This Day in American History
1729 – Natchez Indians massacred most of the 300 French settlers and soldiers at Fort Rosalie, Louisiana.
1745 – French troops attacked Indians at Saratoga, NY. The Saratoga of 1745 was on the site of the present Schuylerville, NY, on the west bank of the Hudson River about eleven miles east of the present Saratoga Springs NY, and only about thirty miles north of Albany. The raiders were four hundred French troops and two hundred and twenty Indians of the Abnaki and Caughnawaga tribes. The Caughnawagas were a breakaway group from the Mohawk tribe. The Mohawks – eastern most among the six nations of the Iroquois League – were constrained by their proximity, if nothing else, to prefer the English, but at the time the official Iroquois position was one of neutrality. The Caughnawagas were a group of Mohawks who preferred the French and had moved north and adopted the Caughnawaga name, but the Mohawks still considered them as wayward brothers. Thus it was unthinkable that the Mohawks would stop these raiders as they came through Mohawk territory on this raid. There was no serious opposition to the attack on Saratoga, which came at dawn. The town was burned so completely that the only structure left standing was a sawmill somewhat apart from the main part of town. The raiders killed or captured one hundred and one individuals, including the slaves of the residents. The terrified citizens had helped the raiders by burning their own fort and fleeing down the Hudson. The Iroquois, no fools, had given a promise of alliance to the English, when the massive English Army they had been told was coming to crush the French appeared. Of course, there was never a plan to send any such English Army to NY. The debacle of Saratoga was further proof to the Iroquois that the English were not committed to fighting the French but were instead trying to get the Iroquois to do it for them.
1775 – The 2nd Continental Congress adopts first rules for regulation of the “Navy of the United Colonies.”
1775 – While the Marines were authorized to form on November 10 by the Continental Congress, the first marine officer was Samuel Nicholas, a Philadelphia Quaker, commissioned captain on November 28, 1775, at $32 a month. The Marines were under the jurisdiction of the War Department until April 30, 1798, when Congress created the Navy Department. The present Marine Corps was created by act of July 11, 1798, which authorized a major, 4 captains, 16 first lieutenants, 12 second lieutenants, 48 sergeants, 48 corporals, 32 drums and fifes, and 720 privates, including enlisted men. The first major was William Ward Burrows of South Carolina, who was appointed July 12, 1798, and served nearly 6 years.
1785 – Treaty of Hopewell was signed at Hopewell Plantation, owned by Andrew Pickens in northwestern South Carolina. The treaties were signed between the Confederation Congress of the US and the Cherokee (1785), Choctaw and Chickasaw (1786) peoples. The historic site of the ‘Treaty Oak,’ where the signings took place, is on Old Cherry Road in Pickens County, SC. The treaty laid out a western boundary for American settlement. The treaty gave rise to the sardonic Cherokee phrase of ‘Talking Leaves,’ since they claimed that when the treaties no longer suited the Americans, they would blow away like talking leaves.
1795 – US paid $800,000 and a frigate as tribute to Algiers and Tunis.
1861 – The Confederate Congress officially admitted Missouri to the Confederate Army.
1871 – Ku Klux Klan trials began in Federal District Court in South Carolina.
1872 – The Modoc War of 1872-73 began in Siskiyou County, northern California when fighting broke out between Modoc Chief Captain Jack and a cavalry detail led by Captain James Jackson. Brutally harsh conduct characterized white-Indian struggles in the Northwest, such as the 1,000-mile saga of the 1877 Nez Percé War and the Modoc War. Harvesters of fish and waterfowl, game, seeds and bulbs, the Modoc were a tribe of the Iutuamian stock. They lived on lava plateaus dotted with sage and the forested mountains of northern California and southern Oregon. Their houses, which resembled beehives, lined the banks of Lost River and the shores of Tule Lake. White settlers began to populate the attractive area in the 1860s. The Modoc resisted the encroachment at great cost and, by 1864, the tribe had been reduced to about 250. Subsequently, they surrendered their lands to the U.S. government and entered the former Klamath reservation in southern Oregon. They barely survived on the hardscrabble reservation. In 1870, Chief Kintpuash, also known as Captain Jack, directed some of his band to California. When the group subsequently refused to return to the reservation, attempts were made to force the Modocs’ return, which precipitated the war of 1872-1873. U.S. soldiers pursued the Indians to Tule Lake. There, lava beds and caves furnished nearly perfect fortifications for the quarry. The small band of about 150 poorly armed Indians held out for six months. Repeatedly repulsed, the soldiers enlarged their ranks to 1,000 by March, 1873. In the course of peace talks, negotiators General E. R. S. Canby and Eleazer Thomas were killed. The soldiers grimly stepped up their struggle to overpower the Modoc. In 1873, Captain Jack and his whittled-down band of approximately 30 surrendered; he and three others were hanged. A number of the rebellious group were returned to Klamath Reservation, and the rest were sent to Quapaw Reservation in Oklahoma. The Klamath Reservation was disbanded in 1963, and the Native Americans on the Quapaw Reservation merged with other tribes.
1895 – The first automobile race took place, between Chicago and Waukegan, Ill.
1906 – George Wettling (d. 1968) birthday, Chicago. American jazz drummer, he was one of the young white Chicagoans who fell in love with jazz as a result of hearing King Oliver’s band with Louis Armstrong on second cornet at the Lincoln Gardens in Chicago in the early 1920s. Oliver’s drummer, Baby Dodds, made a particular and lasting impression upon Wettling. He went on to work with the big bands of Artie Shaw, Bunny Berrigan, Red Norvo, Paul Whiteman, and even Harpo Marx, but he was at his best on (and will be best remembered for) his work in small ‘hot’ bands led by Eddie Condon, Muggsy Spanier, and himself.
1907 – Birthday of African-American painter and sculptor Charles H. Alston (d. 1977) at Charlotte, NC. Charles Alston was celebrated in his lifetime for seminal paintings and sculptures that defy categorization. Throughout his career, he experimented with styles ranging from realism to abstraction. His realistic WPA murals at Harlem Hospital depict a narrative in the style of Diego Rivera. The Cubist painting of “The Family” (1955), is an excellent example of Alston’s early work, influenced by Italian artist Amedeo Modigliani. “Black Man, Black Woman USA” has a decidedly Egyptian style of portraiture. “Walking” (1958), which depicts a silent crowd, almost prophecies the turmoil and social agitation of the Civil Rights Movement.
1915 – Birthday of trumpet player and arranger Dick Vance, (d. 1985), Mayfield, KY. Arranged for Chick Webb, Cab Callaway, Harry James.
1925 – The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville made its debut on radio station WSM.
1927 – Birthday of altoist Gigi Gryce, born George General Grice Jr. (d. 1983), Pensacola, FL.
1929 – Ernie Nevers scored all 40 points – 6 TDs and 4 PATs – for the Chicago Cardinals in a 40-6 rout of the Chicago Bears. This is still a NFL record.
1929 – Adm. Richard Byrd made his first flight over Antarctica.
1929 – Berry Gordy, Jr. was born in Detroit. He is the founder of the Motown record label. In 1957, Jackie Wilson recorded “Reet Petite,” a song Gordy had co-written with his sister Gwen and writer-producer Billy Davis. It became a modest hit, but had more success internationally, especially in the UK. Wilson recorded six more songs co-written by Gordy over the next two years, including “Lonely Teardrops,” which topped the R&B charts and got to number 7 in the pop chart. Berry and Gwen Gordy also wrote for Etta James at Chess Records. Also in 1957, he discovered The Miracles and began building a portfolio of successful artists. In 1959, with the encouragement of Miracles leader Smokey Robinson, Gordy borrowed $800 from his family to create an R&B record company. Gordy chose the name Tamla Records and began operating on January 21, 1959. “Come to Me” by Marv Johnson was issued as Tamla 101 as well as Johnson’s more successful follow-up records such as “You Got What it Takes,” co-produced and co-written by Gordy. His next release was the only 45 ever issued on his Rayber label, featuring Wade Jones with an unnamed female backup group. The record did not sell well and is now one of the rarest issues from the Motown stable. The Tamla and Motown labels were then merged into a new company, Motown, incorporated on April 14, 1960. In 1960, Gordy signed an unknown singer, Mary Wells, who became the fledgling label’s first star, with Smokey Robinson penning her hits “You Beat Me to the Punch,” “Two Lovers,” and “My Guy.” The Miracles’ hit “Shop Around” peaked at No. 1 on the national R&B charts in late 1960 and at No. 2 on the Billboard pop charts on January 16, 1961, establishing Motown as an independent company worthy of notice. Later in 1961, The Marvelettes’ “Please, Mr. Postman” made it to the top of both charts. Gordy’s gift for identifying and bringing together musical talent, along with the careful management of his artists’ public image, made Motown initially a major national and then international success. Over the next decade, he signed such artists as The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, The Contours, The Four Tops, Gladys Knight and The Pips, Stevie Wonder and The Jackson 5. Though he also signed various white acts on the label, he largely promoted African-American artists but carefully controlled their public image, dress, manners and choreography for across-the-board appeal.
1932 – Groucho Marx performed on radio for the first time.
1938 – The Chicago White Sox 25-year-old pitcher Monty Stratton’s leg was amputated after a hunting accident.
1942 – 602 died in a fire at the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston.
1943 – FDR, Churchill and Stalin met in Tehran to plan the next moves after World War II.
1948 – “Hopalong Cassidy” premiered on NBC-TV. Actor Bill Boyd, 53, starred in the title role. This was the first western series on television. A fictional cowboy hero created in 1904 by Clarence E. Mulford, who wrote a series of popular short stories and many novels based on the character. In his early writings, Mulford portrayed the character as rude, dangerous, and rough-talking. From 1935, the character, as played by Boyd in films adapted from Mulford’s books, was transformed into a clean-cut hero. Sixty-six popular films appeared, only a few of which were loosely based on Mulford’s stories.
1950 – Shortly after releasing Branch Rickey, Brooklyn Dodgers’ owner Walter O’Malley replaced manager Burt Shotton with Chuck Dressen. Shotton, who replaced the suspended Leo Durocher in 1947, compiled a 326-215 record with pennants in 1947 and 1949.
1950 – BARBER, WILLIAM E., Medal of Honor
Rank and organization: Captain U.S. Marine Corps, commanding officer, Company F, 2d Battalion 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein.). Place and date: Chosin Reservoir area, Korea, 28 November to 2 December 1950. Entered service at: West Liberty, Ky. Born: 30 November 1919, Dehart, Ky. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of Company F in action against enemy aggressor forces. Assigned to defend a 3-mile mountain pass along the division’s main supply line and commanding the only route of approach in the march from Yudam-ni to Hagaru-ri, Capt. Barber took position with his battle-weary troops and, before nightfall, had dug in and set up a defense along the frozen, snow-covered hillside. When a force of estimated regimental strength savagely attacked during the night, inflicting heavy casualties and finally surrounding his position following a bitterly fought 7-hour conflict, Capt. Barber, after repulsing the enemy gave assurance that he could hold if supplied by airdrops and requested permission to stand fast when orders were received by radio to fight his way back to a relieving force after 2 reinforcing units had been driven back under fierce resistance in their attempts to reach the isolated troops. Aware that leaving the position would sever contact with the 8,000 marines trapped at Yudam-ni and jeopardize their chances of joining the 3,000 more awaiting their arrival in Hagaru-ri for the continued drive to the sea, he chose to risk loss of his command rather than sacrifice more men if the enemy seized control and forced a renewed battle to regain the position, or abandon his many wounded who were unable to walk. Although severely wounded in the leg in the early morning of the 29th, Capt. Barber continued to maintain personal control, often moving up and down the lines on a stretcher to direct the defense and consistently encouraging and inspiring his men to supreme efforts despite the staggering opposition. Waging desperate battle throughout 5 days and 6 nights of repeated onslaughts launched by the fanatical aggressors, he and his heroic command accounted for approximately 1,000 enemy dead in this epic stand in bitter subzero weather, and when the company was relieved only 82 of his original 220 men were able to walk away from the position so valiantly defended against insuperable odds. His profound faith and courage, great personal valor, and unwavering fortitude were decisive factors in the successful withdrawal of the division from the deathtrap in the Chosin Reservoir sector and reflect the highest credit upon Capt. Barber, his intrepid officers and men, and the U.S. Naval Service.
1950 – CAFFERATA, HECTOR A., JR. Medal of Honor
Rank and organization: Private, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Company F, 2d Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein.). Place and date: Korea, 28 November 1950. Entered service at: Dover, N.J. Born: 4 November 1929, New York, N.Y. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a rifleman with Company F, in action against enemy aggressor forces. When all the other members of his fire team became casualties, creating a gap in the lines, during the initial phase of a vicious attack launched by a fanatical enemy of regimental strength against his company’s hill position, Pvt. Cafferata waged a lone battle with grenades and rifle fire as the attack gained momentum and the enemy threatened penetration through the gap and endangered the integrity of the entire defensive perimeter. Making a target of himself under the devastating fire from automatic weapons, rifles, grenades, and mortars, he maneuvered up and down the line and delivered accurate and effective fire against the onrushing force, killing 15, wounding many more, and forcing the others to withdraw so that reinforcements could move up and consolidate the position. Again fighting desperately against a renewed onslaught later that same morning when a hostile grenade landed in a shallow entrenchment occupied by wounded marines, Pvt. Cafferata rushed into the gully under heavy fire, seized the deadly missile in his right hand and hurled it free of his comrades before it detonated, severing part of 1 finger and seriously wounding him in the right hand and arm. Courageously ignoring the intense pain, he staunchly fought on until he was struck by a sniper’s bullet and forced to submit to evacuation for medical treatment Stouthearted and indomitable, Pvt. Cafferata, by his fortitude, great personal valor, and dauntless perseverance in the face of almost certain death, saved the lives of several of his fellow marines and contributed essentially to the success achieved by his company in maintaining its defensive position against tremendous odds. His extraordinary heroism throughout was in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
1950 – EMORE, ROBERT S., Medal of Honor
Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, Company E, 2d Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein). Place and date: North of Yudam-ni, Korea, 27 and 28 November 1950. Entered service at: Greenville, S.C. Born: 21 June 1920, Greenville, S.C. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as leader of a machine gun section in Company E, in action against enemy aggressor forces. With the company’s defensive perimeter overrun by a numerically superior hostile force during a savage night attack north of Yudam-ni and his platoon commander seriously wounded, S/Sgt. Kennemore unhesitatingly assumed command, quickly reorganized the unit and directed the men in consolidating the position. When an enemy grenade landed in the midst of a machine gun squad, he bravely placed his foot on the missile and, in the face of almost certain death, personally absorbed the full force of the explosion to prevent injury to his fellow marines. By his indomitable courage, outstanding leadership and selfless efforts in behalf of his comrades, S/Sgt. Kennemore was greatly instrumental in driving the enemy from the area and upheld the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
1959 – Frankie Avalon’s “Why” hits #1
1960 – “Are You Lonesome Tonight,” a ballad that was written in 1926 and first recorded by Al Jolson, became Elvis Presley’s 14th number one hit in the US. Billboard magazine reported that five answer records to “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” had been released. Four of them were different versions of the same song entitled “Yes, I’m Lonesome Tonight.” The fifth was the standard “Oh How I Miss You Tonight.”
1961 – Ernie Davis, halfback of Syracuse University, was the first African-American named to win the Heisman Memorial Trophy. The halfback of Syracuse University was presented with the award on December 6, 1961, at the Downtown Athletic Club, New York City. The Heisman trophy is awarded annually to the outstanding college player in the United States. Davis, who was nicknamed “The Elmira Express,” was a star running back at Syracuse and led the Orangemen in rushing for three seasons. He also became the first native of New York State to capture the award. Davis was a first round draft pick of the Cleveland Browns after his graduation from Syracuse but he was stricken with leukemia before ever playing a game in the National Football League. Davis died in May, 1963, after a 16-month battle against the disease. Davis was elected to the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame in 1979.
1964 – Mariner 4, the first successful mission to Mars, was launched. Approached within 6,118 miles of Mars on July 14, 1965. Took photographs and instrument readings.
1964 – President Lyndon Johnson’s top advisers–Maxwell Taylor, Dean Rusk, Robert McNamara, and other members of the National Security Council–agree to recommend that the president adopt a plan for a two-stage escalation of the bombing of North Vietnam. The purpose of this bombing was three-fold: to boost South Vietnamese morale, to cut down infiltration of Communist troops from the north, and to force Hanoi to stop its support of the insurgency in South Vietnam. While his advisors agreed that bombing was necessary, there was a difference of opinion about the best way to go about it. Johnson’s senior military advisers pressed for a “fast and full squeeze,” massive attacks against major industries and military targets in the north. His civilian advisers advocated a “slow squeeze,” a graduated series of attacks beginning with the infiltration routes in Laos and slowly extending to the targets in North Vietnam. Ultimately, the civilian advisers convinced Johnson to use the graduated approach. The bombing campaign, code-named Rolling Thunder, began in March, 1965 and lasted through October, 1968.
1964 – Trumpeter Hugh Masekela is a featured guest on CBS-TV’s game show “To Tell the Truth.”
1964 – The Shangri-Las’ teen-trouble classic, “Leader Of The Pack,” topped the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. It made #11 in the UK. Beatles’ drummer Ringo Starr said about the song: “Oh no, they’re saying the leader of the pack’s dead and all that. This record’s a load of rubbish. Turn it off.”
1965 – President Elect Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines states that he will send troops to South Vietnam, in response to President Lyndon Johnson’s call for “more flags” in Vietnam. Johnson hoped to enlist other nations to send military aid and troops to support the American cause in South Vietnam. The level of support was not the primary issue; Johnson wanted to portray international solidarity and consensus for U.S. policies in Southeast Asia. The Philippines sent a 1,500-man civic action force in 1966; the United States paid for the group’s operating costs and also provided additional military and economic aid to Marcos in return for sending his troops. Several other countries–including Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, and Thailand–responded to Johnson’s call and sent troops to South Vietnam. Collectively, these troops were known as the Free World Military Forces, and they fought alongside American and South Vietnamese troops.
1965 – Elvis Presley, surrounded by friends including Larry Geller, “drops” LSD for the first time at Graceland, joined by girlfriend Priscilla Beaulieu. After staring at each other’s distorted faces, the tropical fish in his aquarium, and, the next day, at dew drops on the breathing grass, both decide that they’d be risking their sanity to try the drug again.
1965 – Haight Ashbury Vietnam Committee was the historic first organization against the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War was the longest and most unpopular military conflict in U.S. history. More than 58,000 Americans were killed and 304,000 wounded, (up to 4 million Vietnamese were killed). The war began soon after the 1954 Geneva Conference divided Vietnam at 17 N lat. into the Communist-supported Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) and the U.S. supported Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). Direct American involvement began in 1955 with the arrival of the first advisors. The first combat troops arrived in 1965 and fought until the cease-fire of January, 1973. For the United States, the war ended with the withdrawal of American troops and failure of its foreign policy in Vietnam. The length of the war, the high number of U.S. casualties, and the exposure of U.S. involvement in war crimes such as the massacre at My Lai turned many in the United States against the war.
1968 – The Beatles’ The Beatles (a/k/a “The White Album”) hits #1
1968 – The first major rock concert on the East Coast, the Miami Pop Festival, takes place, a three-day affair featuring Chuck Berry, Marvin Gaye, The Turtles, Joni Mitchell, Procol Harum, Steppenwolf, Canned Heat, Iron Butterfly, The McCoys, Fleetwood Mac, The Box Tops, Three Dog Night, Pacific Gas and Electric, and The Grateful Dead.
1971 – Sha Na Na makes the big time tonight, headlining Carnegie Hall with host Keith Moon of the Who (a huge fan of the group, as it turns out).
1972 – Mick Jagger visits Managua, Nicaragua with his wife Bianca, searching for her mother after a devastating recent earthquake that claimed thousands of lives. Fortunately, Bianca’s mother is fine.
1974 – Helen Reddy’s “Angie Baby” hits #1
1974 – Elton John was joined on stage by John Lennon at Elton’s Madison Square Garden concert. They performed three numbers together: “Whatever Gets You Through the Night,” “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “I Saw Her Standing There.” Lennon had promised the flamboyant rocker that he would make a stage appearance with him if his “What Gets You Through the Night” became a #1 hit, which it did two weeks earlier. Later that same night, Lennon and his estranged wife Yoko Ono reconciled backstage after being separated for a year.
1979 – The first goalie to score a goal in the National Hockey League was Bill Smith of the New York Islanders. In a game against the Colorado Rockies at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, NY, Smith stopped a shot that rebounded and slid all the way down the ice into the opposing team’s goal.
1993 – Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” reaches the top of the Billboard Hot 100 where it will stay unchallenged until next March.
2001 – Enron Corp., once the world’s largest energy trader, collapsed after would-be rescuer Dynegy Inc. backed out of an $8.4 billion deal to take it over.
2010 – A precursor of the future: WikiLeaks released 250,000 classified documents and sensitive national security information sent by U.S. embassies; the U.S. condemned the unauthorized disclosure.