“I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love.”
~King Edward VIII
1869 – Motivated perhaps more by interest in free publicity than a commitment to gender equality, Wyoming territorial legislators passed a bill that was signed into law granting women the right to vote.
Western states led the nation in approving women’s suffrage, but some of them had rather unsavory motives. Though some men recognized the important role women played in frontier settlement, others voted for women’s suffrage only to bolster the strength of conservative voting blocks.
In Wyoming, some men were also motivated by sheer loneliness.
The territory had over 6,000 adult males and only 1,000 females, and men hoped women would be more likely to settle in the rugged and isolated country if they were granted the right to vote.
1898 – The Treaty of Paris was signed, bringing an end to the Spanish-American War. The Treaty went into effect on April 11, 1899, when the documents of ratification were exchanged.
In accordance with the treaty, Spain:
1/ Gave up all rights to Cuba.
2/ Surrendered Puerto Rico and gave up its possessions in the West Indies.
3/ Surrendered the island of Guam to the United States.
4/ Surrendered the Philippines to the United States for a payment of twenty million dollars.
Many supporters of the war opposed the treaty, and it became one of the major issues in the election of 1900 when it was opposed by Democrat William Jennings Bryan because he opposed imperialism.
Republican President William McKinley upheld the treaty and was easily reelected.
1935 – King Edward VIII signed the instruments of abdication, choosing to give up the British throne so that he might marry Wallis Simpson, an American who had divorced her first husband and was seeking a divorce from her second.
His brother, Prince Albert, Duke of York, succeeded to the throne as George VI. George VI’s daughter, Princess Elizabeth, became first in the line of succession.
1962 – Lawrence of Arabia premiered at the Odeon Leicester Square in London.
The sprawling historical drama film based on the life of T. E. Lawrence starred Peter O’Toole in the title role and featured an all-star supporting cast of Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Anthony Quinn, Omar Sharif, Anthony Quayle, Claude Rains and Arthur Kennedy.
It was nominated for ten Academy Awards and won seven, including Best Picture.
1967 – Singer/songwriter Otis Redding died in a plane crash near Madison, Wisconsin. He was 26.
Redding and his backing band, the Bar-Kays, were travelling to perform at the Factory Nightclub when their plane – flying in heavy rain and fog – crashed into Lake Monona.
The other victims of the crash were four members of the Bar-Kays – guitarist Jimmy King, tenor saxophonist Phalon Jones, organist Ronnie Caldwell, and drummer Carl Cunningham; their valet, Matthew Kelly; and the pilot, Richard Fraser.
(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay, a song Redding had recorded just three days before his death, would become a posthumous #1 hit – the first posthumous #1 single in U.S. chart history.
1974 – Representative Wilbur D. Mills (D-Arkansas) resigned as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee in the aftermath of the first truly public sex scandal in American politics.
On October 7, Mills had been stopped by Washington park police while driving at night (2 a.m.) with his lights off. The 65-year-old congressman was visibly intoxicated, his face was scratched, and his companion, 38-year-old Annabelle Battistella, had bruised eyes.
Battistella then proceeded to jump into the Tidal Basin near the Jefferson Memorial and had to be pulled out by the police. She was later identified as a popular stripper who went by the names “Fanne Foxe” and the “Argentine Firecracker.”
Mills denied all the allegations but later admitted he had joined a party Battistella was present at after “a few refreshments.”
Mills was subsequently re-elected to Congress, but because of the escalating scandal, he was forced to retire his chairmanship and later announced that he would not run for reelection in 1976.
1978 – Movie director Ed Wood died of a heart attack.at the age of 54.
In the 1950s, Wood directed several low-budget science fiction, crime and horror films, notably Glen or Glenda, Night of The Ghouls, and Plan 9 From Outer Space – widely considered to be the worst film ever made.
In 1994, director Tim Burton released the biopic Ed Wood, starring Johnny Depp in the title role and Martin Landau, who won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Bela Lugosi.
1980 – Rep. John W. Jenrette (D-S.C.) resigned to avoid being expelled from the House following his conviction on charges related to the FBI’s Abscam investigation.
Jenrette was sentenced to two years in prison, of which he served 13 months.
Jenrette is also famous for another action during his days as a Congressman. He allegedly had sex with his then-wife Rita behind a pillar on the steps of the Capitol Building during a break in a late night session of Congress.
1999 – The Green Mile, starring Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan, premiered in U.S. theaters.
Duncan, who played the role of John Coffey, a giant black man wrongfully convicted of raping and killing two young white girls, received an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actor.
1999 – Babe Ruth was voted Major League Baseball’s Player of The Century by the Associated Press. Willie Mays was second, with Hank Aaron third.
Ted Williams, Ty Cobb, Joe DiMaggio, Walter Johnson, Lou Gehrig, Jackie Robinson, and Honus Wagner rounded out the top ten.
2005 – Eugene McCarthy died at the age of 89.
The former Senator from Minnesota burst onto the national political stage in 1968 when he ran for the Democratic presidential nomination.
His showing in the New Hampshire primary prompted President Lyndon Johnson to drop out of the race.
2007 – NFL quarterback Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison for bankrolling a dog fighting operation and killing dogs that underperformed.
U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson noted that despite Vick’s claim to have accepted responsibility for his actions, his failure to cooperate fully with federal officials, coupled with a failed drug test and a failed polygraph, indicated that he had not taken full responsibility for “promoting, funding and facilitating this cruel and inhumane sporting activity.”
2021 – Michael Nesmith died from heart failure at the age of 78.
He was best known as a member of the pop rock band the Monkees. His songwriting credits with the Monkees include Mary, Mary, The Girl I Knew Somewhere, Tapioca Tundra, Circle Sky and Listen To The Band. Additionally, his song “Different Drum became a hit for Linda Ronstadt & The Stone Poneys.
After leaving the Monkees in 1969, Nesmith continued his successful songwriting and performing career, first with the seminal country rock group the First National Band, with whom he had a top-40 hit, Joanne.
In 1974, Nesmith founded Pacific Arts, a multimedia production and distribution company, through which he helped pioneer the music video format, winning the first Grammy Award for Video of the Year for his hour-long comedy/variety program, Elephant Parts.
Typewriter Factoid: When Nesmith was 13, his mother invented the typewriter correction fluid later known commercially as Liquid Paper. Over the next 25 years, she built the Liquid Paper Corporation into an international company, which she sold to Gillette in 1979 for $47.5 million. She died a few months later at the age of 56.
In her will, she left her son $25 million ($84 million today). He spent a great deal of the money on her various social programs.
This is my final excursion into history. This column stops today. It has become much too time consuming. Typing with just one hand, which I’ve had to do since my car accident in 2021, has not made it any easier.
Compiled by Ray Lemire ©2023 RayLemire.com / Streamingoldies. All Rights Reserved.