“The number of electors appointed to vote for president of the United States is 538, of which a majority is 270. George W. Bush of the state of Texas has received for president of the United States 271 votes. Al Gore of the state of Tennessee has received 266 votes.”
~Vice President Al Gore
Certifying the 2000 Presidential Election
1759 – George Washington and Martha Dandridge Custis were married at White House Plantation in New Kent County, Virginia.
The White House Plantation was part of a large land holding that Daniel Parke Custis, the first husband of Martha, occupied when they married in 1750.
Daniel unexpectedly died in 1757, leaving the White House Plantation to Martha. She would later meet Washington and eventually hold their wedding ceremony in one of the rooms of the White House Mansion.
Money Factoid: Her husband’s death in 1757 left Martha a rich young widow at age 25, with independent control over the inheritance of her four minor children. In all, she was left in custody of some 17,500 acres of land and 300 slaves, apart from other investments and cash.
Washington used his wife’s great wealth to buy land and slaves; he more than tripled the size of his own estate at Mount Vernon from 2,600 acres to 8,250.
1838 – Samuel Morse’s telegraph system was demonstrated for the first time at the Speedwell Iron Works in Morristown, NJ.
The telegraph, a device which used electric impulses to transmit encoded messages over a wire, would eventually revolutionize long-distance communication, reaching the height of its popularity in the 1920s and 30s.
1853 – President-Elect Franklin Pierce and his family were involved in a train wreck near Andover, MA. Pierce’s 11-year-old son Benjamin was killed in the crash.
At his inauguration on March 4, Pierce refused to take his oath of office by swearing on a Bible and bluntly admitted that the trauma had changed him, and he not only regretted that he’d been elected President but felt himself unworthy of assuming the responsibilities of the job.
1919 – Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, died at Sagamore Hill, his estate overlooking New York’s Long Island Sound.
He died in his sleep as a result of a blood clot detaching itself from a vein and entering his lungs. He was 60.
1941 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed Congress in an effort to move the nation away from a foreign policy of neutrality.
The president had watched with increasing anxiety as European nations struggled and fell to Hitler’s fascist regime and was intent on rallying public support for the United States to take a stronger interventionist role.
In his address to the 77th Congress, Roosevelt stated that the need of the moment is that our actions and our policy should be devoted primarily – almost exclusively – to meeting the foreign peril.
Roosevelt insisted that people in all nations of the world shared Americans’ entitlement to four freedoms: the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom to worship God in his own way, freedom from want and freedom from fear.
1942 – One year to the day later, President Franklin Roosevelt announced to Congress that he was authorizing the largest armaments production in the history of the United States.
Committed to war in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, the U.S. had to reassess its military preparedness, especially in light of the fact that its Pacific fleet was decimated by the Japanese air raid.
Roosevelt announced that the first year of the supercharged production schedule would result in 45,000 aircraft, 45,000 tanks, 20,000 anti aircraft guns, and 8 million tons in new ships.
Congressmen were stunned at the proposal, but Roosevelt was undeterred: “These figures and similar figures for a multitude of other implements of war will give the Japanese and Nazis a little idea of just what they accomplished.”
1945 – George H.W. Bush married Barbara Pierce in Rye, N.Y. They were married 73 years until her death on April 17, 2018.
Mrs. Bush and Abigail Adams are the only two women to be the wife of one U.S. president and the mother of another.
1958 – Chuck Berry released Sweet Little Sixteen. The single reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Rock Factoid: The Beach Boys’ 1963 song Surfin’ U.S.A. featured lyrics by Brian Wilson set to the music of Sweet Little Sixteen.
When their single was released in 1963, the record only listed Brian Wilson as the composer although the song was published by Arc Music, Chuck Berry’s publisher.
Later releases of Surfin’ U.S.A. list Wilson and Berry as co-writers although the copyright has always been owned by Arc Music because Murry Wilson, Brian’s father and manager had given the copyright, including Brian Wilson’s lyrics, to Arc Music to avoid a lawsuit.
1963 – Wild Kingdom (also known as Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom) premiered on NBC.
Marlin Perkins, an accomplished zoologist with an encyclopedic knowledge of animals large and small (but always seemed to be “upstream” while Jim Fowler did the dangerous stuff), hosted the show from 1963 to 1985.
1973 – Schoolhouse Rock premiered on ABC.
The program consisted of a series of animated musical educational short films that aired during the Saturday morning children’s programming block.
The topics covered included grammar, science, economics, history, mathematics, and civics. The series’ original run lasted from 1973 to 1984.
Schoolhouse Factoid: The series debut featured “Multiplication Rock,” a collection of animated shorts adapting the multiplication tables to songs written and sung by Bob Dorough.
1975 – Wheel of Fortune premiered on NBC.
The program, which aired as a daytime series until 1991, was originally hosted by Chuck Woolery and Susan Stafford.
The popularity of the daytime series led to a nightly syndicated edition which premiered on September 19, 1983, and has aired continuously since with Pat Sajak and Vanna White as hosts.
1975 – Phuoc Binh, the capital of Phuoc Long Province, about 60 miles north of Saigon, fell to the North Vietnamese. Two days later, the North Vietnamese took the last of the South Vietnamese positions in the region, gaining control of the entire province.
Presidents Nixon and Ford had promised South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu that the United States would come to the aid of South Vietnam if the North Vietnamese launched a major offensive in violation of the Paris Peace Accords. However, the United States did nothing when Phuoc Binh fell to the communists.
In fact, the passive response of the United States convinced North Vietnam that the Americans would not soon return to Vietnam, and encouraged the Politburo in Hanoi to launch a new attack in the hopes of creating ripe conditions for a general uprising in South Vietnam by 1976.
When the North Vietnamese launched the new offensive in early 1975, the South Vietnamese forces, demoralized by the failure of the United States to come to their aid, were defeated in just 55 days.
North Vietnamese tanks crashed through the gates of the presidential palace on April 30 and South Vietnam surrendered fully to the communists.
1976 – Peter Frampton released the legendary ‘Frampton Comes Alive!’ in the U.S.
The album would be certified gold less than eight weeks after its release and eventually would achieve eight-times-platinum status.
1994 – Olympic hopeful Nancy Kerrigan was attacked at a Detroit ice rink following a practice session two days before the Olympic trials.
A man hit Kerrigan with a club on the back of her knee, causing the figure skater to cry out in pain and bewilderment. When the full story emerged a week later, the nation became caught up in a real-life soap opera.
One of Kerrigan’s chief rivals for a place on the U.S. Figure Skating Team was Tonya Harding.
In mid-December 1993, Harding’s ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, approached Shawn Eckardt about somehow eliminating Kerrigan from the competition. Eckardt set up a meeting with Derrick Smith and Shane Stant, who agreed to injure Kerrigan for a fee. After hitting Kerrigan, Stant fled the ice rink in Smith’s getaway car. With Kerrigan unable to skate, Harding won the championship and a place at the 1994 Olympics.
On January 11, Derrick Smith confessed to FBI agents. Three days later, Stant surrendered and also confessed. Harding was questioned on January 18, but denied her involvement. She claimed that she would cut off any connection with Gillooly if he was responsible. The next day, Gillooly was charged with conspiracy to assault Kerrigan. Shortly after, he agreed to a deal in which he implicated Harding.
Harding then came forward, changing her story and admitting that she had learned of Gillooly’s role in the attack after the championships but did not inform authorities.
Harding pleaded guilty to conspiracy to hinder the prosecution of Kerrigan’s attackers. She was fined $100,000 and sentenced to probation and 500 hours of community service. Other than Gillooly’s testimony, there was never any further evidence of Harding’s knowledge of the plans before the attack.
1996 – Snow began falling in Washington, D.C., and continued up the Eastern seaboard, beginning a 4-day blizzard that killed 154 people and caused over $1 billion in damages before it ended.
In Lynchburg, VA, a record 20 inches of snow fell in a single day. Since wind gusts were reaching up to 50 miles per hour, snow drifts piled up in many areas and travel was nearly impossible.
As the storm moved northeast, it continued to break records. Newark, NJ, received a total of 28 inches over several days. Providence, RI, received 32 inches and Philadelphia was inundated with 31 inches. The Philadelphia schools were closed until January 16 due to the city’s inability to clear the heavy snow promptly from the streets.
Two buses collided in Pittsburgh and 52 were seriously injured. The storm deaths were mainly the result of traffic accidents, collapsed trees and homeless people dying from hypothermia.
In a few instances, people who were trapped in their cars died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Pennsylvania suffered the most deaths, with approximately 80.
2005 – Former Ku Klux Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen was arrested as a suspect in the 1964 murders of three civil rights workers in Mississippi.
Killen was later convicted of manslaughter in state court of three counts of manslaughter on June 21, 2005, the forty-first anniversary of the crime, and sentenced to 60 years in prison.
He died in prison on January 11, 2018, six days before his 93rd birthday.
Compiled by Ray Lemire ©2020 RayLemire.com / Streamingoldies.com. All Rights Reserved.