January 26


1500: Vicente Yáñez Pinzón became the first European to set foot on Brazil.

1788: The British First Fleet, led by Arthur Phillip, sailed into Port Jackson (now Sydney Harbour) to establish Sydney, the first permanent European settlement on the Australian continent. (Now commemorated as Australia Day.)

1808: The Rum Rebellion took place, becoming the only successful (albeit short-lived) armed takeover of the government in Australia.

1837: Michigan was admitted as the 26th U.S. state.

1838: Tennessee enacted the first prohibition law in the United States.

1841: The United Kingdom formally occupied Hong Kong, which China later formally ceded. (China retook control in 1997.)

1870: Virginia officially rejoined the United States.


January 27

98: Trajan succeeded his adoptive father Nerva as Roman emperor. (Under Trajan’s rule, the Roman Empire reached its maximum size.)

1785: The University of Georgia was founded, the first public university in the United States.

1825: U.S. Congress approved Indian Territory (now in present-day Oklahoma), clearing the way for forced relocation of the Eastern Indians on the infamous “Trail of Tears.”

1880: Thomas Edison (1847-1931) received the patent for his incandescent lamp.

1888: The National Geographic Society was founded in Washington, D.C.

1908: Born this day: William Randolph Hearst Jr., newspaper publisher (died 1993); and Hot Lips Page, U.S. trumpet player, singer, and bandleader (died 1954).


January 28

1956: Young country-rock singer Elvis Presley made his first-ever television appearance on the musical-variety program Stage Show. Presley sang “Heartbreak Hotel,” which quickly became a hit single. The program was hosted by swing band leaders Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. Elvis went on to appear on Ed Sullivan’s immensely popular variety show, Toast of the Town, in the fall of 1956.


January 29


1834: President Andrew Jackson ordered the first use of federal soldiers to suppress a labor dispute,

1843: William McKinley (25th U.S. president, 1897-1901) born in Niles, Ohio.

1845: Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, The Raven, was first published in the New York Evening Mirror.

1861: Kansas was admitted as the 34th U.S. state.

1886: Karl Benz received a patent for the first successful gasoline-driven automobile.

January 30

1649: King Charles I of England was beheaded after being found guilty of tyranny by the Rump Parliament at the behest of Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658).

1790: The first boat specializing as a lifeboat was tested on the River Tyne in northeast England.

1882: Franklin Delano Roosevelt (32nd U.S. president, 1933-1945) was born in Hyde Park, N.Y.

January 31

1958: The first American satellite, Explorer 1, was launched.

1990: The first McDonald’s in the Soviet Union opened in Moscow.

2010: Avatar became the first film to gross over $2 billion worldwide.


February 1

451: St. Brigid of Ireland was born in Kildare.

1861: In the run-up to the Civil War, Texas seceded from the United States.

2003: Space Shuttle Columbia on mission STS-107 disintegrated during reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere, killing all seven astronauts aboard.

2004: Janet Jackson’s breast was briefly exposed during the half-time show of Super Bowl XXXVIII, resulting in U.S. broadcasters adopting a stronger adherence to Federal Communications Commission censorship guidelines.


        February 2


1653: New Amsterdam (later renamed The City of New York) was incorporated.

1905: Ayn Rand, author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. (Died 1982.)

1914: Charlie Chaplin made his first film appearance in the movie Making a Living.

1925: Dog sleds reached Nome, Alaska, with diphtheria serum from Anchorage, inspiring the Iditarod race.

1935: Leonarde Keeler (1903-1949) tested the first polygraph machine, in Los Angeles, Calif.

Boris Karloff, most famous for his portrayal as Frankenstein’s monster, died in Midhurst, Sussex, England, at age 81.


Montana Facts & History

Did you know that  five Montana counties were named in honor of U.S. Presidents?

Madison,  Jefferson, Garfield, Roosevelt, and Lincoln.

Once part of Flathead County, Libby and Eureka later petitioned the state legislature for separation. Lincoln County was then founded in 1909.


Map courtesy of


“Stagecoach Mary”


She drank whiskey, swore often, and smoked handmade cigars. She wore pants under her skirt and a gun under her apron. At six feet tall and two hundred pounds, Mary Fields was an intimidating woman.

Mary lived in Cascade, Mont. She was a special member of the community there. Schools closed on her birthday, and though women were not allowed entry into saloons, she was given special permission by the mayor to come anytime and to any saloon she liked.

Mary was born into enslavement in Tenn. in the early 1830s and enslaved for more than thirty years.

When Mary was 52, her close friend in Mont. became ill with pneumonia. Upon hearing the news, Mary dropped everything and came to nurse her friend back to health. Her friend soon recovered and Mary decided to stay .

She first tried her hand at the restaurant business, but wasn’t much of a chef. She was also too generous, never refusing  a customer who couldn’t pay. The restaurant failed within a year.

In 1895, Mary, or “Stagecoach Mary” (so called because she never missed a day or work), became the second woman and first African American to work as a mail carrier in the U.S.

GIven the job because she was the fastest applicant to hitch six horses.

Mary later retired to a life of running a laundry business, babysitting all town kids, going to baseball games and enjoying her friends.

Text/Photo Courtesy of

Historical Snapshots