“I followed the law. Before God, before the law, before the people of the state of Florida who elected me, I know that I followed the law. No partisan political activity transpired in my office during the recount period.”
Florida Secretary of State
1842 – Right Rev. Celestine Guynemer de la Hailandiere offered land in Indiana to Father Edward Sorin of the Congregation of Holy Cross, on the condition that he build a college.
On this date, Sorin traveled to the site with eight Holy Cross brothers and began the school using Father Stephen Badin’s old log chapel. They immediately acquired two students and set about building additions to the campus.
The school would become known as the University of Notre Dame.
1860 – A newspaper print of newly elected President Abraham Lincoln showed the beginnings of a beard.
The idea for the beard had come from a letter sent to Lincoln by 11-year-old Grace Bedell on October 15. In the letter, she had suggested that Mr. Lincoln would look better with a beard.
“You would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be President.”
1898 – A powerful early winter storm battered the New England coast, killing at least 450 people in New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Blizzard conditions disrupted the entire area. Transportation became impossible; some trains were halted by 20-foot snow drifts.
In some towns and villages, residents were forced to dig tunnels through the snow from their front doors to the streets.
Boston was perhaps worst hit by the storm. Approximately 100 ships were blown ashore from the city’s harbor and another 40 were sunk.
About 100 people died when a Portland-based steamer sank near Cape Cod. Bodies and debris filled the harbors and nearby beaches.
1933 – Thousands of people in San Jose, CA stormed the jail where Thomas Thurmond and John Holmes were being held as suspects in the kidnapping and murder of Brooke Hart, the 22-year-old son of a local store owner. The mob of angry citizens proceeded to lynch the accused men and then pose them for pictures.
After the incident, pieces of the lynching ropes were sold to the public. Though the San Jose News declined to publish pictures of the lynching, it condoned the act in an editorial.
Seventeen-year-old Anthony Cataldi bragged that he had been the leader of the mob but he was not held accountable for his participation. At Stanford University, a professor asked his students to stand and applaud the lynching.
Perhaps most disturbing, Governor James Rolph publicly praised the mob.
“The best lesson ever given the country,” he said. “I would like to parole all kidnappers in San Quentin to the fine, patriotic citizens of San Jose.”
I have spared you the despicable photos of the hangings.
1941 – Adm. Chuichi Nagumo directed the Japanese First Air Fleet, an aircraft carrier strike force, toward Pearl Harbor, with the understanding that should “negotiations with the United States reach a successful conclusion, the task force will immediately put about and return to the homeland.”
Negotiations had been ongoing for months. Japan wanted an end to U.S. economic sanctions. The Americans wanted Japan out of China and Southeast Asia – and to repudiate the Tripartite “Axis” Pact with Germany and Italy as conditions to be met before those sanctions could be lifted. Neither side was budging.
President Franklin Roosevelt ordered that a conciliatory gesture of resuming monthly oil supplies for Japanese canceled. Secretary of State Cordell Hull also rejected Tokyo’s “Plan B,” a temporary relaxation of the crisis, and of sanctions, but without any concessions on Japan’s part.
Prime Minister Tojo considered this an ultimatum, and more or less gave up on diplomatic channels as the means of resolving the impasse.
1942 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered nationwide gasoline rationing.
Giving Americans less than a week to prepare, Roosevelt said the rationing would begin on December 1 and would last “the duration” (and it did).
A fuel shortage was not the problem. America had plenty of that. What it lacked was rubber. Both the Army and Navy were in desperate need of rubber for the war effort.
Imports had fallen off to a trickle, because many of the traditional sources were now in Japanese hands. Meeting the military’s enormous needs would be nearly impossible if the civilians at home didn’t cut out nonessential driving to conserve on tire wear.
The best way to achieve that was to make it more difficult for people to use their cars. And the best way to do that was to limit the amount of gasoline an individual could purchase.
Thus, Americans soon became acquainted with the ration card, which had to be presented on every trip to the filling station. To be out of ration stamps was to be out of luck.
Drivers who used their cars for work that was deemed essential to the war effort were classified differently and received additional stamps. There were five classifications:
• Class A drivers were allowed only 3 gallons of gasoline per week.
• Class B drivers (factory workers, traveling salesmen) received 8 gallons per week.
• Class C drivers included essential war workers, police, doctors and letter carriers.
• Class T included all truck drivers.
• Class X was reserved for politicians and other “important people.”
The last three classifications were not subject to the restrictions.
1943 – Lieutenant Commander Edward Henry “Butch” O’Hare, while leading the U.S. Navy’s first-ever nighttime fighter attack launched from an aircraft carrier, was shot down during an encounter with a group of Japanese torpedo bombers. His aircraft was never found.
Background: On February 20, 1942, he had become the Navy’s first flying ace when he single-handedly attacked a formation of nine heavy bombers approaching his aircraft carrier, the USS Lexington. Even though he had a limited amount of ammunition, he managed to shoot down five enemy bombers.
On April 21, 1942, he became the first naval recipient of the Medal of Honor in World War II.
In 1945, the U.S. Navy destroyer USS O’Hare was named in his honor, and in 1949, Chicago’s Orchard Depot Airport was renamed O’Hare International Airport to honor O’Hare’s bravery.
Famous Father Factoid: His father, Edward Joseph O’Hare, was a lawyer in Chicago, where he began working with Al Capone, but later helped federal prosecutors convict Capone on tax evasion charges.
In 1939, a week before Capone was released from Alcatraz, O’Hare was shot to death while driving.
1944 – Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler ordered the destruction of the Auschwitz-Birkenau gas chambers and crematoria.
The technical installations of the gas chambers and the ovens of Crematorium II and III were to be dismantled for transportation to Gross Rosen concentration camp.
Special squads of men and women prisoners were created to clean out, fill in and overlay with turf the pits where corpses had been burnt or where the ashes from the crematoria had been buried.
The warehouses containing the personal effects of Jews who had perished were hastily emptied and their contents dispatched by train to the Reich.
1948 – The first Polaroid Land Camera Model 95 sold for $89.75 in Boston at the Jordan Marsh department store.
The camera produced prints in about one minute.
To orchestrate the rollout of the product, Polaroid hired J. Harold Booth, known for his success in sales and marketing at Bell & Howell.
Booth provided the demonstration of the camera in order, “to stage a dramatic introduction for a product destined to make photographic history.”
All 56 cameras brought to the Jordan Marsh demonstration sold out.
1956 – The Price Is Right, hosted by Bill Cullen, debuted on NBC and aired as both a daytime series and as part of the network’s primetime lineup.
The daytime series aired daily while the evening series was aired once a week.
1956 – Bandleader Tommy Dorsey died at the age of 51 after choking to death in his sleep after a heavy meal.
Dorsey and his brother Jimmy had their own television show (The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show from 1954-56.
It was on that show that a young singer named Elvis Presley made his national television debut on January 28, 1956.
1962 – The Beatles recorded Please Please Me at EMI Studios in London.
“I remember the day I wrote that song. I heard Roy Orbison doing Only The Lonely on the radio. I was also always intrigued by the words to a Bing Crosby song that went, ‘Please lend a little ear to my pleas.’ The double use of the word ‘please’. So it was a combination of Roy Orbison and Bing Crosby.”
1965 – 18-year-old Arlo Guthrie and his friend Richard Robbins, 19, were arrested by Stockbridge police officer William ‘Obie’ Obanhein for illegally dumping garbage the day before.
As we all know, thanks to Guthrie’s iconic song, while attempting to clear out the garbage from their friend Alice’s residence in Great Barrington, MA (the deconsecrated Old Trinity Church shown above), the pair had discovered that the town dump was closed for the Thanksgiving holiday so they dumped the garbage over a fifteen-foot cliff on a side road and “drove back to the church, had a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat, went to sleep and didn’t get up until the next morning.”
Church Factoid: Arlo sought to provide a place to bring together individuals for spiritual service, so he purchased the Old Trinity Church in 1991 and founded the Guthrie Center, an Interfaith Church.
It fulfills Arlo’s aim to meet the ongoing needs of the community, and support cultural preservation and educational achievement.
1968 – O.J. Simpson won the 34th Heisman Trophy in the biggest landslide in Heisman history.
As a senior, Simpson ran wild, logging 1,709 yards and scoring 22 touchdowns in the regular season as USC went 9-0-1 and finished second in the polls.
He carried the ball an NCAA-record 334 times. Not surprisingly, Simpson cruised to the Heisman, winning by a record margin of 1,750 points.
1986 – In response to the Iran Contra scandal, President Ronald Reagan announced the formation of the Tower Commission, to be headed by former Sen. John Tower of Texas.
The Commission would take testimony from 86 witnesses, and concluded that CIA Director William Casey, who supported the Iran-Contra arrangement, should have taken over the operation and made the President aware of the risks and notified Congress as legally required.
2010 – Nineteen-year-old Somali-born Mohamed Osman Mohamud was arrested by federal agents during a sting in Portland, OR, accused of planning to detonate a van of explosives during a Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
What he didn’t know was he had been monitored by the FBI for months. He reportedly attracted the interest of the FBI after agents intercepted emails he was exchanging with a man who had returned to the Middle East, and whom law enforcement officials described as a “recruiter for terrorism.”
Undercover FBI operatives drove to a remote area of Lincoln County, Oregon, where they conducted a test run on November 4 by detonating a real bomb.
The attempted main bombing took place at Portland’s Pioneer Courthouse Square as tens of thousands of people gathered for the city’s annual tree lighting.
The fake bomb was in a white van that carried six 55-gallon drums with what appeared to be real detonation cords and plastic caps – all of which had no explosive components – even the detonating caps were inert.
Mohamud tried to detonate the bomb by dialing a cell phone that was attached to it. When the device failed to explode, an undercover agent suggested he get out of the car to obtain better reception.
When he did so he was arrested.
According to an affidavit, Mohamud told the agents, “I want whoever is attending that event to leave, to leave either dead or injured.”
On January 31, 2013, a jury found Mohamud guilty of the single charge against him.
In September 2014, Mohamud was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison, as well as lifetime supervision upon his release in 2040.
2016 – Actor Fritz Weaver died of natural causes at the age of 90.
He is best known for his role as Dr. Josef Weiss in the 1978 epic television drama, Holocaust, for which he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award.
In cinema, he is best recognized from his debut film Fail Safe, as well as Marathon Man, and The Thomas Crown Affair.
Weaver won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for the Broadway play Child’s Play. His other Broadway credits included The Chalk Garden (Tony nomination), and The Crucible.
Among his many television roles were several guest star appearances on Mission Impossible, Law and Order, and most famously, his portrayal of Andrew Borden in The Legend of Lizzie Borden.
Compiled by Ray Lemire ©2023 RayLemire.com / Streamingoldies. All Rights Reserved.