Little Bits of History

September 19

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 19, 2017

1676: Jamestown, Virginia is burned to the grown. Late in 1606, settlers came to New World from England. They settled in what is today Virginia and established themselves at Jamestown. Unlike Roanoke Colony, this one survived and thrived, eventually. William Berkeley was governor of the Virginia colony from 1641-1652, appointed by his friend King Charles II of England. While governor, he passed laws to help diversify crops grown in the colony. The English Civil War interfered but in 1660, William was placed back as governor of Virginia. He was hoping for a diverse economy, free trade, a close knit colonial society, and freedom from London.

Berkeley was not at all responsive to the needs of the western frontier colonialists, especially those in confrontation with the Doeg Indians. He also cut Nathaniel Bacon out of negotiations and the fur trade in the region. Bacon was a wealthy merchant born in England and had been educated at Cambridge, made the grand tour of Europe, and got into a bit of trouble when he cheated another man out of his inheritance. His father gave him £1,800 and sent him to the colonies in exile. Upon arriving in the New World, Bacon purchased two plantations. His cousin was a friend of Berkeley’s and Bacon was appointed to the governor’s council.

Unrest began as early as 1674 and people were outraged by the corruption in Jamestown and the governor’s “inhumanly oppressive, and inexcusably inefficient” government, especially in war. As the natives grew more aggressive in defending their lands from the encroaching Europeans, the governor did little to support the border families. Bacon’s overseer at one of his plantations had been killed in an Indian attack. By July 30, Bacon and his makeshift army issued a Declaration of the People of Virginia lambasting Berkeley. This did little to help the matter. On this day, Bacon and 300-500 men entered Jamestown and set fires, burning it to the ground.

Berkeley fled and sent for help, but nothing was instantaneous. He had to wait. Bacon died of dysentery on October 26, 1676. John Ingram took over the leadership of the rebellion, but without Bacon, it pretty much just fell apart. When help did arrive, there were not enough rebels to sustain the conflict. Berkeley, then 71, returned to Jamestown in January 1677 and began to rebuild. The government seized the property of several of the wealthy men who had participated in the uprising and 23 men were executed by hanging. England sent a team to investigate the incident and report to King Charles, who relieved Berkeley of his position later in the year.

That old fool has put to death more people in that naked country than I did here for the murder of my father. – King Charles II

Of this and the aforesaid articles we accuse Sir William Berkeley as guilty of each and every one of the same, and as one who has traitorously attempted, violated, and injured his Majesty’s interest here by a loss of a great part of this his colony and many of his faithful loyal subjects by him betrayed and in a barbarous and shameful manner exposed to the incursions and murder of the heathen. – Nathaniel Bacon in the Declaration of the People of Virginia

I was not cut out to be a rebel. – Gene Tierney

I will die like a true-blue rebel. Don’t waste any time in mourning – organize. – Joe Hill



Light Show

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 19, 2015
Blackpool Illuminations

Blackpool Illuminations display

September 19, 1879: The first Blackpool Illuminations begin. During this first year, there were eight arc lamps bathing the Promenade and the show was called “Artificial sunshine”. The arc lamp produces light by an electric arc between carbon electrodes in the air. It was invented by Humphrey Davy in the early 1800s and was the first practical electric light. It was widely used by the 1870s for lighting up large buildings as well as streets. This event predated Edison’s patent for an electric light by a full year. The show continues to be held each year in the seaside resort of Blackpool on the Fylde Coast in Lancashire, in the northwestern part of England.

The lights stay on for 66 days. They start now in late August. It is the time of year when most English seaside resorts are closing for the year and the holiday season is coming to an end. The shows first took on the look of modern day displays in 1912 when lights were switched on in May to mark the first Royal family visit to Blackpool. Princess Louise came to open a new section of the Promenade, Princess Parade. At the time, the place was described as being festooned with garlands of lamps and there about 10,000 bulbs lit for the experience. The locals wished to create the same display in September of that year as the end of the season event. The next year, the same request was made.

Then World War I broke out and there were no further displays until 1925. Not only did they once again light up the night skies, they lengthened the area involved. New displays were added in 1932 with animal tableaux placed along the cliffs. The length of lights was again increased, now running from Starr Gate to Red Bank Road at Bispham, about six miles, and the show was ready for the 1939 season, but World War II broke out and the skies remained dark. Today, there are over a million bulbs used to brightly light up the area. The 66 day rule was altered in 2013 and 2014 with both years leaving the lights on for 73 days. The plan for this year is to have another 66 day season, which began on September 4 and is scheduled to end on November 8.

The event begins with The Big Switch On where a specially built arena is used for a celebrity to pull a switch and turn on the lights along the entire six miles. The first of these ceremonies was held in 1934 when Lord Derby was the dignitary. The Switch On has been broadcast on BBC Radio 1 in 1993 and is now broadcast on GMG Radio. Today, the visual paradise is usually seen as visitors drive slowly past. There are open top trams which also go by and allow passengers to view the sights. Horse-drawn landau are also available for hire. There are some large displays set up at the Bispham end. The lights cost £1.9 million each year to stage. After these lights go off in early September, a new display of Christmas lights are set up to begin later in the month.

Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light. – Helen Keller

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. – Edith Wharton

I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars. – Og Mandino

We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. – Plato

Also on this day: Lord Haw-Haw – In 1945, William Joyce was sentenced to death for high treason against the British Government.
Buy a Vowel? – In 1983, Wheel of Fortune began evening broadcasts.
Sportsman of the Year – In 1988, Greg Louganis hit his head on the diving board at the Olympic games.
Equal Rights – In 1893, women got the right to vote in New Zealand.
Farewell – In 1796, George Washington published his Farewell Address.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 19, 2014
George Washington’s Farewell Address

George Washington’s Farewell Address

September 19, 1796: George Washington’s Farewell Address is printed as an open letter to the public. Washington published the letter late in his second term before he retired to his home, Mount Vernon. The letter was published in the American Daily Advertiser on this day under the title “The Address of George Washington To The People of The United States on his declining of the Presidency of the United States.” Newspapers across the country reprinted the letter for others to share and it was also put out in pamphlet form. Since the title was a bit over the top, it was later changed to “Farewell Address”. This was Washington’s farewell after twenty years of service to the new nation.

The first draft was written in 1792 with the help of James Madison. Washington had hoped to serve only one term and then finally get to retire. As he ran for a second term, the letter was put aside. He opted to run for a second term when it was pointed out that party politics would tear the country apart without his adept leadership counteracting the divisive nature of the two parties, the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans. This disunity, along with troubling foreign affairs, led Washington away from retirement and into the ring for a second term as President.

Four years later, Alexander Hamilton helped Washington prepare a revision to the original draft. Washington looked at the emerging political landscape and how far the young country had come in a short time. His support of the Constitution was also mentioned. He defended his actions of the prior eight years and advised the nation and the population on how to proceed. Washington was exhausted. He was an old man of 64 at the time of the letter’s publication and it was two months before the Electoral College would announce the new leader of the country, John Adams.

Washington was able to retire in March 1797 and returned to his home in Virginia. He spent the last three years of his life immersed in his plantation and other business interests which included a distillery which produced its first run in February 1797. His estate was worth nearly a $1 million in 1799 dollars or about $19.3 million in today’s dollars. However, Washington was land poor. His holdings didn’t earn much money and squatters on his property refused to pay rent, feeling he was rich enough and didn’t need their money. By July 4, 1798 with war with Britain looking like a distinct possibility, Washington came out of retirement to become Commander-in-chief of the US armies, a position he held for seventeen months until his death. He was 67 years old and had been inspecting his plantation on horseback. He was cold and wet and became ill. Physicians were called and bloodletting was the choice of treatment. Three doctors helped bleed the Father of Our Country to death.

Government is not reason; it is not eloquent; it is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.

It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon the supposition he may abuse it.

The marvel of all history is the patience with which men and women submit to burdens unnecessarily laid upon them by their governments. – all from George Washington

Also on this day: Lord Haw-Haw – In 1945, William Joyce is sentenced to death for high treason against the British Government.
Buy a Vowel? – In 1983, Wheel of Fortune began evening broadcasts.
Sportsman of the Year – In 1988, Greg Louganis hit his head on the diving board at the Olympic games.
Equal Rights – In 1893, women got the right to vote in New Zealand.

Buy a Vowel?

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 19, 2013
Wheel of Fortune with Vanna White and Pat Sajak

Wheel of Fortune with Vanna White and Pat Sajak

September 19, 1983: An American game show begins syndicated, prime-time broadcast. Wheel of Fortune migrated from daytime to early evening with Pat Sajak and Vanna White working with three contestants to solve the puzzle. The game is similar to Hangman with a phrase or name displayed with all the letters blanked and appropriate spaces shown. Players spin the wheel to determine the cash value and then guess a consonant. If the letter appears, they get to spin again or solve the puzzle. Vowels are sold if the player has enough cash to buy them.

During the premiere year, the top money value on the wheel was $5,000. The player with the most cash after three rounds spent their earnings on prizes or gifts. In 1987, the players began to play for cash alone and a fourth round was added. The wheel has 24 spaces (each one three clicks). Most of them are for cash amounts but there are also prizes, free spins, lose a turn, and bankrupt spaces. The wheel weighs 4,000 pounds. For the 2008 season, a $1,000,000 space (wedged in between two bankrupt spaces) was added.

Pat Sajak was a meteorologist and talk show host before coming to Wheel of Fortune. Merv Griffin, creator of the show (and Jeopardy!) liked Sajak’s on air personality and asked him to take Chuck Woolery’s spot on the daytime version. The rest, as they say, is history. One year, for an April Fool’s joke, Sajak and Alex Trebek (host of Jeopardy!) switched places. Pat Sajak’s philanthropic efforts include the Anne Arundel Medical Center in Annapolis, Maryland.

Vanna White is from North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. She became a model and moved to Los Angeles, hoping to become an actress. She auditioned for the co-hosting job along with 200 others. She was selected because of her “intelligence, all-American beauty, grace, and exuberant personality.” She has been turning letters and dressing in high fashion outfits ever since. Her own fans – called “Vannafans” – have added to the show’s popularity. Vanna is the most frequent applauder on television, clapping her hands 720 times per show or 28,000 times per season. Her own philanthropic endeavors go to helping St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

“A celebrity’s opinion should not be given any more weight than anyone else’s, unless there is some special expertise the celebrity brings to a subject. That expertise should involve real life, as opposed to having once portrayed a doctor or a mayor or a scientist in a movie or on a television show.” – Pat Sajak

“Anyone who has seen me spin that heavy, giant wheel on television knows that I’m not a steroid user.” – Pat Sajak

“I think people think of me as this elegant person because they always see me dressed up.” – Vanna White

“It’s not the most intellectual job in the world, but I do have to know the letters.” – Vanna White

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: Wheel of Fortune remains on the air with both Pat and Vanna hosting the show. In 2009, the show became the longest running syndicated game show in the US when they reached 5,000 shows on February 27 of that year. Their thirtieth season began on September 17, 2012. Merv Griffin was the show’s executive producer until he retired in 2000. Harry Friedman worked with Griffen from 1999 and took over the position which he has held since. Steve Schwartz took over as producer in 1997 and has held that position to this date. The location for filming has changed over time and is presently at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, California and has been since 1995. Today, the award winning show is distributed by CBS Television Distribution.

Also on this day: Lord Haw-Haw – In 1945, William Joyce is sentenced to death for high treason against the British Government.
Sportsman of the Year – In 1988, Greg Louganis hit his head on the diving board at the Olympic games.
Equal Rights – In 1893, women got the right to vote in New Zealand.

Equal Rights

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 19, 2012

Richard Seddon

September 19, 1893: The Electoral Act of 1893 passes. Suffrage or political franchise is the civil right to vote gained through a democratic process. One of the basic rights of democratic freedom is the right to have one’s voice heard at the ballot box. It has been a highly contested right over time and as the fight goes on, more people are given this “inalienable” right which was withheld from them. On this day, in New Zealand, women were given the right to vote, the first presently independent country to do so. The right was not easily won, however. Women of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and other independent souls thought that women having a voice in politics would bring a wider moral compass to the process. Opponents believed that women’s place was in the home. As a retort, women claimed having a voice in politics would help to protect families.

Jules Vogel, the eighth premier of New Zealand had tried to get the vote to women in 1887 but the bill failed. Others also narrowly missed being passed. Then in 1893, the Lower House passed a bill with a large majority. Next it needed to pass the Legislative Council (the upper house) and the voting was very close. Premier Richard Seddon ordered a Liberal Party councilor to change his vote to against the bill.  Two others were so annoyed that they switched their votes, too. They moved from against to for the passage and the bill went through the Council with a vote of 20 to 18. Both sides claimed they were responsible for the passage of the bill in order to gain favor with the newly minted voters across the country.

Women have been seeking a voice in government since voting began. Even in medieval Europe, city and town elections were open to head of households. In Sweden, between 1718 and 1771, women taxpayers who were listed as professionals in guild rolls were given the right to vote. In Corsica in 1755, unmarried or widowed women over the age of 25 were permitted to vote and could until the collapse of the Republic in 1769. In 1756 Lydia Chapin Taft became the first legal woman voter in the American colonies when she was permitted to have a say at a town meeting.

Some small island states (Pitcairn, Isle of Man, Cook Islands) gave women the vote before New Zealand. In the twentieth century, women’s suffrage really took off. Australia gave them the vote in 1902 and Finland followed in 1906. During the next decade, another 24 nations (including the UK) gave the fairer sex the right to a fair vote. During the 1920s another 11 nations jumped on the bandwagon, including the US. Another 18 nations got on board in the 1930s. The last nation to allow this precious right to female citizens in the twentieth century was Qatar, who gave women the vote in 1997. In the 21st century, Bahrain (2002), Oman (2003), Kuwait (2005), and United Arab Emirates (2006) finally caved to pressure and allowed women the vote. Saudi Arabia is expected to grant this right to women in 2015.

Every citizen of this country should be guaranteed that their vote matters, that their vote is counted, and that in the voting booth, their vote has a much weight as that of any CEO, any member of Congress, or any President. – Barbara Boxer

I believe that voting is the first act of building a community as well as building a country. – John Ensign

I’m totally down with insurrection in the street. I’ve had a great time with that over the years. Insurrection in the voting booth is the other part of the equation. – Jello Biafra

When public access to voting is impaired or when public confidence in voting is diluted, democracy suffers and our freedom is less secure. – DeForest Soaries

Also on this day:

Lord Haw-Haw – In 1945, William Joyce is sentenced to death for high treason against the British Government.
Buy a Vowel? – In 1983, Wheel of Fortune began evening broadcasts.
Sportsman of the Year – In 1988, Greg Louganis hit his head on the diving board at the Olympic games.

Sportsman of the Year

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 19, 2011

Greg Louganis (photo by Alan Light)

September 19, 1988: While qualifying for the Olympics in Seoul, Korea, Greg Louganis strikes his head on the edge of the diving board. This was during the ninth of the eleven preliminary dives from the three-meter (9.8 feet) springboard. He was attempting a reverse 2.5 pike when he cracked his head on the board. He needed stitches in the wound but returned 35 minutes later to dive. After the preliminary round was completed, Louganis went to the hospital to receive further treatment.

Louganis began diving at 10 years of age. By the age of 16, he had won his first Olympic medal, a silver for the 10 meter (33 feet) platform dive. In 1984, at the Los Angeles games, he became the first man in 54 years to win both the platform and springboard gold medals. Even with his injury, he again won two gold medals, the first to win back-to-back double gold medals for these events.

He has 6 World Championships and 47 National Championship titles. He holds 6 gold medals from the Pan Am Games. He was voted the most outstanding amateur athlete in 1988 and received the Sullivan Award. His own website states that he is clearly the “world’s greatest diver and a fine athlete.”

In 1995, Louganis published his autobiography – Breaking the Surface. In that book he admitted that he was HIV positive at the time of his injury in Seoul. Dr. Puffer, who treated his head wound, did not wear gloves while placing sutures. Greg did not tell the doctor of his disease due to “confusion, shock, and panic.” Dr. Puffer has been tested and remains HIV negative. Louganis’s book was turned into a TV film. He continues to write, act, and has a list of speaking engagements. His latest book is about his other love – dogs. His newest book is For the Life of Your Dog co-authored with Betty Sicora Siino. He has been coaching divers for SoCal Divers Club since November 2010.

“I didn’t realize I was that close to the board. When I hit it, it was kind of a shock. But I think my pride was hurt more than anything else.” – Greg Louganis

“Everything was all so mixed up at that point: the HIV, the shock and embarrassment of hitting my head and an awful feeling that it was all over.” – Greg Louganis

“You better believe there will be times in your life when you’ll be feeling like a stumbling fool. So take it from me: you’ll learn more from your accident than anything that you could ever learn in school.” – Billy Joel

“A man ever supports great and inevitable misfortunes with more calmness and resignation than trifling accidents.” – unknown

Also on this day:
Lord Haw-Haw – In 1945, William Joyce is sentenced to death for high treason against the British Government.
Buy a Vowel? – In 1983, Wheel of Fortune began evening broadcasts.

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Lord Haw-Haw

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 27, 2010

William Joyce, also known as Lord Haw-Haw

September 19, 1945: William Joyce is sentenced to death for high treason by the British courts. Joyce was born in NYC in 1906 to an Irish father and English mother who had taken American citizenship. When he was three, his family returned to Ireland to live and when he was fifteen, they again moved to London.

Joyce attended Birkbeck College where he joined the British Fascisti Limited in 1923. During a political protest, he was slashed across the face with a razor. He was kicked out of the Union of Fascists and so founded the National Socialist League in 1937 and then co-founded the British Council Against European Commitment in 1938. He was known as a gifted speaker and a savage brawler. He was committed to the anti-Semitic philosophy and stirred up civil unrest.

By August of 1939, with MI5 intending to detain him, Joyce fled to Germany. He became a naturalized German citizen in 1940. Radio broadcasts of propaganda material was produced in Berlin and broadcast to England. Lord Haw-Haw was the propagandist. Originally that job went to Wolf Mitler, but in 1939 Joyce took over the role. He was given the Distinguished Service Cross signed personally by Adolf Hitler in 1944.

Many Britons listened to Lord Haw-Haw for news of what was happening on the continent. The broadcasts were more of a uniting force for listeners than a psychologically destructive tool. As the Allies closed in, Joyce’s life unraveled. He was drinking heavily. He was captured at the border by British soldiers. He was brought to trial, found guilty of treason, and executed by hanging on January 3, 1946 at age 39.

“Germany calling! Germany calling!” – William Joyce, opening line of Lord Haw-Haw program

“Sin has many tools, but a lie is the handle which fits them all.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

“The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly and with unflagging attention. It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.” – Adolf Hitler

“Why is propaganda so much more successful when it stirs up hatred than when it tries to stir up friendly feelings?” – Bertrand Russell

Also on this day, in 1983 Wheel of Fortune began evening broadcasting.