On May 26…

“I believe none of us should ever stop growing, learning, changing, and being curious about what’s going to happen next. None of us is perfect, so we should be eager to learn more and try to be more effective persons in every part of our lives.”
~Art Linkletter

1865 – Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith, commander of the Confederate Trans-Mississippi division, negotiated the surrender of his department nearly 8 weeks after Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.
With Smith’s surrender, the last Confederate army ceased to exist, bringing a formal end to the bloodiest four years in U.S. history.
A total of 620,000 Union and Confederate soldiers were dead.

1868 – At the end of a historic two-month trial, the U.S. Senate narrowly failed to convict President Andrew Johnson of the impeachment charges levied against him by the House of Representatives three months earlier.
The senators voted 35 guilty and 19 not guilty on the second article of impeachment (“violation of the Tenure of Office Act”). The act prohibited the president from removing federal office holders, including cabinet members, who had been confirmed by the Senate, without the consent of the Senate.
In the fall of 1867, Johnson attempted to test the constitutionality of the act by replacing Secretary of War Edwin Stanton with General Ulysses S. Grant. However, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to rule on the case, and Grant turned the office back to Stanton.

On February 21, 1868, Johnson tried again by appointing General Lorenzo Thomas as secretary of war. The House of Representatives initiated formal impeachment proceedings against the president.
Ten days earlier, the Senate had likewise failed to convict Johnson on another article of impeachment (“high crimes and misdemeanor” in accordance with Article Two of the United States Constitution), voting an identical 35-19 for conviction.
Because both votes fell short – by one vote – of the two-thirds majority needed to convict Johnson, he remained in office. Nevertheless, he chose not to seek reelection later that year.

1896 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average was first published. The average price of the 11 initial stocks was 40.94.
If you have ever wondered who Dow and Jones were – or even if you never have – they were journalist Charles Dow, founder of The Wall Street Journal and statistician Edward Jones.

1897 – The first copies of the classic vampire novel Dracula by Irish writer Bram Stoker appeared in London bookshops.
The book was not an immediate bestseller when it was first published. It reached its broad and iconic status only later in the 20th century.
Stoker would go on to publish 17 novels in all, but it was Dracula that eventually earned him literary fame and became known as a masterpiece of Victorian-era Gothic literature.

1897 – The original manuscript of William Bradford’s journal, Of Plimouth Plantation 1620-1647, was returned to the Governor of Massachusetts by the Bishop of London after being taken during the Revolutionary War.
The journal was written between 1630 and 1651 and described the story of the Pilgrims from 1608, when they settled in the Dutch Republic on the European mainland through the 1620 Mayflower voyage to what Bradford called “a New World” and the struggles they faced.
It is considered the most authoritative account of the Pilgrims and the early years of the colony which they founded.
The journal resides in a custom-designed clamshell box inside the State Library of Massachusetts in the State House in Boston.

1924 – President Calvin Coolidge signed the Immigration Act of 1924 (The Johnson-Reed Act).
The act limited the annual number of immigrants who could be admitted from any country to 2% of the number of people from that country who were already living in the United States in 1890.
It completely excluded immigrants from Asia.
Congress revised the Act in 1952.

1927 – Henry Ford and his son Edsel drove the 15 millionth Model T Ford out of their factory, marking the famous automobile’s official last day of production.

1933 – Country singer Jimmie Rodgers died from a pulmonary hemorrhage at the age of 35.
Known as “The Singing Brakeman,” “The Blue Yodeler,” and “The Father of Country Music,” Rodgers was the first musician inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, was an inductee into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and in 1986, was part of the inaugural class in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (Early Influence category.)

1944 – Christian Wirth, the first Commandant of Bełżec extermination camp and Inspector of all Operation Reinhard camps, was killed by Yugoslav Partisans while traveling in an open-topped car on an official trip to Fiume, Croatia.
He was a leading perpetrator of the Holocaust and played a direct role in the murders of over 2 million Jews. Wirth was noted for his unusually brutal rule. He established a regime of terror and death which was carried out in all Operation Reinhard camps more than any other camp commander.
Former SS Sergeant Franz Suchomel, who served under Wirth, said in an interview many years later: “If only someone had had the courage to kill Christian Wirth. Operation Reinhard would have collapsed. Berlin would not have found another man with such energy for evil and nastiness.”

1959 – Harvey Haddix of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitched 12 perfect innings against the Milwaukee Braves, only to lose the game on a double by Braves’ first baseman Joe Adcock in the 13th inning.
It was the first time a pitcher threw more than nine perfect innings in major league history.

1977 – George “The Human Fly” Willig did the seemingly impossible.
Using special clamps that fit into the window washing tracks of the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City, he scaled the 110-story building in three and a half hours.

After police officials congratulated the daredevil following his successful climb, they promptly arrested him. New York City Mayor Abraham Beame fined Willig $1.10 – a penny per floor.
That little dot in the photo is Willig, being closely watched by police following him on a window washer’s platform. If you click the photo to enlarge it, that “little dot” shows up even more clearly.

1994 – Lisa Marie Presley married pop star Michael Jackson in the Dominican Republic, twenty days after her divorce from musician Danny Keough.
The marriage didn’t last long. Presley filed for divorce in early 1996, citing “irreconcilable differences” and noted the couple had separated in December 1995.
The divorce was finalized on August 20, 1996.

1998 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Ellis Island, the historic gateway for millions of immigrants, is mainly in New Jersey, not New York.
The island was greatly expanded by land reclamation between 1892 and 1934, and now has a land area of 27.5 acres. The original island and contiguous areas, comprising 3.3 acres, was part of New York, but all the reclaimed land is part of New Jersey.
It was the gateway for over 12 million immigrants to the United States as the nation’s busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954.
The first immigrant to pass through Ellis Island was Annie Moore, a 17-year-old girl from Cork, Ireland in 1892. The last person to pass through was Norwegian merchant seaman Arne Peterssen in 1954.
Just For Fun Factoid: Here are a few names who passed through Ellis Island and left their mark (both good and bad) on the U.S….
• Irving Berlin 1893 (Composer)
• Knute Rockne 1893 (Notre Dame Football Coach)
• Felix Frankfurter 1894 (Supreme Court Justice)
• Frank Capra 1903 (Film Director)
• Edward G. Robinson 1904 (Actor)
• Abraham Beame 1906 (Mayor of NYC)
• Lucky Luciano 1906 (Mobster)
• Bob Hope 1908 (Actor)
• Joseph Bonanno 1908 (Mobster)
• Rudolph Valentino 1913 (Actor)
• Ettore Boiardi 1914 (Founder of Chef Boyardee)
• Cary Grant 1920 (Actor)
• Bela Lugosi 1921 (Actor)
• Richard Hauptmann 1923 (Murderer)

2004 – The New York Times published an admission of journalistic failings, claiming that its flawed reporting and lack of skepticism towards sources during the buildup to the 2003 war in Iraq helped promote the belief that Iraq possessed large stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.
Of the five articles the paper singled out for their misleading content, three bore the byline of Judith Miller, the paper’s senior writer and bioterrorism expert.
Miller acknowledged in The Wall Street Journal in April 2015, that some of her Times coverage was inaccurate, although she had relied on sources she had used numerous times in the past.

2004 – United States Army veteran Terry Nichols was found guilty of 161 charges of first degree murder for his role in carrying out the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.
The jury deadlocked on imposing the death penalty and he was sentenced to 161 consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole.

2005 – Actor Eddie Albert died of pneumonia at the age of 99. He had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease in his last years.
He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1954 for his performance in Roman Holiday, and in 1973 for The Heartbreak Kid, but is best known for his performance as Oliver Wendell Douglas in the television comedy Green Acres.

2009 – President Barack Obama nominated federal appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor to be the first Hispanic justice on the Supreme Court.

2010 – Radio and television personality Art Linkletter died after suffering a stroke. He was 97.
He was the host of House Party, which ran on CBS radio and television for 25 years, and People Are Funny, on NBC radio and TV for 19 years.
One of Linkletter’s lasting legacies are the many light hearted interview segments with children which appeared regularly on his House Party program entitled Kids Say the Darndest Things.

Compiled by Ray Lemire ©2019 RayLemire.com. / Streamingoldies.com. All Rights Reserved.

Comments (4)

  1. Dan

    George Willig had to be a little insane!

    I wonder if the immigration bill signed by Coolidge caused a lot of controversy. It sure would today.

    1. Ray (Post author)

      Dan …
      Willig was a far braver man than me, or maybe, as you suggest, just insane. 🙂
      The 1924 Act meant that even Asians not previously prevented from immigrating – the Japanese in particular – would no longer be admitted to the United States. Many in Japan were offended by the new law and the Japanese government protested, but the law remained, resulting in an increase in existing tensions between the two nations.
      In short, the U.S. Congress had decided that preserving what they called the “racial composition” of the country was more important than promoting good ties with Japan.

  2. Penny

    George the human fly was NUTS … that’s all I can say about that! I remember watching the Art Linkletter show at my grandparents!

    1. Ray (Post author)

      George had more guts (and less brains) than I ever will 😉


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *