October 14


222: Pope Callixtus Iwas killed by a mob in Rome’s Trastevere after a five-year reign.

1066: King Harold II of England was defeated by the Norman forces of William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings, fought on Senlac Hill, seven miles from Hastings, England. At the end of the bloody, all-day battle, Harold was killed, shot in the eye with an arrow, according to legend, and his forces were destroyed. He was the last Anglo-Saxon king of England.

1946: Born this day: English singer-songwriter and guitarist Justin Hayward (The Moody Blues), and Scottish singer-songwriter Dan McCafferty (Nazareth).

1947: U.S. Air Force Capt. Chuck Yeager flew a Bell X-1 rocket-powered experimental aircraft faster than the speed of sound over the high desert of Southern California, becoming the first pilot and the first airplane in level flight to create a sonic boom.

1949: After a nine-month trial in Federal District Court in New York City, 11 leaders of the American Communist Party were convicted of conspiring to advocate the violent overthrow of the U.S. Federal Government.

1952: Born this day: actor and illusionist Harry Anderson (Night Court), and stand-up comic and actor Rick Aviles (The Godfather Part III, died 1995).

1958: The Bar Association of the District of Columbia voted to accept African-Americans as member attorneys.

2012: Felix Baungartner jumped from the stratosphere and set the world record for longest free fall of 128,018 feet (24¼ miles).


October 15


1764: English writer Edward Gibbon observed a group of friars singing in the ruins of the Temple of Jupiter in Rome; this inspired him to begin work on The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

1946: Born this day: singer-songwriter Richard Carpenter (The Carpenters), and actor John Getz (Three’s Company, How I Met Your Mother, The King of Queens).

1951: The first episode of I Love Lucy, starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, and William Frawley, aired on CBS.

1953: Born this day: entertainer Tito Jackson (The Jackson 5), and actor Larry Miller (Seinfeld).

1964: Mrs. Olga Worth Stephens, 75, of Dallas, burst into flames while sitting in her car, in front of many eyewitnesses. She burned to death before anyone could help her. Firemen who responded said her car was undamaged and contained nothing that could have started the fire.

1997: The first supersonic land speed record was set by English driver Andy Green in ThrustSSC, 50 years and one day after Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier.

2003: China launched Shenzhou 5, its first manned space mission. The Staten Island Ferry boat Andrew J. Barberi ran into a pier at the St. George Ferry Terminal in Staten Island, killing 11 people and injuring 43.

2008: The Great Recession began as the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 733.08 points, or 7.87 percent, the second worst day in the Dow’s history based on a percentage drop.


October 16

1793: Marie-Antoinette was beheaded on the guillotine in Paris, nine months after her husband, King Louis XVI of France.

1846: William T. G. Morton, a dentist, first demonstrated ether anesthesia at the Massachusetts General Hospital in the Ether Dome.

1860: Grace Bedell, 11, of Westfield, New York, wrote a letter to presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln suggesting that he could improve his appearance if her grew a beard.

1869: The Cardiff Giant, one of the most famous American hoaxes, was “discovered” in Cardiff, N.Y.

1875: Brigham Young University was founded in Provo, Utah.

1888: Born this day: playwright and Nobel Laureate Eugene O’Neill (Long Day’s Journey into Night, Mourning Becomes Electra, The Iceman Cometh, died 1953); and Paul Popenoe, founder of relationship counseling (died 1979).

1890: Born this day: Irish Gen. Michael Collins (ambushed and killed 1922); Italian virgin and martyr, St. Maria Goretti (died 1902); and director Paul Strand (The Plow That Broke the Plains, died 1975).

1909: Presidents William Howard Taft and Porfirio Díaz held a summit in El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, a first between a U.S. and a Mexican president. (They narrowly escaped assassination by an armed man standing outside at the El Paso Chamber of Commerce building along the procession route.)

1916: Margaret Sanger opened the first family planning clinic in the United States, in Brooklyn, New York.

1923: The Walt Disney Company was founded in Burbank, Calif., by Walt Disney and his brother, Roy Disney.

1947: Born this day: musician Bob Weir (Grateful Dead, The Dead); and director-producer David Zucker (The Kentucky Fried Movie, Airplane!, Naked Gun, Scary Movie, many others.)

1964: China detonated its first nuclear weapon.

1968: Athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos were kicked off the U.S. Olympics team for giving a sustained Black Power salute during the U.S. National Anthem at the Olympics in Mexico City. Yasunari Kawabata became the first Japanese person to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

1991: George Hennard opened fire in Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, killing 23 and wounding 20 before turning the gun on himself.

2007: George “Irish” Matousek, 76, a longtime white supremacist and member of the Ku Klux Klan, died of a “lingering illness” in Michigan. Mourners at his funeral displayed Nazi swastikas and Confederate flags to show their hatred for non-whites, Jews and Catholics.

2012: The extrasolar planet Alpha Centauri Bb was discovered.


October 17


1091: A severe tornado struck the heart of London.

1771: The opera Ascanio in Alba, by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, age 15,  premiered in Milan, Italy.

1814: Seven people in London were killed when 387,907 gallons of beer in the Meux and Company Brewery burst out of its vats and gushed into the streets. The flood destroyed two homes and a pub, and damaged many more buildings.

1888: Thomas Edison filed a patent for the Optical Phonograph (the first movie).

1907: Guglielmo Marconi’s company began operating the first commercial transatlantic wireless communication service between Glace Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada, and Clifden, Ireland.

1912: Born this day: Pope John Paul I (died 1978) and singer-songwriter Jack Owens (“The Hukilau Song,” died 1982).

1941: A German submarine attacked an American ship for the first time in World War II. Nazi German troops executed the entire male population in the village of Kerdyllia, Greece.

1948: Born this day: actors Margot Kidder (The Amityville Horror, Superman), and George Wendt (Cheers).

1956: Born this day: musician Fran Cosmo (Boston); Astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison; and North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory.

1957: Born this day: producer Lawrence Bender (Inglourious Basterds); and child actor Vincent Van Patten (Bonanza, The High Chaparral, Medical Center, Adam-12, The Courtship of Eddie’s Father, Wonder Woman).

1992: Japanese exchange student Yoshihiro Hattori went to the wrong house for a Halloween party, and was shot and killed by the homeowner, in Baton Rouge, La.

1994: Russian journalist Dmitry Kholodov was assassinated while investigating corruption in the Russian armed forces.

1998: At Jesse, in the Niger Delta, Nigeria, a petroleum pipeline exploded, killing about 1,200 villagers, some of whom were scavenging gasoline.


October 18


1648: Shoemakers in Boston formed the first American labor organization.

1767: The Mason-Dixon line, the border between Maryland and Pennsylvania, was established.

1851: Herman Melville’s ponderous ‘classic’ novel Moby-Dick was first published as The Whale by Richard Bentley of London.

1867: The United States took possession of Alaska after purchasing it from Russia for $7.2 million. (This day is celebrated every year in the state as Alaska Day.)

1898: The United States took possession of Puerto Rico from Spain.

1919: Born this day: jazz singer Anita O’Day (died 2006); Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (died 2000); and operatic soprano Camilla Williams (died 2012).

1922: The British Broadcasting Company (later Corporation, or BBC) was founded in London.

1926: Born this day: musician Chuck Berry (“Roll Over Beethoven,” “Johnny B. Goode,” “Maybellene”) and German actor Klaus Kinski (Nosferatu the Vampyre, died 1991).

1973: Born this day: freelance photographer and journalist James Foley (beheaded 2014); journalist Rachel Nichols (Unguarded with Rachel Nichols on CNN); and actor Brian Scolaro (Stacked, Sullivan & Son, Three Sisters).

1984:  TV actor Jon-Erik Hexum (born 1957) died when he shot himself in the head with a prop gun loaded with a single blank cartridge. Hexum was playing Russian Roulette during a break in filming of the series Cover Up, in which he played the lead. Born this day: jazz bassist, singer-songwriter Esperanza Spalding, and U.S. Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn.


October 19


1936: Watertown High School in Watertown, S.D., became the first high school to fingerprint students.

1943: Streptomycin, the first antibiotic treatment for tuberculosis, was isolated by researchers at Rutgers University in Newark, N.J.

1944: Born this day: singer George McCrae (“Rock Your Baby”) and Jamaican musician Peter Tosh (Bob Marley & The Wailers, died 1987).

Shimomura, “the most famous female video game music composer in the world.”

1987: The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 22 percent, 508 points.

1991: Fire swept through the Oakland (Calif.) Hills, destroying thousands of homes and killing 25 people.

2003: Mother Teresa was beatified by Pope John Paul II.

October 20


1818: The Convention of 1818 between the United States and the United Kingdom settled the U.S.-Canada border on the 49th parallel for most of its length.

1882: Born this day: actor Bela Lugosi (Dracula, The Wolfman, Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, died 1956), and actress Margaret Dumont (Animal Crackers, Duck Soup,  A Night at the Opera, A Day at the Races, died 1965).

1925: Born this day: political satirist Art Buchwald (died 2007), and record producer Tom Dowd (“If I Knew You Were Comin’ I’d’ve Baked a Cake,” died 2002).

1944: Gen. Douglas MacArthur waded ashore in the Philippines, two years after fleeing the Japanese invasion where he famously vowed, “I shall return.” Liquid natural gas leaked from storage tanks in Cleveland, Ohio, and then exploded; the explosion and fire leveled 30 blocks and killed 130 people.

1950: Born this day: musician Tom Petty (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, the Traveling Wilburys), and actor William Russ


October 21


1824: Joseph Aspdin patented Portland cement in England.

1921: President Warren G. Harding delivered the first speech by a sitting President against lynching in the deep south. The silent movie The Sheik, starring Rudolph Valentino, premiered in New York.

2017: Vegas Golden Knights make their NHL debut in Dallas, winning 2-1 over the Stars

2018 Australia records the biggest comeback in Rugby Championship history in beating Argentina 45-34 in Salta; Wallabies trial 31-7 at halftime but score 5 second half tries to none to overwhelm Pumas

2018 Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed and sworn onto the US Supreme Court amid protests and after an FBI investigation

2018: New Zealand claims 6th overall, and 3rd straight Rugby Championship with 32-20 win over South Africa in Pretoria; All Blacks outscore Springboks 4 tries to 3

2019 99 Iraqis have died and 4,000 injured in protests over 5 days against living conditions, unemployment and corruption according to human rights group

2019: Tens of thousands of Hong Kong protesters march in defiance of a new ban on face masks