This Week In History – July 26, 2017

July 26


1764: The earliest school shooting in the Americas, known as  Pontiac’s Rebellion school massacre, occurred when four Lenape American Indians entered a schoolhouse near present-day Greencastle, Pa., shot and killed schoolmaster Enoch Brown, and killed 10 children. Three children survived.

        1775: Benjamin Franklin became the first postmaster general.

1788: New York ratified the U.S. Constitution and became the 11th state.

1803: The Surrey Iron Railway, the world’s first public railway, opened in south London, England.

1887: The publication of the Unua Libro marked the founding of Esperanto, the most successful manmade language in existence. It is spoken by about two million people worldwide.

1903: Horatio Nelson and Sewell Crocker completed the first automobile trip across the United States. The journey from San Francisco to New York took 63½ days in a 1903 Winton.

1908: The Office of the Chief Examiner (later renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation) opened.

1936: Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy intervened in the Spanish Civil War.

1940: Born this day: singer Dobie Gray (“The In Crowd,” “Drift Away,” died 2011), and Ted Kennedy’s mistress Mary Jo Kopechne (drowned 1969).

1941: In response to the Japanese occupation of French Indochina (now Vietnam), President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the seizure of all Japanese assets in the United States.

1944: The Soviet Army entered Lviv, a major city in western Ukraine, capturing it from the Nazis. (Only 300 Jews survived out of 160,000 living in Lviv prior to Nazi occupation.) The first German V-2 rocket hit the United Kingdom.

1945: The Labour Party won the United Kingdom general election of July 5 by a landslide, removing Winston Churchill from power. The Potsdam Declaration was signed in Potsdam, Germany, by the United States, United Kingdom and Nationalist China. This ultimatum stated that, if Japan did not surrender, it would face “prompt and utter destruction.” The US Navy cruiser USS Indianapolis arrived at Tinian in the Mariana Islands with parts of the warhead for the Hiroshima atomic bomb.

1946: Aloha Airlines began service from Honolulu International Airport.

1947: President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947, creating the Central Intelligence Agency, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Air Force, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the U.S. National Security Council. President Truman signed Executive Order 9981 desegregating the U.S. military.

1951: Walt Disney’s 13th animated film, Alice in Wonderland, premiered in London, England.

1953: Arizona Gov. John Howard Pyle ordered an anti-polygamy law enforcement crackdown on fundamentalist Mormons at Short Creek (now Colorado City), Ariz., which became known as the Short Creek raid. Approximately 400 people, including 263 children, were arrested in what was described as “the largest mass arrest of men and women in modern American history.”

1955: Theater director Margo Jones was killed in Dallas, Texas, by exposure to carbon tetrachloride fumes from her newly cleaned carpet.

1963: Syncom 2, the world’s first geosynchronous satellite, was launched from Cape Canaveral.

1977: The National Assembly of Quebec imposed the use of French as the official language of the provincial government.

1989: A federal grand jury indicted Cornell University student Robert T. Morris Jr. for releasing the ‘Morris worm.’ He became the first person to be prosecuted under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.


July 27


  1789: The first U.S. federal government agency, the Department of Foreign Affairs, was established. (It was later renamed the Department of State.)

  1866: The first permanent transatlantic telegraph cable was successfully laid, from Valentia Island, Ireland, to Heart’s Content, Newfoundland.

1890: Anguished artist Vincent van Gogh shot himself; he died two days later.

  1919: The Chicago Race Riot erupted after a racial incident occurred on a South Side beach, leading to 38 fatalities and 537 injuries over a five-day period.

  1921: Researchers at the University of Toronto led by biochemist Frederick Banting proved that the hormone insulin regulates blood sugar.

  1929: The Geneva Convention of 1929, dealing with treatment of prisoners-of-war, was signed by 53 nations.

1940: The animated short A Wild Hare was released, introducing the character of Bugs Bunny.

1953: Fighting in the Korean War ended with the signing of an armistice agreement.

  1973: Roger Lee Durham, 27, singer and percussionist with America R&B band Bloodstone, died of injuries after falling off a horse, joining The 27 Club.

1974: At the height of the Watergate scandal, the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee voted 27-11 to recommend the first article of impeachment (for obstruction of justice) against President Richard Nixon.

1981: Six-year-old Adam Walsh, son of John Walsh, was kidnapped in Hollywood, Fla., and found murdered two weeks later. (John Walsh became an advocate for victims and created the TV program America’s Most Wanted as a result of the crime.)

1996: A pipe bomb exploded at Centennial Olympic Park during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Ga. Two people died and 111 were injured

2002: A Sukhoi Su-27 fighter crashed during an air show at Lviv, Ukraine, killing 85 people and injuring more than 100 others, in the largest air show disaster in history.

2007: News helicopters from Phoenix, Ariz., television stations KNXV and KTVK collided over Steele Indian School Park in central Phoenix while covering a police chase, killing all four people aboard.

2016: Hillary Clinton became the first woman to be nominated to run for president by a major political party, at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pa.


July 28


  1750: Johan Sebastian Bach died at age 65.

1866: At the age of 18, sculptor Vinnie Ream became the first and youngest female artist to receive a commission from the U.S. government for a statue (of Abraham Lincoln, now displayed in the U.S. Capitol rotunda).

1896: The city of Miami, Florida, was incorporated.

1935: The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress had its inaugural flight.

1938: Mrs. Mary Carpenter, while vacationing on a cabin cruiser with her husband and children on the English Channel, burst into flames before their eyes and was reduced to a charred corpse in minutes. No one else was injured and the boat was undamaged.

1945: A U.S. Army B-25 bomber struck the 78th and 79th floors of the Empire State Building during a storm, killing 14 people.

1953: Insta-Burger King, the predecessor to Burger King, opened in Jacksonville, Fla.

1976: The Tangshan earthquake, measuring between 7.8 and 8.2 magnitude, flattened Tangshan in the People’s Republic of China, killing 242,769 and injuring 164,851.


July 29


  1948: After a hiatus of 12 years caused by World War II, the first Summer Olympics to be held since the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, opened in London.

  1958: President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the National Aeronautics and Space Act, which created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

1959: Hawaii held its first election for U.S. Congress as a state.

  1976: David Berkowitz (aka the “Son of Sam”) killed one person and seriously wounded another in the first of a series of attacks in New York City.

  1981: Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer.


July 30


  762: The city of Baghdad (in modern-day Iraq) was founded.

1419: A mob of religious radicals killed 13 members of the city council of Prague (in modern-day Czech Republic) by throwing them out the high windows of the new town hall, in what became known as the First Defenestration of Prague.

  1502: Christopher Columbus landed at Guanaja in the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras during his fourth voyage.

1619: The first representative assembly in the Americas, the House of Burgesses, convened in Jamestown, Va.

1676: Nathaniel Bacon issued the “Declaration of the People of Virginia,” beginning Bacon’s Rebellion against the rule of Gov. William Berkeley.

1729: Baltimore, Maryland, was founded.

  1733: The first Masonic Grand Lodge in the future United States was opened in Massachusetts.

1866: The Democratic Party government in New Orleans, La., ordered police to raid an integrated Republican Party meeting, killing 40 people and injuring 150.

  1869: Alabama congressman Thomas Haughey was assassinated in Courtland, Alabama, shot while giving a speech.

1916: During World War I, German saboteurs exploded U.S. military munitions at Black Tom Island in Jersey City, New Jersey, to prevent them from reaching Europe.

1945: As World War II drew to a close, Japanese submarine I-58 sank the USS Indianapolis, killing 883 seamen.

1955: The TV show “Mister Rogers Neighborhood” premiered in Pittsburgh.

1956: President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a joint resolution of Congress, authorizing In God We Trust as the U.S. national motto.

1965: President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law.

1974: In the final days of the Watergate scandal, President Richard Nixon released subpoenaed White House recordings after being ordered to do so by the U.S. Supreme Court.

1975: Jimmy Hoffa disappeared from the parking lot of the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.,, a suburb of Detroit, at about 2:30 p.m. He was never seen or heard from again, and was declared legally dead on this date in 1982.

2002: Canada recalled all of its troops from Afghanistan.


2003: The last ‘old style’ Volkswagen Beetle rolled off the assembly line in Mexico.


July 31


  781: Mount Fuji erupted for the first time in recorded history.

  1790: The first U.S. patent was issued to inventor Samuel Hopkins for a potash process.

  1875: Andrew Johnson, 17th U.S. president (1865-1869), died in Carter Station, Tenn., at age 66. (He is the only president to take the oath of office while drunk.)

1931: New York, New York experimental television station W2XAB (now known as WCBS) began broadcasting.

1941: Under instructions from Adolf Hitler, Nazi official Hermann Göring, ordered SS Gen. Reinhard Heydrich to “submit to me as soon as possible a general plan of the administrative material and financial measures necessary for carrying out the desired Final Solution of the Jewish question.”

1945: Born this day:  musician Gary Lewis (Gary Lewis & the Playboys), and  68th governor of Massachusetts, William Weld.

1961: At Fenway Park in Boston, Mass., the first All-Star Game tie in Major League Baseball history occurred when the game was stopped in the ninth inning because of rain.

  1964: Ranger 7 sent back the first close-up photographs of the moon, with images 1,000 times clearer than anything ever seen from earth-bound telescopes.

1965: Born this day: actor Pat Finn (Friends, Seinfeld, The Drew Carey Show), and author J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter franchise).

  1969: German pop singer Alexandra (“Those Were the Days My Friend”) died in a car wreck in Tellingstedt, Holstein, Germany, at age 27.

1970: The British Royal Navy ceased rationing rum to its sailors.

1971: Apollo 15 astronauts James Irwin and David Scott became the first humans to ride in a lunar rover.

1989: Born this day: actors Alexis Knapp (Project X, Pitch Perfect), Joey Richter (A Very Potter Musical), Jessica Williams (The Daily Show), and Zelda Williams (House of D).

2012: Michael Phelps broke the record set in 1964 by Larisa Latynina for the greatest number of medals won at the Olympics.