Little Bits of History

July 22

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 22, 2017

1983:  Martial law is lifted in Poland. General of the Army Wojciech Jaruzelski and the Military Council of National Salvation (WRON) took power illegally, since martial law was only possible during wartime, but it does explain the name of the organization implementing the decree. In March 1981 the Polish government presented plans to the USSR regarding unrest in Poland. Back in October of 1980, Jaruzelski ordered the Polish General Staff to update plans for instituting martial law. This was almost immediately after the Solidarity movement had burst on the scene demanding independent self-government separate from communism and the Soviet Union.

The official decree for martial law came in December 1981. Solidarity was banned and Lech Wałęsa was jailed. The next morning, thousands of soldiers were roaming through the streets in military vehicles. Every major city was affected. A curfew was imposed, national borders were sealed, road access was restricted, phone lines were cut, mail was censored, all classes from grade school through college were suspended, and all independent organizations were criminalized. In the early stages, several dozen people were killed. Officially the number was quite low, later investigations put the number around 90 deaths.

The government imposed a six-day workweek and put all services under government control and ran them as military institutions. If employees misbehaved, they were court-martialed. Eventually, media outlets and schools were “verified” in a process to make sure everyone was member of the political regime. Those who were not able to convince authorities of their subservience were jailed without cause. Martial law induced a nationwide economic crisis. As the government sanctioned price increases, called “economic reforms” even basic goods became scarce.

Although officially ended on this day, government coercion did not simply cease. The economy remained weak. Many of the non-Communist leaders and teachers remained jailed. Hundreds of thousands of Poles fled the country during the 1980s. Between December 1980 and October 1983, 11 flights were hijacked as they left Poland and were forced to land in Berlin. It took until 1986 before the thousands of political prisoners were released and granted a general amnesty. Jaruzelski remained in control of the newly democratized government and was President of the Republic of Poland from July 1989 to December 1990. After communism fell in Poland, Wałęsa was elected as second President and served from 1990 until 1995. Today, Poland is part of the European Union and Andrzej Duda is President, the sixth since the country threw off its Communist rulers.

He who puts out his hand to stop the wheel of history will have his fingers crushed.

The thing that lies at the foundation of positive change, the way I see it, is service to a fellow human being.

Communism is a monopolistic system, economically and politically. The system suppresses individual initiative, and the 21st century is all about individualism and freedom. The development of technology supported these directions.

As a nation we have the right to decide our own affairs, to mould our own future. This does not pose any danger to anybody. Our nation is fully aware of the responsibility for its own fate in the complicated situation of the contemporary world. – all from Lech Wałęsa

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Wily Pilot

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 22, 2015
Wiley Post

Wiley Post

July 22, 1933: Wiley Post flies around the world, again. The first to fly around the world did so in a Graf Zeppelin when Hugo Eckener piloted his airship around the globe. It took 21 days to complete the trip. On June 23, 1931 Wiley Post and Harold Gatty (navigator) left on the first fixed-wing flight around the world. They left from Long Island, New York aboard Winnie Mae and returned on July 1 after traveling 15,474 miles in 8 days, 15 hours, and 51 minutes. Their notoriety rivaled that of fellow pilot, Charles Lindbergh. Post and Gatty were received at the White House for lunch and were participants in a ticker tape parade given in their honor in New York City the next day. The two men published an account of their journey in a book called Around the World in Eight Days with an introduction by Will Rogers.

After the record breaking flight, Post hoped to be able to open his own aeronautical school but he was unable to raise the funds he needed. His rural background and limited education led financiers into doubting his ability to run his business. In order to prove detractors wrong, Post took up a new daring adventure. Now the owner of Winnie Mae, he was able to put in modifications and improvements. He installed an autopilot device and a radio detection finder which were still in the final stages of testing by the Sperry Gyroscope Company and the United States Army. Since he had the equipment aboard to help with navigation, he no longer needed to have a navigator aboard. In 1933, he left to make a solo trip around the world.

He left from Floyd Bennett Field and worked his way eastward again. He needed to make repairs several times during his flight as well as pick up some forgotten maps. The autopilot needed attention at several of his stops and he had to replace a propeller just as had been done on the first trip. He made it back on this day. He was greeted by 50,000 people as he returned home just 7 days, 18 hours, and 49 minutes after he left. He was also working on high altitude flights which entailed having a pressure suit as well as non-stop transcontinental flights. He made four attempts at high altitude non-stop flights from Los Angeles to New York, all of them failing for a variety of mechanical reasons. The farthest he got was to Cleveland, a distance of 2,035 miles.

He and Will Rogers had become friends. Post was working on making air mail work; Rogers was writing his popular newspaper columns. Post had made some modifications to his plane that were not exactly what he had hoped for, but the plane flew. Floats were added so that water landings and takeoffs could be made as the two went around the lakes of Alaska. The two left in August from Lake Washington, near Seattle. They made several stops in Alaska. The left Fairbanks, Alaska for Point Barrow on August 15, 1935. Due to bad weather, they stopped on a lagoon to ask for directions. As they took off, the engine failed at low altitude and the plane nose-dived into the water killing both men instantly. Post was 36 years old.

I cut the emergency switch just in time to keep ‘Winnie Mae’ from making an exhibition of herself by standing on her nose. That would have been fatal to our hopes.

But misfortunes never come singly.

We didn’t want to create a stir, … so we drove up to the edge of the crowd where we could get a view and sat there and waited. – all from Wiley Post

If you want to be successful, it’s just this simple. Know what you are doing. Love what you are doing. And believe in what you are doing. – Will Rogers

Also on this day: Public Enemy #1 – In 1934, John Dillinger met his end – maybe.
Cleaveland – In 1796, Cleveland, Ohio was named for the leader of the surveying party.
Falkirk – In 1298, the Battle of Falkirk took place.
And They’re Off – In 1894, the first motorized vehicle race was held.
Trailblazer – In 1793, Alexander Mackenzie finished the first transcontinental crossing of Canada.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 22, 2014
Alexander Mackenzie

Alexander Mackenzie

July 22, 1793: Alexander Mackenzie becomes the first recorded person to make a transcontinental crossing of Canada. He was born in Scotland in 1764 and came to America in 1774 when his mother died. His father and an uncle were already there and had joined the King’s Royal Regiment of New York as lieutenants (since they had prior experience). By 1778, Alexander was sent to Montreal to escape the hardships of war and he was given an apprenticeship with Finlay, Gregory & Co. – one the most influential fur trading companies in the city. The company merged with the North West Company in 1787.

On their behalf, Mackenzie traveled to Lake Athabasca in 1788. He learned that the First Nations people knew much about the local rivers and based on information gleaned from this source, he set out on July 10, 1789 to find the source of the Dehcho River (now Mackenzie River) hoping to find the mysterious Northwest Passage to the Pacific Ocean. Instead of finding the Pacific, he wound up on what he called Disappointment River at the Arctic Ocean instead. The river did not lead to Cook Inlet in Alaska as expected and hoped for. He left Canada in 1791 to return to Great Britain to learn about advances in measurement of longitude and returned the next year determined to find a way to reach the Pacific.

On this trip, he was accompanied by two native guides, his cousin Alexander, six Canadian voyageurs, and a dog. They left from Fort Chipewyan on October 10, 1792 and sailed up the Pine River to the Peace River. On November 1, they stopped, built a shelter which became known as Fort Fork, and wintered there. On May 9, 1793, they set out once again and followed the Peace River. They crossed the Great Divide and found the headwaters of the Fraser River. They were warned that the upriver canyon was unnavigable and filled with belligerent natives. He was directed to take a route following the West Road River, cross the Coast Mountains, and then descend via the Bella Coola River. He did so and arrived at Bella Coola, British Columbia. This is situated on North Bentinck Arm, an inlet of the Pacific.

He missed meeting George Vancouver at Bella Coola by just 48 days. Mackenzie was hoping to continue westward but was stopped by the Heiltsuck people in war canoes who hemmed the entourage in.  While holed up, he inscribed his feat on a rock at the water’s edge of Dean Channel. The words were later inscribed permanently by surveyors and is now a National Historic Site. In 1801 he published journals of his exploratory journeys and he was knighted for his efforts. He severed in the Legislature and eventually (1812) returned to Scotland. He married 14-year-old Geddes, an heiress. He died in London in 1820 at the age of 56.

I always wanted to be an explorer, but – it seemed I was doomed to be nothing more than a very silly person. – Michael Palin

It’s important for the explorer to be willing to be led astray. – Roger von Oech

You will not accept credit that is due to another, or harbor jealousy of an explorer who is more fortunate. – Abbott L. Lowell

The greatest explorer on this earth never takes voyages as long as those of the man who descends to the depth of his heart. – Julien Green

Also on this day: Public Enemy #1 – In 1934, John Dillinger met his end – maybe.
Cleaveland – In 1796, Cleveland, Ohio was named for the leader of the surveying party.
Falkirk – In 1298, the Battle of Falkirk took place.
And They’re Off – In 1894, the first motorized vehicle race was  held.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 22, 2013
General Moses Cleaveland

General Moses Cleaveland

July 22, 1796: The Connecticut Land Company names an area after the superintendent of the surveying party – General Moses Cleaveland. The 57 wealthiest men in Connecticut formed a company to explore the Old Northwest Territory. The region included all of modern day Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Illinois along with most of Wisconsin and a small part of Minnesota. The Land Company was headed by Oliver Phelps, the richest man in Connecticut. Moses Cleaveland was one of the members.

Cleaveland was a lawyer, politician, soldier, and surveyor. He led the party to survey the Western Reserve. This was a narrow (120 mile) strip of land between the forty-first and forty-second-and-two-minute parallels. It ran from the border of Pennsylvania westward and covered more than three million acres. The survey party left Buffalo, New York and sailed on Lake Erie heading west. They stopped on July 4, 1796 at the mouth of Conneaut Creek. This was named Port Independence. After paying off the local residents, they were permitted to survey the area.

The survey party slowly coasted along the shore and on this date came to the mouth of the Cuyahoga River. The lush region held a flat plain covered by a great forest gently sloping to the river. It was thought to be the perfect place to build a city. It was surveyed into town lots and named Cleaveland. Moses left the area in 1796 and never returned. There were only four settlers the first year and the population grew slowly. By 1820 the population finally reached 150. The town was incorporated in 1814 and dropped the first “a” from the name in 1831.

Today, the City of Cleveland encompasses 82.4 square miles and is home to 478,400 people. The Greater Metropolitan area has 2,230,900 residents. Cleveland’s Playhouse Square Center is the second largest arts center in the US. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is there, looking out over Lake Erie. They have several sports teams including the Cleveland Indians (baseball), the Cleveland Browns (football), and the Cleveland Cavaliers (basketball). The manufacturing and port city has seen a shift in population as the decline in heavy industry has affected the job market. The following quotes are all from famous Clevelanders.

“Oh, you hate your job? Why didn’t you say so? There’s a support group for that. It’s called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar.” – Drew Carey

“There is a lot of pressure put on me, but I don’t put a lot of pressure on myself. I feel if I play my game, it will take care of itself.” – LeBron James

“While being called beautiful is extremely flattering, I would much rather be noticed for my work as an actress.” – Halle Berry

“I wasn’t allowed to see movies when I was a child. It was against the religion I was raised in, Fundamentalist Baptist. I didn’t go into a commercial movie house until I was a senior in college, and that was on the sly. It wasn’t until I was in graduate school that I immersed myself in films. Then, I went to see all the films by Bergman, Fellini, etc.” – Wes Craven

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: Cleveland has many other names. It is called The Forest City, Metropolis of the Western Reserve, The Rock and Roll Capital of the World, C-Town, The Cleve, and Sixth City. Because it is so close to Lake Erie, it is also called The North Coast and insultingly, The Mistake on the Lake.  The people who live there are called Clevelanders. The decade between 1830 when there were 1,075 people and 1840 saw the biggest growth in the region when population swelled by 465%. Large increases for the next few decades continued with 180%, 155%, and 114% increases so that by 1880 the population was 160,146. Growth slowed but was continual until the 1930s when population slightly dropped. The highest population was 914,808 in 1930. Nearly a quarter of the population fled the city in the 1970s with another 20% decrease in the new millennium.

Also on this day: Public Enemy #1 – In 1934, John Dillinger met his end – maybe.
Falkirk – In 1298, the Battle of Falkirk took place.
And They’re Off – In 1894, the first motorized vehicle race was held.

And They’re Off

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 22, 2012

Georges Bouton driving one of his cars

July 22, 1894: The first motorized racing event is held. The route was from Paris to Rouen – a distance of 80 miles. At the time, races of other sorts were used as a marketing gambit. The first race ever organized for an automobile was held on April 28, 1887 and ran from the Neuilly Bridge to the Bois de Boulogne, a distance of about 1.25 miles. It was won by Georges Bouton who was the only entrant. Comte Jules-Albert de Dion was a passenger in the car. The sponsor was Le Vélocipède, a biking magazine.

On this day, a Paris newspaper called Le Petit Journal sponsored another race. De Dion was again in the race, but he was driving a steam-engine car. For a time, he and Bouton partnered to create the largest car manufacturing concern in the world. At this race, their car was pitted again Georges Peugeot, driving one of his own cars, René Panhard, driving his own car, and other more amateur builders. The car entrants had to meet the criteria of being “not dangerous, easy to drive, and cheap during the journey.” There were 102 people who paid the 10 franc entry fee. There were 25 cars selected to run in the race.

De Dion won, but was disqualified due to the fact his car needed a stoker, or someone to add fuel to keep the engine hot enough to produce steam. He completed the race in 6 hours and 48 minutes. His average speed was almost 12 mph. Peugeot was only 3:30 behind him with a second Peugeot car driven by Doriot coming in third. Panhard came in fourth with a second car under his brand driven by Levassor coming in fifth. The win was handed to Peugeot.

De Dion was not only a car racing enthusiast. He was also a businessman and a publisher. In 1898 he founded the Mondial de l’Automobile (Paris Motor Show). He created his own paper when a rival rag wasn’t giving him enough advertising space. L’Auto, a daily sporting newspaper was begun in 1900 with the help of Edouard Michelin. When their circulation began to flag in 1903, the men created the Tour de France to help boost sales once again. De Dion also founded Le Nain Jaune (the yellow gnome), an every other week publication which “answered no particular need.” He died in 1946 at the age of 90.

Racing is a matter of spirit not strength. – Janet Guthrie

Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports … all others are games. – Earnest Hemingway

To finish first, you must first finish. – Rick Mears

Aerodynamics is for those who cannot manufacture good engines. – Enzo Ferrari

Also on this day:

Public Enemy #1 – In 1934, John Dillinger met his end – maybe.
Cleaveland – In 1796, Cleveland, Ohio was named for the leader of the surveying party.
Falkirk – In 1298, the Battle of Falkirk took place.

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Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 22, 2011

William Wallace statue at Aberdeen (photo by Axis 12002)

July 22, 1298: The battle of Falkirk takes place. The combatants were the Scots and the Brits. Scotland had a period of stability that ended in 1286 when King Alexander III died after a fall from his horse. His four-year-old granddaughter was proclaimed Queen, but she died while traveling back from Norway. This left Scotland without a ruler and before civil war could break out, King Edward of England, stepped in to help settle the matter. By 1292 and before helping out, he insisted all Lords recognize him as Lord Paramount of Scotland. The Lords themselves selected John Balliol as their next ruler. King Edward reversed their decision. The Scots and Brits took up arms to defend their say.

The Battle of Dunbar resulted in a Scottish defeat and King John was forced to abdicate. The nobles were forced to pay homage to King Edward or else be held prisoners of war. Animosity remained and in 1297 William Wallace came to attention when he assassinated William de Heselrig, the English High Sherriff of Lanark. Wallace and William Douglas the Hardy next carried out the raid of the Scone – a rebellion matching many others across Scotland. While many nobles surrendered to the English in July, Wallace and Moray were not among them. They continued their rebellions.

On September 11, 1297, Wallace’s men won a surprising victory at the Battle of Stirling Bridge. They were greatly outnumbered, but managed to hold the bridge and keep the British from crossing while suffering great casualties. Emboldened by this victory, Wallace led a large scale raid into northern England in November 1297. It was around this time that Wallace was knighted.

The Battle of Falkirk did not have the same topography and the Scots were once again terribly outnumbered. There were about 6,000 Scottish warriors facing 15,000 British soldiers. The English had twice as much cavalry and two-and-a-half times the infantry. Wallace used a devised technique called a schiltron where his soldiers were lined up behind a rounded shield wall. The British were using the longbow and were able to strike behind the shield wall from a great distance. The schiltrons fell apart and the British could move in to victory. Wallace lost many of his supporters and was forced to leave his position of leadership. He was captured in 1305 after a traitor turned him in. He was found guilty of treason and hanged, but not until dead, then he was castrated and eviscerated with his bowels being burnt in front of him. He was then beheaded and quartered. His head was tarred and placed on pike on London Bridge while his limbs were displayed separately throughout England.

“I have brought you to the ring, now dance if you can.” [before the Battle of Falkirk]

“I could not be a traitor to Edward, for I was never his subject.”

“Every man dies. Not every man really lives.”

“I’m William Wallace, and the rest of you will be spared. Go back to England and tell them… Scotland is free!” – all from William Wallace

Also on this day:
Public Enemy #1 – In 1934, John Dillinger met his end – maybe.
Cleaveland – In 1796, Cleveland, Ohio was named for the leader of the surveying party.

Public Enemy #1

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 22, 2010

John Dillinger wanted poster

July 22, 1934: John Dillinger is gunned down by FBI agents in a set-up as he leaves the theater with his girl friend and his betrayer. During the Depression, banks failed across America, sweeping away the life savings of millions of regular folks. Homes were lost to foreclosure and businesses failed because of the banking crash. Banks were not seen as the “good guys.”

John Dillinger was a bank robber. Many Americans did not see this as a terrible crime. There was a Robin Hood mystique around bank robbers when these robbers destroyed mortgage paperwork while they were stealing the money. The daring and glamorous getaways were also viewed as entertainment, especially when the robbers were seen as handsome and polite.

The newly formed Federal Bureau of Investigation [FBI] run by J. Edgar Hoover did not view it this way. The FBI did not see the Robin Hood side of Dillinger, but instead noticed the ten dead men, seven wounded, the robberies of banks and police arsenals, and the three jail breaks he staged. The FBI made a deal with Ana Cumpanas who was trying to avoid deportation. She set up Dillinger while they exited the theater.

Maybe. Even today, there is no definitive agreement on the identify of the corpse outside the theater. Dillinger’s father denied that the body was his son’s. They eyes were listed as the wrong color on the autopsy report. There were signs of a childhood illness that Dillinger did not have. However, his sister did positively identify the body by a scar on the leg. Dillinger had plastic surgery to change his appearance and acid treatments to his fingertips to blur fingerprints. Many legends have grown around who died that night. John Dillinger Day is still held every year on this date.

“The greatest crimes are caused by excess and not by necessity. ” – Aristotle

Anonymous: How could crime be reduced?
Solon: If it caused as much resentment in those who are not its victims as in those who are.

“The duty to disclose knowledge of crime rests upon all citizens.” – Robert H. Jackson

“The repetition of a crime is sometimes part of a device of justification: we do it again and again to convince ourselves and others that it is a common thing and not an enormity.” – Eric Hoffer

Also on this day, in 1796 a new community was named for Moses Cleaveland.

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