footprints appeared.

The Devil’s Footprints

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 8, 2011

Image of the prints from the British news - 1855

February 8, 1855: The Devil’s Footprints appear. During the night of February 8-9 after a light snowfall, a series of hoof-like prints appeared in Devon, England. Each print measured between 1.5 and 2.5 inches across and were spaced about eight inches apart. The prints traversed an irregular line covering about 100 miles. Most of the line was straight but at intervals would erratically change course. The course was not altered by landscape and the prints crossed houses, rivers, haystacks, and other obstacles. The prints were said to lead up to and exit from drainpipes measuring as little as four inches in diameter.

The prints began at Exmouth, went to Topsham, crossed the river Exe, led to Dawlish and ended at Teignmouth. Decades after the occurrence, an article by R. H. Busk was published claiming similar tracks were found as far south as Totnes or Torquay. There were also reports, said Busk, of prints as far away as Weymouth, Dorset and even into Lincolnshire. In each of the separate cases, prints would range for miles. At the time of the appearance, locals reported seeing a “devil-like figure” in the area. Many citizens armed themselves and tried to find the beast/being responsible for the tracks found in the snow.

What caused the tracks? Today, many people believe there were not tracks traveling a hundred miles through the snow. They point out no one person could have travels the track in one day to follow them as the distance was too far for modes of transportation at the time. So it was a variety of people reporting the mysterious tracks, and many of their descriptions vary in numerous ways. Geoffrey Household thinks it might have been an experimental balloon accidentally released and with a weight hanging over the side dragging in the snow. It is unknown how this balloon could have traveled without the dangling rope catching in a tree or other obstruction. Other theories include hopping mice and even a kangaroo. There is also the possibility of mass hysteria.

Similar incidents have occurred both before (1840) and after (2009) but without the scope of the 1855 incident. Both of these events were noted in Great Britain. There are also reports from far away Poland. Phenomenon such as this may be responsible for the Chinese myth of Kui and legends of Sciapods, one-legged creatures. Many of these events seem to follow fierce electrical storms.

“Among the high mountains of that elevated district where Glenorchy, Glenlyon and Glenochay are contiguous, there have been met with several times, during this and also the former winter, upon the snow, the tracks of an animal seemingly unknown at present in Scotland.”

“The print, in every respect, is an exact resemblance to that of a foal of considerable size, with this small difference, perhaps, that the sole seems a little longer, or not so round; but as no one has had the good fortune as yet to have obtained a glimpse of this creature, nothing more can be said of its shape or dimensions; only it has been remarked, from the depth to which the feet sank in the snow, that it must be a beast of considerable size.”

“It has been observed also that its walk is not like that of the generality of quadrupeds, but that it is more like the bounding or leaping of a horse when scared or pursued. It is not in one locality that its tracks have been met with, but through a range of at least twelve miles.” – The Times, March 14, 1840 reporting a sighting

“A brave man is a man who dares to look the Devil in the face and tell him he is a Devil.” – James A. Garfield

Also on this day:
Orangeburg, South Carolina – In 1968, the Orangeburg massacre took place.
Military news – In 1918, the Stars & Stripes began to publish once again.


Orangeburg, South Carolina

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 8, 2010

Protesters outside the bowling alley

February 8, 1968: Tensions run high on a college campus. On the fourth night of student demonstrations, authorities fired on the unarmed student body, killing three and wounding 27 during the melee. After the shooting stopped, police went on to injure more of the people in the crowd. One woman miscarried as a result of the beating she received. The numbers are sometimes, therefore, listed as four dead and 31 injured.

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young have a song entitled Ohio with lyrics saying “Four dead in Ohio” but there were three killed in South Carolina. This struggle took place before the Kent State shooting and the Jackson State killings. The Orangeburg students were putting on a civil rights demonstration revolving around the town’s only bowling alley. The students from SC State and nearby Claflin University were mostly African-American and the bowling alley wasn’t open to them.

There were about 200 protesters gathered, mostly students. These young people were peacefully protesting against the segregation. Police claimed they were under attack by small arms fire but protestors claim they were unarmed. The police fired into the crowd and they quickly dispersed, running for cover. Most of the injuries were people who were shot in the back. Henry Smith, Samuel Hammond (both college students) and Delano Middleton (17-year-old high school student) were killed. Then governor, Robert McNair blamed the night’s event on Black Power agitators, but none were found to be present.

There were no songs about these young men. The nine officers were charged with using excessive force at a campus protest, the first federal trial of this type. All nine were acquitted. Cleveland Sellers was sentenced to jail for seven months for inciting a riot. He was from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Their tragedy was overshadowed by the other horrific events of the year – the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy as well as the rioting at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

“It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.” – Voltaire

“If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable.” – Louis D. Brandeis

“Civil Rights opened the windows. When you open the windows, it does not mean that everybody will get through. We must create our own opportunities.” – Mary Frances Berry

“As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever.” – Clarence Darrow

Also on this day, in 1918 the Stars & Stripes began to publish once again.