Little Bits of History

January 22

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 22, 2017

1877: Arthur Tooth is taken into police custody. He was born in 1839 in Kent, England. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge and graduated with a degree in science in 1862. He traveled around the world twice and was known as an accomplished horseman and a crack shot. During his travels, he became interested in the priesthood and took an interest in Ritualism. He became an ordained vicar and was assigned to a local parish, but he and his vicar disagreed on how to serve the parishioners. Tooth became an ordained priest in 1864 and served at several different churches. By 1868, he had been assigned to St. James’s Hatcham, a working class parish in southeast London.

His work there began to attract large congregations. He was an inspired preacher and introduced several more ritualistic practices within the parish. He also developed programs to help the more needy and established the Guild of All Souls at St. James’s in 1873. The Public Worship Regulation Act was passed 1874. This act, introduced by the Archbishop of Canterbury, had as its purpose the limitation of growing ritualism within Anglo-Catholicism and the Oxford Movement within the Church of England. Benjamin Disraeli, then Prime Minister, supported the bill as did Queen Victoria. Arthur Tooth did not and he continued his practice as he had.

On July 13, 1876 his case came before Lord Penzance at Lambeth Palace. Tooth did not appear before the court although he had been charged with using incense, vestments and altar candles. He ignored the entire proceeding in spite of getting legal counsel to submit. His services were now constantly being disrupted, not by parishioners, but by outsiders who were hired by his opponents for the sole purpose of disruption. After repeatedly ignoring the decisions of the Court of Arches, he was brought in for contempt of court and imprisoned at Horsemonger Lane Gaol in London. He was immediately cast into the position of martyr and his story became headline news. Due to public outcry, the Public Worship Regulation Act came into disrepute (although it was not repealed until 1965) and Tooth’s conviction was overturned on a technicality.

He lived for another 52 years but his health was adversely affected for the rest of his life. He was never again given his own parish to run but he had no desire for any further fame or notoriety. He established a chapel, convent, and orphanage school on property he purchased in 1878 and spent the rest of his life in the pursuit of helping disadvantaged children. In 1927, he moved his school to a new location and brought his 27 boys plus three religious sisters to Otford Court near Sevenoaks. The school became St. Michael’s Preparatory School and still exists today.

Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one’s own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others. – John F. Kennedy

Religious tolerance is something we should all practice; however, there have been more persecution and atrocities committed in the name of religion and religious freedom than anything else. – Walter Koenig

In politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution. – Alexander Hamilton

Once you attempt legislation upon religious grounds, you open the way for every kind of intolerance and religious persecution. – William Butler Yeats

Trains Need Brakes

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 22, 2015
Venustiano Carranza

Venustiano Carranza

January 22, 1915: The Guadalajara train disaster takes place. The Mexican Revolution began in 1910 and lasted until 1920. Francisco I Madero led an uprising against Porfirio Diaz, the seven term President of Mexico and a controversial figure. Those who rose against him claim he was a villain while his supporters felt he was a hero. His 35 years of rule were a time of prosperity, modernization, and economic growth. It was also a time of repression and political stagnation. When he lost his eighth run for office, he fled to France and died in exile four years later at the age of 84.

As time went on, the Revolution turned from a simple revolt against the established order and morphed into a multi-sided civil war with frequent shifts in power. By this date, Madero had been assassinated and rule of the country had been taken by Victoriano Huerta. Revolutionary forces led by Venustiano Carranza and Pancho Villa had then wrested control from Huerta and Carranza became president in 1914. He and Villa had different visions for Mexico with Villa wanting to continue the revolutionary project. On January 18, 1915 Carranza’s troops captured Guadalajara. Troops stationed in Colima, on the Pacific coast and about 185 miles away, were to come to Guadalajara with their families.

A special train of twenty cars was grossly overloaded with troops and their families. It left Colima with people clinging to the roof and undercarriage. The terrain between the two cities is rugged and at some point between the cities, the engineer lost control of the train as it made a steep descent. With brakes lost, the train gathered speed. Some were thrown from the train as it careened around curves. Eventually the entire train left the tracks and plunged into the valley below. There were approximately 900 people aboard the train when it left Colima. Fewer than 300 survived the crash. Many of Carranza’s troops were Yaqui Indians and when they learned of the deaths of their families aboard the train, they committed suicide. Others swore vengeance against the crew, but they died in the crash.

The war drew on and eventually Carranza was able to produce the Mexican Constitution of 1917. Sporadic fighting continued even after this auspicious day and the war is generally considered to have lasted three more years or even longer. The Cristero War of 1926 to 1929 is sometimes considered to be part of the Revolutionary War. Carranza was assassinated near the end of his term as president under the instigation of a cabal of army generals because of his insistence that his successor be a civilian. Pancho Villa was gunned down on July 20, 1923 by a team of seven riflemen who fired more than 40 shots into his car.

My sole ambition is to rid Mexico of the class that has oppressed her and given the people a chance to know what real liberty means. And if I could bring that about today by giving up my life, I would do it gladly.

I am not an educated man. I never had an opportunity to learn anything except how to fight.

Don’t let it end like this. Tell them I said something. (apocryphal last words; although it is thought today he died instantly) – all from Pancho Villa

A force of tyranny which we Mexicans were not accustomed to suffer after we won our independence oppresses us in such a manner that it has become intolerable. In exchange for that tyranny we are offered peace, but peace full of shame for the Mexican nation. – Francisco Madero

Also on this day: Roe v. Wade – In 1973, the Supreme Court decided on the abortion issue, assuring all women a right to privacy.
Bloody Sunday – In 1905, a Russian uprising took place in St. Petersburg.
Pontifical Swiss Guards – In 1506, the first of the Swiss Guards come to protect the Pope.
Football – In 1927, an association football match was broadcast over the radio.
United Mine Workers – In 1890, the union was founded.

United Mine Workers

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 22, 2014
United Mine Workers

United Mine Workers

January 22, 1890:  The United Mine Workers (UMW or UMWA) is founded in Columbus, Ohio. The merger of two older labor groups, the Knights of Labor Trade Assembly No 135 and the National Progressive Miners Union, formed the UMW. The labor union focused on representing coal miners and coal technicians. It was established with three main items and several lesser items on the agenda. They wanted to develop mine safety, improve mine workers’ independence from mine owners and the company store, and to provide miners with collective bargaining power. It had taken decades to get the miners to join together under one banner but as wages fell, their willingness to work together increased.

The first step towards miner solidarity was taken in 1865 when nearly half of all coal miners joined the American Miners’ Association. The mine owners fought back and members of the AMA were fired and blacklisted. In 1868 the Workingmen’s Benevolent Association was begun and had more success. Their President was John Siney and he worked on making conditions better for miners while helping owners increase profits so both sides won. Franklin B. Gowen, owner of the Reading Railroad, purchased several mines and provided the rail system to transport the coal. His tyrannical business methods destroyed the WBM.

The National Trade Assembly #135, also known as the Knights of Labor, was started around 1870 and was more successful. They used secret local assemblies to help boost the overall power of the larger union. There were only two types of local assemblies and yet they worked as divisive rather than cohesive. The trade LAs were subdivided further and further. The popularity was more based on local leadership than on the cohesive methods of bargaining with mine owners. Locals rose and fell with the personalities of the leaders. They did not use striking as a means of gaining concessions.

The National Federation of Miners and Mine Laborers was formed by Knights of Labor leaders who realized secret membership was causing a problem. Their basic platform was to bargain for eight hour workdays and get fair weighing stations within the mines. They were unable to bring in the fair scales and lost momentum with their members. When the UMW formed, they had 11 union goals. Today, the 80,000 members are led by Cecil Roberts. They not only represent miners, but health care workers, truck drivers, manufacturing workers, and public employees of the US and Canada. They not only focus on worker rights but also on better roads, schools, and universal health care.

If I went to work in a factory the first thing I’d do is join a union. – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Now workers should have the right to join unions. But unions should not be forced upon workers. And unions should not have the power to take money out of their members’ paychecks to buy the support of politicians that are favored by the union bosses. – Mitt Romney

The union movement has been the best middle class job creating program that America has ever had, and it doesn’t cost the government a dime. – Andy Stern

Join the union, girls, and together say Equal Pay for Equal Work. – Susan B. Anthony

Also on this day: Roe v. Wade – In 1973, the Supreme Court decided on the abortion issue, assuring all women a right to privacy.
Bloody Sunday – In 1905, a Russian uprising took place in St. Petersburg.
Pontifical Swiss Guards – In 1506, the first of the Swiss Guards come to protect the Pope.
Football – In 1927, an association football match was broadcast over the radio.

Bloody Sunday

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 22, 2013
Father Gapon

Father Gapon

January 22, 1905: (The date was January 9 in Old Style calendar still in use in Russia at the time.)The streets of St. Petersburg, Russia run red with blood. Father Gapon, a popular Russian Orthodox priest, organized the Assembly of Russian Factory and Mill Workers union. The group was patronized by the Department of the Police and the St. Petersburg secret police, Okhrana. The workers’ union quickly expanded to 12 branches with 8,000-9,000 members. Gapon, defrocked for “sinfulness” in 1902, continued to be supportive of the working poor. By 1904, job loss and real wage buying power decreases brought the masses to protest.

The 65-hour workweek with harsh and unsafe conditions led more people to the illegal trade unions. Four members of the Workers Union were fired from the Putilov Iron Works. Gapon called for industrial action and a strike by the ill-treated workers. Over 110,000 workers in St. Petersburg responded. Father Gapon proposed to take a petition to Tsar Nicholas II. Workers sought an 8-hour workday, wage increases, and improved working conditions. Universal suffrage was proposed as well as a demand for the end of the Russo-Japanese War.

About 150,000 people signed the petition. Gapon led a procession of workers to the Winter Palace in the hope of presenting his petition to the Tsar. The crowd numbered between 150,000 and 200,000. They approached the palace carrying religious symbols and singing patriotic songs including “God Save the Tsar.” The peaceful procession was fired on by the Cossacks of the Palace Guard. The Tsar’s count of the dead and wounded was 96 and 333 respectively. Anti-government sources claim 4,000 killed while other sources cite 1,000 dead and wounded.

This was the beginning of the 1905 Russian Revolution. Father Gapon survived Bloody Sunday and managed to escape to Geneva. He announced his disassociation with the unions and declared he joined the Socialist Revolutionary Party. It came to light that he had been a member of long standing, playing both sides. His motive for leading the procession to the Winter Palace was to ignite a revolution. While the 1905 Revolution was a failure, eventually another Revolution would succeed in bringing a Socialist based government to Mother Russia.

“The first duty of a revolutionary is to get away with it.” – Abbie Hoffman

“The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.” – Hannah Arendt

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” – John F. Kennedy

“While the State exists, there can be no freedom. When there is freedom there will be no State.” – Lenin

This article first appeared at in 2010. Editor’s update: Geordiy Apollonovich Gapon was a Russian Orthodox priest who was born in 1870. His parents were peasants in what is now called the Ukraine. He studied at the Saint Petersburg Theological Academy after being widowed at the age of 28. He worked at the St. Olga children’s orphanage and got involved with factory workers and their plight at the turn of the century. While he survived Bloody Sunday, he did not live much longer. On March 26, 1906 he met Pinchas Rutenberg (who had saved his life during the riot). Their meeting place was a cottage outside St. Petersburg and it was there he was found hanged the next month. He was 36 years old at the time.

Also on this day: Roe v. Wade – In 1973, the Supreme Court decided on the abortion issue, assuring all women a right to privacy.
Pontifical Swiss Guards – In 1506, the first of the Swiss Guards come to protect the Pope.
Football – In 1927, an association football match was broadcast over the radio.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 22, 2012

1927 Arsenal FC met Sheffield United FC

January 22, 1927: The first radio commentary of an association football match is broadcast. Arsenal Football Club (FC) also called The Gunners met Sheffield United FC (the Blades, United, or Red & White Wizards) at Highbury, home field of the Arsenal. Association football (a.k.a. soccer in the US and football in the UK) has been around in one form or another for centuries. Played in China as early as the 3rd century BC, the current rules were set down by Cambridge University in 1848. Rules were modified and an overseeing governing body was established as time went on.

Arsenal FC was founded in 1886 as Dial Square. They are a member of the Premier League and are one of the most successful clubs in English football with thirteen First Division and Premier League titles and ten FA Cups. Their home field was at Highbury, London from 1913-2006. The new Emirates Stadium open on July 22, 2006. The new venue cost £430 million to build and seats 60,355. The name came from the sponsorship of Emirates Airline who donated £100 million to the club. The Emirates name may be changed after 15 years according to the deal made.

Sheffield United FC was founded in 1889. Home for the club is Sheffield, South Yorkshire and they play at Bramall Lane. The stadium was built in 1855 to host cricket matches. It is the oldest still-in-use major stadium in the world. It has been renovated several times and expanded twice. It now seats 32,609. The team is a member of the Championship League and brought home the League championship once, in 1898. They won the FA cup four times.

The Arsenal has had a number of firsts. This first radio broadcast (tied at 1-1) was followed a decade later with the first football match televised live. On September 16, 1937 an exhibition game between the first team and the reserve team was filmed. The first edition of BBC’s Match of the Day aired on August 22, 1964 and featured highlights of the Arsenal and Liverpool match. Today, football is played professionally around the world, millions of fans attend games while billions watch on television or the Internet. A 2001 survey reported over 240 million people in more than 200 countries regularly played the sport.

To say that these men paid their shillings to watch twenty-two hirelings kick a ball is merely to say that a violin is wood and catgut, that Hamlet is so much paper and ink. – J.B. Priestley

A sport where the players actually enjoy getting hit in the head by a ball. – Soccer advertisement

If you’re attacking, you don’t get as tired as when you’re chasing. – Kyle Rote, Jr.

The goalkeeper is the jewel in the crown and getting at him should be almost impossible.  It’s the biggest sin in football to make him do any work. – George Graham

Also on this day:

Roe v. Wade – In 1973, the Supreme Court decided on the abortion issue, assuring all women a right to privacy.
Bloody Sunday – In 1905, a Russian uprising took place in St. Petersburg.
Pontifical Swiss Guards – In 1506, the first of the Swiss Guards come to protect the Pope.

Pontifical Swiss Guards

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 22, 2011

Pontifical Swiss Guards inside St. Peter's Basilica

January 22, 1506: Pope Julius II welcomes 150 Swiss mercenaries to the Vatican as his new army and bodyguard contingent. Helveticans, another name for the Swiss of the Cantons region, were known in ancient Roman times as honorable, valiant warriors. The Pope needed to remain safe in a hostile world. Italy was ravaged by waves of outside wars, the country was not a unified entity, and the Pope and Vatican City were in the middle of it all. The previous Pope had looked into hiring mercenaries and had barracks built, so the new arrivals had housing upon their entry into service.

The Swiss Cantons were an overcrowded area with 500,000 inhabitants, many living in poverty. The way out was to enlist as a mercenary. The Confederation of Cantons organized 15,000 men who shipped out to various areas of conflict for summer battles and returned home in the winters, paid for their efforts. They were much in demand because of an innovative attack maneuver that was highly effective.

Today’s Pontifical Swiss Guard, dressed in the distinct multicolored uniform, must meet stringent requirements before even being considered for the job. The successful candidate must be a Swiss male, 19-30 years old, Catholic, at least 174 cm [5’ 9”] tall, who has completed military training, and must be celibate for at least the first three years. After that time, he may marry if he has attained a rank of corporal, is at least 25 years of age, and will sign on for another three years of service. Pay for the guards starts at $942/month with housing, food, and insurance included. A full contingency of Swiss Guards is 120, but today there are only around 100 men.

Rome was sacked on May 6, 1527 when Spanish King Charles V led an invasion against the city. The Swiss Guard, at a loss of 147 soldiers, managed to save Pope Clement VII and ensure his escape. The Spanish invaders occupied the Vatican caused much damage to buildings and artwork, and destroyed ancient manuscripts – using them as bedding for their horses. Each year on May 6, new recruits are enlisted and all Guards renew their vow to the Pope as his defender. They are more than window dressing serving a ceremonial duty, but are also the Pope’s only bodyguards. Alois Estermann protected Pope John Paul II when he jumped on the Popemobile and used his own body to shield the Pope during an assassination attempt in 1981.

“Among the many expressions of the presence of lay people in the Catholic Church, there is also the particular one of the Pontifical Swiss Guards, young men who motivated by love for Christ and church, put themselves at the service of the successor of Peter.” – Pope Benedict XVI

“The Pope is guarded by the Swiss Guard who stand proudly in pajamas and funny hats.” – Eddie Izzard

“The Pope? How many divisions has he got?” – Joseph Stalin

“I admire the Pope. I have a lot of respect for anyone who can tour without an album.” – Rita Rudner

Also on this day:
Roe v. Wade – In 1973, the Supreme Court decided on the abortion issue, assuring all women a right to privacy.
Bloody Sunday – In 1905, Russia’s Bloody Sunday took place.


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Shaanxi Earthquake

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 23, 2010

Shaanxi Earthquake with epicenter in red and areas affected in yellow

January 23, 1556: The deadliest earthquake on record. Approximately 830,000 people were killed in Shaanxi, China when a 520-mile wide area that cut across  97 counties was destroyed. Death tolls were as high as 60% of the population for some counties, most of whom lived in artificial caves cut into loess cliffs.

By today’s calculations, the earthquake measured about an 8 on the moment magnitude scale or 8.6 on the Richter scale. It was the fifth deadliest natural disaster on record. The quake struck during the reign of Jiajink Emperor of the Ming Dynasty (which coincidently began on this day as well – see link at end) and is therefore called the Jiajing Great Earthquake in China.

Writing at the time indicates that the ground shifted, causing hills to form where none had been before and valleys were cut into once even ground. Rivers changed course and roads were destroyed. Forty of the 114 steles [stone carvings] in the Forest of Stone were broken. The Small Wild Good Pagoda in Xi’an shrunk from 45 meters to 43.4 meters. Also destroyed were the Loess caves in the Loess Plateau. Over eons, silt-like soil was deposited by windstorms and a soft clay formed. Caves were formed over millions of years. However, the soil was highly susceptible to erosion. During the quake, the caves collapsed and after the event mudslides destroyed even more real estate.

Qin Keda, a scholar, survived the earthquake and wrote, “At the very beginning of the earthquake, people indoors should not go out immediately. Just crouch down and wait for chances. Even if the nest is collapsed, some eggs in it may still be kept intact.” This seems to be telling of many who were killed trying to escape while some who stayed in the caves survived. The death toll was extremely high, but even worse was the devastation of an entire region of inner China. As we see with earthquakes today, recovery takes a long time.

“An earthquake achieves what the law promises but does not in practice maintain – the equality of all men.” – Ignazio Silon

“Which would you rather have, a bursting planet or an earthquake here and there?” – John Joseph Lunch

“Stupidity is an elemental force for which no earthquake is a match.” – Karl Kraus

“Inhabitants of underdeveloped nations and victims of natural disasters are the only people who have ever been happy to see soy beans.” – Fran Lebowitz

Also on this day, in 1368 the Ming Dynasty began.

Roe v. Wade

Posted in History by patriciahysell on January 22, 2010

Norma McCorvey's book

January 22, 1973: The United States Supreme Court hands down its decision that causes decades-long debate. The case is Roe v. Wade which decided if state laws prohibiting abortion were in line with the Constitution. The Supreme Court, in a 7-2 vote, ruled that it was illegal for states to interfere with the constitutional right to privacy. Supreme Court Justices White and Rehnquist cast the two dissenting votes.

Opposition to Roe is based on the premise that the Court strayed away from the Constitution and disregarded the personhood of fetal life. Supporters say that the right to abortion assures women of equality and personal freedom which they deem of higher value than that of the unborn child.

This case establishes that under the US Constitution, abortion is a fundament right. Justice Harry Blackmun wrote the Court’s opinion on the case. Rather than adopting the Ninth Amendment rationale (rights not specifically stated are part of the “great residuum” or are rights of the people). Instead, the case was based on the Fourteenth Amendment or a right to privacy. Other cases have since modified the standard significantly.

“Jane Roe” is Norma McCorvey. She has since joined the pro-life side of the debate and filed a suit in U.S. District Court in Texas to have the case reopened, which her right as the litigant ensures. She hoped to make abortion illegal citing that she was used as a “pawn” by her lawyers and claimed evidence of emotional and other harm suffered by many women who have had abortions. Her request was denied.

“The freedom that women were supposed to have found in the Sixties largely boiled down to easy contraception and abortion; things to make life easier for men, in fact.” – Julie Burchill

“I’ve noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born.” – Ronald Reagan

“Of course abortion isn’t right.  But it is even less right to bring unwanted children into lifelong suffering and to strip women of their choice.  Making abortion illegal is not the way to prevent it.  There is a much larger picture that starts with much deeper roots.” – unknown

“With humans it’s abortion, but with chickens it’s an omelet.” – Attributed to George Carlin

Also on this day, in 1905 Russia’s Bloody Sunday took place.

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